There's nothing to read in Peter Rowe's new Orange County-based boating magazine, but there is a lot to see.
"Ocean Adventure Video Magazine," based in Laguna Niguel, is one of a growing number of what are being dubbed "videozines," specialty videos done in a TV-magazine format and sold by subscription.
"It is hard to explain to people," Rowe says. "Some people just don't get the concept of a periodical video similar to a print magazine, but with all the advantages of video and audio. It is an ideal way to expose people to the excitement, adventure and newsworthy happenings on the water. But like anything new, it takes time to get going."
Rowe, a film producer and former editor for a Canadian boating magazine, got the brainstorm for a video magazine while browsing through the Scripps Institute Bookstore in La Jolla several years ago. "I saw all these books about sailing and the ocean, but not that many videos about the water. So, I came up with the idea of doing a quarterly video that would be about 60 minutes long and consist of about seven or eight stories."
So far, Rowe has produced only two "issues." The first came out in March of 1988, the same year Rowe moved from Marina del Rey to Orange County. His second issue was released in January of this year and he is currently at work on the third. He plans to produce four videos a year at a yearly subscription price of $99.95. Single issues cost $29.95. Locally, the videos are available at West Marine in Newport Beach and at Shoreline Chandlery in Long Beach. (For subscription information, call (714) 495-5872.)
The current issue of "Ocean Adventure" contains stories on the America's Cup race in San Diego; a failed attempt by Tom Gentry, a Honolulu-based real-estate developer, to set a speed record crossing the Atlantic in a powerboat; the Kenwood Cup, a big-boat sailing race in Hawaii; the Long Beach-to-Catalina skiing race; the Carlsberg single-handed race across the Atlantic from Plymouth, England, and a report on eight new high-speed, multihull sailboats.
Rowe shot most of the footage himself, including the report from England on the Carlsberg race. He also wrote the script and appears as the on-camera narrator. The video, which has received good reviews in boating publications and in general interest magazines such as People, is slick, professional and well-paced, thanks in large part to Rowe's 20-year career as a film maker.
The concept of an ocean-related video came naturally to Rowe, who has spent most of his career working on or near the water. Among his film credits is the 1986 film "Lost!" starring Helen Shaver. The film, which Rowe wrote, directed and produced, is based upon a true story about three people who managed to live for 72 days aboard a capsized boat.
Rowe, a Canadian who began his film career in Canada in 1967, also directed "Horse Latitudes," a one-hour TV drama about an around-the-world sailing race. Other of Rowe's ocean-related films include documentaries such as "Adventures on Shark Reef," "Micronesia: The Winds of Change" and "Electronic Aquarium."
Shooting on the water is challenging, says Rowe, who spent 3 months tracking storms so that he could film a sequence for the movie, "Lost!" "We were waiting for a storm to hit the East Coast and flew to Nova Scotia but just missed it. We flew out again later (for another storm) and waited 3 days. It finally hit in the middle of the night."
The next morning, Rowe went out on a chartered 35-foot fishing boat in winds up to 60 m.p.h. "The captain was terrified, and I was sea sick," says Rowe, who spent 2 hours filming the storm and then turned to the captain and said: "Well, I've got enough footage. We can go back now. He said, 'I don't care if you have enough footage or not. We've been trying to go back for the past 2 hours.' "
The storm was so bad that the captain could not get the boat turned around because he was afraid of being capsized as he turned broadside to the wind and waves, Rowe says. "I'm sure they never took out another film crew again."
Rowe smiles as he recalls the incident but admits that he shared some of the captain's fear. "We got some good footage though," he says.
Rowe is now working nearly full time on the next issue of "Ocean Adventure Video Magazine," which will include a segment on the upcoming Ensenada Yacht Race. Although some of Rowe's stories are shot in or near Orange County, the videos have an international scope, he says, and are designed to appeal to both power-boaters and sailors.
"They are designed for people interested in the ocean in general," he says. "And they will include both powerboating and sailing--and anything else having to do with the water."