As the Editor retires, he looks back at the milestones of his time at YW

There were a few tears today, though outnumbered by big laughs and colourful stories as the staff of Yachting World, past and present, said goodbye to David Glenn as he retires as Editor. He left in appropriate style for any self-respecting journalist, with an epic session down the pub.

David has had a long and action-packed career in marine journalism. Aside from having an encyclopaedic knowledge of yachting, David is a journalist of the finest standard. If you are a regular reader you have certainly benefited from his scrupulous research and attention to detail in every aspect of the publishing process.

Yachting World today, and all that it stands for, has been very much shaped by David’s professional seriousness and his unrelenting (and sometimes affectionately parodied) enthusiasm for every aspect of boats and sailing. It’s only a pity we can’t bottle his energy and zeal because we’d make a fortune from it. But then he has had…probably the best job in the world!

David has been with our parent company IPC since 1972 after completing the Daily Mirror training scheme as a newspaper journalist. He joined sister magazine Motor Boat & Yachting and following a seven-year stint there he moved to Yachting World, where he became features editor, deputy editor and finally editor in 2010.

He’s seen a few adventures and many changes in sailing and the marine industry, not to mention in magazine publishing, in those years. As he says himself, he goes back “to the days of smoke-filled offices – and planes! – hot metal [typesetting] and the clickety-clack of the Remington.” And he’s seen the revolution from a black and white magazine to full colour.

In sailing, the milestones have been many. One, he says, has been the return of the J Class from the Eighties to its high point today – “something unpredicted. No one thought it could happen”.

Another is the growth of amateur yachting. “There are more boats, though are they used as much? They are far more complicated. I used to understand boats; I don’t any more. When I started sailing you were lucky if you had an RDF. GPS has been absolutely brilliant, but now to sail you can just press a button, though you don’t know what you’re pressing, how it works.”

The resurgence of classic yachts is another change. “A classic boat was just something that was old and slow, but modern materials meant that old boats could be made into great sailing boats and improved over what they were.”

Another “great thing is the ARC and other sailing rallies,” he adds. “Jimmy Cornell got that going, he saw the light and we’ve been a part of that from the beginning. It helped people go sailing and that’s been a terrific thing; it’s given people the confidence to go and do it.”

“Design has improved as well,” David thinks. “There are very few poor sailing boats around now. There used to be a few dogs. They might not be as comfortable under sail going upwind as they were, and that’s been one of the great compromises. They are faster but less comfortable.”

Finally, he says the world has “got a bit smaller” and that’s given sailors some great opportunites. “In the old days you saw the English Channel, maybe Brittany if you were lucky. Now you can see the world. You can charter and sail anywhere and that’s absolutely wonderful.”

I don’t doubt you’ll continue to see more of David’s writing in Yachting World in the future – you will if I can twist his arm. But his immediate concerns are his plans to cruise across the Channel and afterwards begin a slow and thorough cruise round Britain and towards the Baltic in his Hallberg-Rassy 29.

I can hardly write that without a strong twinge of envy. Because as I take the helm of Yachting World from him….probably the best job in the world…I can’t help thinking he’s a lucky man: wouldn’t we all like to be spending more time sailing, more slowly?