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Water Supplies

If boating is your thing, you've got plenty of company. You also have a fleet of magazines that speak to you, whether you are a professional or just a pleasure-seeker.

August 28, 1996|LESLIE KNOWLTON | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Pleasure boating--a sure-fire way to relax both mind and body (the latter, if your boat has a motor)--is one of America's passions, and Californians are no exception.

In 1994 alone, we spent more than $268 million on boats, motors, trailers and marine accessories. And more than 770,000 craft were registered this year with the state Department of Motor Vehicles.

To help boating enthusiasts enjoy their toys, there are numerous pleasure boating magazines covering everything from day sailing to high-speed powerboat racing. Here are our 10 best bets.

Boating

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1956

* Circulation: 202,000

* Cover price: $3.95

* Subscriptions: (800) 289-0399

Billed as the "world's largest powerboat magazine," this 40-year-old and highly informative New York City-based publication has a sense of humor, yet it's extremely strong on in-depth features and hard facts, including lots of boat test reports and experts' advice. It comes from Hachette Filipacchi Magazines, publisher of Showboats International, which covers multimillion-dollar mega-yachts.

Recent features: "The Cuba Connection" (smugglers, boats and the best damn cigars in the world); "Up to Speed" (read about Ohio Steel, a really fast boat).

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Cruising World

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1975

* Circulation: 155,000

* Cover price: $3.50

* Subscriptions: (800) 727-8473

This attractive magazine from the New York Times Magazine Group was started for those who want to explore local waters or sail around the world. With a focus on how to cruise safely and skillfully, it includes destinations, boat reviews, charter directories and passage notes. Check out "People & Food" at the back of the book.

Recent features: "Sailing to Byzantium" (a two-year cruising sabbatical); "You CAN Sail the Med" (how to cruise the Mediterranean Sea).

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Motorboating & Sailing

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1907

* Circulation: 140,000

* Cover price: $3.50

* Subscriptions: (800) 888-9123

This award-winning publication was started by William Randolph Hearst and edited for 56 years by boating pioneer Charles F. Chapman. Originally called Motorboating, "Sailing" was added in 1971. Today, the magazine focuses about 97% of its comprehensive coverage on powerboats.

Recent features: "Faster!!" (Reggie Fountain sets a new world speed record of 131.940 mph); "Radar Buyer's Guide: Seeing Is Believing."

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Power & Motoryacht

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1985

* Circulation: 157,000

* Cover price: $3.95

* Subscriptions: (800) 284-8036

Formerly owned by Cahners Publishing, this magazine that concentrates on boats larger than 24 feet was purchased in January by K-III Magazines, publishers also of Sail and the just-launched Boating for Women. While focusing on lifestyle, it also provides boat tests and hands-on maintenance tips. Two issues a year are devoted to a Forbes-type listing of the world's largest yachts.

Recent features: "Toy Story" (from pedal boats to water trampolines, the best water toys to bring aboard for your next trip); "Extreme Boating" (a world-record run from Tampa to Miami).

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Sail

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1970

* Circulation: 180,000

* Cover price: $2.95

* Subscriptions: (800) 745-7245

This Boston-based magazine--the world's largest sailing publication--was founded by Bernard A. Goldhirsch as a non-elitist teaching vehicle for the everyday sailor. Now owned by K-III Magazines, it has retained its utility for novice and expert sailors alike, covering everything from day sailing to cruising to racing.

Recent features: "Cruising Life: Fear at Sea" (fear happens, but you can conquer it); "Common Sense Cruising Budgets" (financial planning for the long haul).

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Sailing

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1966

* Circulation: 50,000

* Cover price: $3.50

* Subscriptions: (800) 236-7444

This over-sized and saddle-stitched magazine focusing on the "beauty of sail" is a family-owned enterprise started by avid sailor and community newspaperman William F. Schanen Jr. and now run by his namesake, William F. Schanen III.

The Life magazine of sailing publications, it's known more for its lavish photography than as a how-to manual, and covers everything from America's Cup to exotic chartering.

Recent features: "The First Landfall" (you never forget the end of your first long passage); "In Search of Patagonia" (tasting nature's wind-swept workshop).

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Sailing World

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1962

* Circulation: 70,000

* Cover price: $2.95

* Subscriptions: (800) 876-3971

This New York Times Magazine Group publication, based in Newport, R.I., started as One-Design Yachtsman and subsequently went through five name changes. Today, it covers performance-oriented sailing with a strong focus on racing and instruction.

Recent features: "Speed Test VI: Super Sport Boats" (a review of three hot new 30-footers off Key West, Fla.); "Spin Into Control" (polishing those penalty-turn skills).

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Sea

* Number of issues a year: 12

* Established: 1908

* Circulation: 50,000

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