Make a Tiller Extension For Better Cockpit Mobility

If you’re not afraid to sail single-handed in a stiff breeze and get the toe rail wet, then you want to be able to move around in the cockpit and still have control of your tiller. You want to be able to lean back into the lifelines, sit as far forward as possible (to lighten the…

Lift Your Lazarette Lids With Gas Springs

We trailer sailors are the vagabonds of the sailing world, the gypsies, free spirits who can tow our sailboats anywhere we want with ease. There’s no excuse for getting bored with the same cruising areas when you can just hook up and go somewhere different. The downside, of course, is having to set up the…

Control Your Mainsail Shape Better With a Boom Vang

A boom vang is a useful control for your mainsail, especially if the mainsail is older and acting its age. That is, if it’s getting baggy and is difficult to flatten, particularly when you’re pointed off the wind. For better performance and safety, you need to be able to pull excess twist out of the mainsail…

Product Review: Magma BeachFire/Rio Grill

What’s better than a freshly grilled steak or cheeseburger after you’ve set anchor at the end of a full day of sailing? Anything you could cook on that wimpy alcohol stove in the galley? Share your nominees in the comments below. For the rest of us, the issue isn’t what but where, because that alcohol…

How to Install a Tiller Autopilot

I hadn’t seriously considered an autopilot for Summer Dance until I discovered the affordable Raymarine ST1000+ Tiller Pilot and that they could be had for half the cost of new on eBay. When I thought of how convenient it would be for cruising with my wife who has no desire to take the helm, I…

Upgrade Your Rig With a DIY Adjustable Backstay

At some point when you get serious about sail trim, whether for racing or just high performance cruising, you’re going to want an adjustable backstay. Most C-22s and similar daysailers were rigged at the factory with fixed length backstays that are only slightly adjustable with a turnbuckle. They’re not intended for adjusting to different wind…

Upgrade to a Bimini Top on a Budget

The first mate and I live at around 48 degrees north latitude, which means that we don’t get a lot of hot weather. We have four distinct seasons and enjoy them all.  It will get to around 100 degrees for a couple of weeks in August, but that’s as hot as it gets. The rest of…

Product Review: Garmin ECHOMAP UHD 73sv Chartplotter

I’ve been asked many times if I have a chartplotter on Summer Dance. Up to now, I’ve answered that I didn’t have a need for one and that my handheld GPS worked fine for my needs. But recently, I’ve challenged myself to do more fishing and I haven’t been very successful yet at filling up…