Renewing Chalky Gelcoat

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

With age, gelcoat gets chalky unless it is polished regularly. But even if your boat’s gelcoat has been neglected, it’s possible to bring it back with just a bit of DIY elbow grease!

Using Lazy Jacks

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Does it drive you nuts to raise the main on a boat with lazy jacks? A couple hours and about $100 in parts can solve the problem!

Ratcheting Box Wrenches

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

So many times, working on the boat means working in really tight places. There’s not much room to turn a wrench and not enough clearance for a socket. A ratcheting box wrench to the rescue!

Up the Mast

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

If you have a sailboat, someday you’ll have to go up the mast. The easiest gear we’ve found to use and some tips.

Pulling Electrical Wires

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Installing new equipment on a boat often requires new electrical wiring. Two tips for running that wiring in tight spaces.

More From Your Solar Panels

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

We live over 90% on solar power and did on our previous boat, too. It’s fairly easy on nice days in the middle of summer, but we do okay even on partially cloudy short winter days with just a little extra effort.

Water Coming In?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Boaters love the water — except when it’s coming IN your boat. Four items that we carry in the event of an emergency; we hope to never use them!

Bilge Alarm

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Would you know if water was filling your bilge BEFORE it got over the floorboards? The sooner you know, the better your chance of saving the boat.

Checking Your Instruments

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Don’t assume your instruments — particularly the depth sounder — are set up correctly. Ours weren’t and it took us a while to realize it.

Getting Ideas for Your Boat

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Don’t reinvent the wheel! So many times we see something on another boat that’ll work well on Barefoot Gal . . . such as the shelves that Mickey built for Connie on their Gemini!

Don’t Let Bugs in the Thru-Hulls

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Putting screen in all the thru-hulls works to keep the critters out, but it’s a time-consuming nasty chore. Turns out there’s a much easier way to keep them out!

Upgrading Batteries

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

Want to upgrade your batteries? A few notes of things not often discussed . . . and some myths busted!

High Humidity = Drain Racor Frequently

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2016 • all rights reserved

You can prevent a lot of VERY expensive diesel repair by doing this every time!

Biminis, Dodgers and Enclosures

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Reader recommendations on what has worked well (and not-so-well) for them with their canvas. Add your thoughts and get ideas from others!

Boat Leaking in the Rain?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Long term, you need to find it and fix it. But what can you do RIGHT NOW to protect whatever’s being dripped on?

Better Than Acetone to Clean Hands

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Using acetone to clean up after nasty messy projects such as epoxy or sealant? There’s something that works better, is cheaper AND is less toxic!

Taking the Important Pictures

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

The important photos aren’t necessarily the pretty ones. They’re the ones that enable you to put something back together!

How to Organize Open Storage Areas

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Reader ideas: how to organize those big open storage areas so things don’t go flying when underway. Add your thoughts and check out what others have done!

Easy Fix for Scratched Teak

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

An easy way to fix a scratch in wood without totally refinishing the area

Loosening That Last Seized Bolt

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Got a seized bolt? Get PB Blaster. Can’t spray it where it needs to go? Try this tip.

Marking Your Anchor Chain

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Don’t add to the plastic trash in the water by using cable ties to mark your anchor chain — paint it instead. Tips to make the paint last and be visible.

Protect the Kids & Pups: Lifeline Netting

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Kid boats and dog boats . . . lifeline netting adds a bit of safety to both. A few notes on installing it and where to get the best price on the netting.

Organizing . . . and Reorganizing

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Why is it that I can’t come up with the perfect organization plan for all our stuff? What makes me periodically reorganize it?

DIY Fuel Polishing

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Whenever we want our fuel polished, it seems, it doesn’t work to get it professionally done. So we’ve figured out how to do it ourselves.

How Much Solar Power Do You Need?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Lots of people tell you how to figure out how much solar power you need, but are they really accurate?

How Our Gemini Cockpit Table Works

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Need a cockpit table for your Gemini catamaran? A previous owner found or made ours, and it works perfectly! Photos to find or make your own.

Easy Way to Prevent Line Fraying

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

It only takes a minute (or less) to have ends that don’t fray. A step-by-step how to with tips for great results.

New Lifelines – Some Assembly Required

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Replacing our lifelines was so much easier than I ever expected. Here’s how we did it.

Semi DIY Stainless Tubing Projects

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Doing most of a stainless tubing project yourself can save a lot of money. This tip will give you the strength of welding, too.

Our First Double-Braid Splice

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Lessons learned from our first attempt at splicing double braid line.

Putting Gloves On Easily

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

A quick trick to make it lots easier to get work gloves on!

Why We DIY

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Maybe we save some money, but that’s not really why we tend to do things ourselves.

16 Things You Need to Know About Filling In a Thru-Hull

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

The books give great how-to info. But there’s so much more we needed to know. Friends told us some; other bits we learned for ourselves.

Finding Black on Black

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Do you constantly “lose” things that you know are right there?One of those “why didn’t I think of this sooner?” moments!

Removing Duct Tape Residue

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Duct tape is absolutely wonderful . . . until you remove it and find a bunch of sticky residue left behind. Here’s how to remove it quickly, easily and cheaply!

Stop Hitch Rattling

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Does your trailer hitch rattle in the receiver and just set you on edge? We finally discovered the solution.

Add a Removable Counter

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

So you’ve already made sink & stove covers to create more counter space, but still need more. Or you need space when – gasp – you’re using your stove and sink. Easy DIY project!

DIY Non Skid Paint

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Thinking about painting your decks with non-skid paint? Got questions? Or have you done it and have words of advice? Readers share their expertise!

Tracking Down a Fuel Problem

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

It only took us two months, but we finally tracked down our fuel problem. Here’s how we did it and what we learned.

Solar Upgrade

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

We did a major upgrade on our solar charging and it’s performing wonderfully. Here’s what we did, including the cost.

Don’t Lose the Winch Parts!

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Taking apart a winch can be downright scary — what if you lose one of the pieces? Keep things together with this tip.

Lining Up Screw Holes

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Mounting deck hardware? Once you slather on the sealant, it can be hard to line up the mounting holes again. Two tips to make it a lot easier!

Red Solo Cups and Diesel

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Need a little container for draining a Racor? Red Solo Cups and diesel fuel do not mix well.

Weird Wiring Colors

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

What do you do when a wiring run suddenly changes color . . . or doesn’t follow the convention used on the rest of your boat? Our simple and inexpensive solution.

Cut Stainless Tubing Squarely

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Need to cut some stainless tubing with a hacksaw and want to get it straight? Here’s how we do it —

Taming the Cord Jungle

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Technology is wonderful . . . until you try to find the cord you need. Then it”s just a bowl of spaghetti. Reader Jane Head has a great — easy and inexpensive — solution that really works.

Got Wobbly Stainess?

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Sometimes stainless bimini and rail connectors aren’t very snug and the structure is just plain wobbly. Here’s our quick and inexpensive solution.

Easy Battery Watering

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

How do you add water on a monthly basis to batteries you can’t even reach? A battery watering system makes it easy!

Easy Eyeglass Storage

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Eyeglass storage you can make in about 10 minutes — keep your sunglasses right by the companionway!

The 98¢ Solution

By Carolyn Shearlock © 2015 • all rights reserved

Maybe not the most elegant solution, but ours didn’t require any special skills, looks okay and cost less than a buck!