by David Schmidt

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

The Really Good DealWe live in a disposable world. Our water often comes contained in land-fill plastic, our myriad electronic gizmos and gadgets are trendy for a year or two before they too join the plastic bottles in the landfill, and that’s not even to mention the batteries and power cords that power them. And let’s not even talk about racing sails, broken boat bits, or

It SAILS!

by David Schmidt, Posted July 20, 2009
On July 20, some 16 days after unveiling their beast of a defender for the upcoming Deed of Gift (DoG) that will be the next America’s Cup (February 2010), Alinghi today test-sailed their Alinghi 5 for the first time. While quantifiable results are not available yet (or rarely, if ever, on a project like this), the bottom line is that the boat, with its complicated
Would you like fresh banana in your smoothie?” asked the woman at the roadside smoothie shop, nestled in the higher elevations of St. Croix’s rainforest area. “It’s sweeter with banana.”I readily agreed, and Mark Jones, my tour guide, and I strolled through the establishment’s collection of native fauna. Mark explained that the smoothies take a little while to prepare, as the woman had to
On July 8 Alinghi 5 arrived on on Lake Geneva via the world's most powerful helicopter, the Russian-built Mil Mi-26, which airlifted the massive cat from its build hanger in Villeneuve, Switzerland to the fabled Swiss lake. The catamaran was unveiled earlier in the month, on July 4th, and will be transported, again by helicopter, to the Med later this month. On

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
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