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  #1  
Old 07-26-2007
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Practical Sailor magazine

I just subscribed to Practical Sailor after seeing some recent back-issues and being impressed. The magazine and the website seems to be filled with relevant articles and comparisons of products.

I still haven't figured out what it is though...is it similar to Consumer Reports which "accepts no outside advertising, no free test samples, and has no agenda other than the interests of consumers," or are they paid by marine companies for their coverage?

How they make their money is critical to me as far as whether I trust the opinions or not. For instance, I always notice when these big boat magazines have their "Boat of the Year Award" and the winners often have big display ads in the same issue. I take that kind of "analysis" with a grain of salt.
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Old 07-26-2007
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PS is supported by subscriptions just like CR. So...there is no inherent bias in their reviews and they can be trusted from that standpoint. However...no one can be experts in everything and they have considerably less resources and staff than CR to conduct their evaluations so I would not treat their findings as gospel or necessarily scientific though they try their best I am sure.
In a past life I had the opportunity to "interface" with the folks at CR regarding their testing procedures and conclusions in a couple of different but related product categories. Even with all their resources...their results were badly skewed from what industry and expert testing would have produced. As an example...one product I had been intimately involved with was given their BestBuy rating when by DESIGN it had been created to be somewhat innacurate (but more saleable) by ME! I laughed all the way to the bank as customers took their rating as gospel.
So...learn what you can from the detailed reviews of the products in PS...it is the only place you will get such info...but be wary about trusting the final ratings too much.
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Old 07-26-2007
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The thing that torques me about PS is the fact that you don't get access to back articles when you buy a subscrtiption.

I used to subsribe to Aviation Consumer which appears to be published by the same outfit. The format of the publications is identical. With my Aviation Consumer subsctiption I could log in to their website and see any past article I wanted to. This was very, very handy and informative. However it is not the case with PS. On the PS website, you can see the listing of past articles, but you have to order and pay for reprints. Since many of the items you might be interested in reading reviews of are fairly low cost, ordering and waiting for a reprint doesn't make sense. If they wanted to hold back the boat reviews and stuff of that sort I wouldn't complain but are you really going to delay buying a bottle of deck cleaner while you wait for a reprint of the article where they tested 7 different kinds?
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Old 07-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by midlifesailor View Post
The thing that torques me about PS is the fact that you don't get access to back articles when you buy a subscrtiption.

I used to suscribe to Aviation Consumer which appears to be published by the same outfit. The format of the publications is identical. With my Aviation Consumer subsctiption I could log in to their website and see any past article I wanted to. This was very, very handy and informative. However it is not the case with PS. On the PS website, you can see the listing of past articles, but you have to order and pay for reprints. Since many of the items you might be interested in reading reviews of are fairly low cost, ordering and waiting for a reprint doesn't make sense. If they wanted to hold back the boat reviews and stuff of that sort I wouldn't complain but are you really going to delay buying a bottle of deck cleaner while you wait for a reprint of the article where they tested 7 different kinds?
I noticed they charged for reprints on archived material...something like $7 a piece I think. That's a little bit of a stretch I thought, unless you were buying a boat or some expensive piece of hardware. I assumed that if you did click on it they would at least send a pdf file...waiting for a printed copy is totally useless for most cases.

But overall, from what I have seen there is a lot of good info.

Cam...I used to subscribe to CR. Wondering if maybe I bought that item you designed
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Old 07-26-2007
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My father in law has been subscribing to them for years and he and another friend have thousands of issues. When Skip's Dad sold the boat for a land yacht all the PS were passed on to us. Invaluable information in those articles. Problem for us is they do not all fit on the boat and are in storage right now. They were helpful though these past few years when we had lots of buying to do.
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Old 07-26-2007
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everyone should band together and scan all the issues that you have then share amongst us!
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Old 07-26-2007
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I've been subscribing since 2001, and PS and Ocean Navigator are the only two I get now, although I will pick up selected issues of Good Old Boat.

I just use the search function and find the issue date and then look it up in hard copy. There's few articles pre-2001 that I need at this point because the gear changes in five-year cycles for the most part.
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Old 07-26-2007
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Valiente,
Knowing that you have a steel boat I was wondering if you are a member of the metal boat society ? I was but found I didn't use the site all that often and have since let my membership lapse.

I like Practical Sailor. Don't always agree with them but the good seems to outweigh the bad. Will have to check out Ocean Navigator.
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Old 07-26-2007
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Practical Sailor is sometimes not too practical. I let my subscription lapse because of their bias towards testing of items mostly applicable to only the high end, cruising sailor.

I also was somewhat less than impressed with some of their testing methodology. Some of that can be ascribed to the limited resources that subscription revenue only dictates. Some of it can be ascribed to preconceived notions showing themselves, which is something that Consumer's Report shares as a weakness. CR's automobile reviews are next to worthless if you know and love to drive. Car and Driver seems to be able to call 'em like they see's 'em, publish an excellent rag, and still keep ad dollars rolling in. Don't hold your breath waiting on the CR review of high performance rubber for your Honda Civic or the radar detector review. PS could, in my opinion, do much better with some selected ad revenue, and expanded, more thorough, testing.

The fact that they are somewhat mis-guided can only be seen by the evidence here. Sailnet only needs one designated subscriber and he'll update the rest of us. PS needs to deliver more bang for the buck to get my mailbox open again. Good Old Boat currently has priority.
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Old 07-26-2007
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tdw View Post
Valiente,
Knowing that you have a steel boat I was wondering if you are a member of the metal boat society ? I was but found I didn't use the site all that often and have since let my membership lapse.
I've considered joining it, but haven't got around to it yet. I'm not a metal boat builder, and I find most of the questions I have regarding zinc sprays, two-part epoxies, isolating different metals, avoiding galvanic corrosion, etc. I can get elsewhere.

But it is in the back of my mind, because I want to learn to do "light welding" before we go.
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