The Glorious RISE of Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine

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Many of you already know the story of Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine. But, for those who don’t know the history, I will attempt to fill in the blanks.

The Start

Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine was the #1-selling marine title on the newsstands for the the majority of its 15-year history. It was started in 1996 by me, Bob Bitchin, and my wife, Jody, with a little help from Keith “Bandit” Ball, editor of Easyriders, and Bob Clark, creator of Street
Chopper, Trucking, Hot VWs, VW Trends, and a large number of other magazines. Jody and I had just returned from cruising the world and wanted to create a magazine to let “regular boaters and cruisers” know they were not alone, that not all who owned boats were rich, and that many people worked on their own boats and cruised the waterways of the world.

Growing to Radio & TV

During its 15 years, Lats & Atts, as it became known by its readers, grew. First it was a ship’s store, then a clothing line, then a radio station. Finally, in 2004, it became a network television show that aired for five years and 65 episodes.

In 2011, Jody and I decided it was time to sell our creation, finish building our Shannon 52 that was under construction in Bristol, Rhode Island, and sail off into the sunset once again.

The Plan

An offer was made and accepted. We moved to some land in the Sierra Nevada Mountains (yes, where the 2018 “Paradise” fire took place, missing us by about 2 miles) and started making plans to cruise.

But, unbeknownst to us, the new owners had no plans to actually pay us. Over the next 90 days, Latitudes and Attitudes magazine was shut down, the TV show discontinued, the website and radio show shut down, and the bank accounts emptied, while the credit cards were all maxed out.

I filed bankruptcy at 68 years of age. It looked pretty bleak.

But then a little over 700 Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine readers reached out and sent $250 each to start a new magazine. We are forever grateful to our “Founders.”

Thou Shalt Not…

Now here’s the thing. There are three things you should never do.

1) Start any business at 68 years of age;

2) Start a print magazine in the age of the internet;

3) Start anything in the marine industry in the current economic situation.

We did all three.

Within a year the new title, Cruising Outpost Magazine, became the #1-selling print marine publication on the newsstands nation-wide.

But people (mostly the staff!) still missed the original Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine.

It was Charles Tobias, an old friend from Tortola who owns Pussers and has Marina Cay, who came to our rescue. While sitting in his office on Tortola one afternoon, he asked if we’d gotten the trademark back.

Not knowing the legalities of such things, I said I thought we couldn’t. We had signed a bill of sale, essentially giving the title over to the new people. We’d been told that the only way to get it back was to sue the new buyers. But, as it turned out, they’d left the country for Central America and already had a large number of judgments against them from previous “deals,” the largest of which was for over $3 million.

Charles picked up the phone and called his lawyer in Washington D.C. Within a matter of minutes, Latitudes & Attitudes was back in mine and Jody’s control.

That was a little while back, in 2017.

We brought back some of the old logo clothing and sayings, but had to give a lot of thought on whether to bring back the title or not. After all, Cruising Outpost was doing pretty well, and was, once again, the #1-selling marine title on the newsstands.

On a recent Share The Sail event (which was created by Latitudes & Attitudes Magazine!) we were standing at the entrance to Corsair’s on Jost van Dyke. It was for a party, and a couple asked one of the participants what it was all about.

She said, “We are here with Cruising Outpost’s Share the Sail.” The couple replied, “What’s Cruising Outpost?”

She told them it was the same as the old Latitudes & Attitudes.

“Oh yeah!” they exclaimed. “That’s a great magazine. We’ve heard of that.” 

It was at that time the decision to go back to Latitudes & Attitudes was made.

Don’t Ye Worry Lads & Lassies – Subscriptions Carry Over to the New “Old” Title

Your subscription to Cruising Outpost will carry forward with Latitudes & Attitudes. There will be no change in schedule, no change in subscriptions. And our Founders Circle, who made all this possible, as well as Charter subscribers, will remain Founders and Charter Members forever. If it wasn’t for them, you would not be reading this!

 

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