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Sail-World.com - Contributors Guidelines

by Richard Gladwell on 16 May 2012
You do not need a top-class camera - we have published photos taken with a mobile phone Nico Martinez © http://www.nicomartinez.com

Whether its information about yachts, catamarans or dinghies, or tales of your adventures on the water, there is always a story waiting to be told. Sail-World is happy to receive your articles - be it profiles of people and boats, techniques, safety or seamanship. Read on for the guidelines for submitting an article, including commercial articles - if the information is of value to our readers.

And don't forget, Sail-World.com and its companion titles Powerboat-World, FishingBoating-World and MarineBusiness-World have a large world-wide audience in more than sixty countries.


The Sail-World archives contain 106,000+ stories, it is one of the largest sailing news databases in the world. Our stories are indexed by major search engines including Google and Yahoo and news feeds like NewsNow and are routinely searched by mainstream and sailing media.

Sail-World is more than happy to receive your stories and images -be they profiles of people and boats, cruising destinations, tuning, tactics, techniques, safety and seamanship, reports on regattas or indeed just about anything to do with sailing. We are happy to review and publish appropriate articles and pictures.

Ideally, we need you to submit both copy and pictures via our special upload system, which ensures we receive your contribution, with correct titles, image captions etc. The reason for using the upload system and forms is that reduced our editing time dramatically - by a factor of 10 - so your chances of being published quickly are very high.

Any story sent through the Submit feature is automatically advised to the editor of your region, and when the finished story goes online you receive an email back with the URL, and the regions to which it has been sent. You can email this to friends, club members, class members, or regatta competitors and use it to construct thank you notes to sponsors - with proof that they have been published.

They'll be keen to sponsor you again, if you can show them the value you deliver. But we are not running links to a sponsors website - unless they are a S-W advertiser.

In the same vein, don't just leave it until the finish of the regatta to do a report - do a preview, and a report each day. Mention your sponsors in each and they will get many times the exposure they would, had you done just a single report. Also you'll build a following for your class, club and events - which will help bring new sailors into your fold - so your class or club grows. Look upon your reports as free marketing.

To submit News, Articles and Images into Sail-World & Powerboat-World and MarineBusiness-World.com Click here or any time look at the top right hand side of the site, where is says Submit News & Images


Images:

You don't need a $30,000 camera and a 100ft lens to take great shots - we've run images that people have taken on iPhones - and most small digital cameras are quite adequate. Just make sure you get close enough to your subject to fill the frame - a shot from the start boat or finish by one of the race committee is fine - or from a mark boat at a rounding mark. Most of the professionals take their shots at these points in the course - where the action is coming to them - so they don't have to chase it.

Remember the old maxim - let light be your friend - try and shoot with the sun coming over your shoulder.

Make your shot interesting by getting the sailor's face/faces into the picture - if you can!

Guidelines: We accept upwards of 140 words, as long as there are lots of accompanying pictures. Many simple stories can be told in 300-500 words. A feature length story could be 1500 words or more.

Do not use FULL CAPS in titles, boat names or sailors names. Mainstream websites do not us full caps under any circumstances. There is a long tradition online that FULL CAPS = SHOUTING. Do not use. Please. It is very time consuming to go through a story and change case on Full Caps and often the offending text will be deleted. You may see professional teams calling their boats and sponsors in Full Capitals - they also get changed or deleted. Had they used conventional grammar rules their sponsor name would have remained rather than being deleted.

Full Caps should only be use for acronyms eg GPS not ORACLE not PUMA or any other trade/sponsor name. Stories which do not follow this basic rule may be rejected, due to the time required to fix and repair.

Keep the story tight and bright.

Remember that your title should be short and without a full stop or commas or colons dashes - also known as hyphens are acceptable. (In SW format there is a limit to the number of characters you can use in a headline. Excess words are automatically cut off, however we will fix that.)

The header paragraph should contain information that is in the text of your article and it should be an interesting lead into the story to entice the reader.

Regatta, championship and any race reports should attempt to explain how the winners achieved the podium position. Better tactics and techniques, faster boat, better sails, combination of all, etc. Also include dramatic or significant events, breakdowns, collisions, recoveries from poor starts, tight finishes and any ‘names’ that have entered.

Please give first and family names of the winning boat and crew (for up to three person crew, otherwise, just the skipper’s).

The easiest way to avoid longish paragraphs and to marshal ideas clearly, is to use the active, not the passive tense, ie. ‘The cat sat on the mat,’ rather than, ‘The mat was sat upon by the cat.’

Consider also the length of sentences. Write what comes naturally in the first draft and then go back and break it up. Sometimes we have to break up 100 word sentences in contributions we receive. That is not good writing, but we can fix it.

If you are having difficulty in constructing an article, make a list of all the pieces of information you want to convey to the reader, then number them in order of importance and start your story with the most important one.

For a race report you should try to answer the following points (maybe do a sentence of paragraph about each):

1. When the event was held, where it was was held, who organised it
2. What the weather was like over the day/series, did it change? Did this effect the race/results/ one boat more than others?
3. How many competitors sailed, where they came from
4. Where there any well-known competitors in the fleet, do they sail regularly in the class, or where they sailing just for this event. Why?
5. Give an overview of the racing who won, by how much and why.
6. What notable controversial incidents happened during the racing/event. Did these effect the race/series outcome
7. Any interesting technical issues from the event/boats/competitors?
8. What happens next? What is the next event on the calendar for the sailors/class? What was the significance of this event in the grand scheme of things?

In non-technical articles, it is always good to include quotes from information sources.

Style:

The best way of knowing how we like to things written is to look at the articles on our website. Following are some pointers on the style we like to follow for consistency. It will take a lot of the time and effort out of the editing process if you follow this style.


Style Points:

When using a boat’s name in the text of an article, do not put quote marks around the name.

Do not put the boat name in italics or bold, neither of these methods, will translate to the web. Do not use Full Capitals in a boat name.

Two-man crews give both names as follows:

Over the Moon, a 470 sailed by Jim Moon/Fred Kwok, but in result details at the bottom of your article, initials only, eg. 1. Over the Moon (J.Moon/F.Kwok)

Use first names and family names at first mention in text; thereafter, the family name only.

Clubs, associations etc. spell in full at first mention, say Yachting Association of Sri Lanka(YA Sri Lanka) or Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club (RPAYC), thereafter abbreviate to - YA Sri Lanka and RPAYC.

Spell out numbers under ten in text, ie. one, two, three, all the way up to nine and then 10 onwards in numeric.

This is most important as it relates to placings in a race.

'XYZ rounded the windward mark 3rd, but faded to finish 4th' will be corrected to

XYZ rounded the windward mark third, but faded to finish fourth.

Abbreviate times, in race details, to hr m s.

Abbreviate dimensions. eg - m cm mm sq m.

Collective nouns: Associations, companies, countries, clubs, etc, are to be construed as singular. eg The Royal Hong Kong Yacht has re-elected its Commodore, not ‘their’ Commodore.

Abbreviate 18ft skiffs, 16ft skiffs, etc, as detailed, not 18 foot etc.

Be careful with the nomenclature 49ers not 49'ers, OK Dinghy, not Ok dinghy

Use ‘I will’ rather than I'll, and similar, unless using quotes or conversation style.

Don’t use &, use and, unless it is the formal name of a company eg. Smith & Sowersby Ltd. sponsored the Flying Elevens.

Offshore racing: Text and details should identify the designer or type of boats named as well as the owner. eg, ‘Bob Steel’s Nelson Marek 46, Quest, has won the Rolex Sydney-Hobart on corrected time.’ Include the yacht club the boat represents where possible in the story but do not overload an individual boat description with adjectives. We do not want to read about Bob Steel's blue hulled, CYCA, Nelson Marek 46 Quest.

Please supply detailed results for the first five places in major races in the following style:

Ragamuffin (S.Fischer), Farr 50, corrected time 23hr 1min 2sec;

Quest (B. Steel) J35, 23.01.01, etc.

If a defending champion does not finish in a top five place, also add his/her place eg. 8. Quest (B. Steel). That also goes for first regional crews placed in international event, if not in top five finishers.

Please take care with owners and sailors names. Contributions with the names misspelled are not considered well. Do not rely on memory, use the event entry list as a guide at least.

Remember spell checkers find misspelled words not miss-used words 'of' instead of 'off' etc.

While you may have a perfectly written story in your head, its easy to leave out a word or use a singular instead of a plural. So your stories do need editing, Often another sailors will find errors or omissions in your copy.

One of the best ways to proof your story is to read it out loud.

Please submit headings, where possible, as follows: ‘Macky leads Bethwaite in Yngling event’

Remember no full stops at the end of the title.

Also Events cannot see, feel or count, sailors and event organisers can. Please do not present us with The XXXX event saw 100 boat fleet or saw winds of 30 knots.

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Location:

Writers know the exact location of their yacht club and often write for local magazines without providing reference locations. Sail-World has readers in more than 60 countries around the world and content needs to be globalised, eg.

An international audience will not know where RMYC is or where the Ao Chalong Yacht Club is - add a location, Pittwater, Sydney or Phuket, Thailand etc. Or say 'Palma, an island off the the coast of Spain...'

Beaufort Scale. While British and Hong Kong sailors use the Beaufort wind scale routinely, that is not the case with many parts of the world.

Many young American, Australian and NZ sailors will have no idea about the wind strengths in a story, if the wind is blowing at force 4. Please add the translation in knots (11-14 knots)

Presentation of Images:

The preferred image format is jpg, Please do not send gif's, tif’s or bmp images as they cannot be used.

Caption your images and include the photographer’s name. Make sure you have permission from the photographer to reproduce photo (copyright laws).

Images sizes:

The standard size for shots is 1280 pixels on longest side.. Your shots should be about 100kb to 1MB in size. One of the simplest image editors can be found online - Photoshop in its simplest format is a good investment or you can use Use Microsoft Picture Manager (part of MS Office to do basic image tasks.

Image file names. Please use correct file extensions .jpg not .jpeg or .JPG

Image names should preferably follow this convention Quest_rounds_mark.jpg Or start the words with capitals eg QuestRoundsMark.jpg

Please don't send PDF's, columnised formats, MS-Word copy with embedded pictures, we don't have time to extract material.

Generally portrait shots are very difficult for us to use in a layout. Please try and avoid sending or taking these shots. The best shots are in Landscape using a portional sizing of 6x4 or similar. Not Square. Not not portrait or vertical. We try to use a highlight photo to go on the top of the S-W home page. This must be landscape.

We appreciate your assistance in this matter and look forward to receiving your interesting and informative articles.

Many thanks, we look forward to receiving your contributions.

Southern Spars - 100Fever-Tree 660x82Mariners Museum 660x82

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