41 Years in the Saddle

And there it is, the December issue of SAIL, the first issue in the history of the magazine that does not bear the name Charles E. Mason III on the masthead. “Chip” as his oldest friends call him, was a founding editor. Issue number one hit the stands in February, 1970 and I do mean hit. There is a whole generation of sailors
Author:
Publish date:
Charles-Mason.int

And there it is, the December issue of SAIL, the first issue in the history of the magazine that does not bear the name Charles E. Mason III on the masthead. “Chip” as his oldest friends call him, was a founding editor. Issue number one hit the stands in February, 1970 and I do mean hit. There is a whole generation of sailors now that can’t be expected to know what a revelation was SAIL. The industry standard was Yachting Magazine, fusty and narrow and set in its ways. The name comparison alone tells you something, and long before the decade was out, SAIL led the industry.

Via email, Charles E. “Chip” Mason III, former Executive Editor of SAIL, declined to be interviewed here, judging that he preferred to leave his recollections “in the drawer.” In typical fashion, however, he did divest himself of a few suggestions as to stories he thinks I really ought to be writing. Once an editor, always an editor.

(Note for that generation that can’t be expected to know: At the time SAIL was launched, One Design magazine had recently morphed into One Design & Offshore Yachtsman, a niche player, and had not yet blossomed into Sailing World.)

Absent an interview, we shall say nothing of Mason’s formative experiences in the Navy, serving on a destroyer-minesweeper, his escape from a banking career to the world of sail and voyaging, his ready embrace of every new technology, his encyclopedic knowledge of the industry, his America’s Cup coverage, his transatlantic trips, his daily walk to work from Beacon Hill to SAIL’s Boston office whatever the weather, his gentleman-journalist, buttoned-down, impeccable New England manner occasionally accented with a bow tie, or his youthful reputation as the right guy to have on the bow of your boat.

I’ve never worked inside the office at SAIL. I’ve always been off riding the range somewhere, and my encounters with Charles E. “Chip” Mason III have been warm but usually too brief. So it gave me a grin to hear from David (my fellow editor-at-large) Schmidt, about spending time in the office as the new kid. “My marching orders were to work with Charles,” he says, “but Charles didn’t want to give me the time of day. At least, not until he saw that I was going to work as hard as he did. After that, I couldn’t have had a finer role model for editing, for life.”

Related

7261ab1f-6891-424f-a22f-14c946c08ba8

Gear: Fusion Panel-Stereo

Plug & Play StereoIt can be a real pain to install a marine stereo inside a boat, what with the tiresome business of running cables through cramped spaces and finding somewhere sensible to locate the speakers. The audiophiles at Fusion thought about this and came up with the ...read more

2019BestBoatsPromo-04

Best Boats 2019

Some years ago, the book Aak to Zumbra catalogued—and celebrated—the incredible diversity of watercraft that has evolved over the centuries, a diversity that remains evident to this day in the 11 winners comprising the “Class of 2019” in SAIL’s Best Boats contest. Indeed, it ...read more

TOTW_PromoSite

SAIL's Tip of the Week

Presented by Vetus-Maxwell.Got a tip? Send it to sailmail@sailmagazine.comGuaranteed result What you see on the end of this halyard isn’t a beautiful Flemish Eye worked by a rigger, but it will make a big difference when you have to “mouse” a line through the mast. If the ...read more

dometicadler-700x

How to: Upgrading Your Icebox

The time has come when the prospect of cold drinks and long-term food storage has you thinking about upgrading your icebox to DC-powered refrigeration. Duncan Kent has been there and done that, and has some adviceFresh food must be kept at a refrigerated temperature of 40 degrees ...read more

Jet-in-Belize

Cruising: Evolution of a Dream

There’s a time to go cruising and a time to stop. As Chris DiCroce found, you don’t always get to choose those timesAlbert Einstein said, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. For knowledge is limited, whereas imagination embraces the entire world, stimulating progress, ...read more

01a-rosemary-anchored-at-Qooqqut,-inland-from-Nuuk

Cruising: A Passage to Greenland

When a former winner of the Whitbread Round the World Race invites you to sail the Northwest Passage, there is only one sensible answer. No.More adventurous types might disagree, but they weren’t the ones facing frostbite of the lungs or the possibility of having the yacht’s hull ...read more