Lazy Jacks for the Trailer Sailor

Lazy jacks can be one of the most complicated rigging systems on a trailerable sailboat but they have a simple function. That is, to cradle the mainsail when it’s lowered so that it doesn’t spill onto the cabin and cockpit. If you usually have another experienced crew member aboard, that person can gather and tie…

Quit Spending Setup Time on Turnbuckles

Turnbuckles are great for tuning your rig but they’re the least convenient way imaginable to loosen and detach the forestay and lower shrouds for unstepping the mast. I vowed long ago that I would quit wasting time on turnbuckles during setup and tear-down. This post is a companion to my previous post How to step a mast single-handed with or without…

15 Perished in US Sailing Tragedies in 2018

Every year, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the United States Coast Guard, and the Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety publish a report of statistics about recreational boating accidents. The 2018 report was just published and there were three fewer sailing deaths than last year and nine fewer than four years ago, definitely a…

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…

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…