A personal apology from 48° North Managing Editor, Joe Cline:

I am here with cap-in-hand to admit, and apologize for, my error in judgment. As we built towards our press date on the April issue, the world was in an unprecedented frenzy of change. I (and some of the 48° North team, at my direction) solicited, edited, and approved publication of an article titled, “Sailing Away from the Coronavirus.” I thought critically about it throughout the process; but while my rationalization made some sense at the time of publishing, it is clearly irresponsible in retrospect. By making this decision, I find myself on the wrong side of the line between problem and solution during this crisis. For that, I apologize. 

An Explanation Is Not An Excuse

I felt conflicted about aspects of this for weeks. It didn’t seem like anyone could or should ignore the news of the pandemic—by the time we were prepping for print, everyone was already overwhelmed by COVID-19 alerts coming from every direction. And yet, we’re a boating publication, a place where many of us escape from the news and noise of the world. We worked to find something relevant to this uncertain moment, that also fit the vibe of stories that keep people picking up 48° North, month after month.  

I thought we found it. The author and his wife are full-time cruisers who live aboard their C&C Landfall 38 sailboat. They have no other residence or even a permanent slip. Cruising the Pacific Northwest is their home. It was my genuine hope that this was a unique example of cruisers in a highly specialized situation, sharing their story. I thought of it as a sailing story in the pandemic era, from people who were letting us into their boat and mindset, and who were discussing the ways they were working to adapt their nomadic home reality to fit within the parameters of public health advice. 

Ultimately, I see that it could be (and was) read as advocacy running counter to the directives we have received from our government and public health officials. It was not my intention, but it is a real outcome nonetheless. 


The article was published in print and digital versions. We have taken the digital version down. There is not a way to un-print the magazine. So I hope that as many people as possible see this apology and understand that the evident poor judgment was not borne of maliciousness. 

We are in uncharted waters in so many ways, and in this case, I ran the ship hard aground. I’m sorry. I apologize to the community of readers and boaters who trust us. I’d also like to make a public apology to the author, Patrick Davin, who shared his experience at our request

There are no gray areas to navigate here: Stay home. Don’t go cruising. And if a boat is your home, we urge you to adhere to federal and state guidelines that have been put in place to protect public safety. 

Regretfully and respectfully,

Joe Cline
Managing Editor
48° North