by Peter Nielsen

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

Having a long length of line ready to use at short notice is always a good idea when cruising. You never know when you may have to run out a long mooring warp or set a kedge anchor. The trouble is that such a seldom-used line often ends up under piles of gear in the cockpit locker. This is a bad arrangement, because when you want a long line you often need it right now. You don’t want to waste

Rustler 24

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 20, 2009
If you’ve never heard of Rustler Yachts, well, that’s not surprising. It’s a respected British company that produces small numbers of rugged, well-built cruising boats, and they’ve never before had a distributor on this side of the Atlantic. I’ve sailed both the Rustlers 36 and 42 and enjoyed them very much. The 42 is a fast cruiser in the modern idiom, with a tall rig, deep

GPS system questions

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 20, 2009
The Government Accountability Office’s report last week on the parlous state of the Global Positioning Satellite system should set alarm bells ringing. When a body like the GAO warns that the GPS system is in crisis, all of us – not just sailors – need to take notice. GPS technology is so omnipresent in modern life that few areas of transportation remain unaffected by it.The GAO report

Moody 45

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 14, 2009
The acquisition a few years ago of British boatbuilder Moody Yachts by Germany’s Hanse set the scene for an unlikely marriage. Moody was known for solid, staid cruising boats, built for comfort, not speed; Hanse’s spectacular growth during the previous decade had been fuelled by an attractive line-up of fast cruisers that combined zippy performance and sporty lines with brash

Beneteau 43

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 14, 2009
The typical modern production boat owes much to the demands of the charter market, and few builders are tied as deeply to that market as Beneteau, whose Oceanis and Cyclades lines have been mainstays of The Moorings’s fleets (among others) for close on two decades. Comfort and reliability come before speed in the charter operator’s wish list, but in recent years the emphasis

Morris M29

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 11, 2009
This pretty little boat was conceived in response to requests from owners of bigger Morrises for a smaller, simpler daysailer. The earlier Morris daysailers—the M36, M42, and M52—were father/son collaborations between Tom and Cuyler Morris, but Tom’s lengthy illness meant the M29 bears Cuyler’s stamp. Hull #1 was completed and launched in the frigid depths of the Maine winter,

AIS for Sailors

by Peter Nielsen, Posted May 7, 2009
Any sailor who has made extended passages along coastlines or across oceans has had at least a few close callswith big ships whose course and intentions can be difficult to discern until the last minute. The introduction of AIS (Automatic Identification System) has taken a lot of the guesswork (not to mention terror) out of these close-quarters situations. For just a

Looking after sails

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 30, 2009
Dacron is a tough, long-lasting cloth that has only two real enemies—sunlight and chafe. There is not a lot you can do to ward off the effects of ultraviolet light except to make sure the mainsail cover is always in place when you’re not using the boat and to check that the sacrificial strip on the leech and foot of a roller genoa is in good condition.Chafe is another matter. It likes to

8-Strand splice

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 30, 2009
When I replaced the ground tackle on our project boat I did not hesitate to relegate the 15 feet of half-inch three-strand nylon rode to the bottom of the cockpit locker. During the years I spent sailing around Europe, I became a firm fan of plaited nylon anchor rode. It piles up tightly in the anchor locker and pays out neatly, without kinking or twisting, and I believe its shock-absorption

Extending whisker poles

by Peter Nielsen, Posted April 20, 2009
A standard spinnaker pole is as long as the J measurement on your boat – that is, the distance from the base of the mast to the forestay chainplate. This is purely a racing rule requirement; longer poles are penalized under PHRF rules. If you’re cruising, your whisker pole can be any length you like.On a couple of occasions when I’ve wanted to run downwind with
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