Happy Christmas to one and all

Christmas can be a time for reflection – looking back over the year that is ebbing away. This year I find myself considering not the boats, nor the sailors I have met over the last 12 months, but the journalists who work in the marine press.

Print journalists, unlike TV journalists, do their work properly. They research, interview, investigate, and test.

If Lord McAlpine had been the boss of a Mediterranean charter company and one of his customers had come to Yachting Monthly making sensational claims about what went on below decks, I would have been dispatched to Italy with the claimant in tow. We would have doorstepped the peer’s yacht until not only had we got mark one eyeball of the fellow, but been able to hear his voice as well.

If the former customer was still certain this was a man in charge of a floating den of iniquity, we would then have fronted up the alleged miscreant.

All of that would have happened before ever I put pen to paper or finger to computer key. All of that would have happened had the customer gone to any other PRINT journal with such a yarn.

It is incredible that a programme with the status of Newsnight would have relied instead on showing the alleged wronged customer a photograph of Lord McAlpine. It is beyond belief that they didn’t even do that!

If yachting journalism becomes exclusively broadcast online, through video or TV-based you can kiss such integrity, thoroughness and old-fashioned foot-slogging reportage good-bye. With the moving image comes celebrity and with that comes faux authority.

You, dear reader, can thank your lucky starsights, that we still have a marine PRESS.