by Peter Nielsen

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

Winter's Woes

by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 29, 2010
January means various things to a sailor. If you live in the southern regions it probably means that you don't sail as often as you might in, say, milder months like December or March. If you are a snowbound northerner then you are almost certainly counting the weeks until the cover comes off the boat and life can get back to what you wish was normal.The only consolation about cold winters

The Year That Was

by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 29, 2010
So it’s goodbye to 2010, a year that was a vast improvement over its predecessor in almost every respect. In looking back I find few causes for complaint, which is a rare thing indeed for a sailor in the Northeast.A suspiciously warm spring meant that the essential boat projects got done and the non-essential ones got half done; already I was way up on 2009.Spring merged into summer

Wacky Boats

by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 8, 2010
The Lemsteraak The shouts of the crews mingle with the sound of timber meeting timber. Eased-out booms sweep across decks, grinning sailors ducking as the treetrunk-sized spars brush their scalps. On shore, screaming spectators wave banners and urge on their local heroes. As the fleet approaches the mark, the race turns into a barging match—literally. For we are on the

The Dufour 40e

by Peter Nielsen, Posted November 23, 2010
It was one of those days a boat reviewer lives for: a solid 20 knots of wind, occasionally gusting toward 30; a cloudless blue sky; and a sharp performance cruiser with a couple of pro sailors aboard, all dialed up and ready to go. This example of Dufour’s new 40E had not been in the water long, and I happily seized the chance to put it through its paces during a visit last March to the factory

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
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