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

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Removal of the Space Invaders and Cheap Boats.

The traveller encampment in the car park at Eastney was removed yesterday morning. I got a tip-off via one of my many spies (actually a friend of my step-daughter) by way of this picture:

I went down at lunchtime to check on progress and the last of the encampment were moving off. Plenty of security, Police, breakdown trucks and hi-vis jackets in attendance,

By evening the car park had returned.

Car Park now with blocks in place to deter caravans

So now access to the boat should be back to normal.

On another note there seems to be a glut of 30ft-ish yachts on ebay at the moment. A few in the water and a few on the hard. All of them projects, but all of them an abject warning of how much a big fin-keel yacht costs to keep maintained and working. I just wonder why there is a lot of them suddenly about. I wonder if yard prices have just taken a hike, or if there's a concerted effort to buy up old, cheap yards and gentrify them.

There's a Everitt YCA 29 on eBay just gone this lunchtime  in Southampton. Still on the water with the mast down and strapped to the roof. Some water ingress but loos like rainwater and didn't thanfully look as though it got up to the engine air intakes £355.... bargain.

Another is a 25ft scoop-back quarter-tonner racer currently at £390.

There are a couple of others on eBay, they really is a rash of them.

Hmm, I just wonder how difficult it would be to convert one to twin keel... Must resist....:-)

Always fancied a bilge keel Gin Palace....

Friday, 14 September 2018

Australia beckons.

One of the things I haven't divulged this year is the reason for little or no blogging of any consequence.

ThatsT because all my spare cash that would have gone on the boat has been diverted to a projects called 'stralian holiday.

Hopefully in December, me and the Mrs jet off to Brisbane, stopping off in Dubai on the way there and back. As a sort of 10th wedding anniversary present.

As you can imagine, for someone of a skintish nature, financing such a venture has hoovered up all the spare cash. And that's flights only: we're taking advantage of family and friends for accommodation.

So, I apologise for the lack of blogging. The plans are that next year Sprite 2 will have some actual money spent on her to sort out the windows and mast beam. Here's hoping.

I was on board at the weekend and the old dear needs some money spent on her.

Thursday, 26 July 2018

Sick Centaur

The back is finally getting better after quite a long spell of doing naff all.

So guess what, I went down to the boat last weekend! Nothing strenuous, just went down on Saturday and shackled the mooring buoy to the chain. No rope this time: if it comes away from the chain it's been nicked.

I had a couple of hours on board in the sunshine, airing the cabin. After that I had a walk round the pond.

I came across this poorly looking Westerly Centaur on the beach at the end of the spit:

The poor thing had lost a keel. It was covered in seaweed, so I guessed it must have sunk on its mooring and been recovered. The fact it wasn't tied to anything suggested the person that put it on the beach didn't expect it to move.

I went back at high tide on Sunday and sure enough:

It doesn't float. :-( Such a shame.

I hope that somehow it gets restored and doesn't get cut up like so many other recovered wrecks I've seen down at Eastney.  Obviously they'll need the missing keel, hopefully they have recovered or will recover that as well as the boat.

In other news, the travellers that had been occupying the car park have been given notice to leave. Not the strongest of messages, but at least they've been told to skedaddle "as soon as practical".... very British :

Hopefully there is an end to this:

The whole car park being used up by caravans and campers. One's even parked a speedboat up at his caravan like some holiday home and another put a patio outside the door, so they knew they were in for the long haul! I did notice not one of the cars parked with the caravans had a towing hitch, so how they got the caravans there or how they'll tow them away I don't know.

That American RV has been parked up around Eastney and the rest of Portsmouth for about two years or more now. Anywhere he can get free parking.

So I've made a teeny step forward. Not a big one, but at least I got out to the boat.

Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Don't Crook Back in Anger.

Getting a bit frustrated now. The long days and the good weather say I should be working on the boat.

My crook back says otherwise. Has done for the past couple of weeks.

Tried to get down early last Saturday but upon picking the generator up my back said game over, no chance, I'm not ready yet... It's funny how a pain in your back can make your knees weak. :-)

So I spent the weekend resting in the garden and box set binging instead.

I've just got to wait until the tide and my back are ready I suppose.

In the meantime thoughts about the mast beam are still running through my head. My latest thought is possibly a laminated wood/grp affair, so if the wood deteriorates, it leaves a grp box or honeycomb section that still retains strength. Effectively the wood is a former for the grp.

I may have to get some glass cloth and some resin and do a few tests.

I have a new car. Luckily still the one I wanted but just a year older, instead being a 2004 model. By doing that my vehicle excise duty drops from £500 to £300. Still the same make and model of vehicle, but just some arbtrarily decided cutoff means the newer model attracts a higher tax.

The Swedish tank went away to another skint guy with a family. I got more than scrap value so I'm happy and he gets a cheap runaround with 7 seats so he's happy too.

Anyway, more resting on the cards in future until this stroppy back actually lets me go do some work.

Sunday, 10 June 2018

Small Visits

Just a series of small visits over the past few weeks. Travellers have taken over all the parking spaces down at Eastney, so it's difficult to visit. Last weekend I couldn't find anywhere to park at all so had to abort and go home.

On Friday evening I took the jib down ready for mast dropping.

This morning I put the engine back on. I noticed that my mooring buoy has disappeared. That's the second one.

Something to look for on eBay or boat jumbles. Again. Next time it's going to be attached to the chain by shackles!

Monday, 14 May 2018

Visit to the Boat and Car hunting

Just a visit to the boat on Saturday. Managed to take the boom off the mast ready for taking the mast down. Just the jib to remove and then I need to make up a crutch for the mast.

However it got a bit distracting as the coastguard helicopter got called out to look for a man overboard in the entrance to the harbour,

The guy had no lifejacket on and with the ferocity of the tide in the harbour mouth there was really no chance for the guy. The Coastie helicopter showed impressive endurance by almost hovering for over an hour looking for the guy. Plus two ILBs and assorted small craft looked for him. I'd have been out there as well if I had the engine on Sprite.

Sad to say after over an hour of searching they didn't find anything.

Sunday was another day looking at a car. I've started to look a bit more closely and I'm not impressed by the amount of Vehicle Excise Duty (road tax for oldies) that I'd have to pay on anything decent sized.

Why the bloody hell would I spend over £500 quid on road tax for a car that's 15 years old for God's sake? That's over a quarter of the price of the car!

My current car (Volvo V70) cost £500 to buy and it's £180 a year to tax it. It just seems a very cynical way of collecting extra tax just to jealously slap extra money on bigger cars just for the sake of it. I can understand £560 is a fraction of the cost of a new car, but really, why charge the same for a 15 year old banger?

Surely the VED should taper off over time to a more reasonable figure when the car gets to an old age?

Just makes me think that the government wants to stop me driving reasonably sized cars. I mean, can't have the poor driving decent cars can we? Bastards!

Monday, 23 April 2018

Full Weekends

Not with boat business unfortunately. It seems family business is getting in the way quite a bit recently.

I did stick to my guns and made the annual pilgrimage to the Beaulieu boat jumble yesterday, but wished I hadn't.

I just feel that every year for the past 2 or 3 years it's been getting worse: very samey across a lot of the stalls (how many fenders or how much rope can you possibly want?).

Maybe it's because I'm looking for very specific things like the correct size gudgeon and pintle for Jim's boat, or a chunk of hardwood to replace the mast beam, but there was nothing there yesterday that I could class as "must have" purchases.

When I first went to Beaulieu back in 2007 there were quite a few of the big traders with stalls doing pretty good deals (that year I got 5 new lifejackets at a bulk discount) but over time the bigger traders seem to have pulled out leaving the normal traders you can see at "normal" boat jumbles. But normal boat jumbles charge half the price or less to get in. And you don't pay the "Beaulieu premium" for bits either as traders recoup the costs of actually attending Beaulieu.

I think I'll be giving it a miss from now on. I can't afford to pay nearly £10 to get in and come away with nothing.

Anyway, I've paid up my mooring fee for another year, Sprite 2 gets to stay at Eastney for another year.

The last time I was on board the mast beam was looking rather odd, with a distinct sag on the port side. I think it has finally lost it's structural strength. I was toying with replacing it with something impervious to water ingress, like carbon fibre poles but I think I'll go old school and chuck in a cheap lump of hardwood (if such a thing can be found).

I'm told the job is a bit of a pig, so may take a while. Certainly the mast has to come down and it might be prudent while it's down to swap the lighting for LEDS and renew the wiring in the mast.

I think 2018 will be a maintenace year, rather than a sailing year. A bit like 2013 and 2014 were when I was getting Sprite 2 to a state I could sail her.

2018 will be a mast step and window fixing year I think.

As long as I can get the time to do it all I will as ever blog about it.

The next 2 weeks I'm on babysitting duty. Grandchild number 10 has been announced and due in the Autumn, so there seems no end to the list of little mites requiring a bit of Grandaddery. Gawd help me.

Updated to add: Thank heavens for the Historic Dockyard in Portsmouth and especially Action Stations! the activity centre. We got year long family tickets at Christmas for us and each of the individual family units and so far I've been there at least half a dozen times with various combinations of kids and grandkids. It's great for allowing the grandkids to let off steam and climb and jump to their hearts content while parents and grandparents nod and smile and wipe the sweat off the poor mites as they exhaust themselves....
Grandad gets to look at very old boats and not so old submarines, so everyone's happy! :-)