After putting the clocks back it's tempting to hibernate until next summer...

After putting the clocks back it?s tempting to hibernate until next summer. We get the urge to lift the boat out of the water, put the foulies away, and start work on that one-eighth-scale model of HMS Victory made from matchsticks.

Don?t. There is some really good boating to be done over the winter months if you?re prepared to don an extra layer or two and head for the boat at a moment?s notice if the forecast looks good. I?m writing this in mid-November, after we?ve just had a fantastic late-autumn weekend. A hazy sun shone from a blueish sky, there was barely a breath of wind, and there were very few boats out on the water. There must have been people all over the country cursing the fact that their boat had been lifted for the winter prior to such a benign weekend.

Okay, it?s not easy keeping your boat operational through the winter months ? heaters, dehumidifiers, shorter days, and regular checks and maintenance can be a pain ? but the rewards are wonderful. I?ve had many memorable days out on the water in cold but calm weather when I was one of very few boats out and about. Elsewhere in this issue you?ll find several pieces extolling the joys of winter boating, so I hope that even if your boat is already out of the water, maybe next year you?ll consider joining the hardy few who are out there all year round.

In the meantime, some changes are occurring at MBY. For a start, Johnny is taking a rest-cure for a few months. Writing a regular monthly column is notoriously difficult, and he?s taking a time-out to recharge his batteries.

And the whole magazine is getting a bit of a makeover. As from next month (the February issue, out on January 6), we are tweaking the design and incorporating some new sections. We will be introducing a new columnist, moving some of the regulars to different parts of the magazine, and generally freshening things up. The Boat Buyer?s Guide will be completely revamped with some exciting new sections.

Elsewhere, we?ll be carrying out more extensive product tests and reviews, and there?s a new advanced seamanship series. The idea is to make the magazine even more of an indispensable read each month. Make sure you grab a copy, and come along to our stand at the Shroders London Boat Show (S2212) to let us know what you think.