Boat Owners Association of The United States has announced that Beth Leonard has been named Technical Editor for BoatUS publications and Assistant Director of Technical Services. In addition to writing for Seaworthymagazine, the BoatUS Marine Insurance publication dedicated to helping members avoid injury and boat damage due to accidents and storms, she’ll become technical editor for the half-million-member group’s flagship publication, BoatUS Magazine. An award-winning writer, Leonard grew up boating with small craft on the waters of Lake Ontario in upstate New York and went on to complete two circumnavigations with her husband.
“We’re excited to have Beth join our team,” said BoatUS Director of Technical Services and Seaworthy Editor Bob Adriance. “Her education – an MBA from Carnegie Mellon, and BA from Brown University – and her business experience from McKinsey & Company, combined with her technical boating knowledge, uniquely qualify her to develop new and better damage-avoidance and safety-education programs for BoatUS Members and policy holders.”
Leonard’s boating experiences began during summers spent at her family’s camp near Oswego, NY. “From growing up on Lake Ontario fishing for bass and perch, waterskiing, and canoeing, to finally living aboard for nearly 20 years and voyaging more than 100,000 nautical miles, messing about in all kinds of boats has taken me places I never would have dreamed possible,” said Leonard. “And writing about boating has allowed me to help others find their own way afloat.”
In 1992, Leonard traded in her management-consulting career with McKinsey for a boating sabbatical. She and her future husband embarked on a three-year tropical circumnavigation aboard their Shannon 37 ketch Silk, on which they logged 35,000 miles. In 1995, they spent four years building a 47′ aluminum sloop, Hawk, then set off to explore the northern high latitudes, sailing 8,000 miles from Iceland to Cape Horn.
“Spending two years in Chile, we had to be self-sufficient as there was no help available along 1,500 miles of the most remote coastline in the world.” Their hard-won ability to troubleshoot and fix anything aboard themselves proved essential during a 60-day, 9,000-mile, nonstop, east-about passage through the Southern Ocean from the Beagle Channel to Australia. Over the course of their second circumnavigation, Leonard passed under all five of the mariner’s “Great Southern Capes,” and logged 75,000 miles aboard Hawk.
“Beth is among the most knowledgeable bluewater cruisers in the world, and one of the best technical writers,” said Bernadette Bernon, Editorial Director of BoatUS Magazine. “Her seamanship and boat-systems knowledge is based on firsthand experience. She’ll give our publications another authentic voice to connect with our readership of experienced boat owners.”
Aside from more than 200 writing credits in top US and UK boating magazines, Leonard is also the author of The Voyager’s Handbook, a how-to guide for those who want to head offshore in their own boats; and narratives about her two circumnavigations: Blue Horizons, and Following Seas.