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

Thursday, 26 December 2013

More Post-Storm Pictures.

I took my daughter into Portsmouth today and then scooted over to have another look at the Post-Storm fallout.

Here's Mishooka with here severed bow line. Although its pretty substantial, it must be rotten its been on there for so long, like all the other green and rotting lines on her.

Shame really because for such an old boat she's in not that bad condition. Sure she needs some TLC but like many others down at Eastney she doesn't get attended to nearly as much as she needs.

Of course there's Joanna and the Snapdragon that collided:

As Joanna hit it, the snapdragon dragged its anchor yet again. I don't think its been set correctly as it did it in the last storm. It should hold a bit better than that even with Joanna bumping into the bow.

We couldn't move Joanna the other day because there's a fairly substantial step where the skeg for the prop  bolts onto the keel. Its probably 1-2 inches deep. Its also buried deep in the sand so it'll take quite a high tide to float her off. Possibly on Sunday when there's a 4.4m tide. But it'd be prudent to do some digging in front of the skeg first to make things a bit easier.

I did notice one thing now the tide is low: the wind must have changed close to low tide as there were scar marks in the mud around mine and Jim's boats where the keels had dragged in the mud as the wind changed and pushed the boats around.

The news are saying we're due for another round of wind and rain by the weekend. I'll check the charts later today and see how bad its going to be.

Wednesday, 25 December 2013

An Even Worse Storm Weathered

The storm this week seems top have been worse then the over-hyped one earlier in the year. Certainly in terms of the effects at home (the house was shaking and the windows had what appeared to be a jet-wash pointed at them for hours) it was worse and the effects down at Eastney were far worse too. Some bad news for a few people especially at Christmas.

Luckily mine and Jim's boats had survived, but the storm was so bad four boats had broken their moorings, On had been blown across the harbour and bumped into another boat and snapped the lines of the second boat which had then gone down the beach and collided with the Snapdragon with the dodgy beaching legs. Finally another boat called Mishooka had broken its rather substantial bow rope and had swung on its stern ropes. The downside for the beached boats is that the tides are dropping every day so it'll be a while before they can be refloated and put back where they belong.

Finally a rather neglected boat had been dismasted which I'm not sure shows the force of the wind or the decrepitness of the boat:

We only ever see the guy pop down to the boat about once a year. I think he lives somewhere up in the Midlands. He still pays harbour dues and the boat still floats but you have to ask why he hangs on to it. Most likely its sentimental, but sad to say its just dying a slow death.

Wednesday, 18 December 2013

Ready for Anything...

When I first started out looking for a cheap boat, I was prepared to take on almost anything as I knew I'd be up to tackling most tasks. I'm a fairly laid back type of guy and not much phases me, I just crack on and get the job done.

Even when it comes to helping out doing things like this:

Yes, I got to help out delivering grandchild number 9 last night as she arrived a bit earlier than the midwives did. The Mrs did the catching and holding, I did the technical stuff like sort the cord out.

Ready for anything? Oh yeah!

Both baby and mum are doing well.

Friday, 13 December 2013

Mud Weekend

Its present shopping weekend this weekend so probably not much time for the boat.

Mind you high tide is early in the morning, so for most of the day the boat will be like this:

That was taken a few weeks ago. Its interesting to note all the Geese have already eaten all the green stuff that grew on the mud over the summer. There are thousands of them roaming the mud at low tide, churning it up so much that the water has turned from being clear in the summer, to being a grey cloudy mess. They're an amazing sight to watch as they fly over and funny to hear as they go about their business, but in such huge numbers they don't half change the character of the harbour. Winter is definately here when they're around!

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

Cowes at Christmas?

At the weekend I mentioned to Jim that I might actually take Sprite 2 for a sail over the Christmas holiday. He mentioned Cowes but there just isn't daylight for long enough during the day, which means a portion of the journey will be at night. Now I've not sailed a boat at night for a very very long time, so if you add that little task onto what should be a relaxed festive nip out and back it turns into a major operation.

I think a relaxed couple hours pootling around Langstone at high tide in daylight will suit me just fine for working off Christmas lunch.

I don't fancy a forced march in freezing conditions to Cowes and back with the added complexity of a night transit across the Solent back into Langstone would be in any way shape or form a joyous occasion.

Sunday, 8 December 2013

A Productive Weekend (for once)

Yes, I got the long handrails sanded and oiled today. I got down to the boat very early in order to get on board as early as I could to maximise the day. I even took food and made a flask of coffee so I didn't have to stop to make a brew. I was a man on a mission today!
I got there before there was enough water to get to Sprite 2, so I had a mess about with my nautical binoculars to see if I could take photos through it:

Its not a bad effort I suppose. It shows how close mine and Jim's boats are, plus the fact that the Geese are back in huge numbers. Nearly every white dot you see in the background is a goose!

 Anyway, I got on board, pulled the cockpit cover back and made a start. Jim was due to pop down some time during the day. He got down about two hours after me, just as I'd finished the first long handrail. I nipped over and said hi for a short while, then got back to sorting the second handrail.

As you can see they're both looking good. As with the front ones there are a couple of missing teak plugs over the screw holes, so I need to get a handful and replace them.

I also managed to remember to take a picture of the bottom washboard. A few weeks ago I coated the bottom of the washboard with epoxy as it had deteriorated a bit because of water pooling in the slot it sits in. The Epoxy waterproofs it and holds it together so it shouldn't deteriorate any more. It might not be pretty, but its functional.

All told I spent 4 hours aboard working on the handrails. This time of year thats about as much as you can snatch really. By the time I'd got the cover back over the cockpit the Sun was going down. I left the boat under a Salmon-Pink sky. Should be fine tomorrow then.

By the time I'd got ashore and got the dinghy sorted it was so pink it was reflecting off the water.

I got into the car and instantly got that flushed-face feeling you get when you've been working out in the cold all day. All in all its been a good weekend, I feel as though I've achieved something for once. I'll have to get a few more coats of varnish on the rudder and get the mainsail Halyard and battens sorted because the next time the tide and weather is the same as today and I'm on the boat I might actually take it for a sail.

Saturday, 7 December 2013

High Tides

Another busy day today. In between jobs I dropped Jim's peg-leg generator off at his house along with a bottle of wine and a 60th Birthday card. Happy Birthday Jim!

I took advantage of todays Spring tide which allowed me a few hours of work on the boat. On the way I stopped off at Jim's boat and tidied up hid mooring buoy which was hanging off the bow by quite a way. As you can see he's not that far away from me now:

When I got there I noticed that the other night's storm surge wasn't just limited to the East Coast. We did have coastal flood warnings locally and no wonder. When I got to the dinghies the high tide mark was past their bows and almost on the road! I checked the Chimet web site the other night and was a bit surprised to see a reading over 5.8 meters, an hour before the top of the tide, but looking at the tide mark and the dinghies covered in seaweed and grass, I can believe it.

So this is what the dinghy looked like today:
You can see the seats and the transom board I added last week. I also added a couple of small drain holes which did their job and drained the dinghy so it was easier to flip over not being full of water. But you can see the rubbish the tide swept into it.

The combination of decent weather, spring tide, the dinghy being sorted and the generator working all meant I had time on the boat to do something worthwhile rather than check the bilges and make a brew. I loaded the dinghy up with the genny and a few bits and went and did some sanding on the handrails. I did the two small ones at the front of the boat today and hopefully with most of the odd-jobs done today I'll do the big handrails tomorrow.

The first thing was to load up the freebie genny and the sander:

First wrap up warm as it there was a fairly cold breeze blowing. Then start work on the handrails.
This is how they started off, the usual weathered grey:
It took about an hour per rail with a sander to remove the grey oxidation. It starts off really quickly, with lots of red dust but the oxidation runs deep and takes a while to get an even finish after the initial dust is sanded away. Two teak plugs at the far end are missing so I'll have to get some at some point.

Once sanded I got to this stage:
Then on with the teak oil to bring out the grain and weatherproof the rail:
I prefer teak oil as you can just keep applying it without doing a lot of sanding. It soaks into the wood and really nourishes it as well as the resins in the oil proofing it against the weather.

You can see from the last photo that by the time I came off the boat the shadows were getting a bit long. Handily the tide was still high enough that I didn't have to drag the boat up the beach as my back is still a bit dodgy from the other week.

So hopefully the weather will stay fair tomorrow long enough the get the big handrails done and maybe something else. It'll feel like I've had a productive weekend then.

Friday, 6 December 2013

App Time (Number 1 of a Series)

A great bonus to sailors these days is the amount of processing power installed in humble devices. One is the smart phone, where essentially you have a computer with a high resolution screen that fits in your pocket.

I have a Samsung Galaxy S2 Android smart phone and there is a vast array of free applications that are useful to the sailor. Being free they're of immense interest to the Skint Sailor.

The first one I'm highlighting as I use it so much is "UK Tides", an application that is simple in that it "just" predicts UK tides. Find it at

Here's a screen shot:
I say simple, but the app is immensely useful as a tool to predict tides days in advance, or see the current tide state, or see if the tides allow you to do whatever you need to in daylight.

At the top of the screen is the name of the place where its predicting the tide. You can set it manually, or it can also work off GPS so it shows the tide prediction nearest to your physical location.

Just under that is the date line, which highlights the current date in white. If you swipe sideways you get the prediction for the next day.

Below that is a table showing the time of the low and high tides for your chosen location.

Below that is the sunrise and sunset times: handy if you're spending the day out at sea and you need to know if the tides are right and you have enough daylight hours to enjoy them.

Below that is moonrise and moonset and of course the phase of the moon lets you know if you have a moonless or moonlit night.

Below that is a graphical chart of the tide for the day, and a white line on the graph shows where the current time is on the graph.

Finally at the bottom is the current tide depth.

Very, very handy and I refer to it constantly.

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Weekend of Two Halves

Yesterday was boaty stuff: I got my newly varnished seats and transom board fitted to my dinghy. There wasn't much to do on the boat as daylight hours were low tide. But the dinghy is looking good.

Today was time for me and the missus. Up after a lie-in and off to the pub for breakfast, followed by a walk round Chichester.

Then in the afternoon she went off with her girls to bingo for a couple of hours and I settled down to fixing Jim's generator. Playing with the pilot screw and fressh petrol in the tank got it running. But I need to check its cold starting temperament before I can say its fixed. I also gave it a wooden leg (very nautical) as one of its metal legs sheared off a long time ago.

Apart from doing some work on my car thats it. Lack of time, daylight and the wrong tide conspired against me.