Making the Most of a Minimal Budget. Contact me at: or on Twitter: @skintsailor

Friday 5 April 2024

Sadly Lost another Sailing Buddy Last Weekend.

As the title says, I lost another sailing buddy last weekend.

Mick had just started off on a solo Round-Britain adventure, but was lost overboard off Dover.

His lifejacket didn't inflate, I don't know whether that's because it was only a manual model, or if it was automatic and failed to activate. 

His family reported him overdue into Dover and his empty boat was found not far away. His body was recovered off Dover after a short search. 

He'll be missed, we used to discuss boaty stuff at work when he nipped in for a chat/advice. He was the person that gave me the Garmin chartplotter for Sprite.

I assume more details will come out over time, whether he died as a result of falling in the water or something happened before he left the boat. 

Those booms are always a risk, luckily I was never badly clouted by one.

I know I've been out in a gale (Force 6) just to see how Sprite performed, but I always made sure in conditions like that I was tethered to the boat. 

Mick was a really genuine, helpful and humorous guy. He always cheered you up when you talked to him. 

RIP Mick, you'll be missed and if your FaceBook profile is any judge, by a lot more people than me. 

Thursday 29 December 2022

First Yachtless Gales.

The past couple of days have been a bit blustery. It's still weird not having to worry about the boat after almost a decade of ownership. 

I hear the wind and then have to check myself thinking "I wonder how the boat is". 

I'm sure I'll get over it, but it's going to take time. 

I notice there are a few cheap boats on eBay going in Eastbourne. I really have to stop looking.

Monday 12 December 2022

Sailing a Different Kind of Boat.

The Mrs booked us an AirBNB with a twist when we went up to Manchester last weekend to see my Mum.

I got to steer. I can't say the handling was that responsive, it took some getting used to!

Me at the Helm. Pic Courtesy of Chris from the WCBS.

Me at the Helm. Pic Courtesy of Chris from the WCBS.

Yes, we were on a historic narrowboat. On the Canal. In Winter. In below freezing temperatures.

Having a sense of adventure is a requirement!

Thanks to Chris of the Wooden Canal Boat Society for being our host. No thanks to Canal and River Trust who have forced him to make trips mandatory as part of the airBNB deal to comply with their CRT licence. 

Not easy when you have no engine, in winter, pulling/poling through ice! Yes, it's a historic Butty, an unpowered narrowboat, so no engine.

I thoroughly recommend a stay on board. But maybe not on the coldest night of the year so far. lol.

We stayed ay Portland Basin in Ashton-Under-Lyne. The area is pretty historic. 

The Museum is worth a visit and just a stroll round the area is pretty nice, The Museum has a restored canal-powered water wheel, one of the few in the country.

Water is drawn from the canal, drives the wheel and then exits via a tailrace into the river Tame, some 40ft below the level of the canal.

The WCBS have a few boats moored up at the museum, not all in good states of repair. Sadly, the charity isn't that well funded and could do with an injection of cash. If I win the lottery, they'd be the first charity I'd bung some money. They so desperately need it and they do good work with minimal funds.

The AirBNB money goes some way to helping out, mainly because the boat is already ready to use and any labour is from volunteers.

I chatted with Chris about my memories of the canal being restored. He sent me a link to a video he'd found which shows the basin and the efforts to dredge the canal in that area. 

The video is here:

Back then I was fascinated by the monorail tipper wagon they were pushing along the towpath. Being roughly 9 when the restoration was happening, sadly I didn't participate.

One gripe I have about the area is that Ashton has now seemed to turn its back on the canal. Back in the 70s, 80s and 90s there was a lot of publicity. First the restoration of the Peak Forest and Ashton canals as documented in the video above, and later the restoration of the Huddersfield Narrow canal that joins one of the three arms of the junction. There were yearly canal festivals that helped fund the HNC restoration. But once that was done in the early naughties, the canal has slipped back into some sort of quiet slumber. Just a few boats around and very few walkers.

Anyway, we braved the weather back home. Skirted the snow in London on the M25 but made it home about 11:30 at night. Straight to bed after all that driving.

Monday 28 November 2022

Sprite Sold.

 Well, It's the end of an era. I sold Sprite 2 yesterday. In the spirit of the Skint Sailing ethos I sold her for the same price I bought her for almost 10 years ago. 

This is My last picture of her:

As you have probably noticed, I haven't been posting anywhere near as often as before. The past couple of years have been tough financially and this year has been especially tough. I'm struggling to run a car, let alone a boat on top of that. I'm just about scraping the £300 needed for mooring fees and insurance, let alone extra money for maintenance parts. The last thing I added was the new mooring block and chain back in May.

Since then I've hardly visited, just the occasional visit to pump out the bilges.

Also the previous post about the dinghy is indicative of a bigger problem down at Eastney: that the harbourmaster is removing every boat from the beach, one by one. 

There appears to be an effort to remove the cheaper end of the sailing community down at Eastney. I know some of the boats can be eyesores, but boats have been on the beach down there especially in Winter for decades and probably centuries. 

Sadly, I can't afford to run a boat now, so it's a moot point. 

Thank you to everyone that contributed comments and helped out when required. 

I'm now going to lie down in a dark room for a few days and have a good sob. lol. 

Tuesday 6 September 2022

Dinghy Gone!

I went down to the boat last week, after a weekend away in Manchester celebrating my mother's 90th and my 60th birthday. Yep, I'm old!

Anyway, my dinghy had disappeared!

I noticed however, that the area where my dinghy was had been cleared. Of bushes as well as other dinghies. 

After a few emails to the Harbourmaster, I got the details of the local council clearance department.

It appears that the local council or their operatives have cleared tenders from the foreshore! 

To say I'm not happy is an understatement!

I'm currently looking for a replacement, but it's possible that this may be the final straw and I'll be looking to sell Sprite 2 in the near future.

It's a bit much to be paying a fee to the Harbourmaster which includes the ability to keep a tender on the foreshore, if the harbourmaster isn't able to prevent other agencies like the local council coming along and clearing the tenders away and destroying them. 

The icing on the cake is the local council not only won't talk to be specifically about my dinghy unless I prove ownership, but if I DO provide proof of ownership, then I may be liable for payment of the removal fees and may be open to be charged with an offence.

I don't think that the local council understand the difference between a hulk abandoned on the foreshore, and a tender that has a legitimate use.

Anyway, this has obviously left a bad taste in my mouth as I don't really have the funds to buy another dinghy. The cost of living crisis has hit hard and I don't have any spare cash to spend after bills. 

That's why I'm contemplating selling Sprite. I can't afford to maintain her and it's been bad enough over the past 12 months as I've found it hard to just pay for the mooring fee and the insurance, unlike previous years where I've had a bit of spare cash to spend. 

I'll keep you posted.

Wednesday 1 June 2022

Jim's Funeral.

Went to Jim's funeral yesterday. 

One mention during the eulogy was the time his engine failed just outside Langstone Harbour and he had to be brought back in by the RNLI. As was the time his first boat sank. 

Not a lucky sailor then...

Anyway, we had a bit of a laugh at his expense, saw him off and then went down the boats to check on them. 

RIP Jim.

Now I'm helping the next generation of his family. I've been messaging online with details of how to get his boats off the beach. 

Monday 16 May 2022


Well, it's been noted in the local news that boat owners have been given 7 days to remove their vessels from the beach at Eastney. 

Row erupts after boat owners along shore at Eastney given seven days to move vessels the council claims are 'abandoned' or 'wrecked' | The News (

So at the moment Jim's boats are at risk, although I did let the Harbour Master know we're attempting to move them as soon as we can.

I've talked to Jim's family about what's necessary to make a new mooring and get the boats moved. Hopefully we can work together to get Jim's boats moved.

There are rumours that the harbourmaster wants to install jetties, but I think that's more to do with Eastney Cruising Association wanting to expand the mooring jetties they've already installed. 

The usual story of gentrification pushing out the poor.