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

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Lidl Oil Pump

For those of you out there with sludge-filled iron lumps in the bilges that have never had an oil change because it's been too difficult, Lidl are stocking a 12v electric oil extraction pump.

It's part of the automotive special offer on Thursday the 23rd:

The price is £12.99, lots cheaper than marine equivalents and it should do the job.

Don't sue me if it doesn't though.

Friday, 17 March 2017

eBay Update

Well, the ad blocker has made a real difference.  So much so, the difference between browsing on my computer and someone else's is now very obvious.

I'd recommend if you're using Google Chrome as a browser to look at the add-on's and down load an adblocker. There are a few available on the Chrome add-on list. They all work in the same way so I can't say which is best.

It doesn't only speed up eBay either. the local newspaper website is 40% news, 60% adverts. It's made a HUGE difference on that website too.

I would say try it and see if there is any difference. I recommend it.

I will get back to sailing related stuff soon, I promise! But making the browsing experience better for those of you searching for the ideal low-cost yacht has to be a good thing.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

eBay Woes (Slow Response)

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting ever slower response times from eBay?

When trying to bag a bargain, you have to cast the net wide on your searches to make sure you trawl up the mis-spelled, the mis-placed or the generally badly advertised listings. The classic way to find the items no-one else can.

That means to drag up a lot of dross and you get into a rythm of quickly scrolling down the listings and filtering the gold from the poo.

But I'm finding it ever more difficult to do this, as the time it takes eBay to redraw a page is taking absolutely ages.

It's not my "up to 8Gb" connection either, the same massive slow-down occurs at work (during lunch break and for scientific purposes only, you understand).

I'm at a loss to explain it. Unless the adverts that eBay attach to every page have recently become massive and pre-load a huge video every time you click on to a new page. Maybe they're collecting mega amounts of meta-data, every page logging my activity in minute detail.

The fan on my laptop goes bonkers every time it displays a new page too, then quietens down after a couple of minutes (the time it takes to be able to scroll a page smoothly).

All very strange and totally frustrating. So much so I'm looking at alternative sites now in order to bag bargains.

Bye Bye eBay, you're no longer the useful site you used to be.


Deleting all my browsing history didn't do much good.

However, adding a advert blocker to Chrome seems to have had an effect. I'll report back after I've had a few days running in the new configuration.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Long Row, Short Visit

Today it's been blowing around F6, so it made rowing out to the boat a bit of a slog. Eventually got there and then the heavens opened. So just a quick visit to check the hatch would fit the front panel.

It does, although it takes up most of the front panel. An Ocean 20 is just about the max size for that panel I think. I didn't check on what the fit was like inside, as I was fearful of losing the dinghy it was that windy. I was only there for a minute but already one of the fixing had come undone, such was the wind and wave action tugging at the ropes.

So back in the dinghy and to row against the wind again back to shore.

The wind was blowing parallel to the beach so I was fighting it there and back again.

I must admit I'm not a fearful rowing out to the boat in this weather, I'm just not happy about losing the dinghy and getting stranded on board. :-)

Anyway, it's good news the hatch fits. Now I know it does, I've been cleaning off the old sealant with my new power tool: my multitool with scraper attachment. It made short work of the sealant, I'm hoping it will make scraping the bottom of the boat an easier and quicker job too.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Gosport Boat Jumble

Last Sunday I went to the Gosport boat jumble. As my boat jumble page suggests, this very early in the year jumble can be a source of bargains. The cold weather tends to put people off. This year it was warmer, so there were more people, but they quickly went, I assume because they were looking for specific things for winter projects.

I started off my journey here:

Lovely Havant train station. Love the early 20th century aesthetics. The train down to Portsmouth Harbour was £4.80 return. To drive round the harbour to Gosport and back would cost more than that in petrol.

At  10:30 on a Sunday morning the harbour was pretty still:

Then a short ferry trip:

Over the water to Turktown.

£3-odd return. Yeah, now it's adding up to the same as petrol round the harbour, but I'm doing something different for a change, plus it's pay-and -display parking at the boat jumble so that means public transport just pips the car in this instance.

Last year I got bungie sail ties and rope very cheap, this year I went prepared with a big rucksack.

Had I wanted to carry it home I could have had a Mercury 3.3Hp outboard for £30. A guy was haggling for just the petrol cap off it and the vendor was saying he could have the cap for £30... with the rest of the outboard. :-)

Odd bits like anchors for a tenner, large fenders for a tenner or 4 for £30, and like last year there were a few rope bargains.

Last year a stall had a few real bargains like cheap hatches. This year he was in the same place again (2nd bay on the right) :

I didn't have enough money last year, but this year I was prepared. Sure enough, he had a couple of Lewmar Ocean 20 hatches, £30 each. I only need one to go on the front of Sprite to replace the non-opening port-light at the front. So I bagged one:

It needs a clean and the acrylic needs polishing, but I can get plastic polish from work. On this one the friction mechanism was jammed, but literally 5 seconds with an allen key to back off the tension released it. Now it opens fine and still holds the hatch open.

Ideally I would have liked a 10 inch square Ocean 10 hatch, but this one should still fit the front panel of the cabin. It's 13 inches wide and the front panel I measured at over 20 inches. It's even the flanged version, so the flange will cover the sides of the cut hole. All I need is to use some of my spare marine ply to make a trim round the hatch on the inside of the cabin to receive the mounting screws. The downside is it'll take all of my woodworking skills to make something that looks horrendous. I may trawl the DIY stores for a decent-looking solution. :-)

The rest of the Boat Jumble looked like this:

As you can see, not particularly busy, which is why I like it. With most summer boat jumbles the bargains have all been bought up within 5 minutes of opening time.

After walking round twice to be sure I didn't miss anything, I walked back to the ferry. The last picture is a view of Portsmouth from the other side. A view I very rarely see and I don't visit Gosport often:

On the way back I noticed the dredging barge was working off railway jetty making it deeper for the new carrier due later this year. There was a Belgian minesweeper and a South African Navy ship docked there. Hopefully it doesn't dredge up another unexploded WW2 bomb while they're there and cause an international incident. It seems they come across a new unexploded bomb every few weeks.

The South African ship was in dock to commemmorate the SS Mendi disaster, a ship that went down off the Isle of Wight.

And that was it, Back to the train station and home.

Sunny Saturday.

Saturday was clear, dry and pretty warm. Very un-February-like.

I got on the boat and had a tinker with my 3.3Hp outboard that steadfastly refused to start. The petrol tap was refusing to let more than a small dribble of fuel to the carb, so it started and then stopped. So that's another job to sort. I need to get it going, because Jim's travails the previous week focused my mind onto having backup options like an alternative motor if the main one conks out.

After opening the lockers to get two stroke oil, I noticed a bit of water in there, so I got to work with the pump and sponge. Got the water out and then started airing the wet bits. The rope in the lockers came home for a wash in the washing machine.

Yep, the lockers are odd. I need to get the new locker top on the port side this year. The locker top isn't delaminating, it just offends my slight OCD-ness. I like things to match and be nice, I'm just hopelessly sluggish at making it happen.

With the sprayhood up, and breeze was blocked so the cockpit was a pretty nice place to be.

So with the lockers dried, some bits dried and some in the dinghy to come home, after a brew and a few biscuits I rowed back ashore.

One thing I noticed on the dinghy are scratch marks. It looks like Mr water Vole, Rat, or whatever got stuck at the bow of the dinghy and wanted out:

I will have to think of a solution to this, because if ratty makes my dinghy his home and then graws through the hull at all, I will be very upset. Plugging the open inspection holes up seems like a plan so he can't use the buoyancy tanks as a home, then maybe lifting the dinghy up on bricks  so it's not as safe and cosy as it used to be would seem to be the plan.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Helping Hand.

Last week Jims boat broke its mooring. It let loose and all that stopped it drifting away was the chain dragging on the mud.

I went down last Monday after work and Jim was struggling. I didn't have my oars with me so couldn't get out to Sprite and help drag Jims boat back. I wish I had because in the end later that evening his boat had drifted so much it had to be rescued by the RNLI.

So this weekend just gone I started helping him make a new mooring block. I've scrounged a couple of tyres and a plywood sheet. Enough to fill with concrete. All I need to scrounge is some steel bar to make the mooring ring to set in the concrete. Not bad for nothing.

He also needs new chain as his seems to be pretty much shot. Most likely why it parted in the first place. That might be a bit more expensive.

I've also got his engine at home because it wouldn't work , hence why he couldn't recover his boat on its own.

I'll be busy then. :-)