by David Schmidt

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

VOR changes announced

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
In the current economic climate, it’s no surprise that that potential sponsors are balking at the prospect of ponying up the $50-60 million needed to fund a first-rate Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) campaign. The VOR itself has been working to reduce costs, as they recognize that sponsors only get their full value if there are plenty of boats competing.So far, changes include a

LED Lights

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
LED lights have revolutionized onboard lighting in recent years due to the featherweight draw they impose on house batteries. Initially LEDs were several times costlier than their incandescent brethren. Thankfully, this has changed recently, and Hella Marine’s line of NaviLED PRO navigation lights are a great example of affordable performance. These lights use a scant 10% of the power consumed by
If you’ve ever anchored in a really muddy bottom, or amidst blocky granite seafloors, you know firsthand that pulling an anchor up by hand is neither fun nor fast. Quick Nautical Equipment recently unveiled two new vertical windlasses, the Aleph and the Dylan. Each model comes in three sizes. The Aleph is for boats between 22 and 49 feet; the Dylan is for boats from 38 to 64 feet. The windlasses

Atlantis Weather Gear

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
Atlantis Weather Gear recently introduced two new items in its coastal sailing line, the Aegis Hybrid Bib and the Aegis Spraytop, as well as a re-tooled version of its flagship Aegis Jacket. The gear utilizes Atlantis’s triple-layer, highly breathable laminate Typhoon fabric. For years, Atlantis has held that sailing gear can be versatile and comfortable without the bulk of

Swan 90 FD

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
When Nautor Swan built its first boat — the venerable Swan 36, Tarantella — in 1968, the Finnish builder used a revolutionary new hull material called fiberglass. Forty-some years later Swan is again pushing the envelope, this time with DSK, an all-carbon, flush-deck, 90-foot German Frers-designed rocketship.Compare the two boats and you quickly

Heat Beaters

by David Schmidt, Posted August 18, 2009
Cruising quickly becomes less enjoyable as the temperature soars, especially at night when sleeping becomes difficult. Mix in some sticky humidity and things rapidly get uncomfortable. AC works well , if you don’t mind being tied to shore power and a potentially noisy dock scene (we prefer quiet anchorages, thank you). If your boat carries a genset, then you’re still stuck listening to its

MN30

by David Schmidt, Posted August 5, 2009
Spend enough time sailing and you’ll eventually lose your masthead anemometer. Sometimes big winds or storms will take them out; seabirds also think they’re a handy place to perch. When it breaks or needs replacing, wouldn’t it be nice to simply remove the old anemometer and screw in the new one, no wires or connectors involved? For years, Tacktick has been making high-quality, wireless,

Grand Prix Jacket

by David Schmidt, Posted August 5, 2009
Let’s face it: The vast majority of your time spent on the water is during relatively easy weather windows. Spring, summer, and fall — months when the winds are fairly warm and the rains are fairly tame. Obviously, if you’re a Volvo Ocean racer or a diehard frostbiter, this review doesn’t apply to you, but for everybody else, why pack a full-on foul-weather-gear jacket if all it’s going to do for

Ronstan's Battlesticks

by David Schmidt, Posted August 5, 2009
For years, sailors have relied on Ronstan’s alloy Battlesticks to help steer their way through tough starting lines and packed gate roundings. Now Ronstan has unveiled the 2.0 version of the Battlestick, which is built of carbon to shave weight and add strength and stiffness. Each carbon Battlestick is specifically designed and tapered for its length, ensuring maximum

McMurdo Fast Find

by David Schmidt, Posted August 5, 2009
McMurdo has introduced two new Fast Find emergency personal-locator beacons that broadcast on both 121.5 and 406 MHz. Once activated, the units broadcast for 24 hours. Both come loaded with an SOS LED light that flashes the Morse code SOS pattern. According to McMurdo, most emergency signals that are broadcast on the 406 MHz signal are “heard” within 3 to 45 minutes; it then takes 3 additional
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