A Great Resource

PSPractical Sailor is only magazine we still subscribe to. We have been getting their great information on all things boating gear for over 25 years. In that time the magazine has saved us untold amounts of money, not to speak of frustration and wasted time, by helping us to source the best gear available and avoid much of the junk that populates the marine market.

In recent years, since our one time editor at Cruising World magazine, Darrell Nicholson, a long term voyager himself, took over as editor at Practical Sailor the magazine has become even more useful to us as Darrell has added more articles that meet our needs.

The one thing that has irritated us about the magazine was their policy of making us pay for reprints of back articles that we downloaded from their web site. “Damn-it, we already paid for this via our subscription!”

Well, no more. The new PS web site now includes their entire archive of articles and reports for download for free. Well, not quite free. You have to subscribe to the magazine. But hey, although Darrell is kind of a skinny guy, he does have to eat something. He might even want to feed his kids too. So, we highly recommend subscribing.


While Darrell is a friend, we pay the same price for a subscription as every one else and we have received no hidden benefits from Practical Sailor.

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Meet the Author


John was born and brought up in Bermuda and started sailing as a child, racing locally and offshore before turning to cruising. He has sailed over 100,000 miles, most of it on his McCurdy & Rhodes 56, Morgan's Cloud, including eight ocean races to Bermuda, culminating in winning his class twice in the Newport Bermuda Race. He has skippered a series of voyages in the North Atlantic, the majority of which have been to the high latitudes. John has been helping others go voyaging by sharing his experience for twenty years, first in yachting magazines and, for the last 12 years, as co-editor/publisher of AAC.

6 comments… add one
  • Eric Schlesinger Apr 6, 2011, 2:20 pm

    Dear AAC,
    I REALLY want to love PS too. Unfortunately, I think we have wasted as much money as we saved following their advice.
    I do appreciate their new policy, as described above, and may even join again. To charge twice for an article is a bit nervy.
    cheers, Eric

  • Tom Hildebrandt Apr 6, 2011, 6:24 pm

    I dropped my subscription because of their pricing policy, maybe it is now worth another look!

    Cheers and great sailing to all!


  • Ben Apr 6, 2011, 7:23 pm

    I haven’t seen this magazine down our way, but it looks way better than the run of the mill “choosing your charter destination” type, and I am having some fun reading the free articles… cheers

  • Nick Kats Apr 12, 2011, 1:27 pm

    Somehow I don’t seem to have crossed PS, either in Ireland or the US, but will look for it, thanks for the tip.

    What I really wanted to say is that I used to look at a few sailing mags often. And also to browse thru some catalogs selling sailing gear. I used to suck up what I assumed was wisdom from both.

    For 4 years I’ve owned a steel ketch built by a topnotch craftsman totally focused on practicality, simplicity & low maintenance. It did not take me long to complete outfitting this boat to my satisfaction (within the limits of my experience).

    Then I found that I had moved almost entirely beyond mags & catalogs for sailors. Here is how I now see both. The mags I’ve seen in recent years are mostly commercial with virtually no practical info – pretty useless rubbish. And the catalogs & websites peddle vast stocks full of redundancies & seem designed to make one feel an inferiority complex. In short, lots of glitz & lots of impractical & unreliable stuff.

    To maintain my present state of mind, when there is a problem, I ask, What would a fisherman do? or Where would a fisherman get it? Fishermen & their suppliers tend to keep it simple. I never ask, What would a yachtie do? Where would he buy it? That pathway seems to me to lead to the state of mind of endless materialism, insecurity & naivete, all underpinned by ignorance.

    Of course this is simplistic. There are lots of exceptions. There is much valuable stuff at the level of yachtie wisdom & goodies. Like this & other websites, or the new generation anchors, etc, or the not-so-many practical sailors out there.

    My point is that it has been a huge pleasure to find that I’ve shifted myself out of that seductive world of sailing mags & catalogs. They hold no interest for me. This is very liberating.

    • John Apr 12, 2011, 7:12 pm

      Hi Nick,

      So true, so true. We pretty much never look at any of the yachting mags any more, and canceled our subscriptions years ago.

      However, PC is different in that they don’t accept any advertising and are now run by a real voyaging sailor. And by the way, Darrel (PS editor) did his many thousands of miles in an old and small wooden boat with minimal gear.

      Looking at what the commercial guys do is a great tip too.

  • Darrell Nicholson Apr 20, 2011, 9:58 am

    Thanks for the comment John. Our success rests almost entirely on the dedication of other sailor/scientists who are committed to the cause of independent testing of equipment. I’m very sorry to hear that some of our recommendations may not have worked out for other sailors. I would definitely like to know which products did not live up to expectations, so we can amend our conclusions as needed. We keep a file of field reports, and we often follow up product recommendations with long-term testing and reports from readers. It is rare that a product that we recommend turns out to be a dud. Since I’ve been editor I’ve instituted a tiered level of recommended products. For serious offshore cruisers like the Harries, look for the Best Choice products. Coastal cruisers, on the other hand, can often do just fine with Recommended or Budget Buys.

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