Welcome to the April 2020 issue of Yachting Monthly, on sale 27 February

He loves his boat so much that he gives it a rose every year. A tear forms as he recalls the times he shared with his daughter and late wife on board. A passionate man, Tapio Lehtinen is not a household name in the UK, but he is a visionary proponent of sailing in his native Finland. When local youth sailing was dying out, he led a crusade to sponsor 300 new Optimist dinghies for clubs around the country. He recognised that without a grassroots movement, his country’s proud maritime heritage would be all but over. Today, some of the youngsters that first got afloat in one of these dinghies are part of the crew he will take round the world in the Ocean Globe Race.

The future of British sailing is something that we have frequently discussed in this publication over the last couple of years. While yacht cruising is still thriving, it is clear that there are challenges. The jostling demands of busy work and family lives, and an array of easy, exciting leisure activities compete for many people’s time.

We, the initiated, know, however, that our beloved art of travelling slowly at sea is more than just a hobby. White-knuckle voyages, mental and physical problem solving, and camaraderie are all part of the fun, but the real joy of sailing lies deeper. Cruising at 5 knots creates space to reflect on life ashore from a distance. It carves out time to mull things over, creates space to talk more deeply, and fast-tracks the creation of lifelong memories. We also know that the lessons sailing teaches have shaped us as people.

This theme can be traced again and again in the pages that follow: the school pupils taking part in the Scottish Islands Race, the sailor finding freedom with Sussex Sailability, and the climate activist taking on the Atlantic (p52) all explore different elements of what sailing really means.

So who will you let in on this secret this year?