<I>TrailerBoat</I>'s new editor introduces himself


G’day everyone. I’m happy to be aboard TrailerBoat as the new editor, but because I’m relatively new to this marine caper I’d better explain who I am and how I got here.

It’s been a long journey. I’ve been an editor, writer and photographer for the best part of 30 years. I’ve edited a wide range of magazines, everything from street car and home-maker titles to motorcycle, truck and ATV publications. And I’ve taken major responsibility for the photography on all of them. I’ve been a contributing editor to INSIDE SPORT — bless their large contributor budget — and I’m lucky enough to have written on so many topics with an air of authority that my readers actually believed I knew what I was talking about.

Funny thing is, most of the time I did. A large portion of those 30 years was dedicated to learning about unfamiliar machinery and how it works. I started off in the publishing business writing about tennis, because I played the game and thought I knew a lot about it. I was wrong. Thirty years later I’d worked on Truck & Bus Magazine, before it disappeared in a cloud of exhaust smoke with barely a whimper after 50 years. I worked on trade publications in the ATV, mining and construction equipment industries, as well as on several motorcycle magazines, so I’ve had the opportunity to crash my brains out on just about every dirtbike ever made. That was a huge amount of fun. Except when Nurse Stoneface pulled out the syringe she used on horses.

I remarked at the beginning of this little rave that my experience with boats is limited, but at least I passed the boat and PWC licence tests without making a complete knob of myself. It was an interesting experience that one. Our instructor was a young English woman, not entirely unattractive, who’d spent the last decade or so in South Africa. She was a real thrillseeker this one, and she’d been around sail and powered boats all her life, some of them the really big ones. Her old man was a navigation officer, which to me sounded really important, and she’d even rounded the Cape of Good Hope in huge seas in a tanker — "Hiding in a cupboard with my mother and a bottle of scotch" — as she put it.

During our theory instruction, which was comprehensive, this young woman started talking about cardinal markers at some stage, and I started to glaze over. I heard the little voice in my head I’ve heard so many times when everyone in the room understands exactly what is being said but me: "Uh-oh."

I heard a few phrases involving triangles and black and yellow thingies, but what I heard most was the loud roar as, once again, important information screamed overhead. "Excuse me. Yellow what?"

I don’t mean to frighten you all with my inexperience but there is hope. I know what a boat is, that’s a start. I’ve also noticed there are one or two variations on the basic theme, and over the next how-ever-long-it-takes I’ll be learning all about that from you guys. Please be gentle though. I don’t mind being told I’m a nitwit but if you could pull me aside and point this out discretely I’d appreciate it.

For my part, in return I promise to make TrailerBoat more entertaining, a brighter read, and better looking. I’ve only been here five minutes but already I’m moving all the furniture around. And you’ll notice a few changes right away. We’ve re-designed TrailerBoat from bow to stern and we’ll continue to do so until she’s running under her own power. And don’t let the thought of me at the helm frighten you. I’ll always ask before coming aboard and I promise not to ram anything expensive.

So it’s head down and bum up then. My personal objective is to make TrailerBoat the best mag in the building here at our publisher Trader Classifieds, and to make it the best boat mag on the market. And in 12 months, if she’s running under her own power or wallowing in a nasty swell, being the nonsense blokes you are, I’m sure you’ll let me know.

Don’t do it with maritime signals though. I’m still glazed over.

Barry Ashenhurst,
Editor, TrailerBoat

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