by Peter Nielsen

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

Go Microfiber

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 23, 2010
I’ve become converted to microfiber cloth for polishing things like dodger windows, portlights and stainless steel. You can use them with just about any polishing compound and they’re resistant to most other chemicals. They seem to get rid of annoying little flaws better than cotton rag, and you can wash them and reuse them.Shurhold is now selling microfiber towels in 3-packs for $18.95 or

Old-Boat Nightmares #2

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 23, 2010
I was watching our surveyor friend Norm Leblanc inspecting a 1970s Pearson. He was tapping the topsides with his trusty rubber-tipped hammer, sounding for all the world like a giant woodpecker. Suddenly, the sharp rap-rap-rap of the hammer changed to a hollow thud-thud-thud. “Uh-oh,” said Norm.He had been working along the bow sections, and when we looked closely, we could see a network of
The Kiwiprop feathering propeller is gradually gaining popularity in a competitive marketplace. It is set apart from its rivals by its construction—the blades are made of Zytel, a plastic composite made by Dupont, mounted on a 316 stainless-steel hub. This combination lessens the potential for galvanic corrosion, which was the main reason I decided to replace my bronze two-bladed folding

What, no copper?

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 23, 2010
When your antifouling paint arrives in plain-labelled cans marked “Experimental,” you’re going to get some suspicious looks from your boatyard neighbors. When I painted our 34ft project boat’s bottom with Interlux’s Pacifica Plus copper-free antifouling last spring, the product was so new the labels hadn’t even been printed, and it proved to be a bit of a conversation-starter in the

School's In

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 1, 2010
“The purpose of this class,” announces the burly man by the blackboard, “is to save engines from people like you.” Larry Berlin is not a man to mince his words. Tall and grizzled, the head of training for East Coast Yanmar diesel importers Mack Boring is an imposing figure. It is all I can do not to flinch guiltily as his eyes bore into me. Has he somehow sensed that I once left old oil in an

Riding a BIG Whirlwind

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 25, 2010
Like a Tornado on steroids, the all-carbon-fiber Extreme 40 catamaran weighs virtually nothing and goes in a matter of seconds from merely scarily fast to oh-my-god-we’re-going-over.Americans got a taste of them a couple of years ago when the Extreme fleet put on a barnstorming sailing exhibition during the Baltimore stopover of the Volvo Ocean Race.Imagine the same kind of

Installing a Water Heater

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 28, 2010
When replacing the pressure water system on our project boat, we thought it would be fun to install a water heater. But where to put it? Like most early ’70s boats, our Norlin 34 lacks interior volume compared to modern boats. The need for the heater to be mounted below the engine’s heat exchanger (to prevent problems with coolant circulation) further complicated matters.The only logical

Keeping the Sea Out

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 28, 2010
Out of sight, out of mind…That adage is so old it creaks, but that doesn’t make it any less true. It was especially true of the cockpit drain hoses and gate valves on our 34ft project boat. Back when we acquired the boat, the surveyor looked at the ancient hoses and corroded gate valves in horror and suggested that we replace them “before long.” Three years later, “before long” still hadn’t

Old Boat Nightmares #1

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
A few years ago I was seriously interested in a Pearson 10M that was on the market for a very reasonable asking price. I had looked it over pretty closely—or so I thought—and I had picked up on a number of faults, none of which were serious enough to put me off.Luckily, I had engaged surveyor Norm LeBlanc to check the boat over, and he found plenty more flaws. The biggest one can be seen

Backstay Tensioner

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
Easy Upgrades: #1 of a seriesEvery fractionally rigged boat will have (or should have) a means of adjusting backstay tension. Its main purpose is to flatten and depower the mainsail in stronger winds, putting off the time at which a reef will be required. Because very few masthead-rigged boats are provided with backstay adjusters, cruising sailors regard them with the
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