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

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....

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.

Sunday, 20 August 2017


Some fair weather and spare time today so off to the boat to soothe the withdrawl symptoms.

Just a potter round the harbour, although I also tried out my new eBay bargain:

Yes, Sprite 2 has a speedo, or will have once I cut out the hole for it in the instrument mounting flap.

I'm not sure the paddlewheel is the correct one, as the speeds seem to be a little off and it doesn't register any speed at all above 3 knots. So some more work required I guess.

But a bargain at £30.

This week I bagged another eBay bargain: a Seawych keel shoe for a fiver. Fantastic, because Sprite 2 is missing a keel shoe. So an odd one is just what I need.

Also earlier this week I watched HMS Queen Elizabeth come into Portsmouth harbour for the first time. I wasn't one of the flotilla of small boats trailing behind her, but before going to work me and the Mrs watched her come in from the seafront.

So although I may not have been actually sailing, I have been busy. Last weekend I was up North visiting my Parents and my daughter who's studying at Salford Uni.

The next month or so may be sparse for sailing stuff too, we're moving house. The landlady has decided to sell... just after we spent a fortune decorating too. The perils of private renting I guess.

We're downsizing as part of the move, so no garage. That's got to be cleared, including a spare jib furling setup that I got back in 2012 when I was boat-hunting. It was another eBay bargain that was too good to miss and I suspected I might not get a boat with a working furling system or one at all, so I bagged it. I'll stick it on eBay in the next week or so along with my old, dead motorbike.

Lots to do... none of it sailing unfortunately.

Monday, 24 July 2017

Poor Show

That's now two weekends with no boaty content, sorry guys I'm slacking.

Last weekend it was the wind that killed things, a bit too windy for me.

This weekend a combination of grandchild minding and torrential rain did for it.

I was house/baby/cat sitting on Saturday. We took one of the grandkids with us to Stokes bay on Sunday and there were plenty of boats out making the most of the morning's sunshine. But it wasn't to last and by luunchtime the torrential rain had returned.

When I got home the Ryde webcam showed an almost empty Solent, so it looks like everyone had taken shelter.

I'm now looking forward to a sunny mid-week where I stare out of the windows at work and curse the weekend weather. lol.

Friday, 14 July 2017

Burnt Out

Not me. There's been a caravan down at Eastney for a few months, I think the guy in it has been living in it.

I went down at the weekend and found this:

Bit of a shame.

I wonder how long the debris will be down there before it's cleared.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Slow Sail

Yesterday there was hardly any wind and high tide was mid-day, so I settled for a slow sail up Langstone Harbour.

As it was, there was so little wind it took an hour to get from the entrance to the watersports centre.

With no cooling wind, the Sun was scorching hot. There weren't many dinghy sailors in the harbour, but there were quite a few stand up paddle boarders. They were faster than me!

Once at the top, I started the engine and with it on just past ticking over, slowly made my way back down to my mooring.

Not a bad afternoon. The new battery is working well, the solar panel without the controller is keeping it charged, which means the tiller pilot is working properly. Funnily enough I tested the original battery at work and it still has 85% capacity left. I can only assume the solar charge regulator I got off eBay was rubbish.

So avoid one of these things:

The display gives loads of information, but as a solar charger it's a bit rubbish. It looks like the big battery and blocking diode combo update seems to work best of all. The battery stays charged, not dropping below 12.8v, which is fully charged. Even after running the tiller pilot for an hour or two.

Changing the orientation of the diode on the solar panel and removing the controller has made a pretty big difference. I'm sure the original battery would have been fine with this setup too.

So now the power side of things is sorted for long days sailing.