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Discovering Good Old Boat

April 1, 2011

Discovering Good Old Boat

It is embarrassing for me to admit that I had never read Good Old Boat until meeting

Jerry Powlas, Karen Larson & Michael Facius of Good Old Boat Magazine

its publishers last month. Now I’m a fan and subscriber, and look forward to mining past issues for pearls of wisdom. If the current issue is an example of the quality and character of the previous 76, then I’m in for a treat.

According to Karen Larson, the magazine’s Editor, the term Good Old Boat applies to “any cruising boat that requires maintenance”. The magazine’s pages are filled with remarkably high quality articles. The current issue discusses system upgrades, methods to recycle shrink-wrap,  experienced (used)  boats and much more. Articles offer practical solutions to common problems in an easily readable, entertaining format.

Good Old Boat’s pages include advertising, however its revenue comes mostly from subscribers. Karen and Jerry Powlas, her husband and Good Old Boat’s Technical Editor, made the decision years ago to limit advertising to no more than 20 percent of the magazine. Editors and writers work only from their homes, or boats, across the US and Canada. This is a publication that is born every other month from the dreams and hard work of real boaters, which is probably why its print readership currently tops 30,000.

According to its website, Good Old Boat “emphasizes cruising rather than racing, featuring not circumnavigations to exotic locales but the kind of sailing weekend and vacation sailors would do – and on the budgets weekend sailors tend to have”. This philosophy attracted Nigel Calder to contribute to the first edition. His style of writing; highly technical, valuable, and easily understood, is seen in many articles today.

The reasons for Good Old Boat’s success are apparent in its pages and its staff. It’s secrets are well known to teachers, carpenters, engineers, physicians, scientists, and the like…begin with a passion, prepare well, work hard, attend to detail, stay current, adapt to changing times and technology, focus on the goal, listen, build a team and execute flawlessly. Karen and Jerry’s passion for sailing is reflected in every final product.  If the American dream is to find something you love and make it your life’s work, then Karen and Jerry are living the dream.

This is a high class, professional publication, with a down-home feel. NFTB plans to include reviews of articles presented in Good Old Boat in upcoming issues. To get a feel for the magazine check it’s website at: Good Old Boat’s inclusive and useful blog can be found at:

If you love to sail, or are transported to another place when you step aboard a boat, or have a passion for coastal cruising, then you will want to check out Good Old Boat. The current edition is number 77. Prior editions, from the first issue through 2005, are available on CD (more recent issue CD’s are in the works). We plan to load prior edition CD’s onto our laptop for future reference aboard Blueberry Pancakes.

In our opinion, when someone has a passion for what they do it is incumbent upon us to give them the benefit of the doubt, and a chance to show us their best. We suggest that you give Good Old Boat that chance, and suspect you’ll like what you see.

Editor’s Note:  A free sample issue of Good Old Boat is available by contacting the magazine’s subscription site at:

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