Editorial Guidelines

Types of Articles and Photos Wanted and Guidelines for Submitting them to SOUTHWINDS Magazine

!!! Are you a trawler or powerboat cruiser? SOUTHWINDS is looking for articles. Go here.

Cover Photos and Miscellaneous Photos Wanted. For more information

Calendar & News Items (race or events):

First of the month preceding publication always works (contact if later, as a few days later often works, but not always). For a more exact schedule (with later deadline dates each month), contact the editor.

Article Deadlines

Contact editor for all articles with good advance notice. If you want to remember a date that’s easy to remember, use the first of each month preceding publication. But we might not have room for your article in the next issue, so contacting us is critical.


“I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.” (Mark Twain)


Types of Articles Wanted

Subject matter. Should be about Sailing and/or sailboats, or closely related. Especially about Sailing in the South, the Bahamas, or the Caribbean, or maybe about a Southerner Sailing somewhere in the world. This can be racing, cruising, daysailing, windsurfing, trailer sailing, etc. These subjects are the main interest, but we will look at other stuff if it is interesting. We have a story going now that is about watching the sunset’s green flash from a sailboat. We prefer writing that is fairly objective and are not interested in articles that are too subjective. No poetry please.

!!! Trawler Owners & Powerboat Cruisers. SOUTHWINDS is looking to diversify and branch out into articles, information and news about cruising and/or living aboard trawlers and powerboat cruisers. Many sailors transfer over to cruising on trawlers, “picnic boats,” “downeast” boats and other similar powerboats as they age or might want to cruise the Great Loop and other similar waters. Over years, SOUTHWINDS has published articles, often titled “Going over to the Dark Side,” about sailors who have made the switch. In 2014, we published 12 articles over 12 months on Learning About Trawlers, and have also printed a few trawler reviews over the years. The lifestyle of a cruising sailor and a cruising trawler owner have many similarities. If you want to do a boat review on your trawler, go to the boat reviews section below. If you want to write an article about cruising in your boat, or cruising destinations in the Southeast, the Bahamas or the Great Loop, contact the editor to discuss the topic.

Topics. Articles can be about Sailing experiences, places people have been, learning experiences, mishaps, fun, funny, places to go, anchorages, marinas, stopovers, passages, boat reviews, chartering, experiences in owning a boat in charter, unusual sailing events, origins of sailing miscellany in the world, or…you name it. Check with us. We like all sorts of stuff.

Fixing Stuff. If you’ve done any sailing, and especially if you’ve ever owned a sailboat, you know that breakdowns and repairs are a significant part of the sailing life. Stories about repairs while cruising have been learning experiences for all of us. Sometimes, they are even funny – but they are always educational and people like to read about them. They often fit on our last page, but sometimes they can become a longer article. Short pieces on fixes can be real interesting and enjoyable. Click here to see a series of short fixes that one writer sent us. If you have short ones send them in. Just one, a few, or many.

Boat Modifications and Projects. Got an interesting project you did or plan to do? Take photos and write about it. 

Last Page Stories — Personal Stories, Learning Experiences, Funny, Unique, etc. We reserve this page (actually the page facing the inside back cover) for more personal stories or those that are unique. They can be about a unique experience you had that taught you a lesson about sailing, cruising, navigating or about any related matter. For example, a close call you had. Also included would be funny stories, sad, inspiring, weird or just unusual. We allow more subjective stories that tell about your experience and reactions. They can also just be an objective description of something that happened that was unique or out of the ordinary, whether it be funny, sad, weird or whatever.  Photo is nice (we would print one, although we have done some that are only photos with little explanation, but generally just one and the text), but not necessary. We’ll print a generic graphic with it just for variety. Keep it in the 700- to 1200-word length. Although we cover events and sailing in the Southeast U.S., last page stories can be about something that happened anywhere.

Boat Reviews. We have printed many boat reviews by owners and these have been very popular. All boat reviews are paid for (contact editor for details). Some people also review boats of friends or boats they know well. Some have reviewed theirs and then also reviewed a friend’s boat. Go to our Boat Reviews page to get an idea of what a boat review is like, but you must contact the editor to make sure we have not already done a review on your boat (or even have one about to be printed that is not on the boat reviews page yet). Click here for more information on guidelines for boat reviews: what to cover, length, photos, etc. (open review guidelines as a PDF). Reviews on Trawlers, Picnic Boats, Downeast boats and other similar boats welcome – contact the editor

Cruising Destinations. Whether it’s a marina you cruise to, an out-of-the-way anchorage, an Island in the Bahamas, a small community, a big city, or wherever—we are looking for articles on places that are great to sail to as a destination for an afternoon, a weekend or longer.

Write About Your Yacht Club or Sailing Association: Tell us about your club, its history, facilities, major events, etc.

Youth Sailing. Write about a local youth sailing organization or sailing camp

Bahamas and the Caribbean. Trips, experiences, passages, anchorages, provisioning and other stories of interest.

Our Waterways. Information about the waters we sail in: disappearing marinas, boatyards and slips; mooring fields, anchoring rights, waterway access, etc.

Individuals in the Sailing Community. Interesting stories about the world of sailors out there, young, old, and some who are no longer with us but have contributed to the sport, the sailing community or were just true lovers of sailing.


  • Plus – We also like the practical hands-on stories about maintenance, rebuilding boats or repairs, fixes, remodels etc. and about anything to do with this part of boating.
  • Length – Keep your articles short. Besides the last page stories (see above), most articles can be in 1500-2000 word range, plus or minus. Longer articles can be twice as long or more for two or more parts only. If longer than these contact the editor.
  • Format – We want everything sent in electronic format, preferably e-mail, but discs mailed in are acceptable, although email is far superior. PC format or readable by a PC. Single-spaced text. Text can be pasted in the e-mail if needed. We do not want any photos laid out into the text. We prefer all photos be emailed as jpeg attachments, or via Dropbox. Photo captions are best sent as separate from the article text, all together in one section at the beginning of the Word file, or even a separate Word file. We’ll figure out where they go in the story. Captions should be associated with the file name. See more on format in the technical guidelines in the following section.
  • Suggestions – We believe that some of the best writers can’t tell a story but their grammar is great, and some of the best storytellers can’t write and most of us are in between there somewhere, so we will look at a lot if it doesn’t fit into our guidelines.
  • Proofreading – We proofread everything and then have a professional proofreader read it (and we still make mistakes – what a surprise!). Don’t worry about being perfect. No one is.
  • We’d like to see the who, what, when, where, why and how in the report writing.
  • Payment – Some of our regular writers and professional writers get paid and many articles are sent in by many writers who are not seeking payment. We always pay for good articles if requested. Payment is based on ten cents a word, which includes photos. (Please note that we cannot promise we will use your article until we see your writing and get to know that you will be submitting good articles. Most people can write fairly well, so don’t hesitate to try.) Please indicate on your initial inquiry if you are seeking payment. All payments are made (mailed) by the end of the month of publication. All articles printed will also be possibly printed on our Web site and publishing of the article on our web site is not reimbursed separately or additionally beyond the payment for the published article. SOUTHWINDS only reserves rights to the articles for one time publishing and possible publishing at a later time on the magazine web site, either that month or in the future. All of our issues are published on the internet and that could be forever (a very long time).
  • Original Articles. We only print original articles that have never been, and are not, at the time of publishing, printed elsewhere – including on the internet. After the month of publication, the article is the author’s to do with as they please.
  • Publication Rights and Originality of Work: SOUTHWINDS has rights to the work during the month of publication and it cannot be used elsewhere until after the month of publication. You can put links to the article (how to place links) during the month of publication or afterwards. If you want whole copies of an article to put on your website, we only do this after the month of publication. This is out of fairness to our advertisers who pay for everything. Plus, the author’s permission is required to put an article elsewhere (permission not needed to place links to articles) outside the magazine website, which we have to make sure of.
  • Editing, Grammar, Syntax. We proofread and edit each article closely and will make corrections in grammar to all articles as needed. Don’t worry about your grammar being perfect. We will help you with that. It’s the storytelling that’s critical. Remember that you are writing for the reader, so keep their knowledge in mind and try and make sure they can understand it and follow your article in a clear and concise manner.

Technical Guidelines & Submitting an Article

Some of the following guidelines for grammar and syntax make it easier for us to edit and use your material:

  • Only one space between the period at the end of a sentence and the beginning of the next sentence – this makes it easy for some things for our software.
  • Single space the lines of text, leave no space between paragraphs, and indent the first line of the paragraph one tab.
  • No single quotes (‘) around any words-use double quotes (“) unless it is a quote within a quote.
  • All boat names to be in italics and capital first letter, lower case rest of letters (unless it really is unique to the name). No quotes around them and no all caps.
  • We can easily format to the above if you have a problem with this stuff. These guidelines just make it easier for us.
  • Send articles in in Word format or just paste the text into an email. Send photos as jpeg attachments and not embedded in the email (do not layout photos with article, we will change it anyway). Captions are needed for photos, but if you have many photos, we can decide on which photos we want to use and then you can send captions. If you have a lot of photos (more than 15mbs total) send in more than one email. Or send by Dropbox. Contact us first if using Dropbox. If questions, just contact the editor.

Again – Please always remember this popular and wise quote that is attributed to Mark Twain”

“I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have the time.”

All writers please be succinct and rewrite and rewrite and rewrite.


Links to online articles:

We invite others to put links to the magazine or specific articles in the online magazine on their website. This is always permissible and we do not restrict anyone on doing this. You do not need to ask. If you do not know how to put up a link to a specific article that goes to the exact page of the online magazine, whether the current issue or back issues, contact the editor for instructions. But here is how you do it:

  1. Go to the issue the article is in
  2. Go to the page in the issue that the article is on
  3. Read the website address at the top of the page. It will look something like this: https://issuu.com/southwinds/docs/southwindsmarch2017
  4. Look at the page number on the left page (read the online page number at the bottom left corner of the online page) – even if the article starts on the right side page. Take that number and add “2” to it. So, if it says 50, use the number 52 and put it at the end of the web address above in item 3 after a forward slash (/). It will look like this: https://issuu.com/southwinds/docs/southwindsmarch2017/52
  5. Copy that address and that’s the one you use to link to that exact article. Try it here and see.
  6. If you can’t figure it out or just need help, contact Steve, the editor. He’ll create the link and send it to you.


Please do not send in a review of your boat if you don't like it. You must like your boat.

SOUTHWINDS will pay ten cents/word for the boat review with photos (example: 1000 words with photos pays $100). We pay by mailing a check by the end of the month of publication. I think it should be approximately 1500-2000 words. Getting over 2000 or so is getting long, but okay. I did one that was 2200 words that was a great review. I need to have several photos in there with it (I generally print 7-8 on big boats, like 30-foot and up). A general one of the boat is important - can be sailing, anchored or at dock. And then maybe another showing the cockpit, forward deck, etc, maybe also cockpit and a few down below. Others as you see fit. A selection I can choose from would be best. Try to get light for all the photos, especially down below. If you have a wide angle lens it helps on the photos that are close-ups and those down below. Modern smart phones held horizontally take very wide, wide-angle photos and good quality.

One feature most modern smartphones have is the "Panorama" feature for taking wide photos.  This is ideal if you are standing close to the boat at the dock and want to get the whole boat in, or if you are down below and want to get a lot in and you are too close. Once it is activated you can slowly move the camera from left to right to get a wider photo in. You start by hitting the camera button, then move the camera to the right slowly and then hit the stop button. Give it a few seconds to save it. We can crop it easily if you can't. Don't make it too wide or it is a long narrow photo. If you have the feature on your phone, try both; standard, single-click photos and panorama photos  - and send us both. 

If you have a great vertical photo of the boat that has cover potential and is a high resolution photo, then it could be a cover and I pay an extra $65 for a cover. High resolution is real important for that (at least 1700W x 2200H in pixels). Ask if need be on how high, although a modern smart phone usually has enough resolution. Plus cover photos need be portrait format (vertical), not landscape (horizontal). (If enough pixels are present, we can crop a vertical photo out of a horizontal photo.

Write the article preferably in MS Word and email the photos. Otherwise, just paste the text in the email. You can email many photos at a time if they are around or under 1mb each. If a lot more than 1mb each, then just 2-3 per email. Emails over 10mbs total per email often don't always come through. Photos must be sent as separate attachments and not embedded in the email or in the Word file. Do not attempt to layout the article with the photos. We'll change it, anyway.

A very easy way to send photos is through Dropbox. If you sign up for Dropbox, we create a shared folder. You get a folder in your computer that we both agree to share (it is secure) and you just put them in that folder on your computer and I have access almost immediately. If you don’t already have it, I can send you an “invite” to join and then I create a folder and send you an email to share it, which when you accept is now available to only you and me. It’s all free. (Dropbox folder names should have both of our names in them, like Southwinds-Smith).

In general, the article should be a review that will tell a reader what the boat is like, especially if they are looking to buy one. It should discuss all aspects of the boat you are familiar with, like cruising, racing, daysailing, living quarters down below, cockpit comfort, deck layout, engine, gear, sails, etc, etc. Discuss trailerability if it is a trailerable boat. Also about how it handles under sail. Specs of the boat are important, like length, beam, draft, sail area, mast height, etc. Any customizations you’ve made could be mentioned also.

If you have a floor plan of the boat available, that would be good, but I rarely get one. General statistics are important, like LOA, LWL, beam, draft, sail plan, displacement. You can frequently find this information in a Google search and the floor plan in a Google image search. We sometimes do this ourselves.

We have over 70 boatowner boat reviews (plus another 30-plus daysailer reviews) on our boat reviews web page, ranging from good to great.

When will your review be printed? That depends on many factors. At times, we have had boat reviews backed inline ready to go for as long as 4-5 months, while at other times, we have none. And then we have some that are promised to come in, or the photos haven't been sent yet. Those completed submissions that come in first are the ones to be printed first. 

You can also find this information on our boat reviews web page, where it can be printed out or saved to your computer.