by Peter Nielsen

Peter Nielsen is SAIL’s Editor-in-Chief.

Like most cruisers, I was happy to ditch my symmetric spinnaker and defect to a more easily handled asymmetric kite, but I can’t deny that the symmetric sail has its advantages. It works better on downwind runs with the apparent wind at 140 degrees or more, and on most older boats it has the considerable virtue of already being on board (no need to spend money) and is probably lightly
A boat is often defined by its interior accommodation plan. An ocean voyager needs stowage and snug sea berths, while a family cruising coastwise wants open space to enjoy at anchor. It's a rare designer who can blend a world cruiser hull with a short-hop interior, but that's what designer Bob Johnson has done with the Island Packet Estero.Johnson adapted the forward saloon layout seen in
This was one of the easier picks for our judging team, though no two judges seemed fully agreed on what exactly it is that makes the deck and cockpit of the new Morris M52 so special. Nigel Calder cited the boat's perfectly pitched sheerline. Peter Nielsen liked the judicious-but-opulent laid teak deck. Charles Doane waxed poetic over the modern interpretation of a traditional butterfly hatch
This is a new category to SAIL's annual Best Boat's award, and one we are happy to promote, given the state of the world's environment and the fact that no other boat has ever gone so far to be “green” as the Eko 6.5. This 21-foot Classe Mini production boat is built using a new resin made from recycled soda bottles. Instead of gel coat, an eco-friendly paint keeps moisture out of the laminate
Over the years, the systems side of boats has improved steadily. This year's crop of new boats has raised the bar a little higher, with evidence of a great deal of thought. For example, the Catalina 445 has molded-in cable channels, above-the-waterline gravity draining holding tanks and a central drain location for winterizing the boat. Designer Gerry Douglas has put the battery charger under the
We were impressed by the potential of the 12 foot Topaz dinghy as well as by its existing features. The boat has developed quickly into an active racing class in Europe and it could do the same here, given proper organization and promotion.   The Topaz is a generation beyond fiberglass in construction. The hull is rotomolded of polyethylene, a process that's expensive to set up initially but

Rambler 100 Capsizes

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 15, 2011
The maxi Rambler 100 capsized around midnight on Monday off the Irish coast during the Rolex Fastnet race. All 21 crew are safe, according to the Irish Coast Guard.The incident happened just after Rambler 100 rounded the Fastnet Rock at 1725 local time. At the time, Rambler 100 was leading the monohull fleet and vying for
For a number of years, I used a piece of 2x4 screwed to the side of the garden shed as a mount for my 3.5hp Tohatsu outboard. It would perch happily thereon while I dangled its nether regions in a cooling tub of fresh water, sputtering and burbling away as the salt got rinsed from its innards.   This year, I decided something more sophisticated was in order for my faithful motor. I wanted a
Among the multitude of things that needed upgrading on our project boat, the cockpit drain seacocks loomed large. The wheels on the 1973-vintage gate valves were frozen open so the valves could not be closed. This is a typical problem with gate valves. The valve stems and the valve body are usually dissimilar metals, and eventually they’ll corrode so that the valve sticks on the position it was
As part of the gradual replacement of outdated systems on our Norlin 34 project boat, it was time to look at communications. As any radio manufacturer will tell you, the problem with VHF radios is twofold: they are inherently reliable, thus tend to be a long way down the list of essential upgrades for owners of older boats. As long as you can use Channel 16 in an emergency or call your launch
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