SUMMARY Since the Boyer-Moore algorithm was described in 1977, it has been the standard benchmark for the practical string search literature. Yet this yardstick compares badly with current practice. We describe two algorithms that perform 47% fewer comparisons and are about 4.5 times faster across a wide range of architectures and compilers. These new variants are members of a family of algorithms based on the skip loop structure of the pre- ferred, but often neglected, fast form of Boyer-Moore. We present a taxonomy for this family, and de- scribe a toolkit of components that can be used to design an algorithm most appropriate for a given set of requirements.