by Peter Nielsen

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

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As part of the gradual replacement of outdated systems on our Norlin 34 project boat, it was time to look at communications.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
One look at the new Juan Kouyoumdjian-designed K650 had our entire Best Boats panel yearning for a strong breeze, big waves and a chance to properly air out this 21-foot rocket ship. The hull features a wide transom, providing plenty of off-the-breeze stability, and a hard chine is carried almost all the way from the stern to the bow. Dual carbon-fiber rudders are attached to the tiller via push
It looked as though this award would be a toss-up between a handsome pair of new cruising cats from France—the Lagoon 400 and Fountaine Pajot Lipari 41—until we stepped aboard the South African-built Leopard 38 and its twin, the Sunsail 384. It was immediately obvious that here was one of the best-executed sub-40-foot cruising catamarans we have yet seen.Although there is
Rod Johnstone’s latest design taps into a new market segment for the Rhode Island-based company: shoal-draft boats. The versatile J/95 has both twin rudders and a centerboard, neither of which has been seen on J/Boat before. With the ballasted board up the boat draws just 3 feet, while remaining perfectly controllable under full sail. The J/Boats performance ethos remains intact; the boat is
Catalina’s latest big cruising yacht met with a great reception at the Oakland Strictly Sail show in April; orders quickly went into double figures, which is no mean feat in this economy. Designer Gerry Douglas obviously enjoyed himself with this boat; it is packed with details and features gleaned from his decades of experience in design and building. The end result is a fine all-round sailing
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