by Peter Nielsen

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

Opulent luxury meets speed-freak performance in the Morrelli & Melvin-designed Gunboat 66. Constructed in South Africa out of carbon fiber, the Gunboat has a saloon that offers close to 360 degrees of visibility and appears to be crafted of acres of perfectly matched solid hardwood. In reality all the luscious furniture is carbon and honeycomb with a hardwood veneer. The result is a featherweight
In many ways, the Beneteau Sense 50 was the hit of the Annapolis boat show. The 50-foot performance cruiser with modern Euro styling was tied off in a small square basin just a few feet longer than the boat. Every hour on the hour her crew cast off the dock lines and spun the boat in its own length, stopping every 90 degrees to drive directly sideways up to the dock. It did so with ease, even in
One day you might be power-reaching across an ocean, logging double-digit speeds under a massive A-sail set on a retracting bowsprit. On another day you may be tacking effortlessly up a narrow channel, putting the helm over and watching the self-tacking jib slam across its track, enjoying the windward bite and responsive steering of a deep-drafted performance cruiser. Or you may have nosed up to

Getting Moody

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 11, 2011
During the glory days of British boatbuilding, the Moody brand was always front and center. The yard, near the head of the iconic River Hamble on England’s south coast, began building workboats in the 1820s, branched into yachtbuilding in the 1930s, and remained in the Moody family’s hands until 2007, when the brand was bought by Hanse Yachts proprietor Michael Schmidt and the
Never mind the economy -- it’s business as usual in the boating game. Well, not quite. Everyone in the marine trade is feeling the financial pinch these days, so it’s even more impressive that so many new boats have been developed and readied in time for the fall boat show season. What this year’s line-up of new models—everything from dinghies to multi-million-dollar world cruisers—tells me is

Loaded 45s

by Peter Nielsen, Posted July 13, 2011
Cast your mind back to a time when a 45-footer was about the biggest boat you could expect from a mass-production builder. It wasn’t all that long ago—the mid-1990s. Then Beneteau raised the bar with a 50-footer back in 1997, and boats that size and bigger are now commonplace.Still, size isn’t everything. Many sailors still find their dream boats in the 45-foot range. A 45-footer is big

Modern Tradition

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 31, 2011
If there’s one lesson to be taken away from the success of the daysailer concept, it is that traditional is never old-fashioned—at least not when it comes to boats. I find plenty of modern boats attractive, but the only drop-dead, wolf-whistle gorgeous ones are those that look as though they could have been built at any time in the last century.I’m far from alone in this.

The Dynamic Duo

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 21, 2011
Eavesdropping on an in-depth discussion of rating rules will send a casual bystander into a deep sleep as effectively as any hypnotist, and IRC—the successor to IOR and IMS—is no exception to this, er, rule. All I can say with any kind of authority is that boats designed to IRC tend to be a good deal more interesting than the rule itself. Over the last few years we’ve seen a steady stream of IRC
Not all boats are created equal. Some are built to high standards by people who care about what they’re doing. Others are not. This is as true today as it was half a century ago, when boatbuilders took their first tentative steps along the untrodden path of fiberglass construction.Because their builders erred on the side of caution with this new and strange material, those early fiberglass

Beat the Wrap

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 12, 2011
The last thing you want from your furling gear is for it to jam up in a rising breeze—or ever. I must be some kind of roller-reefing Jonah, because it’s happened a few times on boats I’ve been sailing aboard. On two of those occasions, halyard wrap was to blame.Halyard wrap sounds like something you’d tear off a new piece of rope, but it’s actually the most common cause of
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