by David Schmidt

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

The Giving Season

by David Schmidt, Posted November 4, 2008
Sailors are a fickle group to buy gifts for, as many old salts have their kit of choice and aren’t especially interested in shaking things up. Did I mention that by nature, we’re traditionalists? While some factions among us might be content to hang onto those old, musty-smelling foulies, the good news is that there is plenty of great innovation and bright ideas coming from the industry side of
Is the America’s Cup saved? No. Sadly, the battle of the ego-heavy billionaires continues, with neither side showing any signs of backing down, even though the Socit Nautique de Genve/Alinghi has won an important victory by having Desafo Espaol, Club Nutico Espaol de Vela reinstated as the official challenger of record (BMX/Oracle of course claims that Desafo Espaol, Club Nutico Espaol

The Miracle Race

by David Schmidt, Posted November 4, 2008
The Vendee Globe is the real deal: A singlehanded sailor, a massively powerful, 60-foot canting-keel carbon-fiber racing shell with some of the fastest sails around, and Planet Earth. Solo. No assistance. Just the sailor, aboard his/her boat, taking on the world. What could be simpler?Obviously, “simple” is not a standard word used to describe the work list necessary to just arrive on the

North of Twenty

by David Schmidt, Posted October 22, 2008
“This thing is like a Volvo Open 70 except it doesn’t have a canting keel and its systems are more refined,” says veteran bowman Jerry Kirby as Numbers, Dan Meyers’s newly splashed Judel/Vrolijk 66, hits a big wave and jostles the crew, most of whom are stationed near the stern to keep the bow up. All around us are choppy seas; the true-wind instrument reads 18 to 21 knots, and our

Heavy Lifting

by David Schmidt, Posted October 22, 2008
We all want our boats to be more stable, but how can this be accomplished? The conventional solution is to hang more ballast off a deeper keel. Think more progressively, and you’re talking about water ballasting, which, while effective, also adds extra weight. Go sci-fi, and you’re canting your keel to windward—which is very effective, but is complicated, accident-prone, and still depends on

Bases Loaded

by David Schmidt, Posted October 22, 2008
So, you want to campaign a Volvo Open 70. The 2008–09 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR), a fully crewed around-the-world marathon, started on October 4, 2008, in Alicante, Spain, so you're out of luck unless your time frame is far downstream. As in, the next race. When the time comes, you could model yourself this way: You could start by buying the VO70 that holds the monohull 24-hour distance record

Busted!

by David Schmidt, Posted August 27, 2008
Sailors have been tying knots for millennia, and no doubt innovators have been trying just as long to invent both stronger rope and better knots. Yet the basic problem still remains: Every rope is weakened when its fibers are bent. Loading a knot with a large amount of weight creates a sheer force on the fibers; given enough force, the fibers break and the rope fails. Today’s

Slippery Solution

by David Schmidt, Posted August 27, 2008
Have you noticed that it was easier to hoist your mainsail when it was new? This may be because the luff hardware (typically metal or plastic sliders or slugs) has become worn or deformed, causing excess friction. Chris Caldwell of Piranha Sails in Marblehead, Massachusetts, has a neat short-term solution that’s as simple as making a quick stop at the supermarket for a bottle of dish

Choose Wisely

by David Schmidt, Posted August 26, 2008
How to find the favored end of the lineDetermining which end of a starting line is favored can be tricky. At a recent J/World racing clinic, North Sails sailmaker and J/World instructor Geoff Moore provided three useful methods for determining a line’s favored end. It’s important to test the line before the warning gun is fired so as not to interfere with another start; you’ll

Masthead Magic

by David Schmidt, Posted August 26, 2008
Tips for safely going aloftThe list of reasons for going aloft is long: checking the rig, rerunning a lost halyard, fixing a broken wind instrument. There are two basic ways to go up the mast: You can climb a halyard or you can be hoisted. While there are a number of devices available to help you ascend, the best method is to use a bosun’s chair or to use a mast-climbing device
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