Below is a slightly edited and abbreviated version of the premier editorial column of Small Craft Advisor written in 1999. In spite of a bit of hyperbole, we think it still does a pretty good job of showing what led us to the creation of SCA, and demonstrates that we have remained true to our goals throughout our now nearly 16-year history.
Surfing the web recently, I came across the test report of a 42-foot motor yacht. The accompanying pictures showed an interior more sumptuous than anything I've lived in. The writer allowed it was indeed luxurious, but opined that other parts of the yacht adhered to "the minimalist school." Reading down further I found the price: $454,000. Minimalist indeed! In my opinion, the words "forty-two foot yacht" and "minimalist" have no business in the same sentence. It strikes me as similar to associating Atilla the Hun with a philanthropic group. A 14-foot minicruiser is minimalist. A 19 is comfortable, and anything much larger than a 25 borders on ostentatious.
That sort of thinking contributed to the creation of this magazine. Josh and I are minimalists at heart. We've sailed, canoed, camped, biked, hiked and backpacked, so we know well the value and satisfaction of getting more utility out of something than is generally expected. We're thrilled when we can make something small, light or simple do the work of something larger, heavier or more complicated. Our first love is sailing and sailboats, so the idea of a tiny boat with big capabilities fascinates us.
It fascinated us when that was written, and it does still. We feel we've succeeded in achieving our goal of creating “the magazine we couldn't find on the newsstand,” but we still strive to make every issue bigger, better and more informative than the last.
Since its inception Small Craft Advisor has been at the center of all things small-boat and sailing, while constantly advocating and promoting the minimalist lifestyle.
In 2000 we teamed with the Northern California Potter Yachters to launch the Cruiser Challenge, a small-boat race event for trailerable cruising sailboats. Small Craft Advisor is also a sponsor for the renowned Watertribe Everglades Challenge, the Lake Havasu Pocket Cruisers Convention, and many lesser known events. Recently we became a primary sponsor for the Pocket Yacht Palooza, and are now sponsoring the exciting new Race to Alaska (R2AK) with $10,000 in prize money awaiting the winner!
In 2001 we produced Minicruiser Madness, a one-hour DVD focused on trailerable sailboats, and in 2007 we released the book Small Boats Big Adventures, which compiled 16 feature interviews with small-boat adventurers, writers, and designers. Also in 2007 we partnered with author and recognized seamanship expert, John Vigor, to design the Small Craft Advisor Small Boat Seaworthiness Test, an interactive quiz that helps users determine the relative fitness of various trailerable sailboats.
In 2010 we collaborated with New Zealand-based designer, John Welsford to launch the Small Craft Advisor Magazine Project—or S.C.A.M.P. Initially made available as plans only, SCAMP quickly became available as a CNC plywood kit, and more recently, a full production fiberglass version from Gig Harbor Boatworks.
In 2012 Small Craft Advisor created the Helmsman of the Year award to acknowledge people who have made extraordinary contributions to the small-boat community and sailing in general.
We're now entering our sixteenth year of producing Small Craft Advisor. We plan to keep going as long as we last and as long as we have enthusiastic readers and subscribers. There's nothing we'd rather do.