Few could have imagined, back at the time when I joined the magazine...

Few could have imagined, back at the time when I joined the magazine in the mid-eighties, that by 2003 we’d be publishing a test report on
a British-built production 74-footer – and have two further British 74s listed in the ‘Rivals’ column, alongside the Italians.

Boating has certainly come a long way. Back then the last, killer recession was still a painful memory and it seemed unbelievable to old stagers that
boatbuilders like Powles and Freeman had gone for good. The firms we now regard as the British marine establishment were then only just gaining a
proper foothold in the export market. Princess’s 45 was the big news. A Fairline 36 Turbo was ‘56,000 ex VAT, and Sunseeker were getting their breath back after launching the 36 Rapallo. Birchwood were a force to be reckoned with, Sealine barely showed up on the radar, and Bernard Olesinski was the promising new kid.

There was a springtime ‘London Floating Boat Show’ in the Docks, and you’d still find regular adverts for Admiralty small craft disposals. The future and politics of the Decca chain navigation system were a source of doubt and confusion, but GPS, still years away, didn’t look like a solution as it was certain to be military-only.

Mind you, the old mag’s come a long way too. Back then a typical issue of Motor Boat & Yachting had about 60 editorial pages. If you were lucky, eight of them might be in colour. Is it better now than it was? Of course it is.

Anyway, that’s it: I’m off. This is the 145th edition of MBY I’ve edited, and the 220th I’ve worked on, and quite frankly enough is enough. It’s time someone else had a go – and that someone, from next month, is going to be my able, talented and handsome deputy, Tom Isitt. Good luck to him, and to you. You’ll both need it. I’m going for a little lie-down.