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Andrew Parkinson

Andrew Parkinson, Editor-in-Chief

There’s an old saying I’ve learned to embrace over the years: Your attitude determines your direction.

I first heard those five words strung together by my middle school science teacher, Mr. Meehan. They rang hollow for me then, as they would for any 11-year-old with anything but the periodic table on his mind. But as I got older and life’s great challenges presented themselves, from career-juggling to kid-raising, Mr. Meehan’s well-intended guidance finally took root.

The boating addict in me contends that Jimmy Buffett said it better in his hit song Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes: “I was hungry and went out for a bite; Ran into a chum with a bottle of rum, and we wound up drinkin’ all night.”

Remember when life was that simple? Remember inviting friends on board for sundowners without wondering if you might be putting yourself at risk of infection? Raise your hand if you had to scale down this year’s cruising plans because of Covid-19.

For me, I never thought I’d be having to write another editor’s letter in the midst of a pandemic. Like many of you, back in May when the curve was starting to turn in the right direction, I figured we’d be over this mess by now. Boy, was I mistaken.

But for all the stress and boredom this thing has spawned, apparently a lot of us are turning to the water for relief. Recent data suggest that the boat business is booming, with watercraft of all sizes and types in short supply as Americans plan for more local cruising. As one buyer put it: “Boats are sexier than sitting in your car.” And that goes for kayaks, canoes and other PWC, which are rolling off the shelves faster than they can be restocked.

With the waterways finally opening back up, whether out of hope, desperation or a little of both, it’s encouraging to see people getting back out on the water. Our editors, myself included, are testing the waters (albeit cautiously), venturing out on our first new-boat sea trials in months. And, why not? As I’ve mused since the beginning, a boat in the middle of the ocean is arguably the least likely place to contract a plague. My opinion, of course.

A buddy of mine just piqued my jealousy, buying an old but pristine Grand Banks 36 Classic that’s been residing in the Great Lakes all of her life. Because of the virus and a few ill-timed lock closings, he’ll be taking the long way home, up and out the Saint Lawrence, around Nova Scotia, across the temperamental Bay of Fundy and down the East Coast. Final destination: the Caribbean. A little inconvenient at the start? Perhaps. A total blast? Definitely.

Many of us dream of faraway destinations. Our bucket lists include places like the Northwest Passage, the far reaches of the windward Caribbean isles, and the Great Loop. Those lists are important, but for now, maybe it’s time to stay a little closer to home.

Fortunately, we have plenty of great destinations right under our own transducers, places that never get old no matter how many times you visit them. Take the BVI: Some cruisers and charterers go back time after time and notch new experiences, have new adventures, see the islands in different weather.

In our feature “Targets Within Reach,” we revisit some of our favorite close-to-home cruising grounds: the BVI, the Pacific Northwest, the Maine coast, the Florida Keys. These are places that may be familiar, but that stand the test of time. They may look the same on the chart as they always have, but they never fail to deliver something new.

No matter where, I’m looking forward to my next cheeseburger in paradise, and I hope you are too.