Features September 2018 Issue

Deft Theft: Make & Find Your Own ‘Marine’ Gear

Here’s a bet: Someone at the next boat show will try to sell you something you already have. With more time than money on our hands, the sailor’s innate resourcefulness kicks in. Here are a just some of the penny-pinching projects tech editor Drew Frye has undertaken to improve his sailing life.

diy marine gear
Drew Frye

1. Home-built brackets. Cut from U-form aluminum stock, these home-made brackets can serve a number of purposes. This version locks the anchor chain and anchor in place when it is stowed on the bow roller.

diy marine gear
Drew Frye

2. Tablet navigation. While fancy electronics suites at the helm are great for those with plenty of disposable income, they are often unnecessary on smaller boats. This iPad holder is an old car phone mount and assorted parts. It fits as well as, or even better than, anything Frye could find elsewhere. PS recommends the iPad only as a supplement or backup to devices that meat National Marine Electronic Association standards. 

diy marine gear
Drew Frye

3. For the occasional splicer, old knitting needles or fids made from bits of dowel can serve just fine. The splicing that Frye did for previous PS articles was carried out with this collection of nearly free fids.

Comments (10)

If your chain lock is intended to take the kind of loads that might bend a 1/4" bolt over a span of (what seems to me to be) 2", you might also consider using a bolt of (anything up to) the inside diameter of your chain link. Hmm?

I hope you installed an adequate backing plate underneath the deck to spread the load to adequately strong members of the boat's structure. ...

Posted by: FloridaNative | October 2, 2018 7:31 PM    Report this comment

The Rairitan PH II joker valve costs a little more than the Jabsco version but lasts more that twice as long in multiple field tests, making it by far the more economical alternative.

Remember to orient the lips vertically for best life; otherwise gravity causes sagging and leaks--industrial duck bill valves, such as storm water tide valves, are always vertical. Additionally, do not leave waste or urine in the trap.

Some of the best strainer replacements can be fabricated from perforated metal. Try McMaster Carr.

Posted by: Drew Frye | September 6, 2018 7:24 PM    Report this comment

Always looking for these types of ideas. In particular, does Drew or anyone have ideas for self-fabricating strainer replacements? Also, there has to be a better design than JABSCO joker valves. Mine seem to need replacing twice a season. Seems like a flapper valve would do the trick so I'm going to try to fabricate one.

Posted by: bnort3@gmail.com | September 4, 2018 5:55 AM    Report this comment

Navionics has some nice apps that are inexpensive. I believe I was running $35 software.

Posted by: Drew Frye | August 31, 2018 11:01 PM    Report this comment

Originally we used a nice 316 stainless pin in the chain lock. However, if any kind of strong pull came on it--either the weight of the boat or the windlass--the pin would bend and jam, making it impossible to lower the anchor. Naturally, you would figure this out at an inconvenient moment. I've heard a lot of stories of chain locks jammed due to bent stainless pins.

We switched to screwdrivers, replacing them every 3-4 years. They are MUCH stronger steel and will snap instead of jam. This one was right at the end of its life.

Posted by: Drew Frye | August 31, 2018 10:59 PM    Report this comment

I found that an old Windows laptop, with an external GPS puck and running OziExplorer, makes a fabulous moving map navigation computer. The software is just a hair over $100 and is capable of using NOAA charts, USGS topo maps, aerial photographs, and any other map that can be put in registration, using only latitude and longitude of a couple of points on the map.

Posted by: CMBennett2 | August 29, 2018 9:02 PM    Report this comment

Can an iPad be made into a chart-plotter? What would be the best software?

Posted by: Wayne Richard | August 28, 2018 5:21 PM    Report this comment

Yet, the screwdriver/chain pin looks VERY rusty!

Posted by: Chris B. | August 28, 2018 1:57 PM    Report this comment

Many woodworking mags have a tips section submitted by readers. Maybe PS could do this for sailing gear?

Posted by: Jack Buba | August 28, 2018 11:56 AM    Report this comment

The aluminum channel idea is very nifty, the recycling of the screwdriver into a chain pin with a handle and cutter pin hole is even better!

Posted by: davidbrunk4@gmail.com | August 28, 2018 11:15 AM    Report this comment

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