by Peter Nielsen

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

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

Deck makeover

by Peter Nielsen, Posted March 12, 2009
As part of the refit of our project boat, Ostara, a 1973 Norlin 34, I decided to scrap its vintage hydraulic system for tensioning the backstay, boomvang, and babystay, along with the control panel in the cockpit. In its new role as a coastal cruiser and occasional racer, the boat had no need for such powerful trimming gear or for hoses full of hydraulic oil leading

The Moorings Base Re-Opens

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 19, 2009
You never need much of an excuse for a party in the British Virgin Islands, but the grand opening of The Moorings’s revamped Tortola base at the end of January provided both motive and opportunity. Top brass from the company’s European headquarters joined the Premier and other local dignitaries—as well as what seemed to be the entire Moorings workforce—in celebrating the

In hot water

by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 16, 2009
ChecklistTools
  • Screwdrivers
  • Wrenches
  • Cordless drill
  • Tube cutter
  • Materials
  • Water heater
  • 5/8" heavy-duty water hose
  • NPT fittings
  • Fasteners, as needed
  • After upgrading the mostly original fresh-water plumbing system on our 1973 Norlin 34 project boat with new hoses,

    Split the difference

    by Peter Nielsen, Posted February 11, 2009
    Here’s a bit of jet-setting one-upmanship for you: Last March I had breakfast in Boston, flew to the Caribbean, and had lunch in Holland and dinner in France. Well, it’s kind of true. St. Martin/Sint Maarten, all 37 square miles of it, is two-thirds French and one-third Dutch, and it’s in the Caribbean. The Dutch section is part of the Netherlands Antilles, and the French is a collectivit of

    Let there be water

    by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 22, 2008
    Of all the upgrades you can lavish on an older boat, few will give you more bang for your buck than a complete overhaul of the fresh-water plumbing system. An improvement in water quality should be immediately apparent; any of the new breed of water pumps will be quieter and less power-hungry than their predecessors, and with a little planning, you can make your boat much more user-friendly both

    Gravity Theory

    by Peter Nielsen, Posted December 9, 2008
    Smell. Pong. Effluvium. Whichever way you describe it, the airborne essence emanating from Ostara’s aged sanitation system was highly unpleasant. More than just an odor but thankfully short of a full-blown stench, it permeated the forepeak and almost caused a spousal mutiny during our first weekend aboard. No doubt about it – something had to be done.The sanitation system comprised a
    The British speed sailing boat Sailrocket has set a new world record, before self-destructing in spectacular fashion.Helmed by Australian Paul Larsen, the lightweight flier hit peak speeds of 52 knots in only 22 knots of wind and averaged 47.36 knots over the 500 meter course to set a new Class B speed record.On its next run, the boat came unstuck at 50 knots-plus and was
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