by David Schmidt

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

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
New York, Newport, Perth, San Diego, Auckland, Valencia, and…Ras al-Khaimah. What do these places have in common? Each has hosted or will host the America’s Cup, the old-running trophy in sports. You’ll quickly notice that one of these names is not like the others. Sailing in the Middle East is a fledgling sport, to put it kindly, but thanks to the battle of the egos otherwise known as the 33rd
In May of 2007, a fledgling team called Puma Ocean Racing announced their intentions of competing in the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race — a 37,000 mile round-the-world grudge match that’s fought out in the world’s fastest monohulls — in Boston, MA. As an attending journalist, I can report that while excitement ran high, expectations were fairly limited. Not because of the sponsor

Free and clear

by David Schmidt, Posted August 3, 2009
If you sail in Maine, you’ve likely heard the one about the best way to cross a channel (Answer: walk across on the lobster-pot buoys). This isn’t hyperbole; visit many harbors in Maine and you’ll find them choked with pot buoys, some of them in working channels. For sailors, a wrapped prop in a tight channel flanked by rock ledges is a serious predicament: not to mention the potential damage to

Hurricane preparation

by David Schmidt, Posted August 3, 2009
“Staying aboard is a terrible idea!” says Bob Adriance, the Technical Director at Boat US, which insures some 200,000 boats in the U.S. “There is little — if anything — you can do to protect your boat and it’s extremely dangerous. People have been killed.”Adriance advises that location is the biggest factor in determining how safe your boat will be during a hurricane. “A small seawall

Wooden warhorses

by David Schmidt, Posted July 30, 2009
Fiberglass, check; steel, check; carbon fiber, check; wood — uh, no, actually. So went my resume regarding the boats I’ve sailed. Okay, a few wooden Blue Jays and Lightnings as a kid, but for experience on proper wooden displacement boats, I had nothing. “Had” being the operative word. My eyes were opened to this fascinating subset of sailing at the 22nd-annual Panerai Antigua
Bad clothing is restrictive, sweaty, and confining. Don a pair of such shorts and go sailing and odds are impressive that you’ll feel uncomfortable and won’t be able to perform up to your potential. On the far opposite end of the performance/comfort spectrum are Harken’s new Sailing Shorts. These stretch, gusseted, reinforced, and durable shorts are hands down the best pair of sailing shorts that
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