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The Naked Truth

When you leaf through old issues of Latitude, a few things might . . . ahem . . . jump out at you. We’re not talking about the sepia-colored photos, the big hair or the beamy boats. We’re talking about skin.

This photo appeared in a Sightings in August 1983 about Antigua Race Week, which, “of course, has become famous for its hot and naked hedonistic style of sailing and partying. The photo of the lady above, shocking her girlfriend by ‘cheating’ in the wet T-shirt contest, is typical behavior for Race Week. And it’s not some unwelcome invention of tourists; as Deputy Prime Minister Lester B. Bird said in the Race Week address, ‘I look forward to meeting you in the melee . . . ‘”
© 2019 MiIke Turner

Since its inception in 1977, Latitude 38 featured lots of people in the buff, most of which was represented by young women — but more on that in a second. We can’t say exactly when these photos stopped appearing in the magazine, though we can certainly trace the comments that these images stirred. We once received a letter from a teacher who said they wanted to have Latitude in their classroom, but could not because of the occasional picture of sailors wearing only what nature gave them. Conversely, since the faucet of nude photos has dried up, we’ve also gotten comments bemoaning their absence. “You guys are doing an OK job since taking over from the Poobah,” a letter from last year read. “But I miss the pictures of nekked girls.”

The times, they have certainly a-changed. It’s not just the culture at large around us, it’s also culture, attitudes and ethics of publishing. The early editors at Latitude would tell you that most (but not all) of the young, scantily-clad (or not-clad-at-all) women that appeared in the first few hundred volumes sent us the photos in question. We weren’t always out there leering with our cameras, in other words. We could also point out that attitudes about nudity ebb and flow with generations. Many sailing YouTube channels feature buxom women, as well as shirtless dudes (though, again, the women tend to feature more prominently). It’s quite a scoop we’re unearthing here, but, sex sells, especially in the world of self-produced sailing content.

And, oh yeah, as we hinted, it wasn’t just naked ladies and male photographers in those early Latitudes . . .

This ad for Pt. Bonita Yachts was just a few pages away from the photo above in the August 1983 issue.
© 2019 Paula Blasier

As always, we’re curious: What do you think?


  1. Richard Jepsen 5 years ago

    Loved the photos. But time to move on. Who knows where society will be in 20 years? but now? unh uh.

  2. Greg Gibson 5 years ago

    Amazing that in the “modern” US, where any 6 year-old can stream porn on their phone anywhere 24/7, people would get excited about an occasional photo showing (hopefully female) humans in their birthday suits. Those early L38 photos probably literally launched 1,000 ships. Like the silly sailing blogs with their blurred-out privates. Anybody there for T&A is pretty desperate.

  3. Ken Brinkley 5 years ago

    Sailors au natural are a thing of beauty ,whatever gender or shape .If you don’t want to look then don’t !

  4. Martin Thomas 5 years ago

    Always struck me as sophomoric that Spindler thought it was appropriate to include those photos.

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