by David Schmidt

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

In the rarefied world of grand prix racing sails, the distance between first and second can be measured in millimeters. Today’s racing sails are built out of an exotic menu of high-tech materials using advanced construction techniques to yield shape-specific sails that boast minimal stretch or creep.

2012 Pittman Innovation Awards

by Adam Cort, Posted January 11, 2012
Each year SAIL presents the Pittman Innovation Awards, recognizing the most innovative and interesting new products on the market. Our team of judges went through the fall boat shows looking for the latest and greatest in new gear. Here’s what they came up with.
The Farr 400’s all-carbon construction, powerful sailplan and excellent deck and cockpit layout  make it a convincing successor to the aging Farr 40. The 400’s lifting keel and two-part carbon mast (supported by EC6 standing rigging) also allow for cost-effective shipping in a 40-foot container, facilitating international competition.
From the same design team that brought the world the Viper 640 comes a new sport boat configured for two- and three-person racing. The boat is designed to be both affordable and accommodate a wide range of experience levels.
While Pacific Northwesteners are a laid-back lot, some things are sacrosanct. Take seafood. Sure, we might roll into the marina in an aging Subaru wearing worn-out Birkenstocks, battle-scarred jeans and an old regatta T-shirt, but you can bet your last roll of duct tape we don’t tolerate inferior seafood. Why should we?

Mechanical Leverage

by David Schmidt, Posted June 23, 2011
This article originally appeared in the December 2009 issueYour boomvang is a key tool for adjusting the shape of your mainsail. Sailing off the breeze without a vang, the pressure on your sail causes your boom to rise up, degrading sail shape. On small dinghies you sometimes don’t need a boomvang as the mainsail may be small enough that you can control sail shape with mainsheet

Hunter 27e

by David Schmidt, Posted May 18, 2011
The Hunter 27e just may be the quintessential “new-old boat.” The hull, deck, appendages, rig and interior have been sailing aboard the Hunter 27 since 2006.
You’ll have to go pretty far to find better sailing conditions or a more pleasant Caribbean destination than Antigua. The tradewinds here typically blow out of the east at 15 knots, and the island’s high coastline provides a spectacular backdrop. On shore you’ll find great restaurants, sailor-friendly bars, quaint villages and an abundance of great anchorages.“The four main places that I
Few designs pack as much fun into 18 feet as the Hobie Mirage Tandem Island, a two-person pedal-or-paddle kayak that converts to a sail-powered trimaran by attaching a pair of akas and amas, and stepping a carbon-fiber mast. The roller-reefing loose-footed mainsail carries a generous amount of sailcloth up high and is supported by vertical battens. The boat’s robust rotomolded hull encourages

The Other Pacific

by David Schmidt, Posted November 10, 2010
Simply put, sailing in Hawaii is a dream. Bountiful winds, gorgeous islands, friendly people, unbelievable marine life and crystal-clear water make this place a paradise, as I found out last winter while sailing from Ala Wai Harbor in Honolulu to the coastal town of Lahaina on Maui’s northwest coast. Along the way I experienced enough of Hawaii’s magic to realize that it’s one of the world’s most
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