Special delivery: Sign up for the free Cruising World email newsletter. Subscribe to Cruising World magazine for $29 for 1 year and receive 3 bonus digital issues.
In 1974, Australian journalist Murray Davis assembled a ragtag crew of sailors and scribblers in Newport, Rhode Island, and put out the first issue of Cruising World. The bet Murray made that summer was a big one: 65,000 big ones, if bets are measured in printed magazine copies. Ten years later, he sold the brand to The New York Times Company. Paid circulation had grown to 120,000 copies addressed to high-net-worth individuals (in the parlance of Madison Avenue). Davis retired to a life of ease on Newport’s tony Ocean Drive.
In some ways, the joke was on Madison Avenue. Davis’ genius was to tap into a countercultural zeitgeist impelled by skyrocketing oil prices,…