Make these DIY cockpit scupper grates

Ratings_Scupper Grates

I have a serious mental condition known as OCD, Obsessive Compulsive DIY syndrome. I see something that needs fixed or replaced and I ask myself, “How can I make that?”

The other night, I had an OCD attack and I just needed to go out in my shop and make something with my hands. It was one of those days when nothing else seemed to go right. For me, it’s cathartic to turn raw materials into something practical and/or beautiful.

I decided to make cockpit scupper grates to replace the flimsy, afterthought-designed, original grates. They were corroded, bent, and wouldn’t stay glued in place for long. Continue reading


Use your boat hook to sail faster downwind

Earlier this summer, I described How to rig a cruising spinnaker in 4 stingy stages. If you don’t have a spinnaker yet, or even if you do have one but you don’t want to raise it for a short run, your best option when sailing downwind is to set your sails “wing and wing.” That is, with your mainsail eased all the way out on one side of the boat and your headsail eased all the way out on the other side of the boat. With both sails catching as much wind as possible, you’ll achieve top speed.

That works okay but it can be tricky to control. You typically only have a few degrees of heading within which to hold both sails open. If you veer off just a little or the wind shifts slightly, the headsail can backwind or you can make an accidental gybe with the mainsail and you’ll lose momentum.

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Make a flag halyard to fly your favorite colors

Ratings_Flag HalyardDid you take your family out on your sailboat this summer for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day? On those holidays, you probably saw more flags flying than usual. Sailboats flying flags evoke a different feeling than ones without. At least they do for me. Besides being patriotic, they add to a festive, nautical mood to the day.

Did you fly your favorite colors too? I’m not talking about your freak flag. If you didn’t, was it because you don’t have a place to fly your colors from? Adding a flag halyard is an inexpensive, easy project you can do in under an hour.  Continue reading