Returning to active service, Editor David Pugh welcomes you to the 600th issue of Practical Boat Owner magazine.

Indulge me for a moment: I’m going to begin this month’s editorial with some expressions of thanks.

Regular readers will know that I was absent for the last issue, having been taken into hospital with appendicitis. What should have been a routine operation was complicated somewhat when I developed a rare condition called a negative pressure oedema as the team tried to bring me round from the anaesthetic; a highly hazardous state in which the lungs fill with fluid.

So my first ‘thank you’ has to go to the doctors and intensive care team at Yeovil hospital for spotting the problem so quickly and dealing with it before any lasting damage was done.

More thanks go to my wife and family, who were tremendously supportive and staved off boredom with plenty of visits, and also to the staff here at PBO. Headed up by Ben Meakins, they got on with producing an excellent magazine with no input from me, and even made sure that my desk was tidy and the correspondence mountain relatively scalable on my return. Thank you all!

At least Ben had no need to wonder what to write for this column, as we had finally committed to build our new project boat from a kit, supplied from Australia by Scruffie Marine.

Secret 20

Secret 20

The Secret 20 promises to be an interesting boat both to build and to sail: we’ll be working with a mix of traditional and modern materials in construction, and on the water the theme continues as her gaff rig presides over what is claimed to be exciting sailing performance. Certainly, with her long runs aft and cloud of sail, we’re hoping for a fair turn of speed off the wind!

I, for one, can’t wait to get started. Scruffie are hard at work putting the kit together, and we hope to take delivery in late April or early May.

Our news section this month gets off to a sombre start with the sad deaths of Clipper Race participant Sarah Young and talented yacht designer Ed Dubois. The accident that resulted in Sarah being knocked overboard from the 70ft IchorCoal is still under investigation, but her tragedy serves to highlight the vulnerability of sailing crew, especially offshore. She was in the cockpit at the time, which perhaps explains why she was not using her tether, but nonetheless was swept overboard. Despite her position being broadcast by an AIS tracker, it took an hour and 17 minutes before rescue was effected. If ever an argument was needed for clipping on, this must be it.

Ed Dubois had a remarkable career and was one of the most influential designers of our times. He had a flair for what sailed well and looked right – often the same thing – and has a host of race-winning designs and popular cruisers to his name, as well as a number of superyachts. He will be sadly missed, but certainly not forgotten: Dubois designs will grace the water for decades, and his office will continue under his name and inspiration.

Our cover story this month, written by radar expert Alan Watson, puts to the test a new technology which looks set to transform the radar market. Almost simultaneously, the major electronics manufacturers have launched pulse compression radar units. Raymarine, however, were first to market with a small, 18in unit suitable for smaller boats: Simrad and Garmin only offer open array scanners with this technology. Furuno are launching a smaller unit, unfortunately not in time for our test, but our early results with Raymarine’s Quantum radar show results almost as good as a top-notch 4ft scanner. One test result that Alan left out from his report is that he managed to get a MARPA lock on a duck: now that’s impressive. Read the article in the latest issue, on sale today, to find out more.

Fair winds,
David Pugh

David Pugh, PBO editor

David Pugh, PBO editor

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PBO June 2016 cover

June 2016

In the June 2016 issue of Practical Boat Owner...

Westerly Fulmar. Credit:

Designs of Ed Dubois

Ed Dubois was a good friend of PBO contributor Peter K Poland and this was probably the last and most…