Rob Melotti to leave Practical Boat Owner. Search for a new editor begins...


PBO editor, Rob Melotti, is stepping down after four years as editor of the UK’s biggest boating magazine. Future Publishing is keen to hear from candidates to fill the role.

Rob joined PBO in 2004, applying for the role of sub-editor while working as a dinghy instructor at Southampton Water Activity Centre.

He went on to become news editor in 2007 – taking over the role in the aftermath of the Ouzo tragedy – eventually leaving in 2010 to go freelance and work from home after the birth of his daughter, Caroline.

In 2016 he was snapped up by our sister title Yachting World as production editor.

“That was something else,” he recalls. “The need to be on top of breaking news 24 hours a day, from all four corners of the globe was a challenge!

“I took over at PBO with the December 2017 issue – at which point the UK’s best-selling boating magazine was uprooted from its birthplace in Poole and transplanted to Farnborough.”

With the help of a hastily assembled art and production team, Rob kept PBO afloat, and was rejoined from maternity leave by news editor Laura Hodgetts and features editor Ali Wood, with whom he’d worked from 2004 to 2008.

“Rob is a very special editor,” says Ali. “He’s the calmest, most patient person I’ve ever met. He knows magazines inside out and really connects with the readers.”

Against all odds, Rob managed to reverse the global trend of declining newsstand sales, with some PBO issues during his editorship seeing the first year-on-year increase in a decade.

Future Publishing acquired PBO just as the Covid pandemic struck. In spite of the challenges of home-schooling, Rob and the team kept PBO going in print and digital.

Wishing to inspire readers cooped up at home, Rob sourced and uploaded over 100 DIY projects, which proved hugely popular.

So what will Rob miss most about being the editor of PBO?

“Without doubt, readers’ letters,” he says. “PBO’s inbox is always full. I get email after email saying, ‘Dear Rob, great mag,’ or ‘Dear PBO, I love getting my magazine every month…’.

Rob’s favourite section in the magazine?

“Practical Projects! It’s by far the best bit,” says Rob. “When a project comes in – no matter how oddball or eccentric – we do everything we can to publish. They’re completely unique to PBO and we can never get enough.

“I’m very sad to be leaving PBO, but I am needed elsewhere to care for a family member. I wish the next editor the best of luck and urge readers to keep sending in their ideas.”

PBO December 21 will be Rob’s last issue, and he’ll be greatly missed by his colleagues, contributors and readers. If you’re interested in becoming the next editor of Britain’s Biggest Selling yachting magazine, take a look at the job advert here.