Letter From the Editor About the November/December Issue
Legends Old and New
It’s been more than half a century since Capt. Robert Beebe launched his revolutionary 50-footer, Passagemaker, introducing the concept of the long-range offshore cruising powerboat. In 1975, having put more than 60,000 nautical miles under Passagemaker’s hull, Beebe penned his seminal book Voyaging Under Power, which nearly overnight became the bible for oceangoing short-handers worldwide.
A couple decades later, another cruising diehard by the name of Bill Parlatore launched a Passagemaker of his own: this magazine. This Passagemaker wasn’t designed to cross large spans of water, but rather to inform and inspire readers who share the passion for doing so. Fans could take it to work and gaze at the colorful pages whenever the itch for escape snuck up.
I recently went back and flipped through some of those early issues. The technology might be dated, but the technical expertise is timeless. Sadly, some of the builders have fallen off the charts, though the fruits of their labor can still be spotted regularly on just about any American waterway. Happily, most are still plying their craft. While those traditional trawlers of old live on as household names such as Nordhavn, Grand Banks, Fleming, the breed has evolved significantly, largely due to changing tastes and advances in technology.
In this issue, you’ll read about the life and enduring legacy of Robert Beebe, as well as the rebirth of his legendary design, Passagemaker, currently underway in Trinidad. As you might expect, her new owners are making a few modifications to suit their personal needs, but overall, the bones are good. Their plan is to leave Beebe’s original design intact.
You’ll also see some examples of just how far the passagemaker concept has come since Beebe’s original. Today’s power cruisers have different shapes and propulsion schemes: catamarans, exotic RIBs, outboards and pod drives, all built to provide seaworthy platforms for exploring the world by water.
Take for instance the all-new Grand Trawler 62 model from Beneteau, which just made her first North American appearance at the Fort Lauderdale boat show. The French builder's first displacement trawler is optimized for fuel efficiency at 9 knots. As you'll read, she may not be "Swift," but she is certainly "Grand."
Then, veteran skipper and powercat aficionado Jim Leshaw details his experiences while catamaran cruising up the ICW on the Great Loop, learning, once again, why he and his wife prefer a power catamaran to a monohull.
Also in the November/December issue, you'll meet the newest members of Passagemaker's Classic Cruising Club, Jack and Joanne Molan, who own a gorgeous 1952 58-foot William Garden heavy-timber passagemaker (see why her designer has been called the Frank Lloyd Wright of marine architects); and award-winning "A Dash of Salt" columnist Chris Caswell takes a lighthearted look at "the grant game" and how researchers have built entire careers "discovering" things that we boaters already know.
Our Passagemaker Pro special technical section is chock full of ideas, best practices and technical expertise. Boat handling instructor Bob Arrington takes on disorientation while boating, how it's a real phenomenon, especially during docking maneuvers, and what to do if and when it hits; DIY guru Peter Frederiksen tackles canvas care and how to bring old vinyl back to spec; and technical expert Max Parker delves into the world of electrical parasites on board (yes, your boat has them, too) and how to diagnose and control them so you'll never again step aboard only to find a dead boat.
The November/December issue is hitting mailboxes and newsstands as we speak. If you don't have one, grab one. If you’d like to subscribe, please consider doing so.
Twenty-five years since the first copy of Passagemaker hit the newsstands, I like to think we’re continuing its legacy. As with Passagemaker the boat, our style has evolved from the early years, but the bones are still solid. The boats and advice are timeless, and our shared passion for going cruising is unwavering.
On behalf of the Passagemaker team, thanks for reading. We hope you enjoy.