by David Schmidt

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

It's a wrap

by David Schmidt, Posted June 29, 2009
For Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) pundits the world over, this weekend was a mixed bag. On the upshot, the 2008/2009 VOR closed with fireworks for Telefonica Black, the Spanish flagged B-team skippered by Fernando Echavarri, who finally won their first leg victory in a nail-biter finish with Puma. The two VO70’s were mere boatlengths apart as the two sleds sprinted
“I haven’t been able to practice as much as I would have liked,” confessed Clay Burkhalter, of Stonington, Connecticut. “I’ve been really busy running my restaurant, and working on upgrades to my boat project. I haven’t been offshore too much recently.”The morning of the start of the Bermuda One-Two race (June 5) started cold and snotty, with about 10-12 knots of

Softies

by David Schmidt, Posted June 19, 2009
Adios steel shackles, hello Softies. These soft shackles (they can also do double duty as hanks for headsails) are spliced from a single length of Dyneema SK75 and come in two sizes, the smaller of which has a safe working load of 2,000 pounds, while the larger can handle 4,000 pounds: impressive numbers, given the unit’s light weight. While sailors have been handcrafting soft shackles for
Given the inherent dangers of sailing, it’s good to know some manufacturers think extra hard about safety aboard. Spinlock is one of those companies, as evidenced by its new line of cruising-oriented ZR Jammers. The UK-based company recognizes the potential for injury when a sailor releases the lever on a highly loaded clutch. Its new ZR 1014 Jammer has no control lever; instead, there’s a
Over the years, Hall Spars has developed a solid reputation for building high-end performance masts and booms. More recently, it announced its new line of Hall Seamless Carbon Rigging (SCR) 35. As the name implies, this carbon standing rigging is seamless, has the smallest frontal area possible, and has a billiard-ball smooth finish that Hall claims helps to reduce drag. The

The WOW factor

by David Schmidt, Posted June 17, 2009
Let’s face it: moving a wind-powered vehicle straight into the wind is no easy feat. Sailors have grappled with this problem for as long as sails and boats have been used in tandem, usually with limited results. Given enough tweaking, millions of dollars, and the best sails on Planet Earth, America’s Cup Class boats can sail tight, close-winded angles, but they still can’t sail dead to

J/95

by David Schmidt, Posted June 17, 2009
It’s no secret that J/Boats is an industry leader when it comes to fast, innovative sailboats; the retractable sprit pole introduced with the J/105 gave new life to the asymmetric spinnaker, and the company practically invented the sport-boat genre. Now the Rhode Island-based company has done it again, this time with the sporty J/95, a 31-footer with twin rudders, a

Done and Done

by David Schmidt, Posted June 16, 2009
Ken Read went to bed last “night” (if there is such a thing in Sweden during the solstice) with a smile on his face. It wasn’t because he won the Volvo Ocean Race — that explained the smile on Torben Grael’s face — but because Puma Ocean Racing finally won their first leg of the 2008/2009 Volvo Ocean Race (VOR). And what a leg it was! Leaving the docks in Gteborg,

E4 wins again

by David Schmidt, Posted June 12, 2009
The Volvo Ocean Race (VOR) is rapidly in the process of winding down, with just two offshore legs and a single in-port race still left on the docket. But to think that the action has ended would be a massive misconception. True, Ericsson 4 has now built up a virtually unassailable top spot on the leader board, but now the real game is between Puma Ocean Racing and
Some sailors are born with saltwater rushing through their veins and an ironclad stomach that can weather the worst of blows. I, however, am not one of those sailors. While I like to think that my blood has more than its fair share of salinity, I’m a frequent visitor to the leeward rail in lumpy conditions. Until now, that is. While everybody’s body reacts differently to various medications – and
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