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

Sunday, 16 February 2014


I did say earlier in the week that I had upgrades for the boat and the dinghy.In total I spent about 4 hours down at the boat today thanks to the tide being at the right time.

Well, the boat is now sporting a jolly fine solar panel. One of eBay's finest. All I had to do to it was add a cable to run along the cabin roof and then down into the cabin through the companionway.

Its a 10 Watt panel so should keep the battery  charged Here it is on the boat:

Its just lashed on temporarily, but in today's watery sunshine it was generating over 20 volts and when connected to the battery the battery volts went from 12.5 to over 13, so it seems to provide ample charge capacity. Although when it clouded over the voltage dropped to around 12.8, so it shouldn't overcharge unless we have long periods of sunny weather!

The solar panel currently just plugs into the accessory socket near the companionway.

I now have enough power to run my accessories like the radio with its adapter and also charge my mobile phone on board.

Which ticks off one of my to-do list items and I also made progress on one of my long-term to-do items, the engine charging circuit. I refitted the rectifier unit after fixing it last week.

So just the wires to reconnect under the stern connector and that job is done too.

I also got a new bucket to hang off the stern which should calm Sprite 2's tendency to hunt around in strong winds.

There were a few downsides however. Because the chain had jumped off the bow roller it had bent the screw on the turnbuckle at the bottom of the forestay and had also chewed into the fibreglass of the bow. I did a quick sealing job with some epoxy to stop rainwater getting into the glass fibre matting, but it will need a proper repair job at some point.

The bow had taken quite a beating actually, because a few fittings were loose. Not only that but somehow the bow had hit the mooring buoy with such force it had burst! The buoy now has a gaping hole in it:

It must have burst with some force as there were shards of plastic all over the bow!

What I might do with it is cut off the main part of the buoy and then leave the core that goes through the centre of the buoy. I'll then slide it up the chain and use it as an anti-chafing collar. In the meantime I'll hunt for a replacement buoy on freecycle or just use one of my large fenders.

I did mention dinghy upgrades in the week. Last week I got a rudder, daggerboard and a virtually brand new mainsail off ebay. They were for a Blue Peter dinghy, but I'm not fussed about originality, I just fancy being able to sail it in the summer. I got the lot for £6!

I checked the rudder and it needs new fittings on the stern, so I'll get those sorted as cheaply as possible from a boat jumble or something similar. All I need now is a cheap mast and I should be sailing it. Luckily the Blue Peter mast is unstayed so all I need effectively is a pole with a boom and that's it, nice and simple.

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