Tucked away somewhere in a drawer or file cabinet are clippings from magazines and other sources. As owners of good old boats, we probably all have them. Those ideas that we saw somewhere and one day hope to incorporate as we make our boats our own. For every ” keeper” that we find, there must be hundreds more we haven’t found. We may wonder which idea is the best. Has someone else found a better way to do it? We can all relax and breathe a sigh of relief because Don Casey, the do-it-yourself boat guru, has done it for us.

Don gives us a fresh look at 100 of these little inspirations. For example, screened companionway doors. These let in fresh air on a warm summer night without also inviting the bugs that have been drawn to the warm glow of your cabin lights. Another is how to make custom handrails that match the old worn thin set and line up properly with the existing holes. Did you know you can operate two sets of lights separately on your mast from one pair of wires using diodes and a three-way switch? Here’s an idea of mounting a compass over your bunk. It lets you check if your boat has swung on its anchor in the middle of the night right from under the covers. If you are tired of your halyards clanging and tacky bungee cords, you can use spreader thumb cleats instead. Here’s one for sailors who refuse to give up their tillers. It’s a tiller comb that lets you lock the helm in various positions freeing the helmsman temporarily. I could go on.

I found myself being entertained by Don’s comfortable style of writing as well as his simple way of explaining things. He does an excellent job at describing the benefits to each improvement. For the most part, I could follow his instructions easily enough. There were a few times when I had to scratch my head in confusion while trying to follow the text and illus¬≠trations. Sometimes I felt the details were left to the reader’s imagination and mine wasn’t stretching quite far enough.

Though Don admits this book of 100 is not exhaustive, I can assure you it’s an extra 100 ideas in my file. For those who are always looking for a better way of doing things or need just the right idea, this book is a must-read.

If you recognize the title, it’s because this book is one of a series being re-published by International Marine.

100 Fast and Easy Boat Improvements by Don Casey, (International Marine, 2004; 138 pages)