Review of Small Craft Advisor Magazine

A Great Magazine for Many Sailors


Unlike the big glossy sailing magazines that dominate the newsstands and tend to focus on the big-boat high end of the market, Small Craft Advisor magazine maintains a steadfast approach to boating of the smaller scale practiced by so many enthusiasts and do-it-yourselfers. Started in 1999 in Port Townsend, Washington, the home of the famed Wooden Boat Foundation and perhaps the West Coast capital of classic small craft, Small Craft Advisor has a dedicated following and in six issues a year covers many of the boats and types of boating dear to the hearts of sailors who don't cross oceans or own boats costing more, say, than a decent car.


For a "small" magazine currently at about 74 pages an issue, Small Craft Advisor packs in a lot of content, in part because there is so much less advertising than the newsstand sailing mags; it may in fact have more pages of real content than the larger ones. The magazine's slogan is "Small Boats - Big Adventures," and indeed that captures the overall flavor. The focus is mostly on sailing but also includes small craft that are rowed or paddled. I doubt there's an official boat length cap, but I don't see anything over 30 feet and the great majority are much less, including hand-launched and trailerable boats, both production or hand-built. And always there is a real sense that this is what "real boating" is like for most people - not the vision of cruising conjured up by a marketing department.

The color photography is often stunning.

Types of Articles

It's significant that Small Craft Advisor is a sponsor of small boat messabouts like the Everglades Challenge - small boats, big adventures.

Regular articles in most issues include boat reviews, narratives of readers' boating adventures, detailed profiles of boating places, do-it-yourself articles on boat building and improvements you can make, and interviews with experts on aspects of equipment, seamanship, and all things small boating.

Longer stories span multiple issues, such as the serialized story of the Ladds currently exploring South American in a 12-book sailboat.

One of my personal favorites is the regular Places feature, which provides both a virtual tour for armchair sailors and good information for those planning their next experience. Recent issues have focused on Lake Dillon, Colorado, at over 9000 feet in the Rockies the home of the world's highest yacht club, and Angel Island in San Francisco Bay, with campsites for intrepid small boaters. A few years ago when I was trailering my smaller sailboat down to the Florida Keys, I did an online search of back issues and found a great Places article about sailing around Bahia Honda Key, a terrific little harbor for trailerables - and soon found, myself, the place every bit as delightful as described.

Other regular features include readers' boats, regular columns by interesting people, studies of build-your-own boat plans, and much more. Even the classifieds tend to make interesting reading, as these are the boats and products from smaller companies you may be interested in for your own boat if you're not a corporate executive.

Who Should Subscribe?

I guess that should be obvious from the descriptions above, but this really is a magazine for everyone who loves small boats - and you probably already know who you are.

But if not, consider these questions: Do you love ghosting along a quiet backwater watching birds overhead rather than a chartplotter? Do you lovingly apply spar varnish to your brightwork or oars rather than writing a check to a boatyard? On a quiet winter's night do you turn the pages slowly and daydream about launching your boat in new waters for the thrill of seeing what's there rather than hopping a flight to the BVIs for a 42-foot charter?

The Basics

  • Six issues a year, regular price $29.95/year for the glossy 4-color magazine, $24.95 for digital subscription (pdf files).
  • Back issues available online (print and digital).
  • Online index of past articles (to find a review of a certain boat or a boating adventure in a specific place).
  • Website

More Publications of Interest

Best Sailing Books and Magazines
Good Old Boat Magazine
"The International Marine Book of Sailing" by Robby Robinson
"Complete Illustrated Sailboat Maintenance Manual" by Don Casey


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Your Citation
Lochhaas, Tom. "Review of Small Craft Advisor Magazine." ThoughtCo, Jan. 22, 2014, Lochhaas, Tom. (2014, January 22). Review of Small Craft Advisor Magazine. Retrieved from Lochhaas, Tom. "Review of Small Craft Advisor Magazine." ThoughtCo. (accessed December 11, 2017).