by Peter Nielsen

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

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
Our 1973 Norlin 34 project boat had been used mainly for club racing in its latter years, and it showed. Among its many outdated systems was the battery-management setup. It was no worse than what I suspect can be found on many other boats of that vintage, but it would not suffice for extended cruising.The two Group 27 90AH deep-cycle lead-acid batteries, one for house

Easy controls

by Peter Nielsen, Posted July 22, 2009
The twin-lever engine control on our Norlin 34, Ostara, had been annoying me for as long as we’d had the boat. The detent was so worn that it was sometimes not possible to tell if you were in neutral or reverse gear. More than once I had been alerted by yells from the neighboring boats as Ostara sidled crablike around her mooring, pulled by the prop walk of
The giant trimaran Banque Populaire V is on standby for an attempt to set a new record for the east-west transatlantic crossing under sail. Skipper Pascal Bidegorry and his crew of twelve are aiming to crack the existing record of 4 days, 3 hours, 57 minutes and 53 seconds for the 2,925 mile crossing between Lizard Point, England, and Ambrose Light, off New

Morris M52

by Peter Nielsen, Posted June 22, 2009
It’s been quite a year for Morris Yachts. In January the yard launched the baby of its daysailer line-up, the M29, and in May the new flagship, the M52, was gently lowered into the chilly Maine water. I sailed the $1.3m yacht two weeks after her launch.Like the other M-series boats – the M29, M36, and M42 - the M52 is designed by legendary naval architects Sparkman &
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