I Am Not Going To Say Anything Today.

The Brass Bell has a twin? Who knew?

My mother used to say, if you can’t say anything nice about someone, don’t say anything at all. So today. I am not going to say a word. I am going to go out on my boat and just shake my head is true disappointment at the sad end to uniqueness and the variety that our passion embodies.

There is inner peace on the water, try and find it. I will

Its Header Day, you know what to do. UGH…


42 replies
  1. ScottK
    ScottK says:

    Both the Brass Bell and Rudder beautiful publications.
    But they are increasingly expensive luxuries supported by declining readership.
    I prefer printed reading material, but to minimize the expense and help these organizations survive, these should go digital.

  2. Kelly Wittenauer
    Kelly Wittenauer says:

    Not a Chris Craft owner, so not a club member. Hence, don’t get the Brasss Bell. Guess that’s why I don’t know what this is about?!

  3. Tparsons56
    Tparsons56 says:

    I receive Brass Bell, Rudder and Classic Boating magazines and enjoy them all. To lay on the couch a after a long day at the office and read either one is a great way to decompress.
    I guess the content and layout of the new rudder has changed but to a layman like me it doesn’t have much of an impact – I still like it. Of course being the sun is out and I’m working on the boat today means I’m just naturally in a good mood.

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    yeah, its a twin alright…but there are no evil twins. Maybe fraternal twins?


    John in Va.

    • Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P )
      Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P ) says:

      This could be the making of a good story. John and Troy, have fun and take pictures.

  5. Chris in FL
    Chris in FL says:

    As the last editor of the real Rudder magazine, which published from 1891 to 1977, I’m sorry to see ACBS has picked up its name. Of course, there probably aren’t many who remember the original Rudder.

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:


      The Original Rudder ?…Heck I remember the Rusty Rudder when Dan Rothwell was the Editor. It wasn’t all that good then but then neither was The Brass Bell when I did it.

      • David
        David says:

        Right there with you Matt not saying anything about the fact that the new publication is an exact duplicate of the Brass Bell layout. I was shocked when I got it. I guess it is flattering for the Brass Bell to have another publication copy it to a tee. I guess it is not surprising since it is the same creative company. Not too creative evidently.

  6. Ron in Seattle
    Ron in Seattle says:

    The Rudder, oops “ACBS Rudder” (watch that copyright stuff) no longer has a good Captain Chris Eden at the helm. And some of his best authors and cultivated loyal crew members abandoned ship. Why? I think the y know it will lose its course, hit the rocks and sink. Good luck to board members trying to recruit stories and keep the ship on course. But they only need to stand the helm watch for two years… Hard to do steer the ship without a rudder.

  7. Ron Again
    Ron Again says:

    PS. Opening Day of the boating season in Seattle thus week, we be boating in the parade today with sun and warm air!

  8. Todd C
    Todd C says:

    Not a Chris Craft owner so not a club member but I do tolerate that 90% of the hobby thinks people own or wants to own one. Still below to clubs and enjoy publications that are in print. I look at screens all day at work. Next “dream boat is a Cliff Richardson not a Chris. No disrespect intended.

    • Steve H
      Steve H says:

      Yep I have an old Correct Craft and always look forward to my Rudder in the mail. Even under new publishing direction I still enjoy it and is my coffee table mag of choice. I get to read the Bell too because my brother has a Chris. I lake them both.

  9. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    High quality print magazines are simply not economical to produce and mail. No matter how much you may wish it was different, the economics will only get worse.

  10. Tommyholm
    Tommyholm says:

    The cost of printing club publications has gone down dramatically over the past decade. Nowadays full color on quality paper with secure bindings is very affordable. Now the cost of postage is another thing and I’m not even going to mention cost of quality graphic design. It’s art, it’s priceless, and when you get connected with a good one, one should hold on rather than jump ship.

  11. Don vogt
    Don vogt says:

    When a group of us took over the Chris craft antique boat club, it was bankrupt and one of the reasons was the out of control cost of publishing the brass bell was killing us. We selected catalyst communications to take over and I think they have done a great job for the club in producing a high quality, brass bell in a disciplined way.

    I have no knowledge about why the board of acbs chose to seek bids for the continuing time publication of the rudder, who all bid, etc., but they ultimately selected catalyst for the task. In my mind the first issue out is an attractive piece. This is in no way detracts from the work that Chris eden did for the magazine for a number of years. But life goes on. We need to support the club as it works to promote classic boating. Rooting for this effort to fail is in very bad form, imho.

    Yes, M fine at some point, both of these will have to go digital for cost reasons.

    • Jerome
      Jerome says:

      Thank you to all the volunteers that are working hard to help antique boating. Our thoughts should be with our fellow antique boaters living in the Muskoka’s. Sorry got to sign off just opened a new can of varnish. You understand!!!

    • Wilson
      Wilson says:

      Publishing the Brass Bell wasn’t the “real” reason the club was bankrupt. As was mentioned above..”.If you can’t say anything nice….”…But it was a sad situation.

  12. Gary Van Tassel
    Gary Van Tassel says:

    Yes, I remember the ORIGINAL RUDDER. Wish it was still around. The content was great. I also miss Nautical Quarterly. I don’t get any boating magazines now except the ACBS Rudder, and only because it comes with the membership. Todays magazines, read the last 20 to 30 years, are nauseating, driven by the manufacturers and industrial designers (not yacht designers; Chris, John, Gar, et al are rolling over), and marketing types (sorry Matt) and push often very bad advice, BS reviews and many truly awful boats (with some exceptions that rarely get much press).

    Having said that, I like the new Rudder. The content was diverse and interesting. The short history of Pardon Me and the Lancer RestoMod were interesting. In the 80’s I developed a surface piercing drive in a ventilated tunnel and used a 73 Lancer as the development boat. We cut out the aft portion of the boat multiple times before we got it right.

    The biggest problem for any of the mags, IMHO, is content. It takes members submitting articles, and then a good editor to clean them up. So in the spirit, I will send in an article for consideration. Perhaps building on the talk on regulations I did for the Tidewater Chapter. Lets see articles on favorite barn finds, gray hull restorations, resto mods, safety, screw ups. etc.

    The fact that the Brass Bell (I don’t get the Brass Bell) and Rudder have the same feel does not bother me. I look forward to see where Tim and Stephanie takes it.

    • Wilso
      Wilso says:

      Nautical Quarterly…Now there was a real publication…Editor, Joe Gribbons really knew his stuff and did a gret job. Too bad it only lasted 50 ussues before the publisher decided it was no lnoger economically viable.

  13. Chris
    Chris says:

    We in the north have not yet seen the new rudder, I have been waiting to see what they have done, more out of curiosity than hoping it fails. Its the future so it needs to be successful, I have just taken over the editor position Classicboat the Toronto magazine, Its the glue that holds the club together as I suspect Rudder is the same. I look forward to its arrival. More volunteers is the key, help out!

    Mean while water here is semi stable. I never thought I would have to tie the boat house to shore so it does not float away. its nuts

  14. Briant
    Briant says:

    Huh. Having not renewed my ACBS membership this year and thus not receiving their Rudder…I have no clue as to what everyone is talking about. Sometimes ignorance truly is bliss.

  15. Rabbit
    Rabbit says:

    The irony of everyone saying magazines are too expensive and it’s time to go digital is that the generation we need to attract loves these journal quality magazines. Why take away another reason to renew your membership?

    The previous version of The Rudder was beautiful and so well written. Thank you, Chris.

    • Reddog
      Reddog says:

      I have to agree with Rabbit. Not everyone wants a digital copy of the magazine. Most of the time I look at websites on my cellphone and reading the smaller print just doesn’t have the same effect as looking at a nice full size color picture. And yes getting a magazine in the mail IS a bonus to me. Why couldn’t the “club” give a choice when someone joins. I was lucky to receive a new rudder (haven’t read it yet) in the mail and I think my membership may have expired. Thank you ACBS. I DO appreciate it.

      • Reddog
        Reddog says:

        I would also be happy if every issue had a technical article of some kind.. That sure would be a plus to new (or YOUNGER) boaters. Not everyone has an “old-timer” around to ask for advice.

  16. Wilson
    Wilson says:

    Not only is the cost of publications pricing folks out of boat clubs but the May issue of Trade Only sat “New Technology Might be Pricing People out of Boating.” Whil joy stick and multifunctional displays are taking the “fear” out of boating they are are adding immensly to the initial cost. The artice says even pontoon ( ugh !) boats which have been on the rise are begining to decline do to cost.
    Remember when “tin can trailers” were affordable and mom & dad had one ? Look now at the cost of today’s RV’s. Looks like the same thing is happening to boating, only a decade later.
    Maybe Brass Bell & Rudder ought to rethink today’s glossy appearance and go back to the ole days when they were more affordable and simply gave us the news without all the glitz.

    • don danenberg
      don danenberg says:

      Well said, Wilso(n),

      We can fight later about ‘glitz’, as long as “content” is espoused?

  17. Jim V
    Jim V says:

    I love flipping through back issues of these mags. But I’m 66 not a .comer. Everything here is ,, vintage. In the true sense of the word. I have been wondering how you ,Chris and Riot are doing.. I wish you the best.

  18. Kentucky Wonder
    Kentucky Wonder says:

    I have stayed away from all the conversations about changing the ACBS Rudder magazine, which I read, and keep to re-read.

    All I can say is that I liked the editions we received upon joining ACBS in 2013, and loved the newer style editions of the last couple years. The final edition of that style, with its photo section by Steve Lapkin and Kent O. Smith was really good.

    The newest edition also looks promising, and will be better off if members would take the time to participate in its production, instead of complain about the changes. In other words, it’s your club, help it out by taking good pictures, writing down all pertinent information, and submit that to the editors. If you have a story suggestion, or want to know about something, submit the question, and maybe they can find an expert to write about it in the next issue. If they ask for more or better information, or do not use your submission, ask what improvements you can make, and try again. As with any group or club, you only get out what you put in.

    By the way, this same thought also applies here in WoodyBoaterVille. Matt does great work, but the whole thing would be better if he had more and better content to choose from. Write in and submit good photos. And expect to be edited in some ways. ALL writers and photographers are subject to editing, even Pulitzer Prize winners.

    The Bottom Line: Stop complaining, get off your rear end, and help these people!

  19. Kathy Muller
    Kathy Muller says:

    Hey, I just submitted an article to Rudder about researching the history of your boat–and no, I’m not expecting a Pulitzer, but its a subject that I love and has not been covered extensively. There’s room for a variety of publications, subjects and opinions– it keeps it fun.

  20. Troy in DCA
    Troy in DCA says:

    Stuck in DCA. Had a 3 hr layover, flight now delayed another 1.5 hrs.

    Could have driven to Norfolk quicker.

  21. Chris Eden
    Chris Eden says:

    I’m not sure if it proper for my two cents here or not but if not now when. I took over the publication of the Rudder in 1996. The ACBS has less then 3000 members + – Communication was very different at that point but dedication to our beloved hobby much the same. My goal with our publication was two fold 1/ to celebrate our hobby as I have said clearly in my last issue “from canoes to commuters” and 2/ to celebrate all that is exciting and so visual in our hobby in the best way I knew how. Through consistency and continuity of quality and design. As a visual thinker that comes natural. I did my job. Just over two years ago I took the ACBS Rudder to a new level. To a level of quality in design and content that demanded a lot of me and my team. It was well received on all fronts at the time. This change at that time had the support of the organization. Costs changed very little but with negative changes in advertising sales it seemed too much for the organization to handle. I won’t go into all issues here but for those of you who read my last published issue, my points were well made. I produced our publication for 22 years through many many presidents and boards, two Exe directors etc and through all of it the ACBS Rudder was in fact the glue that brought our diverse membership together. For that I am proud of the job I did. In today’s world, does it fit an organization to produce ink on paper? Who knows. I only know if the quality of design held in that medium holds up to the challenge then Matt and all you would be talking about boats and not publications. I’m proud of the work my team and I did for the organization. Time will tell what the next chapter holds. My talents are being used in other ways. Thanks for all your observations on all fronts. Chris Eden

      STEVEN A LAPKIN says:

      Chris, truly honored that you included a pictorial spread of Kent Smith’s work, and mine, in your RUDDER swan song. If memory serves me, I was (briefly) the Editor of RUSTY RUDDER during the Presidency of Jay Higgins during the ”8Os. Not an easy task, indeed. Bless us all for the unselfish contributions that have furthered the organization’s existence-to-date. S

  22. Don Palmer
    Don Palmer says:

    Thank You Chris for your years of quality publications.
    You also make a great Hot Buttered Rum!

  23. Todd C
    Todd C says:

    Great comments yesterday that makes a person wonder what is the solution. I have paid a premium to get Rodder’s Journal for many years – great pictures. The quality of the paper feels great in my hand hands and the phots and writing is incredible. They have had to add more adretisers to keep it floating in the last year or so. Garden & Gun is another mag that is upper end. Maybe, it is somewhat like our choice to be different and go the antique and classic boat direction vs…. we have to be willing to pay for it and support it – for what it is or it will not be here tomorrow.

    There are allot of people in this community that have been doing this a very long time. It often has humbled me to be able to hear / read your thoughts on the daily topics. I appreciate the perspective and insight. As such for some reason I do not feel the need to have this content presented to me is perfect format, on great paper…. its raw Woody Boater imperfection.

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