Top 10 DIY Projects of 2020

2020 was another exciting year here at The $tingy Sailor with new all-time records:

  • >2,200,000 page views from 139 countries
  • >50,000 monthly page views in August
  • >2,800 page views in one day in June
  • >200 articles, most of which are projects
  • >3,300 subscribers

I’m very grateful and humbled that you have continued to visit, read, subscribe, comment, and support this website after 7 years. It motivates me to keep finding new projects and topics, write better articles, and make other improvements that I hope you’ll enjoy.

So which were your favorite projects over the past year? Here in classic Tonight Show style, I count down the top 10 DIY projects of 2020. Most are perennial favorites but their popularity shifted since last year and there’s a newcomer to the list.

#10 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.

#9 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.

#8 How To Clean Sails At Home

Sails need maintenance too and you might be surprised at how good yours can look after a simple soak and rinse.

Genoa drying

You don’t need a barn but it helps!

#7 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.

#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 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.

#4 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.

#3 Turn Scrap Lumber Into An Outboard Motor Stand

Unfortunately, the plans for this stand are no longer available online but if I find them or equivalent plans, I’ll update the link in this article.

Mobility for the kicker

#2 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.

#1 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.

Those were the most popular posts last year.

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.

What would you like to see here in 2021: projects, maintenance, reviews, videos? I have several new projects in the works already but I mostly want to write about what you want to read about. Let me know in the comments below.

Sail hard, sail well, sail safe!

Would you like to know when I publish more posts like this? Enter your email address below to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email. You will also receive occasional newsletters with exclusive info and deals only for subscribers and the password to the Downloads page. It’s free and you can unsubscribe at any time but almost nobody does!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

4 Comments Add yours

  1. skygarner says:

    Just a note to say how much I enjoy your Catalina blog. I have a Catalina 22 and follow your blog for ideas. Unfortunately, I don’t have the time I would like to make my boat as beautiful as yours, but one day… When I do, I’ll be using your blog as my guide and inspiration. You show me what my Catalina is capable of becoming. Larry Garner

  2. webarber says:

    Regarding your #3 DIY project, I built it and it is great!! Much more stable than the saw horses I previously used. I made it a bit wider to accommodate two outboards, one 4-cycle Tohatsu 9.8 and one old 2-cycle Johnson 5-HP.


    Beneteau 473

    1. Denise Good says:

      Interested in building a telescoping mast crutch like yours. What did u use for the yoke to hold the mast steady? Or do you have a set of plans available, I’d greatly appreciate it!! Thanks Deniseyo

      1. Hi, Denise
        If you’re a subscriber, you can download a copy of the plan from my Downloads page ( for free. If you haven’t subscribed yet, this a good reason to start.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.