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Old 06-05-2014, 02:14 PM   #1
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Steve D'Antonio and PassageMaker

I waited a few days to see if anyone else would bring it up and have been surprised that is hasn't been talked about. Then I realized that, perhaps, Steve's letter was sent to a smaller audience.

His letter is a very odd one - and I wonder if it was the type of thing that should have been written and then thrown out. But it's likely of interest to trawler owners and I'm offering it for your, um, enjoyment...

...Jeff

--------------------------------------------------
Dear SDMC Clients, Colleagues and Friends:

I'm sharing this note to let you know I've submitted my resignation to PassageMaker, a magazine for which I have written for the past fourteen years. Because my relationship with many of you has centered on PMM and/or Trawler Fest, I want to share with you my plans, and let you know how you can continue to access my editorial work.

As you know, I am passionate about seaworthiness, reliability and safety, and have devoted my professional life to working with the marine industry, boat buyers, and owners to insure that vessel systems meet the highest standards.

As PMM's Technical Editor for the past twelve years, I took seriously my accountability to review all technical information published in the magazine, to insure it met the highest standards, while holding my personal writing to the same standards. That has often led to honest and valuable debate with readers, other authors, editors and publishers, from which I, as well as PMM's readers, have benefited. Within the past year, however, my vision for readers, as well as my goals and ideals, and those of PassageMaker's have diverged. My role as Technical Editor changed as well, and as such I believed it was best that I resign from this position.

This decision was entirely mine, and it was inspired by a previous professional course change. Seven years ago I resigned from my position as manager of a boat yard, and created a service for which there was no precedent. That move involved significant financial and professional risk, as I was creating a new service for the marine industry, its customers and clients, one they could have rejected. I had no guaranteed contracts the day I opened for business. I haven't looked back, it's been among the most professionally satisfying changes I've made in my twenty-six year marine industry career.

It is the enormous success of that business that has inspired me to take this next professional step, and it has afforded me the financial stability to do so. The more I see the benefits I've been able to bring to the marine industry, and to my clients, by my ability to work independent of any marine vendor or manufacturer, the more convinced I am of the value I could bring to my readers if I enjoyed the same editorial independence.

For those of you who have not been consulting clients of Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting, I'd like to give you a quick overview of the success of that new business model, and encourage you to visit out website for more information, and testimonials regarding the value of this service. The success of this model quickly exceeded my highest expectations. In the past seven years, I've provided independent consultation to hundreds of clients commissioning the construction of vessels, as well as for those purchasing new and used boats in the U.S., Europe, Asia and Australia, ranging from thirty-six feet to over one hundred feet. I've also provided consulting services to boat builders, marine equipment manufacturers and boat yards. The satisfaction level I've achieved in providing these services has been very rewarding.

Given the success of that business model, what will I do with my new-found editorial freedom, and freedom from writing strictly within the confines of publishers who are heavily reliant on the support of their advertisers? And, how will you continue to have easy access to me, to my writing and to my workshops?

The answer to the first question is that my writing can now be edgier, and more confrontational, where the barriers to greater seaworthiness, reliability and safety that now exist are concerned, and I'll be able to name names, sharing with readers details regarding great, and not so great, products.

The answer to the second starts with my personal commitment to have not only an independent voice, but to have a strong and active voice within the industry, and with boat buyers, owners and those still looking for the right boat. I will continue to write, to speak at boat shows, rendezvous, and industry conferences and to attend and host workshops for the industry and its customers.

You can access many of the articles I've written on my website, and more will be posted in the coming months.

I will expand the content and frequency of my Marine Systems Excellence Blog, as well as technical posts on the SDMC Facebook page, where I'll be able to cover a wider range of subjects, some of which I've been unable to touch upon in traditional publications. For those of you who have not subscribed, I invite you to join us.

In the coming months the SDMC education and production team will also be working on how-to pod-casts, seminars and small session training opportunities.

I will of course continue to write for marine publications that respect my opinions and passion. I remain the Technical Editor of Professional Boat Builder Magazine, as well as a columnist for Cruising World.

In early 2015, my book "Your Boat's Systems, Inside and Out" will be published by McGraw Hill.

Thank you.

Sincerely,

Steve D'Antonio
Steve D'Antonio Marine Consulting, Inc.
PO Box 111
Wake, Virginia 23176-0111
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:34 PM   #2
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Greetings,
I wish Mr. D' continued success. Personally I can not appreciate the man's attitude of "If it isn't new or expensive it's no good" (Quotation marks mine). That's just the impression I got having sat in on a couple of his Trawlerfest seminars.
So basically what this man is inferring in his "letter" is he either fudged or glossed over potential deficiencies in products due to the publishers "confines" in order to keep the advertisers happy. Doesn't say much for his credibility in my book.
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:36 PM   #3
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...I always thought that Steve did not fit the new PMM management concept...
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Old 06-05-2014, 02:49 PM   #4
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At this time, I do not think there is any other marine writer out there with Steve's total marine knowledge. There are always (experts) out there who will give you there view. I have always found Steve's writing to be very factual with good common sense projected from his past experience. There have always been moments when I had wished he was free to say this is the greatest pump made and follow by the reasons why. Also wish he was free to say this is not worth buying for your vessel. Because of hungry lawyers who are looking to sue if they can find a fault with your opinion. I am thankful he is out there and finds pleasure in writing his articles. Maybe a newsletter that readers could subscribe to would give him the platform to share his views with out the worry about offending an advertiser to the magazine . If you can do a better job go pick up your pencil ..
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:02 PM   #5
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I can totally understand where Steve is coming from. To me him coming clean about the restrictions placed by his main employer are clashing and he doesn't want a bruised eye when he writes about new products and systems. It's refreshing to see a person who has integrity and feels the need to tell his readers. I wish him nothing but the best, good luck Steve although I doubt luck will play any part in your new ventures.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:06 PM   #6
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You mean I now have to subscribe to hear his opinion?

That model works for me.
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:22 PM   #7
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I think there's more to this story...

I also noticed that PassageMaker announced that Steve Zimmerman and Nigel Calder are coming onboard:
http://www.tradeonlytoday.com/2014/0...role-expanded/

I know both of those guys and respect them a tremendous amount - more than anyone else in their areas. Anyone.

So the curious reader wonders, which happened first - these new editors coming onboard the magazine or Steve leaving. It plays out a lot differently depending on what happened.

Credibility isn't something you get to claim. It's something you demonstrate. Making an announcement about how you're now so credible that you can't lie any longer doesn't hold water when you've been therefore making up the truth for 12 previous years. I mean, either you can be bought or you can't, right?

However you interpret it, PassageMaker surely doesn't come out smell free on this. But then, I really think it died years ago and just hasn't been burried yet (purely my opinion).

Watch where the money comes from - that's usually the best way to see where the "truth" is coming from...
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:29 PM   #8
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I think there's more to this story...

I also noticed that PassageMaker announced that Steve Zimmerman and Nigel Calder are coming onboard:
Calder joins PassageMaker team; Zimmerman‚€™s role expanded | Trade Only Today

I know both of those guys and respect them a tremendous amount - more than anyone else in their areas. Anyone.

So the curious reader wonders, which happened first - these new editors coming onboard the magazine or Steve leaving. It plays out a lot differently depending on what happened.

Credibility isn't something you get to claim. It's something you demonstrate. Making an announcement about how you're now so credible that you can't lie any longer doesn't hold water when you've been therefore making up the truth for 12 previous years. I mean, either you can be bought or you can't, right?

However you interpret it, PassageMaker surely doesn't come out smell free on this. But then, I really think it died years ago and just hasn't been burried yet (purely my opinion).

Watch where the money comes from - that's usually the best way to see where the "truth" is coming from...

Gossip belongs in the OTDE section...
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #9
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Greetings,
Mr. s. Gossip as to Mr. D's credibility or to editorial change at PMM? I think by his own admission Mr. D' cast doubts on his own credibility or am I interpreting his letter incorrectly?
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:34 PM   #10
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As I was getting ready to resign a position with a firm that I felt was going off the rails (and it soon did!) a head hunter friend advised me to keep my feelings to myself and offer some plausible but non-confrontational reason for quitting. Never burn your bridges was the gist of his advice. I took his advice and it worked well for me.

Maybe Steve should have had that conversation before he wrote what he did.

David
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:37 PM   #11
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Gossip belongs in the OTDE section...
Gossip is when you talk about rumors of a personal nature. There's no rumors here - I identified two news releases and discussed my interpretation about them.

Where's the rumor?
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Old 06-05-2014, 03:48 PM   #12
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Greetings,
I wish Mr. D' continued success. Personally I can not appreciate the man's attitude of "If it isn't new or expensive it's no good" (Quotation marks mine). That's just the impression I got having sat in on a couple of his Trawlerfest seminars.
So basically what this man is inferring in his "letter" is he either fudged or glossed over potential deficiencies in products due to the publishers "confines" in order to keep the advertisers happy. Doesn't say much for his credibility in my book.
Well said R.T! I agree 100%.
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Old 06-05-2014, 04:43 PM   #13
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Classless....

Sorry, I think the letter is most inappropriate as written. To be PMM's technical editor for 12 years and then choose today to make the charge that he had to compromise his ethics in doing so, speaks poorly of him. If he felt that, why did he stay 12 years?

Why couldn't he have simply said: "I recently resigned my position as Technical Editor for PMM" and then proceeded to say what he would be doing now. The single sentence above is all he needed to say regarding PMM. Now, really nice would have been thanking them for their relationship this past 12 years.

If, in fact, his leaving was as described it just fits very neatly under the common term, "Chose to leave for personal reasons" or it could have been "chose to leave to devote more time to my own business and site."

I have no doubt as to his technical knowledge and what he might offer his customers. I just don't like people taking shots at an employer on their way out any more than I'd like it if Passagemaker took shots at him.
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Old 06-05-2014, 05:33 PM   #14
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B-I disagree that SD "took a shot" at PM or that he had compromised his principles over the past 12 years. He noted specifically that disagreements were worked out to everyone's satisfaction in past years. The implication to me is that the current editorial staff in not willing to give him the freedom of input on all technical issues that he has had in the past, i.e. his job as "Technical Editor" had changed. Thus their "ideals" have diverged. Not an uncommon situation between writers/tech folks and the business side of a company. In today's declining circulation world for mags, I would not be surprised to hear that editorial staffs would want negative points or reviews to be a bit soft pedaled.

It is a bit odd that Steve Zimmerman is coming on board as Steve Dused to be Steve Z's Yard/Construction Manager. So far as I know, his leaving Zimmerman Marine was amicable. Some years ago, working on a trawler design, I spent some time with both at Zimmerman and found both to be extremely knowledgeable and helpful.
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Old 06-05-2014, 06:52 PM   #15
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Y'all sound like lawyers. Not that there's anything wrong with lawyers.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:01 PM   #16
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Y'all sound like lawyers. Not that there's anything wrong with lawyers.
More like gossip columnists speculating on what might have really gone down...
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:05 PM   #17
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I'm bettin' he wanted to say something critical about a Nordhaven and got told not to.
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Old 06-05-2014, 07:55 PM   #18
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Greetings,
I wish Mr. D' continued success. Personally I can not appreciate the man's attitude of "If it isn't new or expensive it's no good" (Quotation marks mine). That's just the impression I got having sat in on a couple of his Trawlerfest seminars.
So basically what this man is inferring in his "letter" is he either fudged or glossed over potential deficiencies in products due to the publishers "confines" in order to keep the advertisers happy. Doesn't say much for his credibility in my book.
RT and Active Captain,

While i agree with most of what you both are saying, I think your conclusions do not match his letter as quoted above.

Steve in his writings is always critical and favors the multi$$$ solution over the simple solution, BUT that's not what his letter is about.

In the years I've been reading PM, it's was clear to me that Steve's writings pulled no punches for anyone.

His letter basically is saying that he has been told by the new editor in chief that he can no longer be so critical of the big money manufacturers that basically sponsor PM.

Since the changes at PM, I have noticed a difference.

Do any of you remember "Motor Trend" in the '60's. It was basically a shill for the Big 3. I was hoping the changes at the helm of PM, meant a more critical, comparative magazine, much like R&T and Car and Driver, who ended up burying MT.

Alas, PM looks more and more like a not so well written travelogue.

Looks like it was time to move on for any conscientious writer.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:34 PM   #19
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So are people beginning to get the idea that a lot of what you read in boating magazines is advertising no matter what it is labeled? The magazines are far to dependent on the advertising revenue. I would like to see a boaters consumers union something better funded and more inclusive than practical Sailor which makes an attempt at a solution for sailors.
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Old 06-05-2014, 08:56 PM   #20
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I apologize for this question but I have had my head buried in text books for the last three years. What is OTDE? I will admit that I am not very forum savvy so please be a little kind. Thanks.
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