Top 10 DIY Projects of 2017

2017 was another year of exciting growth here at The $tingy Sailor!

The number of pages viewed was up from last year 110%  to over 410,000 views from 187 countries.

The number of you who subscribed to receive the Stingy Sailor Spotlight newsletter grew over 50%. I sent out 8 editions of the newsletter with bonus content and let you be the first to know about upcoming events.

My Facebook page is doing very well too. If you have a Facebook page too, please give mine 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.

In particular, last year I posted some of the results from my first year of PHRF racing with Summer Dance including some single-handed races. What it shows is that some of the projects on this site can turn an average daysailer into a competitive racer without costing boat loads of cash.

The $tingy Sailor channel on YouTube now has 17 videos, over 233,000 views, and more than 1,280 subscribers. Expect more videos in 2018.

The free Downloads page for subscribers has been a huge hit. It lists printable drawings and bonus files that supplement some of the project articles. There are now 12 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.

The second 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 for a chance to win some great prizes!

So which were your favorite projects? Here in classic Tonight Show style, I count down the top 10 DIY projects of 2017…

#10 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.

 #9 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
After two coats of teak oil, ready for varnish

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

#8 How To Rig a Self-Tacking Jib for Free!

Sailing doesn’t get any easier than with this rigging trick. All you have to do is relax and steer.

Set it and forget it

If you already have two snatch blocks on board, it costs you nothing.

#7 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.

#6 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.

#5 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.

#4 DIY Soft Shackles for Quick and Easy Headsail Changes

Faster to tie than a bowline and useful all around your sailboat.

Jib sheet attached by an alpine butterfly knot and a soft shackle

Make some in your spare time this winter for $1 each!

#3 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.

#2 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.

#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 gear options 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 2016, check out Top 10 DIY Projects of 2016.

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, you helped to keep this site free last year for everyone to enjoy. Please continue to use the links when you can.

Sail hard, sail well, sail safe in 2018!

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Jon Heath says:

    Just wondering how long varnished teak will last before needing to be stripped off and redone, and how all that compares to the messy task of cleaning and re-applying teak oil once or twice per year. The required drying times for you method, which gives a beautiful initial result, give me pause. Thanks for your excellent website. I have recommended it to other lake-sailors.

    1. Hello, Jon

      The lifetime of the finish will depend on how much wear and UV exposure it receives. I can’t give you specific numbers, but mine still looks great after several years. However, up to this past year, I’ve kept my boat under cover when it wasn’t sailing. Starting last year, my boat is also in the water 6 months of the year so I’m watching to see how it holds up to more exposure to the elements. You can also extend the lifetime by making covers for the exterior teak. I’ll be posting a project that’s a companionway hatch cover in the near future so keep watching.

      There are more comments like yours at the bottom of Restore Your Exterior Teak to Better Than New if you’d like to read them too.

  2. Mark Otis says:

    Where can I get a mast crutch for our 22’ us bay liner?

    1. That’s going to be a tricky for your boat, Mark, because of the transom angle. I suggest you try making an A frame support that rests in the cockpit.

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