Make a Mini Dodger

A companionway slider and hatch boards are the most common type of cabin entry on sailboats. Its seaworthy, lightweight, and inexpensive. Unfortunately, you can't leave the hatch open when its raining without getting water below. Swapping the hatch boards for a hinged door is a popular upgrade, but in many boats there simply isn't space for an opened door.

Sparkling Brightwork: Careful Attention to the Details

It takes practice to produce a perfect, mirror finish on varnished wood, but it is not so much a difficult task as an exacting one, where attention to detail and no short cuts are the secrets to success. Whether you are finishing new wood, refinishing old wood, or maintaining a finish in good condition, the basics are the same.

Any Boat They Can Build, You Can Make Better

When the 28’ Pearson Triton appeared on the market in 1959, a revolution began in the boatbuilding industry. Fiberglass made economical mass production of boats a reality , and helped make sailing - and boat-owning - an activity for everyman. And Everywoman.For sailors who have never known boats built of anything but fiberglass, the changes in boatbuilding that can be attributed to the prosaic laminate of glass fibers and polyester resin are hard to imagine.

Do-It-Yourself: Salted Surfaces

While new finishes-paint, epoxy, or varnish-may be beautiful to look at, they are also as slick as can be when a little seawater hits the surface. You can cover your handiwork with nonskid tape; slather on a coat of bland nonskid paint; try one of the nonskid paint additives like crushed walnut shells (favored by PS Technical Editor Ralph Naranjo); or you can try an easy, age-old method that PS tester Drew Frye favors: salted varnish (or paint).

A Mathematical Decision-maker

An easy way to compute the do-it-yourself labor commitment involved is by timing how long it takes to scrape clean two 1-square-foot patches. The first is in the center of the least well-adhered paint; the second is in the midst of an intact portion of the bottom. Dry scrape each section with a thin-bladed putty knife and a sharp drag-type scraper, noting the time it takes to remove about 90 percent of the coating.

Backyard Boatbuilding: A Father-Son Odyssey

For many sailors, boatbuilding can be the ultimate do-it-yourself project. The skills derived pay off as extra dividends when it comes to repairs or fitting out projects aboard larger sailboats. And as Matt Zephry and his 12-year-old son Alex found out, sharing the boatbuilding process with a loved one is like passing along an important piece of family history. The father-son duo began their boatbuilding project without any plans. Their intention was to create a boat that was easy to row and could double as a sailing skiff for father-and-son fishing trips. Their dream boat-and first boatbuilding project-was a success, and the Z&S team launched Odyssey in time for a Fathers Day sail.

DIY Mast Boot

With a little imagination and some inexpensive materials, you can put together a leakproof mast boot in a few hours. 1. Roofing Rubber One reliable boot sealer is self-adhesive ethylene propylene diene monomer (EPDM), a common rubber-membrane roofing material. Sold at local building supply stores, the rubber is black in color and comes in a roll that is 5 inches wide. (Dont confuse it with ice and water shield, which is much thinner.) Peeling the plastic backing from the underside of the EPDM material exposes the sticky side. Arrange precut strips prior to permanent installation. We suggest using American-made products as the imported stuff doesn't adhere well to itself.

Heavy-Duty Rubbing Compounds

Gelcoat provides a fiberglass boat with a hard, water-resistant protective shell. When new, its polished and waxed to a bright shine, but after a few years of facing the elements-especially damaging UV rays-gelcoat will begin to oxidize and turn into a dull, chalky film on the surface. There are a few ways to remedy an oxidation problem (see Tips & Techniques), but for this article, we focused on coarse and medium-coarse rubbing compounds, which can be buffed on to remove the chalky layer and fine scratches. The tests evaluated ease of use, ability to remove oxidation and scratches, and whether they left swirl marks; testers also considered price, availability, and eco-friendliness.

Taking the Spill Out of Fill-ups

Fueling a boat has never been as easy as fueling a car. Spills-exacerbated by poorly designed fill pipes and vents-are common. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has updated the fill and vent requirements on boats to prevent these spills, but they only apply to new gasoline-powered boats. New jerry cans designed to prevent spills and comply with new emission standards arent making things easier. Most are hard to control and slow during filling, spill prone, and break after limited use.

Exploring the Ins and Outs of Bowsprits for Light-air Sails

A salty Kiwi named Ross Norgrove once said that the most important tool for the owner of a wooden yawl adorned with a bowsprit is a sharp ax. To some degree, his witty comment holds true for contemporary sailors contemplating a mini-bowsprit.