John was editor for much of Sailing Today’s first decade, from 2001 to 2007, the magazine having been founded in 1997, and from the outset he imbued the title with his energy and knowledge.
He had gone to sea aged 14 with the merchant navy and was possessed of a level of seamanship matched by few in the sailing world.
More than that, he was first-class educator and he took genuine enjoyment in helping people become better sailors.
His step-by-step articles in the Sailing Todays of his era became widely known for their practical, real-world advice.
Thousands of people still use the “John Goode’s Cockpit Plotter” which he designed, as well as his instructional videos, most featuring John sharing his know-how with pipe clamped in mouth.
During the early years of his editorship, the small team was up against then-media giant IPC, situated in a tower block in London, but John thrived off the competition and stuck ruthlessly to his guns that the reader must be served first for the venture to be successful.
Staffgot to know him as a relentless perfectionist with a minute attention to detail. He cared about every word in the magazine and insisted that every sentence could be understood by any level of sailor.
The production process was often drawn out – he would spend hours crafting a single paragraph – but the end result was superlative advice in a clear format. It wasn’t long before Sailing Today became a force to be reckoned with.
John was an astute judge of character and he gathered round him similarly knowledgeable writers.
He had done the same when, after a profitable period of his career building motorway fencing, he bought a sailing school in Hamble.
John Simpson, who was chief instructor at Southern Sailing, said the idea was it would be a place “where anyone could learn practical seamanship skills and not just waft about yachting”.
John’s staunchly real-world approach to tuition saw Southern Sailing become one of the best-regarded and busiest sailing schools in the country, at one point putting out 50 instructors week.
One of the many whom John assessed was Dame Ellen MacArthur, who visisted Southern Sailing for her RYA Yachtmaster Instructor ticket before she set off on her round Britain voyage in 1995.
John took delight in retelling the story of how he and fellow assessor James Stevens agreed to give Ellen the ticket, once she had completed the voyage.
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