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…

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…

Install a Marine Music System

If you’re a music lover, an onboard music system is mandatory. There’s a mysterious connection between the open waters and music. Whether it’s classical, jazz, rock, country, folk, or reggae, there’s a song for every mood when you’re sailing. A marine music system lets you take your favorite music with you on the waters. We…

How To Repair a Rudder

Rudders damage easily. Although they work similar to a keel, they aren’t nearly as tough. If you dry sail, the edges can accumulate nicks and dings in the fiberglass from loading and unloading. The rudders of some sailboats can hit the outboard motor’s propeller if you’re not careful. Add in accidental groundings, storage damage, and stress cracks…

How to Rig a Self-Tacking Jib for Free!

You may not have seen or even heard of a self-tacking jib before. They’re usually only found on luxury sailboats. But that’s exactly what one is, a headsail that sheets itself when you tack. You don’t have to cast off the working sheet and haul in the lazy sheet on every tack. In fact, after…