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

Monday, 13 November 2017

Dark Days

Yep, after the clocks going back, the days feel even shorter and darkness descends before 5pm.

You definately know it's winter now. Not many trips to the boat recently as tides have been all wrong. I did go on last weekend to tighten the cockpit cover and sponge out the lockers. Everything else seems ok at the moment. The battery is holding charge and the windows are not leaking. Yet.

On my next visit I'll lift the cushions, so damp from the bilges doesn't build up.

And then that's it for the winter apart from possibly the odd day.

The spray hood os getting a bit green, so that'll come off as well next time and get a wash.

At least this year I can say I had a few good days sailing and one amazingly long day out in the Solent, even if the wind did die on me half way through.

Roll on Spring.

Friday, 20 October 2017

Batten Down the Hatches, Brian's a comin'!

The first winter storm to really hit the South Coast is due to arrive this weekend.

The winds are due to peak tomorrow just when high tide is due in Portsmouth. Just about the worst time. On a mud mooring half the time it's okay because the boat is stuck in the mud and doesn't go anywhere. At high tide it's a different story altogether.

I shall be down there checking on the boats tomorrow.

I hope everyone has checked their mooring strops recently for chafe and renewed them if necessary. It's so sad seeing what was a perfect boat beached and holed.

Stay Safe everyone!

Monday, 9 October 2017

Finally Made it on Board!

After what must be at least 4 weeks, I made it on board Sprite yesterday.

The sun shone, which was nice:

The window rubbers seem to have started a rather rapid decay. I doubt they will make the winter, so they are definitely a priority. On every window the plastic locking strip has started to come adrift, so they are on borrowed time.

After the excesses of this month's move and my depleted bank account, hopefully next month I can get window rubbers sorted from ebay.

Yesterday was just a leisurely visit: a brew, some lunch, running the engine and bailing out the cockpit lockers.

Before I left I put the cockpit cover back in place. Yep, the summer's over.

Tuesday, 3 October 2017


I've finally moved house. It took a couple of weekends and a couple of week's worth of evenings, but everything is moved.

I never did get stuff on eBay, just no time to do it.

The wife is talking abbout sorting out the wall of cardboard or as most people call it, the spare room. I think after over a week of humping and bumping, I need a night with feet up, takeaway and TV.

She'll probably agree as Tuesday is Eastenders and Holby night.... no TV for me this evening then. A takeaway, feet up and old man evening/full belly snooze it is then.

I shall dream of those sailing days back in June, and plan my winter.

I have checked on Sprite 2 from the shore, but had no time to get on board for a while.

Hopefully this weekend I can get on board and check on things.

Things that I learned:

You can transport a dinghy trailer without a towbar. Just unbolt the axle from the drawbar. the drawbar goes on roof bars and the axle in the boot.

You can support a jib furler on the car roof with a slightly extended ladder. It stops the furler bending where it's unsupported over the bonnet (last time I used a length of wood tied to the radiator grille, but didn't have anything handy this time.

I'm getting too old to be moving just using my own muscle power. Hopefully any future move will be planned and I'll be able to save up to pay someone else to do the humping and bumping.

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Busy, Busy...

Well, no sailing or boaty stuff, but a couple of weekends I've spent sorting rubbish out and doing tip runs. The garage especially has benefitted, it now has about a third of the stuff in it it had before. It's amazing how much rubbish you can accumulate over time.

Added to that, the Mrs surprised me with a holiday for my Birthday. Yep, she'd gone to the trouble of booking it, paying for and AND phoning work to book the time off. Apparently she'd been saving up all year to get one over on me.

I did get to look at boats:

That's the Marina at Salou in Spain. Apart from a day we had in Barcelona where it rained, we had a lovely time. Most days it was like this:

Needless to say we didn't use the beach, instead overlooking the beach while drinking coffee and retiring to the Hotel to stay by the pool most days.

We had a nice meal in a square off Las Ramblas in Barcelona:

Parakeets and Palm trees, very nice. Apart from the guy playing Desposito (my least favourite song of the moment) in front of us. The wife even paid him so he'd stay and sing the bloody song...

Apparently all the family knew and chipped in for my birthday. Bit of a novel present eh?

So, back in blighty last weekend, but the days were spent washing and generally getting ready to go back to work. Then in the middle of the week we get a big blow. It was quite windy, with a bit of damage on a few unprepared boats. There was a small keelboat up on the shore at the top end of Portsmouth harbour (you could see it from the M275) and next to Sprite 2, Charlita had shredded her jib:

The unseasonal gale seemed to catch folk out. Which is a salient reminder to always square things away no matter what, because nature has a way of biting you.

The Mrs had one final surprise last week, with a ticket to the Southampton Boat Show. So that's where I was yesterday:

No wonder I'm smiling!

Quite a few interesting boats. This one caught my eye, it seems to have a split personality, not knowing if it wants to be a speedboat or a yacht:

Looks nice, but the price....... ouch!

This little Bay Cruiser 26 looked to hark back to small cruisers of old. Not sure about the rear entry door cum swimming platform(s), but I suppose it make entry from a tender easier. The dual rudders just seem to add unnecessary complexity:

Grey motorboats seemed to be a theme this year. This monster had 700 horsepower, plenty you would think:

But I found one with even more:

I bet it goes! Not sure you could get the conditions to run it flat out in the UK though. 

Led lighting seems to have well and truly become mainstream this year. There were a number of stalls selling all manner of LED lighting. The Skint Sailor did it years ago. :-)

Finally for those who like the smell of hemp rope, the boat show always have something old along with the new. This year it was the Kaskelot:

Very nice but not really floating my boat. 

This year as last year nothing really grabbed me. All I bought was a coffee and Blueberry muffin like last year. 

It's interesting seeing the new trends. Electric drive seems to be up and coming, but I still remain to be convinced as to it's uses on the sea. Even Hybrid drive has it's limitations. It's not like you can get the advantages of regeneration braking like you can with road cars. Quite how you recharge a battery pack from a propeller I'm not sure. There isn't the same sort of grip you get from road wheels on tarmac. Maybe you put up with a reduced efficiency. Unless you only have the facility on a sail boat so that the prop recharges the battery while sailing. But then you have increased drag and therefore reduced speed while sailing. Hmmm....
Thinking about it there's no benefit to stand-alone hybrid technology, because there is no way to put kinetic energy back into the battery bank. A battery recharged from shore power allows cheaper energy to be used alongside the engine, but then you're putting energy in from somewhere else, albeit cheaper energy. You could use wind and solar to recharge and get free energy, but would it repay the installation and maintenace costs of the more complex installation?
Anyway, that's enough for now. I've caught up with what I've been doing the past few weeks. I'll be in a new house at the end of the month, thanks to the landlady selling the one we're in at the moment. 

Sunday, 27 August 2017

Small Sail

Had a small sail around Langstone yesterday. Just went out and came back, no real time to take pictures, mainly due to the dinghy sailors racing around the harbour.

Pains in the arse that they were, criss-crossing the deep water channel and generally getting in the way. Me and another yacht had you slow down and speed up as they kept crossing the channel. The chap in the other yacht was nice, he mentioned he'd had a Seawych in the past. I jut shouted across I wish Sprite would sail a bit better.

But then the weed is growing back on the hull again, so Sprite's tacking ability is badly affected. As I found out when I started back down the harbour against the wind. Once up to speed she was ok, but slowed abruptly when tacking across the wind.

The past couple of days I've noticed the window rubbers are in a desperate sate, so they need attention before the worst of the winter weather sets in. the rear windows are pretty crazed and cracked, so the perspex needs replacement at the same time as the rubbers.

It's looking more and more likely that at some point I'm going to have to pull Sprite out of the water for a period of time. Something I'm not looking forward to. It either involves expense in putting her ashore in a yard, or vulnerability putting her ashore on the beach.

The house move during September is going to get in the way, so I'll get that out  of the way and then start to plan the shore time. By then I'll know how much storage space there is at the new house to hold all the parts I take off Sprite for safe keeping if I leave her on the beach for a few days.

Thursday, 24 August 2017

Sneaky Half Day.. work today.

Didn't do any sailing, just installed the clipper log properly on the instrument flap:

The hole making was made easy by the DIY 12v drill again, plus thanks to the larger leisure battery, I had a good hour of drilling with no drop in power. Lots of small holes drilled and then linked up to make the big hole to accommodate the back of the log unit.

Once done, I had my lunch and chilled, watching the boats entering and leaving the harbour and the people on the shore.

A nice afternoon and a refreshing change from the rush at work.