by Peter Nielsen

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

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As part of the gradual replacement of outdated systems on our Norlin 34 project boat, it was time to look at communications.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
John Charnley, founder of Discovery Yachts, is a circumnavigator whose vision of the ideal world-girdling yacht metamorphosed into the Discovery 55, a fast, strong, attractive and practical cruiser. It has now evolved yet again into the Discovery 50 catamaran, which is—not surprisingly—fast, strong, attractive and practical.   Designed by Bill Dixon, who is known more for large high-end
No, the idea of putting a parallel, or biplane, rig on a catamaran is not in itself novel. Those with long memories will recall Crossbow, a 60-foot biplane cat that set a sailing speed record (36 knots) back in 1980. Younger sailors will refer to the ill-fated 120-foot Team Phillips that Pete Goss put together for The Race in 2000. A few adventurous souls have also installed such rigs on smaller
This boat, in a word, is clean. While there’s nothing knockout innovative about the Lutra Studio-designed X-Treme 25, it perfectly fulfills its design brief as a make-no-bones-about-it sportboat that can test sailors of all ability levels.   The sexiest thing about this speed machine is its distinctive hull form. A modest chine runs forward from the transom to the chainplates and the forward
Although it can be easily singlehanded, the 9ft 8in TAZ, from Topper International, can handle an adult and child, making it ideal for training or parent/offspring daysails.Better still, this is a boat with a Bermudian rig that both prepares beginners for the rigs they will be handling as adolescents and adapts to their needs as they develop as sailors. Specifically, the basic rig flies a
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