2018 Stingy Sailor DIY Project Contest Winners

The entries for the 3rd annual Stingy Sailor DIY Project Contest have all been received and scored. I’m very pleased at the size of some of the project entries this year. A big thanks to everyone who entered whether you won a prize or not.

This contest is possible because of the generous contributions of the following sponsors. Support them because they support you!

ViadanaUSA is the US distributor for Italian manufacturer Viadana, who have been making high quality, affordable rigging hardware since 1961.
The leader in marine, outdoor, and home decor sewing supplies and knowledge for the do-it-yourselfer.
N and J Marine is a recycler of fresh water sailboats.  They have a large inventory of used parts and also sell new Viadana rigging hardware.
MastGates.com is the leader in precision engineered mast gates and accessories for sailboats of all makes and sizes.
The only sailing magazine dedicated to the sailors who maintain, improve, and upgrade their boats themselves.

Just like last year, the scores were very close among the top entries. Each entry was rated on a scale of 1 to 5 in each of the following qualities and then their average score computed:

  • Innovation – How clever and creative is the project?
  • Economy – How does it get the most bang for the buck?
  • Utility – How much does it enhance sailing enjoyment, comfort, convenience, or safety?
  • Craftsmanship – How much skill does it demonstrate?
  • Presentation – Quality of the contest entry text, photos, or video.

Here are the entries with the top four average scores:

First Place

Complete Restoration

Bob Burk – Montrose, COlorado, USA
1968 Macgegor Venture 21

Bob’s contest entry shows what can be done to a tired, old, $850 sailboat that has good bones. With patience, research, and a little creativity, Bob wound up with a sharp looking cruiser that belies its 50 year-old age. Bob completed the project over three years with his new wife. Someone once said that if you can hang wallpaper together as a couple, you can survive anything. From my own experience, I think that goes for restoring sailboats too.

BEFORE: Needed some stingy sailor love
AFTER: Enough to make any skipper proud

Bob did an impressive list of repairs and improvements to Zoe:

  • Fabricated a tiller notch in the transom
  • Stripped, faired, and painted the hull and topsides
  • Applied KiwiGrip non-skid finish to deck surfaces
  • Installed custom tinted Plexiglass port lites
  • Refinished the mast and boom
  • Replaced/refinished all interior woodwork and added slatted backrests
  • Added custom bulkhead for structural strength
  • Stripped and painted interior
  • Installed LED strip indirect lighting in the cabin
  • Made new cabin cushions
  • Replaced electrical panel and all wiring
  • Replaced most of the deck hardware and added mainsail traveler
  • Replaced standing rigging
  • Replaced mainsail and jib with roller furling
  • Replaced running rigging and led all lines to cockpit
  • Installed a side-mount electric trolling motor w/solar charging
  • Replaced the original rudder with a Rudder Craft kick-up rudder
  • Modified, sand blasted, and epoxy painted the double axle trailer, then added new wiring and lights
A lot of back breaking work outside
A lot of head knocking work inside
Original electrical “panel” and wiring
New electrical panel and bulkhead
Cabin refinished and refitted
Transom notched for full tiller range of motion
New non-skid deck surfaces, hardware, and running rigging

Bob’s entry was by far the most work of all the entries and it demonstrates a wide variety of skills. The only criterion where Bob scored low was economy; he invested a lot in the project even though he would probably tell you it was worth it. It also proves the axiom true that says the cheapest sailboat is the most expensive. Put another way, unless you really enjoy working on sailboats (and some of us do), buy a sailboat that’s in the best condition that you can afford. You’ll spend less in the long run compared to extensive repairs and restoration.

Bob’s restoration is truly admirable. He wins a Viadana USA gift certificate ($100.00 value) and a one-year print or digital subscription to Good Old Boat magazine ($39.95 value).

Second Place

Partial Restoration

Aaron Poutanen – Cochrane, Alberta, Canada
Circa 1960 unidentified 15′ Catamaran

Almost any modern fiberglass sailboat can be saved from the landfill by somebody with enough drive, patience, and skills to do the work. Aaron’s contest entry is a fine example. He purchased a derelict, $200 catamaran (including trailer), rebuilt the decks with common materials in about 3 weeks, added new running rigging and used sails, and then went sailing.

BEFORE: Unsafe when wet.
With rotted hull and bridge deck removed
New hull deck being installed
New hull decks completed
Natural finish on the new decks gives the cat a classic, vintage look
Completed project, ready for summer fun

Aaron’s contest entry shows that even junkyard sailboats are worth a second look and you don’t need deep pockets to get started sailing. He wins a Sailrite gift certificate ($100 value) and a one-year print or digital subscription to Good Old Boat magazine ($39.95 value).

Third Place

Rudder to Outboard Motor Steering Link

Robert Johnson – Bobcaygeon, Ontario, Canada
1981 O’Day 23-2

Maneuvering your sailboat in a tight marina while on outboard motor power is tricky. Add wind or currents and successfully docking on the first try without a collision requires a superpower.

If you steer with the outboard tiller, you have to keep the rudder pointed in the right direction at all times. Steering with the rudder while leaving the outboard motor locked to the boat’s centerline is easier but you have to maintain steerage speed and tight turns can be difficult.

The best solution is to steer with both the rudder and the outboard motor by linking them together so that they always point in the same direction. The outboard motor provides directional thrust while the rudder’s large surface area provides responsive steering control. Better fishing boats are set up this way so that the steering while operates either the main motor or the trolling motor, whichever is running.

Robert’s contest entry is a steering link that includes brackets he made for the rudder and outboard motor. They are connected by an adjustable rod that came with the sailboat when he bought it. He attached the rod to the brackets with quick disconnect fittings like those found on pressure washer hoses and ball swivels purchased at a local auto supply store. They allow Robert to quickly disconnect the motor from the rudder, raise the motor when sailing for less drag, and then reconnect the motor prior to docking.  All in, he spent under $20.00 and around 5 hours.

Robert’s entry is an elegant and well built solution to a common problem on almost every sailboat. It shows how much you can achieve with a little ingenuity, off the shelf parts, and basic fabrication skills. It also proves that you don’t have to spend a lot of money or time to win a place on the podium in this contest.

He wins an N & J Marine gift certificate ($100 value) and a one-year print or digital subscription to Good Old Boat magazine ($39.95 value).

Fourth Place

Custom Galley

Ron Leo – New Bern, North Carolina, USA
1984 Catalina 22

The first generation Catalina 22s came from the factory with an innovative sliding galley. When not in use, it can be slid underneath the starboard cockpit seat to provide more space and seating in the cabin. But what if you buy a used C-22 that no longer has the galley and your wife wants one? You either find a used galley to buy or you build your own. Ron chose the latter.

Ron’s contest entry is his DIY galley design that is a little more compact and lighter in weight, yet just as functional as the stock galley. He designed his galley to sit behind the forward starboard bulkhead similar to the stove cabinet in the C-22 “new design” second generation model.

Ron used a 10” stainless steel sink, a scrap of Corian solid surface countertop material, a piece of 1″ x 6” Sapele hardwood, stainless steel cabinet hinges, a Whale faucet, and hose & fittings to build his galley in about 15 hours for around $200.

The  false drawer front tilts down to store a single burner butane grill and tableware. It also doubles as a small food prep shelf.  Water for the sink comes from a 5 gallon collapsible camping jug stored under the V berth. A modified cap connects to tubing that runs to the faucet.  The sink drain connects via tubing and a shutoff valve to the cockpit scupper drains similar to the stock galley.

Front view of the framework with front and side panels. The bulkhead and hull liner enclose the remaining sides and bottom.
Rear view with the top, sink, and trim installed. Butane stove shown for scale.
Finished galley. Sapele closely matches the other teak brightwork.

Ron’s entry demonstrates thoughtful design, clever use of space, quality materials, and excellent skills. He wins a Catalina 22 pop-in sleeve mastgate ($59.95 value) from mastgates.com and a one year print or digital subscription to Good Old Boat magazine ($39.95 value).

Congratulations to all of the contestants! You are all certified stingy sailors in my book.

Now that you know what it takes to win, it’s not too early to start thinking about your entry for next year’s contest. The competition is sure to be tougher so roll up your sleeves, take lots of notes and photos, and be ready in March, 2019.

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5 Comments Add yours

  1. J gordon says:

    I love all the great ideas and projects. I have an 1985 Catalina 22. Any chance of you ever adding a classified ad section to the Stingy Sailor website?

    Jim J.P. Gordon, Ltd.
    Distinctive Military Jewelry

    1. Welcome, Jim

      I probably won’t start a classified ads area. There are several good ones already besides eBay and craigslist.org, including:

      Catalina 22 National Sailing Assoc.

      Thanks for your question,

  2. Ahoy there! I’m impressed by the level of skill and creativity displayed by the sailors who entered your project competition. I have a question for Bob Burk in particular, and I would appreciate any comments from all the sailors who would care to chime in. I have a 1973 C-22 that wants for Genoa tracks. My turning blocks are presently tethered to the aft shroud chain plates and that works well for the small headsail I have although, not very elegantly. It is my perception that the original Genoa tracks were too far aft and too far outboard for optimum pointing with a small jib. My question: Would it be a smart thing to do to mount new Genoa tracks on the cabin like on Bob’s MacGregor Venture 21? Thank you all for your consideration.


    1. Hi, Rocky

      Thanks for posting your question here and I hope you get more input than just mine.

      Since you don’t already have outboard tracks in the stock location, I would seriously consider installing replacement tracks at least in the inboard position a couple of inches out from the cabin. Many C-22 racers install them there to get slightly better pointing ability. North Sails also recommends them there for best performance. I believe the stock location fore and aft of centered on the cockpit bulkhead is correct to allow a wide range of block locations for both small and large headsails.

      As for mounting them on top of the cabin, I haven’t seen any C-22s with them there. The available space is usually taken up with lines led aft to the cockpit. The geometry in relation to the shrouds and mast might not permit it either, I’ll have to take a look. But even if it would work, the tracks would be in a poor position for use with a large genoa, which I’d recommend you be prepared to use even if you seldom use it now. Installing two sets of tracks might give you the best of both worlds but it would be inconvenient to have to rerun your headsail sheets with every headsail change.

      Whatever way you choose to go, let us know how it works out for you so that others can learn from your experience,

  3. Some really good stuff here!

    I’m mainly interested in Robert Johnson’s tiller to motor link. How do I get more info about that? Robert, are you reading this?


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