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

Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Handy Gadget Torch only £4.99

I saw this torch in our local branch of The Range and had to have it:
It uses a Light Emitting Diode to produce light rather than a bulb, so its more efficient. LED technology has progressed amazingly rapidly in the past 10 years and now you can get LED torches like this one that output watts of light rather than the milliwatts you got from old LEDs or standard torch bulbs. It produces a beam of light you can focus to shine brightly for 200 metres or more and uses just 3 small AAA batteries.
Not only is it a torch with a CREE LED capable of shining for over 200 metres, but if you unscrew the focus ring and pull it, it does this neat trick:
It turns into a lantern! And a pretty powerful one at that. I tried to photograph it but my phone camera could hardly cope due to the brightness:
Its only at Range stores, but at just £4.99 I'd recommend it as a handy little tool. Its going to consign all my other torches to the bin! Just remember to buy a few AAA batteries to run it.I suspect battery life might be an issue but as I've had it less than a day I can't really comment on that.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Weekend of Washing Machines

This weekend theres not been much happening on the boat. I had to pick up a new washing machine. I also helped Jim move his boat to a new mooring. I had to be careful as I pulled my back messing with the washing machine.

Anyhow I managed to get a coat of varnish on the dinghy seats.

But progress is painfully slow as always, but thats par for the course for the skint sailor. I could do things quicker but that would need money!

The next couple of days are a washout as I'm off to hospital for investigation into my heart.

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Slow Weekend

There may not be much to report this weekend as we have family over from the middle east. My sister-in-law is over to celebrate her 50th Birthday. Apparently most of the female members of the family (including cousins I've only just heard of today) are off on a pub crawl tonight. What better way to celebrate your birthday when you live in a "dry" Islamic country. Watch out Portsmouth, someone is going to get very drunk!

I'm helping my step-son move house this morning and also getting the cake and collecting various family members for tonight's shenanigans.

I may get some woodworking in this afternoon or tomorrow but it seems unlikely.

Wednesday, 13 November 2013

A day off work today.

I had a day off work today, primarily to be here:
Obviously not in the parade, just watching and providing support. My step-daughter's husband-to-be has just come back from Afghanistan and was awarded his campaign medal today. Luckily back on Thorney Island in one piece which is a relief.

The wife had nipped out of work for a couple of hours to be there as well, but I had to take her back after lunch.

Which of course meant I had a couple of hours to do boaty stuff in the afternoon!

In the end I took the generator down along with my jigsaw and made up a couple of extra seats for the dinghy as well as cutting out a panel to strengthen it's transom. It only took an hour or so to nip down there and butcher the wood into shape. The generator is a godsend now I've got it working correctly. I can use power tools in the middle of nowhere.

Anyway I have a few panels of plywood to hone into shape and varnish now. Should keep me busy and it'll be useful to have an extra couple of seats when my youngest comes down from Oxford and wants to come out to the boat with me.

Monday, 11 November 2013

Sunday Boat Stuff

Only just got round to blogging about yesterday.

I got down to Eastney very early, before the tide covered the mud under Sprite 2. I wanted to see what had happened to the mooring block. Since the storm the other week the block had disappeared. Through binoculars all you could see was a mound of mud but no tyres. I floated over the block when there was about 6 inches to a foot of water. What I saw was interesting. The block had been pulled about 2 feet and in the process had dug itself into the mud. Behind the block was the large hole it had scoured in the mud as it dug itself in. However, it saves me the job of digging it in!

Myself and Jim spent most of the day on the boats. I got my locker lids roughly cut out - they need the edges rounding and the underside routed, but at least I have the rough shape sorted to work on.

Most of the day was spent sorting Jim's boat. We got the chain he bought last week shackled to his ground chain so he has chain all the way from ground to his samson post. A lot more secure.

I also got his outboard freed from his bracket. The bolts had seized, but with a bit of effort and some WD40 I freed the bolts off enough for him to get the engine in the cabin.

Here's me nipping "next door" to go and get the WD40:
A lot easier now I have my new oars: I can get further away faster.
So, Jim's boat is safe and secure, and I've made a small step forwards on my to-do list.

I gave Jim some of my left-over plywood to strengthen his dinghy seat, the rest is going to make seats in my dinghy and possibly a transom block for an outboard on the dinghy if there's enough left.

Saturday, 9 November 2013

Wet, Wet Wet... and a Rainbow

I donned the waterproofs today and rowed over to Sprite 2. The new oars worked a treat and made getting out to the boat so easy. Today I took the battery back on board which had been charged up.

I didn't do much other than fit the battery and tidy up the interior which had been trashed by the movement of the boat in the big storm. I noticed with all the bad weather that the windows had leaked, probably the first time they have this year. Luckily not much, but one leak had made the sleeping bag damp, so thats now hanging up in the cabin.

I also reset the bucket tied to the stern. It had helped slow down the weaving the boat does in high winds, but I noticed that sometimes it gets dragged so severely it get pulled out of the water which reduces the damping effect. So I tied it a bit lower in the water and weighed it down with a rock. So now when the boat veers left or right in the wind, it has to pull the bucket and the rock out of the water, which provides immediate and effective damping.

I also retied the chain to the bow roller so hopefully it won't jump off like last time. Of course it all depends on how long the rope lasts, but I don't envisage another big storm. Well, not until January or February anyway.

The rain stopped not long after I got on the boat and gave me 3 hours or so of good weather. I came off when I noticed another rain cloud on the way in. The retreating sunlight produced a rather nice rainbow under the cloud:

I'm back at Eastney tomorrow helping Jim hook up his new chain to his mooring buoy, so he'll have an all-chain mooring.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Weather Woes

It looks like the wet and windy weather is going to be fairly constant over the next few days. A number of Atlantic lows are at the moment throwing high winds and wet weather fronts at the UK.

So it looks like boat stuff will be slow going until it all settles down. Hopefully the normally cold dry December weather will not be far away.

Sunday, 3 November 2013

I have Oars at Last

Today I went to the Boat Jumble at Havant Leisure Centre. Its usually not a big affair as the season is coming to a close.

On the wish-list today was a solar panel or a set of oars.

No solar panels were in evidence, and there were plenty of oars of the totally wrong shape (OK for sculls at Henley Jim said), or at silly prices. Then just at the last gasp, just as I was on my way out, the crowd thinned round a stall I had passed before and there propped up against a wall were a set of oars of the right size and shape. One price tag said £30 and another said £25: I haggled the stallholder down to £20, which still means the oars cost more then the dinghy! But after using Jim's oars last week I realised how badly I needed a set of decent ones for safety if nothing else.

So, I've got a single coat of varnish on the bottom half of the oars at the moment, but rain intervened.

Here they are, first coat of varnish drying in the hallway:

The plywood on the left of the picture is supposed to be made into locker tops, but as I look outside the rain seems to be set for the rest of the day, with no breaks in the clouds visible.

Mind you I also got a coat of varnish on my flagstaff for my Red Ensign, just to tidy it up a bit, so I've done a little bit more, but its just so frustrating to have so little time available now that the evenings are dark when I finish work and the weather doesn't play ball at the weekend.