Top 10 DIY Projects of 2016

2016 was another stellar year here at The $tingy Sailor!

We’ve seen incredible growth in the number of pages viewed every day—up more than 200% from last year to over 650,000 views from 176 countries.

The number of you who subscribed to receive the Stingy Sailor Spotlight newsletter nearly quadrupled! I sent out 14 editions of the newsletter that let you be the first to know about major events all year round.

My $tingy Sailor Facebook page is doing very well. If you have a Facebook page, please give it a Like so it will be included in your feed. Besides a preview of every new blog post, I sometimes send updates there that you won’t find here or in the newsletter.

The $tingy Sailor YouTube channel now has 13 videos, over 116,000 views, and more than 700 subscribers. Expect more videos in 2017 because Santa brought me a GoPro camera for Christmas. I must have been a very good boy last year.

Last year I published three book reviews and six product reviews. Look for more suggestions yet to come of products worth spending your DIY savings on.

The free Downloads page for subscribers has been a huge hit. The page lists bonus files that supplement some of the project articles. There are now 10 downloadable files with more on the way. But you must know the password to see the page and you must subscribe to receive the password. You can subscribe for free at the bottom of this page.

I also released my second ebook, Do-It-Yourself Small Sailboat Rigging last year. It has become very popular and I’m grateful to the hundreds of you who purchased copies. I will have exciting news to share very soon about the next ebook in my Do-It-Yourself series that I hope you’ll want to add to your library.

The first annual Stingy Sailor DIY Project Contest was a ton of fun. It was great to see and share what you’ve been working on. The contest this year will begin soon so get your best projects finished and get ready to enter!

So which were your favorite projects? Here in classic Tonight Show style are the Top 10 DIY Projects of 2016!

 #10 Restore Your Exterior Teak to Better Than New

Unless your teak brightwork is crumbling, you can restore it.

Image (2) dscn0774.jpg for post 4687

The results from my 5-step process will amaze you.

#9 Single Line Jiffy Reefing Made Easy

Knowing how to de-power your mainsail is the key to controlling heeling. When the wind gets above a certain level, the only way to increase control it is to reduce your mainsail area by reefing.

Mainsail reefed with a single line
Mainsail reefed with a single line

This post describes how to make a single-line system that you can control from the cockpit without having to go to the mast.

 #8 How to Paint Cove and Boot Stripes Like a Pro

With attention to detail and inexpensive tools, you too can paint sharp, smooth stripes.

New cove and boot stripes
Switch colors or freshen up the old stripes

Whether you’re painting the entire topsides or just want to add a custom touch, this post shows you how.

#7 How to Rig a Cruising Spinnaker in 4 Stingy Stages

Spinnakers aren’t just for racers, expert skippers, or rich cruisers.

Yes, you can afford a spinnaker!

I show you how to rig your sailboat with an asymmetrical spinnaker in stages that won’t break the bank.

#6 How to Completely Rewire Your Sailboat

Electrical problems on boats come in plagues. The only way to eradicate them is by rewiring.

Complete rewiring
Clean, organized switch panel wiring

This post shows you how to do a professional-quality job for less and expand your system with modern accessories.

#5 Upgrade to a Bimini Top on a Budget

Cruise under the summer sun more comfortably.

Middle sailing position with support poles in the forward jaw slides
Middle sailing position with support poles in the forward jaw slides

With the tips in this post, you can add a bimini top to your boat that is both affordable and adjustable.

#4 Upgrade Your Outboard Motor to Charge Your Battery

Don’t assume that you need a solar panel to charge your battery bank!

Rectifier/regulator installed
Location and connections for the rectifier/regulator

If your outboard motor can be upgraded with generator coils (or it has them already) and a rectifier/regulator, you can get less expensive, space saving, and more reliable charging.

#3 How to Sew Cabin Cushion Covers

You don’t have to settle for ugly or uncomfortable upholstery.

Image (16) dscn0991.jpg for post 89
Custom embroidery is just one way to add a personal touch

Get professional results with your home sewing machine and my tips in this post.

#2 Five Swing Keel Maintenance Blunders and How to Prevent Them

Swing keel hardware failures are always a top concern among readers.

Where did the keel go?
Neglect it and your keel will neglect you

This post counts down the five most common points of failure and how you can maintain them and stop worrying about them.

#1 How to Step a Mast Single-Handed With or Without Using the Boom as a Gin Pole

Stepping the mast is a fundamental skill of all trailer sailors but the multitude of methods and various gear befuddle many sailboat owners.

Mast stepping with the boom as a gin pole
Reuse the gear you already have to raise your mast single-handed

I show you two similar methods that you can try depending on your physical ability. Both reuse the main sheet tackle for power and a DIY mast crutch. Add the boom for a gin pole and you can almost do it sitting down. High quality videos show you each step in detail.

Those were the most popular posts last year. For a look back into 2015, check out Top Ten DIY Projects of 2015.

You make it all possible

Many of you took the time to email me and introduce yourselves or to ask questions about projects here or that you read about elsewhere. I enjoyed hearing from you and offering suggestions. I look forward to finding out how your own projects turn out.

Lastly, I want to extend my most humble and heartfelt thanks to those of you who used my links to shop on Amazon. Without paying extra, your support keeps this site free for everyone to enjoy. Please continue to use the links when you can.

Sail hard, sail well, sail safe in 2017!

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