Paul Gelder

13.06.06

Our centenary issue goes on sale today. Our biggest ever: 140 editorial pages and a 36-page souvenir supplement covering 100 years of sailing history. YM’s first issue, in May 1906, had a foreword by King Edward VII.

Now 100 years on, we have a message from HRH Princess Anne, president of the Royal Yachting Association and a keen sailor, with a 36ft yacht on the Scottish West Coast.

Few editors are lucky enough to be at the helm to celebrate a 100th birthday. It’s a privilege for all the staff, though some of us now feel 100!

The special issue might be just going on sale, but it’s already history, since we’re halfway through the next (June)

issue — with another 28-page supplement on the 100 best yachts of all time.

A congratulations message on our birthday issue from IPC chief executive, Sylvia Auton, is the icing on our Easter cake as we go on holiday.

14.06.06

Good Friday. What’s good about it? With only three working days next week and eight staff to shift 70 pages, I spend the morning editing The Confessional, on which sailors confess their cock-ups afloat.

It’s one of the magazine’s best-read features, which has produced two anthologies. How we Brits love to smirk at the misfortunes of others… I also reply to a PR company inviting me to send a reporter to the Caribbean to cover Antigua Race Week. Fifteen years ago on my first press trip to the Caribbean, I was bitten on the ankle by a suspected rabid dog.

Under the cynical headline "Barking mad", the then UK Press Gazette (4 November, 1991) reported the incident and accorded me the dubious distinction of being "the first IPC journalist to contract suspected rabies".

Mercifully, halfway through a fearsome course of anti-rabies injections, I was told the dog was not frothing at the mouth and I’d survive. The leg-pulling from colleagues was worse than the dog bite.

I decide to send Holly Ramsay, our art editor, a dog lover who deserves a break, on her first Caribbean photojournalism assignment.

15.06.06

To Southampton to buy a compact digital camera for a forthcoming press trip to Tahiti. One of the great things about working at IPC — apart from sailing in exotic places — is that you can get expert specialist advice on a variety of subjects. Nigel Atherton, editor of What Digital Camera, gives me a shortlist of the best cameras to look at.

While in Southampton, I can’t resist checking on the display of our centenary issue in WHSmith and Waitrose.

Invariably, I find the positioning on the shelves can be improved.

Either the cover, which we’ve worked so hard to design, is obscured, or the best cover line is hidden. I get a strange look from one customer who spots me moving a pile of YMs in Waitrose. Did she recognise me, I wonder? Do other editors have this compulsive, obsessive disorder?

I’m often found in WHSmith, Tesco or Sainsbury’s shuffling copies of Yachting Monthly around. My wife does the weekday shift. Nothing is more infuriating for an editor than to find your issue isn’t properly displayed or, worse, they’ve run out of copies.

16.06.06 Time for a trip to the local rubbish tip to chuck away piles of sailing magazines, newspapers and weekend supplements. I’m a hopeless hoarder and can’t throw any publication away without reading it cover to cover. I’ve been known to spend a whole weekend reading.

At least I’m taking piles of the opposition’s magazines to be re-cycled — having ripped out ideas for future follow-ups.

"Steal with pride," I say! If you don’t get to the tip before 0900 there’s a mile-long queue.

17.06.06

Easter Monday Emails are the curse of the age and with my broadband VPN connection I can hear the bleeps as they’ve been dropping in to my box during the Easter holiday. Is nothing sacred?

I dread coming back from holidays to face an email mountain… on the other hand, for a sailing magazine with correspondents scattered across the seven seas, email is a big asset.

People send us news items, cruising stories, even high-res digital photos, from mid-ocean, or from internet cafes in Bournemouth or Bora Bora. After two hours my in-box is empty.

18.06.06

On the 0731 train to Waterloo I’ve got 90 minutes to catch up on reading the proofs I didn’t read during the holiday.

After the four-day break, we’ve still got 67 pages to send to the repro house before tomorrow’s official deadline.

The words and photos are all there, but we draught in extra design help on lay-outs. Lunch is a sandwich before catching the 1900 train home to work on Readers’ Letters.

19.06.06

Time to write the editorial. The theme this month is: Are you an analogue sailor, or a digital sailor? based on David Cameron’s remarks about Gordon Brown being stuck in the past.

Lunch at the Little Ship Club beside the River Thames, founded in 1926 by, among others, our former editor, Maurice Griffiths.

A debrief is being held for teenage crew who have sailed on Gipsy Moth IV, Sir Francis Chichester’s famous 53ft ketch, which Yachting Monthly campaigned to rescue from rotting away in dry dock at Greenwich last year.

Now she’s about to arrive in Tahiti on her second circumnavigation. I can’t believe the Evening Standard never wrote a word on this iconic yacht vanishing from the London scene after 36 years.

Back in the office we push our deadline to tomorrow — it’s ok because we send PDFs direct to the repro house.

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