Writing about writing about sailing

I (James) love to say this in conversation: “and all of the sudden we’ve been doing this for twenty-four years!”

Gato Incognito
Gato incognito…

We’ve crossed two oceans under sail and worked on every one of our boat systems and that kind of makes us a hot commodity in an industry dominated by itself and the petroleum industry.

…Did I say that out loud?

Waiting for a bus that don't come
Happy birthday Dena!

I recently got an amazing response from one of my all-time favorite sailing magazines. The publisher found an article I submitted by email in his spam-folder. He read it and kind of flipped out. He told me it was “one of the best things I’ve read in quite some time!” He asked me for a bunch of photos and they printed my story in the centerfold of the December 2023 issue of their magazine.

Winter is kind of awesome here...
…just, you know, stuff

The lead editor for the magazine also stroked me hard on my “talent as a writer” and offered me a column in the magazine, then turned right around and mis-edited my article to make me out to be a liar. They never sent me any proofs of the edited piece, they just printed it. They also promised to pay me for my labors and I still haven’t seen any doubloons from those scurvied scoundrels.

The article looks totally awesome in print, it really does. There’s no getting over how cool it is to see your work immortalized on real physical pages. It just fucking rocks! Dena shot a bunch of great pictures of me, I shot a bunch of great pictures of us adventuring and we both look like the modern, totally awesome electric sailors that we are…

But!

…They totally fucked me.

Obviously I don’t want to burn anything in this incredibly small community of ours, so this is me putting down that can of gasoline and letting that bridge stand right where it is… by not naming names.

It’s not even our first rodeo on the bad-publication circuit. We wrote thousands of pages for those waterway assholes, got paid shit, and let go of without even atta-boy from the publisher we never met. It’s just a frustrating reminder that a certain portion of any given population is not going to do the right thing.

Cactus near a stand of bamboo
Feral

Conversely (thank Poseidon there is an opposite end to the creative side of the sailing industry) the British sailing industry publisher we were invited to write for adequately stroked us, then gave us multiple full-layout proof copies, then paid us, then asked us (weeeeeelll asked Dena) to do a series of how-to-while-underway articles for the next year of our electric-circumnavigation of the Planet Earth.

See, it can be done right!

Mainsheet flipped
Flipped lines

I love writing about sailing. I love taking pictures of us doing incredibly brave, totally insane shit and not only living through it but loving it more with each successful adventure. There is nothing we are more qualified to do than to sail around the world and freak out about how cool it is. This is our motherfucking happy place. And I think we’re great at documenting it! Hell’s bells, we should be. We’ve been writing this blog since 2008.

Now, none of these publications who are interested in our work still pay specifically for photography, which I think is tragic and has all but destroyed photojournalism. None of them understand what a great deal they’re getting with our photography. I mean, I shot the freaking Denny’s menu in 1988, the single most stolen menu book in history. I bet more people have seen my work than anything Banksy’s ever done and my industry doesn’t even pay for my art anymore.

Anyway, they’re all getting a great deal with our work: words and images.

In Angra
The streets of Angra

We sail we swim, we hike we bike, we climb we explore this incredible planet of ours and we’re writing and taking pictures of it all. Now that the industry has pricked up its ears to our particular perspective of sailing around the world one wave, one cloud, one sea, one project at a time, well, it looks like we’re finally going to have our say.

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3 comments

  1. Update: I (James) got paid and tossed a few words back and forth with the editors of unnamed aforementioned publication and we got things all stroked out of the way of me publishing many other words with them. They respect my opinions on many issues and they sent me a proof of the center fold article that I have coming out in that publication in January of 2024…And for me that’s a great start to a very happy new year.

  2. Hello.

    I am Franco Scolozzi the director of a just started free independent sailing magazine (no ads, no faked, review, reals sailors speaking) our writer are free to be themselves without begin affected by market trends,

    We rely on Patreon or simual form of supporters.

    We are selecting the best pro in the area (sea) I am jus wonder f you are interested to write few article fo us

    Article are from PRO but must be written to be understood by beginners-intermediate sailors.

    if you become a regular writer you get paid and you get listed in the TEAM page with what ever title you prefer in such case your bio ccn be linked o to your website

    Please let me know if you are interested
    Franco Scolozzi
    http://www.sailutopia.com

    Ps have a look also at all the subject and if you feel the master in something you can write more article or us!

    1. Franco, I’m glad you found us but I don’t see your website as the best place for us to be published. The English version (I’m not sure whether there is another?) is extremely rough. If you are interested in hiring a native English speaker with an English degree to edit it for grammar and spelling, let me know and we can discuss the cost.

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