by Peter Nielsen

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

Bilge Pump Renewal

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
Before I laid the boat up, I had to replace a bilge pump that had mysteriously stopped working. This was a secondary pump, serving to keep the water out of a poorly drained part of the hull forward of the mast step. It was a good opportunity for a quick photo tutorial on connecting 12-volt wires together. Yes, this sounds remedial, but I have seen enough botched jobs on boats to know that you

Winter Battery Maintenance

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 27, 2010
A few years ago, I left my boat’s two lead-acid batteries on board over winter. It wasn’t intentional—an early snowfall led me to cover the boat up sooner than anticipated, and I just never got around to taking the batteries off.After three months of freezing New England winter, I suddenly remembered they were still on board. I snuck down to the yard one mild Saturday and hooked the

Cold Comfort Reading

by Peter Nielsen, Posted January 20, 2010
This time of year, with the boats packed up and the waters iced over, we often become armchair sailors by default. There’s no better time to delve into that list of sailing books you've been dying to read. Start with these suggestions from SAIL editors and readers, and send us a few of your own. Get cozy – reading season has only just begun.Dallas

Tacktick T104 Instruments

by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 21, 2009
I’d been thinking about installing new sailing instruments for a year before I finally took the plunge. The difficulty of choosing between several excellent makes was one problem. Another was the hassle factor; the significant amount of labor involved in running cables around the boat and installing the display heads. This accounts for much of the cost of upgrading instruments. The more I thought
Dragonfly is a sweet 1983 Bristol 35.5, based in Marblehead, Massachusetts. She still sports most of her original deck gear and the old Merriman genoa lead cars and tracks, while still functional, had seen better days. Owner Tim Sheehy sails shorthanded and wants to get the best performance out of his new suit of North sails, so he decided to upgrade to Lewmar sliding bolt track and

Some like it hot

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 19, 2009
According to received wisdom, there’s no point in going to the Caribbean in the summer. “Too hot,” the naysayers grumble. “And if it’s not too hot, it’s too wet. You’d have to be pretty dumb to go down there in hurricane season.” All of which is true, and also not true.Yes, it can be hot, yes, it rains more than in winter and yes, there is the chance a marauding

Calling for Help

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 18, 2009
The three boats in Tom Cunliffe’s scenario all found different ways of coping with difficult weather conditions, and all made it to port with little or no drama. But what if things had turned out differently? How would they have called for help?Visual distress

EKO 6.5

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 17, 2009
The Mini 6.5 solo racing class is well established in Europe, and is now slowly gaining a toehold in the U.S.A. The EKO 6.5 is built by Third Coast Composites in Texas and the first example has already completed the Bermuda One-Two race. There are plans to break into series production if the class catches on. LOA 21ft 4in, beam 9ft 10in, draft 6ft 6in, displacement 2,040 lbs,

No-risk mast climbing

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
Most halyard winches are not powerful enough to hoist a 200-pound sailor up a mast, so you need to find a way to let your primary winches take the strain if you need to hoist someone up the rig. Here’s what we do on our boat, where the main halyard runs via a rope clutch (not seen in the photo) to a small winch on the mast. First, we loop a spare length of half-inch line a few times around the

No-foul jib sheet

by Peter Nielsen, Posted August 5, 2009
The bowlines used to attach sheets to the clew of a headsail have an annoying habit of catching on inner forestays, babystays, and shrouds. Here’s a why-didn’t-I-think-of-this-before idea: if you’re replacing your headsail sheets, don’t cut them in half. Double the sheet over and thread the looped end through the clew. Pass the tails through the loop and draw tight. Then say goodbye to those
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