by Peter Nielsen

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

Corrosion Stopper

by Peter Nielsen, Posted November 23, 2010
If the green grounding cable on your boat’s AC inlet is connected to the DC ground as the American Boat and Yacht Council recommends, you may be asking for trouble.As soon as you plug into shorepower, you’re connecting the underwater metal on your boat—stainless steel propeller shaft, bronze prop and through-hulls, zinc anodes, aluminum saildrive—to the underwater metal on all the other

Best Boats 2011

by Peter Nielsen, Posted November 17, 2010
The business maxim that you have to innovate your way out of a recession seems to have been taken to heart by boatbuilders. After a comparatively small field of new boats in 2009, this year's boat shows were crammed with talent. There was genuine innovation, a great degree of variety, and a good many excellent examples of the art of boat design and building. Our judges' task was harder

The Great Octopus Hunt

by Peter Nielsen, Posted November 10, 2010
Some people start a charter with a set itinerary worked out well in advance. Sunday night in anchorage X, Monday night on a mooring in bay Y, Tuesday the lobster special at bar Z, and so on. Others take a more free-form approach, only deciding where to go after they get up in the morning and check out the wind strength and sea state; if getting to X involves a stiff beat that’ll wipe the grins
I’ve always liked the versatility that comes with a centerboard. The ability to vary your boat’s draft from deep to shallow greatly increases the options you have when cruising. The other side of the coin is maintenance.A centerboard can be made of anything from foam or plywood sheathed in epoxy to solid bronze or cast iron. The former will need fresh antifouling each year. The latter will

Winter's Folly

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 28, 2010
Do you winterize your own engine, or do you have the yard do it? I take the former approach, for three reasons. As my dad used to say, if you want to be sure a job’s done properly, do it yourself; I’ve seen some pretty sketchy work done by so-called marine professionals over the years.The second reason? It seems silly to pay someone to do a job that’s a) not very time-consuming, b) not at

Light Work

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 28, 2010
One of the best mini-projects I’ve done this year is to replace most of the halogen light bulbs on board with LEDs. I’ve always hated halogens; so much of the energy they consume is wasted as heat that they are models of inefficiency, and that same heat can actually be dangerous if something flammable is pressed up against a light fitting. The fact that I have scorched my bald spot countless

Skinny Sailing

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 11, 2010
Thus begins a time of hunger, but the trade-off is compelling: 10 days of sacrifice for the serious fun of sailing in a legendary Caribbean event with a group of dialed-in high-school sailors and the boat’s skilled and gracious owner, Mike Williams.The 37th annual St. Thomas Rolex International Regatta sees 66 boats racing in seven classes to compete for four Rolex timepieces. Walking into

Barely There

by Peter Nielsen, Posted October 11, 2010
Racing a charter boat is very different from campaigning your Sonar or Etchells or, as in our helmsman Charlie Garrard’s case, your J/105. Some bareboats are pretty tired, and sails can have a short lifespan in boisterous Caribbean conditions. Some of the bigger, heavier boats are cumbersome and slow to tack and trying to sail them well can be a frustrating exercise. Local knowledge of winds and

Portland Pudgy

by Peter Nielsen, Posted September 23, 2010
Once, in the interests of research, I spent an afternoon bobbing around in a liferaft. Ever since, I’ve had an obsession with bilge pumps, because what I learned was this: I don’t ever want to spend time in a liferaft again. The discomfort was one thing, and should not be downplayed, but what really got to me was the sense of helplessness. A liferaft is a passive device, at the mercy of wind and

Bavaria by Farr

by Peter Nielsen, Posted September 21, 2010
Germany’s Bavaria Yachts, not long ago the 800-pound gorilla of European boatbuilding, took a pummeling during the recession. For years its philosophy of strict engineering practices and budget control had seen its value-priced cruising boats flying off the factory floor. By 2007 the factory was cranking out nearly 3,500 boats a year to feed a seemingly insatiable, mainly
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