Install Midship Cleats and Dock Like a Pro

What’s the sailing maneuver you’re worst at? If it’s not tacking and gybing, it’s probably docking, especially if you sail single-handed or short-handed. Sailboats aren’t very maneuverable in tight spaces. If you don’t do it frequently enough to get good at it, it’s sort of a semi-controlled crash landing. You can make the process a…

Make This Boom Tent: the Poor Man’s Bimini

It’s a cloudless mid-summer afternoon. You’ve had a great day of sailing but you’re ready to drop anchor, start dinner, and relax for another stunning sunset. You’ve been in the sun all day so some shade would be great but you don’t have a bimini on your sailboat. You don’t really want to go down…

So You Just Bought Your First Sailboat—Where Do You Begin?

Photo courtesy of Dianna Keen at These Days of Mine You’ve fantasized about it, you’ve looked, you’ve shopped around. You crawled in, under, and around a bunch of sailboats that other people wanted to get rid of. Finally, one grabbed your imagination more than any other. In your mind’s eye, you could see yourself as…

Use Your Boat Hook to Sail Faster Downwind

In a previous article, I described How to rig a cruising spinnaker in 4 stingy stages. If you don’t have a spinnaker yet, or even if you do have one but you don’t want to raise it for short runs, one of your best options when sailing dead downwind is to set your sails “wing…

A Hotknife for the Rest of Us

When I made my first canvas project, a mainsail cover, I cut out the pieces using scissors as usual. Later, when I made the cabin cushion covers, I discovered how much better a hotknife works for cutting synthetic marine canvas like Sunbrella. Instead of the edges unravelling, they fused solid. That not only makes them…

Beware of Galvanic Corrosion!

Galvanic corrosion is what happens when dissimilar metals are in contact within an electrolyte and an electrical current is applied. That’s the technical definition. The practical description is it’s the white stuff that grows around your stainless steel fasteners in your aluminum mast and boom when you are around salt water.

$tingy’s 12-Point Winterization Checklist

When fall arrives, many owners haul out their sailboats to store them for the winter. Months of nothing but exposure to the elements gives rust, mildew, marine fouling, and chafing time to claim new territory in the battle for ownership of your sailboat. But you can keep the enemies at bay by doing these simple…

How to Restore Rusted Parts

I buy a lot of used sailboat hardware on eBay and craigslist.org. The reason is simple, I usually can’t afford new! If you’re reading this and you aren’t independently wealthy then you know how expensive parts and supplies for our boats are. I only buy new when I can get a great discount and buying…

How To Bed Hardware With Butyl Tape

When shopping for a used sailboat, one of the most important things to look for is soft or springy spots in the deck. They’re a sure sign that water has seeped into the soft wooden core and caused rot that’s difficult and expensive to repair. Water damage is also common around chain plate bolts, wooden…

Tips To Get Organized Below Deck

It can be tempting to keep every possible item that you might ever need aboard your small sailboat. You know, Boy Scout style, ready for anything. But storage space is very limited and the more you store in those spaces, the harder it is to find what you’re looking for. Getting organized below deck not…

How To Cross-Sheet For Better Single-Handing

Single-handed sailing can seem like playing as a one man (or woman) band sometimes. You have to do everything yourself and play all the instruments simultaneously. If done well, it’s poetry in motion. If done poorly, it can be a train wreck.