Make a Flag Halyard to Fly Your Favorite Colors

Did you take your family out on your sailboat this summer for Independence Day, Memorial Day, or Labor Day? On those holidays, you probably saw more flags flying than usual. Sailboats flying flags evoke a different feeling than ones without. At least they do for me. Besides being patriotic, they add to a festive, nautical mood to the day….

15 Outboard Motor Maintenance Blind Spots You Can’t Afford to Miss

I don’t know about you, but it’s hard for me to make the time to put away my outboard motor for the winter properly. There always seems to be a dozen other chores of higher priority at the same time. Besides winterizing Summer Dance, there’s other fair weather projects to wrap up. It’s tempting to…

Upgrade Your Outboard Motor to Charge Your Battery

The luxury of onboard electronics and electrical devices cuts both ways. What it gives in terms of convenience, it takes in terms of a load on your battery bank that needs recharging. There is tons of good info available on the net and in books on sailboat electrical systems. I especially like Sailboat Electrics Simplified…

How to Paint Cove and Boot Stripes Like a Pro

Ever wish you could repaint your scratched, faded, or worn cove or boot stripes? Have an older boat with a stripe color you don’t like and want to update? New stripes are one of the little improvements that can make a big difference in the personality of your sailboat. You can apply them with vinyl…

How to Secure Your Outboard Motor for Safe Trailering

A frequent question of new sailboat owners is what do with their outboard motor when trailering. Is it best to leave it on the boat or is it better to dismount it and haul it in the boat cockpit or tow vehicle? There are lots of owners in both camps. In this post, I describe…

Book Review: 100 Fast & Easy Boat Improvements

Don Casey is the dean of DIY sailboat restoration and improvement in my opinion. He’s a contributing editor of Sail magazine and author of several other books that I’ve reviewed in the past. The sheer expanse of his knowledge and experience comes through in every book. Every subject that he writes about is not only…

The Complete Beginner’s Guide to Winch Maintenance

  The winches on your sailboat are the workhorses of your rig. They do the heavy lifting and make your job as skipper easier so you can enjoy the ride. They’re also the most expensive hardware aboard so it only makes sense to take good care of them. In this post, I describe how they…

Make Your Own Lifeline Cushions

This is a quick, easy, cheap project if you have any scraps of canvas leftover from earlier canvaswork projects. Lifeline cushions are tubular foam with canvas covers that fit over the lifelines that run along the sides of the cockpit. They’re great as headrests when laying back in the cockpit seats while you check your…

How to Make a Mainsail Cover

Summer Dance didn’t have much in the way of canvaswork when we bought her: the original mainsail cover and an old outboard engine cover that also looked pretty ghetto. Besides being 1980’s brown in color, the canvas of the mainsail cover was faded and shredded in places, much of the stitching had disintegrated, and the…

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…

Install a Double Duty Headsail Downhaul

If you don’t have a headsail furler, a downhaul line is one of the easiest and least expensive control lines that you can add to your sailboat. It adds major convenience and safety for around $30. The line can be used with any size jib or genoa.