2020. Phew. What a decade this year has been. I’m writing this column during one of my favorite stretches of the year. The company typically offers a generous amount of time off between Christmas and New Year’s Day, and this year, that break couldn’t come soon enough.
It’s a break that allows my team to step off the hamster wheel of deadlines, reflect on the year that passed and plan for the one to come. It’s in these quiet hours between holidays when I sit and revisit the issues from the past year. Sharing a cup of coffee with my favorite characters from previous stories will always be a favorite pastime of mine.
To say this year had its challenges is a gross understatement. It was a year filled with fear of an unknown virus, boat show cancellations, remote working and uncertainty. It was a year of illness and loss, of enormous weight threatening to buckle every decision.
It was also a year of resilience and fresh starts. Boat club memberships and new and used boat sales soared to peaks even the most attune economist couldn’t have predicted. For me personally, I sold a boat and welcomed a son. For my team, it was filled with professional challenges. Travel restrictions and the threat of the virus made each story in the field many times more difficult. Air travel was replaced with otherwise unthinkable down-and-back trips across state lines. It meant getting more creative than ever when it came to reporting on new boats and crafting interesting stories. And as for video calls, I’m pretty sure we’ll be seriously triggered years from now if we hear the sound of a Microsoft Teams or Zoom call.
We lost two issues this summer and were forced to shutter our fledgling sister publication, Outboard magazine—a loss that cut deeper than I expected. That award-winning coverage of the outboard market will instead be rolled into this title, resulting in a Power & Motoryacht that will undoubtedly be stronger than ever.
I’ve long believed that adversity reveals character. The team behind this magazine revealed it in spades this year. Despite having every excuse in the book not to, they rose to the occasion. Each editor produced exclusive, industry-leading content for our website (resulting in record-breaking traffic) and social channels. We also put our heads together and launched a podcast called Power & Motoryacht Audible that allows you to enjoy the best stories in boating, whether you’re in the boatyard or underway. You can find this new show at pmymag.com/podcasts or wherever you listen to podcasts. I hope you enjoy it (listening to Capt. Bill recount his favorite salty tales is something you really need to try).
What’s most impressive is the creativity shown by my fellow editors in terms of story ideas for the year ahead. Without giving too much away, you can expect interesting profiles, adventures that inspire, boat tests that better inform and reporting that, trust me, you won’t find anywhere else. Anyway, that’s our float plan. I hope you enjoy the ride as we navigate towards calmer waters ahead.
Finding the right words to summarize the year that passed is a tall order, but I found something close in the novel Kafka on the Shore by Japanese writer Haruki Murakami: “And once the storm is over, you won’t remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won’t even be sure, whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won’t be the same person who walked in. That’s what this storm’s all about.”
See you on the water,