by David Schmidt

David Schmidt, a SAIL editor-at-large, is a recent transplant to the Pacific Northwest from SAIL's Boston offices

Command Decisions

by David Schmidt, Posted January 9, 2009
As we transition from the Bush administration to the Obama administration, let us tip our hats to the old guard for the passage of the Vessel Hull Design Protection Act Amendments of 2008, which addresses problems related to intellectual-property rights that were not resolved by the VHDPA of 1998. The new act, which the National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) heavily advocated for six

Offshore Comfort

by David Schmidt, Posted January 8, 2009
Offshore ComfortIf you sail regularly offshore, you know the absolute importance of a good, warm, dry pair of seaboots. There are plenty on the market, most of which are very good, and -- like ski boots -- a lot comes down to individual fit, but if your foot is a fairly common size, you'll go far to find a better pair than the Dubarry Ultimas. These Gore-Tex-lined leather

Slippery Stuff

by David Schmidt, Posted January 7, 2009
When I raced Lasers as a kid, our team used to apply liquid dish detergent to our hulls to make them faster. This worked great for a little while before the soap washed off (usually measured in boatlengths from the dock). Team McLube’s Hullkote, a high-performance speed polish, takes this same concept many steps forward, delivering an ultra-smooth, bonded finish, when applied correctly. Hullkote

Blast Reaching

by David Schmidt, Posted December 19, 2008
I admit that I was skeptical about racing on a big catamaran for a day at Antigua Sailing Week. My previous cat experience was limited, and I wasn’t expecting much. I’d seen the fleet of exotic-looking Gunboats—three GB48s and three GB62s—dockside on day one of this annual regatta. With their synthetic-fiber halyards strung from Marstrom carbon-fiber rigs and their chisel-like bows practically

Leveled

by David Schmidt, Posted December 11, 2008
LeveledAre you a racer looking for ways to hone your crew’s sail-handling skills, or are you a cruiser interested in creating a home video documenting of your latest adventure? Either way, Horizon True can get you sorted with one of their high-quality, self-leveling video camera mounts (they also accept still cameras). The mounts utilize either a pendulum or a counterweight to keep

Alternative Rigs

by David Schmidt, Posted December 8, 2008
Sailors are a conservative lot. The sea takes no prisoners, and most people don’t care to experiment when the cost of failure is potentially great. That’s why both futuristic and some older traditional sailing rigs struggle for acceptance and often receive little more than patronizing smiles from so-called modern mariners.Ironically, the conventional marconi rig that now dominates sailing

Save the Whales!

by David Schmidt, Posted December 5, 2008
While everybody loves charismatic megafauna, whales occupy a special spot in the heart and imagination, especially amongst sailors. Watching these graceful creatures breach, swim, and dive is one of the true magic shows of offshore sailing, so it comes as little surprise that saving whales is popular everywhere from Washington D.C., to myriad yacht clubs worldwide, to even Team Russia’s

Leashed

by David Schmidt, Posted December 4, 2008
Leashed. Spinlock has been stepping up their already-deep line of safety products, first with their award-winning Deckvest, and now with their ORC-legal Connect Range tethers. The two-clip tether that I tested relies on a girth hitch, rather than a metal clip, to affix it to a PFD’s hard point (Spinlock recommends also carrying a knife, should a user need to escape her tether).
"Mike, are you going to catch dinner for us?” Mom asks as my brother pads barefoot down the docks of The Moorings’s base in Marigot Bay, St. Lucia, toward our Leopard 4300 charter catamaran, a rented trolling rod slung over his shoulder.“You know it,” he says, his excitement over spending the next week cruising St. Lucia, Martinique, and Dominica obvious. As we wrap up last-minute

Sensibulb LED

by David Schmidt, Posted November 7, 2008
Much has been written in recent years regarding LED light bulbs as a way of saving energy aboard, and about the many hours of use that each LED unit delivers, and rightly so. Why waste power and create heat by using inefficient incandescent bulbs? The Sensibulb is the newest LED offering from Sailor’s Solutions, and is purported to be the brightest aftermarket LED available. Best yet, the
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