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:
Updated:
Original:
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

VendeeRace

Vendée Globe Warmup Race Finishes

After the cancellation of many races that would have served as shakedowns and qualifiers for the 2020 Vendée Globe, The Vendée-Arctique les Sables d’Olonne Race was announced to help prospective racers get a few more miles under their keels before the fabled round-the-world ...read more

pupplank (1)

Defender Product Spotlight: PupPlank

The first rule to living around the water is to teach your children to be safe. Pet owners feel the same way. All pet owners harbor a fear of their favorite four-legged friends drowning, and teaching a pet how to get out of the water is no easy task. An animal must leverage ...read more

2048x

Know-How: Helm Stations

Walk around any boat show, and you’ll see a number of differences in the way designers and builders have decided to locate the steering stations aboard their cruising cats. Each position has its good points and bad, among them visibility, protection from the elements, ...read more

Jerome

Point of SAIL: Jerome Rand

In the first episode of Point of SAIL, the SAIL magazine podcast, Principal Editor Adam Cort talks with circumnavigator Jerome Rand about his adventures, past and future. For more information, visit Jerome's YouTube channel July 2020 ...read more

01-NEW-shutterstock_727520281

Cruising: Belize on a Multihull

In my experience, every charter has a kind of a theme to it, often encapsulated in a single moment. For me, during a recent weeklong charter off the coast of Belize that moment came toward the end of our first day out. We’d left the Sunsail base (sunsail.com), located part way ...read more

01-LEAD-View-of-the-Bow

Know-How: Marlinspike Seamanship in the Arctic

I was crewing aboard a boat named Breskell, a 51ft cutter-rigged, cold-molded, mahogany sloop. We were voyaging from St. John’s, Newfoundland, to Port Townsend, Washington, via the Northwest Passage. A few days before setting sail, the captain, Olivier Huin, asked me to secure ...read more

Prop-Coat-Barnacle-Barrier-Quart-No-Background

Gear: Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier

Prop Coat Barnacle Barrier 1792 is now available in a quart-size can and, as always, can be used on all underwater metals, including saildrives, shafts, strainers and folding and non-folding props. Two or three coats are recommended, after which the coating will purportedly ...read more