by Adam Cort

Adam Cort is SAIL’s executive editor. He lives and sails in the Boston area.

Inflatable life jackets are effective, reliable and comfortable. However, unlike traditional foam-filled life jackets, they must be properly maintained if they are to function correctly. This goes double for a life jacket with an integral safety harness and/or automatic inflation. Inflatable life jackets include a number of parts that must all work properly if the life jacket is to function at

Ensign

by Adam Cort, Posted August 10, 2011
On August 14-18 the Canandaigua Yacht Club in upstate New York will be hosting a truly special regatta, the 50th National Ensign Championship. Around 45 boats are expected to attend; not bad for a full-keel racer-daysailer in this age of carbon fiber and bowsprits. Gary Jobson, president of US Sailing, will be a keynote speaker at the event.Designed by Carl Alberg, the Ensign was inducted
A capsize in the 103rd Chicago Mackinac Race that took the lives of Mark Morley and Suzanne Bickel highlighted the dangers inherent in offshore racing and brought out the best in the competitors who responded to the accident.Ironically, in this era of EPIRBs and other technological “miracles,” it was a simple whistle—required equipment for all Mackinac racers—and a half dozen rescue lights

A Quick Trip to Halifax

by Adam Cort, Posted July 28, 2011
The 89-strong fleet in this year’s Marblehead to Halifax Ocean Race enjoyed near-perfect conditions, with three boats beating a race record that had stood for 22 years.First to finish was Jim Grundy’s 75-foot Bella Pita, designed by Bill Tripp, which completed the 363-mile course in 30 hours, 46 minutes and 52 seconds. Will Apold’s 78-foot Swan, Valkyrie, from Halifax,

Don't Forget-Me-Knots

by Adam Cort, Posted July 28, 2011
A knowledge of knots, bends and hatches is central to good seamanship, and while it’s true that in the vast majority of cases a limited number of them will suffice, we could all probably stand to know a few more. For me, the kicker is the anchor bend. It’s a great way to attach a line to a shackle, but I rarely use it and can never seem to retrieve it correctly from my cerebral database on those

Wheel Extension

by Adam Cort, Posted July 28, 2011
From the office of “Why didn’t I think of that?” comes Forespar’s new quick-release Steering Control Arm, which is basically a tiller extension for a wheel. The arm has a twist-lock extension, like those found on many boathooks, and a quick-release clamp, so it can be attached or detached from a wheel in seconds. As with a tiller extension, the Steering Control Arm allows you to steer from

The Marblehead 22

by Adam Cort, Posted July 28, 2011
In his book Wind, Sand and Stars, famed French pilot Antoine de Saint-Expry wrote, “A designer knows he has achieved perfection not when there is nothing left to add, but when there is nothing left to take away.” Fair enough. But while this may be true of airplanes, in the world of naval architecture, there are aesthetic considerations as well.

Water-Repellent Fleece

by Adam Cort, Posted July 6, 2011
The new Zephyr Softshell jacket from Atlantis WeatherGear combines the warmth of a fleece midlayer with a “Sheerline” softshell laminate that repels water like an outer layer, offering the best of both worlds without a lot of bulk. When the spray or rain really starts to fly, just pull over a conventional shell, the same as you would with any other fleece jacket. The Zephyr is available in both

Rub-A-Dub-Dub

by Adam Cort, Posted July 6, 2011
Here’s incontrovertible proof that today’s sailors have it easier than their forebears. The TugTub is a portable floating hot tub that takes just five minutes to deploy and an hour to heat to 104 degrees, providing even the lowliest weekend cruiser with an amenity worthy of a megayacht. Larry Ellison, eat your heart out! The tubs can be used in fresh and salt water, and employ an 88,000BTU LPG

Putting LEDs to the Test

by Adam Cort, Posted June 15, 2011
In recent years, LED lighting has gone from the fringe to mainstream in terms of marine applications. Today LEDs are replacing halogen and other incandescent bulbs both on deck and below, in uses ranging from masthead running lights to reading lights in the saloon.Despite their higher costs—about three times that of their halogen counterparts— LEDs have gained ground thanks to their
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