Kieran Flatt – Editor
Kieran learned to sail as a child in the Cayman Islands, on an elderly windsurfer that was tethered to a coconut tree with five fathoms of rope to avoid being blown out to sea. In a rude awakening at age 12, he learned the usefulness of boats you can sit in, rather than stand on, when he fell into the freezing-cold waters of the English Channel.
He then spent a carefree adolescence capsizing, broaching and pitch-poling various dinghies around Bembridge Harbour, on the Isle of Wight; failed a degree course in naval architecture, but gained an RYA instructor’s ticket and taught sailing in the Solent and north Brittany.
When a fondness for sausages began to impair his ability to keep small craft on an even keel, he talked his way aboard a succession of keelboats and offshore racing yachts. After gaining a reputation for ensuring any skipper a place at the back of the fleet, he realised that it would be in everyone’s best interest to focus on cruising instead.
He now sails a slightly grubby, long-keeled 28ft Twister sloop and has made his wife, Rachel, wretchedly seasick in every Shipping Forecast area between Dover, Biscay and Irish Sea. He joined Yachting Monthly as production editor in 2007, after editing a business journal and moonlighting as a restaurant critic for the best part of a decade.
Chris Beeson – Assistant Editor
Since learning to sail in Malaysia 30 years ago, Chris Beeson has logged over 30,000 ocean miles under his keel, cruising, racing and delivering in the Channel, the North, Irish, Caribbean, Baltic, Mediterranean and South China Seas, and the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
He’s sailed most boats, from Lasers to J Class, mono and multihull, and learns something new every time he steps onboard.
He has completed two westward transatlantic passages, traversed the Panama Canal, raced non-stop around Britain and Ireland and competed in two Fastnets. His ocean experience led him to write The Handbook of Survival At Sea, published in 2003.
Theo Stocker – News & Features editor
Theo originally hails from land-locked Birmingham, a fact he tries to keep quiet, whilst spending as much time as possible on or near the water. He first hoisted a sail on Rutland Water and spent the Sundays of his youth bobbing around on freshwater and learning to race. His enthusiasm was spurred on by family holidays sailing a Wayfarer in Pembrokeshire.
He went to sea at last, aged ten, on a Contessa 32 on a passage from Holland to the River Deben and spent most of the voyage asleep or feeling sick. It was enough to convince him that this was the life for him, and ever since he has mucked about in whatever boats were available, from Norfolk Broads cruisers to match-racing yachts. An RYA senior instructor certificate and an English and German degree later, he put on a uniform in service of the Queen’s Royal Navy and headed out to sea.
His career then took him via financial communications, and a number of voyages taking in the Baltic, the North Sea, the west coast of Africa and an Atlantic crossing, to the rather obvious conclusion of writing about boats. Theo joined Yachting Monthly in 2014 as Production editor, and before becoming News & Features editor.
Dick Durham – Editor at large
Dick was taught how to hand, reef and steer by his father, the late Richard Stephens Durham, himself the son of a master mariner who started as a boy on a Cape Horn windjammer. As a lad Dick explored the creeks and rivers of Essex, Kent and Suffolk in a collection of dinghies and dayboats.
When he left school he signed on as mate of the Thames sailing barge Cambria and delivered the last cargo under sail alone with Bob Roberts whose biography he went on to write (The Last Sailorman). Later he wrote about passages made up to the Dutch Frisian Islands in his engineless cutter Almita for YM. He described his East Coast cruises in On & Offshore, Cruising the Thames and the East Coast. He now sails a Contessa 32, Minstrel Boy, down Channel and across to France, Belgium and Holland. On pal’s boats he has cruised Brittany, the Channel Islands, across the Bay of Biscay as far as Belle Isle and up to Norway, Sweden and the Shetland Islands.
He wrote the biography of former YM editor Maurice Griffiths (The Magician of the Swatchways) and was commissioned to write the centenary history of the Sussex Yacht Club (Where the River Meets the Sea). Dick worked as a journalist in Fleet Street for 20 years before joining YM in March 2001. Married with two daughters and a son, he lives in Leigh-on-Sea, Essex.
Graham Snook – Photographer
Yachting Monthly’s photographer was given an Optimist dinghy at the age of four and by the age of eight had ‘stolen’ his mother’s camera.
Sailing and photography didn’t come together until Graham saw an article in a sailing magazine about the celebrated marine photographer Kos. Inspired, he went on to study photography at college in Falmouth. After a chance meeting with a sports photographer John Gichigi, Graham got six weeks work experience with Allsport, the biggest sports picture agencies in the world and moved to London three days after graduating to work as a darkroom technician and photographic assistant. He joined YM in March 1999.
Maxine Heath – Editorial Artist
Maxine has been sailing since 1970 and has worked at Yachting Monthly since 1979.
Early years were spent racing GP 14s, Cadets and Snipes. A period of cruising the South Coast, Channel Islands and France followed. Until recently Maxine was the co-owner of a Hunter Sonata, racing in a fleet of 24 on the River Medway. Racing successes included winning the Medway Sonata Spring Series and coming second in the Sonata Eastern Area Championships.
Maxine draws the sail and general accommodation plans for our monthly boat tests, Second Look, and One Man and His Boat, as well as for our Second Hand group focus series.