by Peter Nielsen

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

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

Cape Crusaders

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 12, 2010
It started, as so many of these things do, over a beer. At the time, a circumnavigation of Cape Cod sounded easy. After all, it’s our home territory.That conversation took place sometime in 2003, and here we were last summer, still planning this epic voyage. Not that we hadn’t tried. Twice, SAIL editors had set off in Corsair F-24 trimarans borrowed from the Multihull Source in Wareham,

How Swede It Is

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 10, 2010
Many of the world’s most desirable sailboats come from Scandinavia. Hallberg-Rassy, Najad, Mal, X-Yachts and Swan are just a few of the excellent brands built around the Baltic. One name that doesn’t resonate with American sailors is Arcona, for the simple reason that until recently, this young Swedish yard has not had an importer in the United States. It has, however, established a good name

Beneteau 58

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 10, 2010
Beneteau's flagship is an excellent example of the new generation of boats in the 50-60 foot range that are coming out of France. It looks great on the water, sails very well, is well built and nicely detailed, and has all the space above and below decks that you could reasonably want.
“Serious racing, serious fun…” The Snipe class motto neatly sums up the appeal of this ubiquitous dinghy. Fifteen and a half feet long, light and uncomplicated, easy to trailer and launch, the Snipe is a boat that never gets old. Go to any Snipe regatta and you’ll see septuagenarians mixing it up with teenagers, pro sailors battling it out with Sunday-afternoon amateurs.The boat’s

Old Boat Nightmares #3

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 3, 2010
After we’d sailed our boat for a year, we decided to pull the mast and have the old paint blasted off so that we could recoat it. It turned out that it wasn’t just the paint that was in poor shape. As we started picking away at the old paint it became obvious that the mast was more corroded than we’d thought. Even worse, close inspection revealed cracks around a couple of the T-ball sockets on
When we acquired our “new” boat I saw at a glance that the plastic-sheathed lifelines were junk. Not only were they too thin–she had been used only for racing, so I guess the wire was underspecified to save a few pounds – but they were all too obviously old and dangerously corroded. I once saw a friend fall overboard because a rusty lifeline gave way, so I knew I would replace them as soon as
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