I read an article last night that prompted me to reflect on how I rate the value of a magazine article. One could imagine a star system, like those for restaurant, movie, or record reviews. Zero stars means that, at best, the article gave me nothing – no entertainment, no new knowledge, no nuggets of wisdom to chew on – basically it wasted my time. One star means that I was entertained on some level but basically got nothing out of it. Two stars gave me a little something new, and so on. Five stars, then, would be an article that is entertaining, includes several new bits of knowledge, presents a solution(s) to an interesting problem, and basically leaves me thinking ‘I absolutely need to clip this out because there is 100% certainty I will want to go back to this again.’ Allow me to introduce you to a Chine bLog-certified five-star article.
The piece is “A Suit of Sails,” featured in the latest issue of WoodenBoat (May/June 2008, Number 202) and written by Senior Editor Tom Jackson. Jackson is building himself a lovely Nomans Land Boat (some discussion on the type in this thread) and is trying to design a sail plan for her, there being no original one on which to base it (at least one that is known). Jackson outlines eight possibilities, walks through pluses and minuses for each, cites a few experts and principles they offered, and provides sketches of each option. Not only do you get Jackson and his experts’ views on one level, but you also get the perspective of Jackson as a boatbuilder, working through a problem as it has hit him. The article thus has a great multifaceted discussion that is both incredibly useful and incredibly entertaining. Five stars, Tom.
Oh – and, by the way, the boat in question is gorgeous and will, no doubt, be another gem for the Maine coast.