Three Sheets Northwest Donated to Northwest Maritime Center

Three Sheets Northwest Donated to Northwest Maritime Center, Merges with 48° North

When the ball dropped on New Years Eve, amidst the (hopefully mild) public displays of affection, something else thrilling happened. As of January 1, 2020, Three Sheets Northwest, the highly-respected and most-read boating website in the Pacific Northwest, has become a part of the Northwest Maritime Center and is merging with 48° North. In 2018, when 48° North came under the Northwest Maritime Center umbrella, a number of friends used a “perfect marriage” metaphor. Well, if we’re sticking with that, things are getting blissfully polyamorous around here, and we couldn’t be more stoked. Like the 2018 merger, this is a donation, a generous act for the good of the boating community.

Three Sheets Northwest was founded in 2009 by journalism veterans and avid cruisers, Deborah Bach and Marty McOmber. If you’re interested in learning more about their arc with Three Sheets, please read their new column on page 34. Thanks to Deborah and Marty’s commitment, savvy, and skill, the site quickly grew into the primary digital resource for news and stories both for and from boaters around the Pacific Northwest. As the years passed, Deborah and Marty each pursued employment opportunities that demanded enough of their time that they needed some help, and they hired full-time cruiser and former Editor of Blue Water Sailing, Andy Cross, to be the new Editor of Three Sheet Northwest in 2015. Andy has excelled in this role and fostered some excellent new editorial directions in his tenure. 

In 2019, Deborah and Marty approached Northwest Maritime Center with the idea of a donation, and all parties eagerly pursued the possibilities. It wasn’t long before the big questions were answered and we were all turning our focus toward an exciting new era.

Combining Forces

Fans of both publications may have seen the writing on the wall. Since last May, Andy Cross has been the acting Guest Editor at 48° North. With numerous features and several cover photographs in 2019, it’s easy to see why Andy is such an asset. Andy will essentially combine his roles with Three Sheets and 48° North into a permanent role as Editor with 48° North. He will be instrumental in driving evolution in the magazine and critical to honoring the Three Sheets legacy in our new online vision, which includes the retention of nearly all contributing writers.

In addition, while they’re stepping away from active ownership, Deborah and Marty are definitely staying involved. As you’ll see in this magazine, they’re going to become monthly columnists. Their column, titled Three Sheets Northwest, will sometimes be published in print and other times online. They are also taking on an active advisory role to help maintain the trust of Three Sheets readers and help 48° North grow into the online content space more actively and effectively in conjunction with the magazine. 

Big Tent, One Community

As Joe wrote about in his editorial, part of this new partnership brings a new direction with broader subject matter. Three Sheets was successfully even-handed in service and support of sail and power—all were welcome. A core principle of this new direction for 48° North, we see an opportunity to break down barriers similarly and acknowledge the community doesn’t exist with neatly drawn lines of demarcation; to highlight the profound joys we all share when plying the waters of the Pacific Northwest. This includes an acknowledgment that, like power-driven cruisers, small boat activities—from adventure sailing to paddle sports—have not necessarily had a home in 48° North either, and we’re eager for that to change as well. 

Our commitment is this: 48° North serves the entire sailing community. 48° North serves the entire cruising community. 48° North serves boat borne adventurers of all types. Most importantly, we believe that we are all one community, and we have a responsibility to cultivate unity accordingly; to inspire and inform, and encourage engagement in all sorts of on-the-water activities. Indeed, it is the stated mission of the Northwest Maritime Center. Oh yeah, and if it wasn’t obvious, we’re all fiercely Pacific Northwest. 

The Future

Imperative to the broad horizons with this partnership is a new digital platform to complement the magazine. We are counting down the days to the launch on January 24, 2020. Our new site will be co-branded for a while, but in the long term, we are all 48° North now and will be the site’s forever home. We will blend our brands, our contributors, our subject matter, and our perspectives into one big happy boating media family; one thoughtfully designed to serve each of you and benefit the entire boating community, present and future. 

We hope all of this is as exciting for you as it is for us. 48° North is growing and evolving. Thanks for being a part of the crew. It’s going to be a great year!