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

Thursday, 30 October 2014

Winch Woes

I was on the boat the other day fitting the cam cleats back in place.

After fitting them, I started removing the winches. If you remember I mentioned a while ago that the mounting bolts are rusty and in dire need of replacement.

Here's a picture:

Both sides are as bad as each other. You can see that a few of the nuts have corroded to almost nothing. Certainly its going to be a mission to remove them.

To remove the winch from the base you need to remove a spring circlip. To add insult to injury one of the circlips was so weakened by corrosion that it broke apart when I tried to remove it.

So a quick scan for Girdlestone Winches shows they went out of business a while ago, but luckily were bought by Barton and spares are still available. The downside is the spring clip only comes as part of a spares kit that includes the bearings, pawls and springs. A tad expensive just for a spring clip.

But I've swallowed the cost and after a bit of Googleing found somewhere that sells the kits a fiver less than anywhere else; that's a tenner saved, but the kits are still £20 each plus postage! So the order has just gone in for a couple of kits. Its still I think the biggest single expense I've laid out on the boat so far!

In the great scheme of things I might as well change the internals as some of the pawls are corroded and sticking. The bearings are nice and tight, but I can keep the old ones for spares.

So while I'm waiting for the parts to arrive I'll have to pay a visit to Sprite with the generator and my Dremel and set to cutting the nuts and bolts off. I'll fit stainless replacements and bed the winches down on sealant to stop water getting in.

Sunday, 26 October 2014


The cam cleats for the jib have been playing up lately, refusing to grip ropes properly and generally getting old.

I took one off a few weeks ago and finally got round to taking the other off yesterday. It makes the job easier if I can just re-fit the old ones rather then replace them.

Last Night I puilled them apart to see if they could be serviced and refitted rather than have to fit the new ones I bought.

As you can see they are old paxolin cleats. Nothing wrong with that as long as they work! As you can see I've already squirted WD40 on the base plate. The original grease had gone hard and that's what was making them stick. So it was a case of clean, remove all the old residue, regrease and refit. I did all of that but they still looked a bit tired. So I whipped out the trusty stained varnish and gave them a coat. The cleats are lifted off the boat by what I thought were wooden blocks, but which also turned out to be paxolin. The edges looked a little green so they too got cleaned and coated with varnish.

Now they look a lot better:

The cleats now work freely, so I can now refit them.

The next thing to do in that area are the winches, which are held on by slivers of rusty bolts. Not good. Another visit to toolstation for some stainless replacements I think.

Saturday, 25 October 2014

More Clearance

Jim and myself spent a few hours on the boats today and got a few jobs done. I took the generator and angle grinder with me and cut the seized padlock off the outboard, so I could put the engine in the cabin out of the winter weather.

I also took the curtains off as the Mrs has promised to make me some new ones.

I took the second cam cleat off the boat. I'll have a go at refurbishing them first before I admit defeat and fit the brand new ones I got off eBay.

While Jim and I were having lunch (Lidl Meatballs and Pasta) the harbourmaster rib came round again. Unfortunately no entertainment this time, although they did have a sniff at Roscoe's boat:

 That'll be a big job to lift, as it leaks like a sieve. Its not floated for over a year now.

Every high tide, this is what it looks like:

Strangely the vultures haven't descended on it like other boats on the beach. But it looks like it's days at Eastney are numbered.

Talking of vultures, It looks like Mashooka is slowly being stripped of it's period fittings. A real shame that it appears to have been abandoned, because up to a month ago it would have been a viable project. But now bits have started disappearing, the cost of getting it back up to standard may be too much. For instance just re-fitting the brass portholes will cost humdreds.

She still floats, but doesn't have a harbour ticket on her. In the three years I've been sailing with Jim, I've never seen anyone actually sail her, she's just stayed moored in the same spot on the beach. Such a shame, but old wooden boats are just money pits. I expect she'll be next on the harbourmaster hit list.

No boaty stuff tomorrow: I'm babysitting one of the Grandkids.

Tuesday, 14 October 2014


I finally had a letter from the Harbour Board this week outlining the clearance that is going on.

Apparently nothing is safe, they're even clearing the tenders from the beach.

Its a shame to see what were once good boats reduced to scrap, but there are too many boats that have been left to rot.

There's one wooden boat that the last owner spent hundreds on and then found it sunk one day. He found the previous owner had kept it afloat with wads of silicone sealant. The more he looked, the more rotten wood, holes and sealant he found. To be honest it was a blessing it happened while it was on a mooring: if it had happened at sea the story could be worse.

Fixing it cost more than he could afford so he walked away from the boat, leaving it intact on the beach with inboard and outboard attached. Everything is ruined after months of daily submersion, because the boat doesn't float any more.

There are a few wooden boats on the beach that have surpassed their owner's enthusiasm, skill and bank account and have been left to die an ignominious death.

Saturday, 11 October 2014


Here's a space where a Leisure 17 used to be:

Looks like the harbour master has been busy again...

Monday, 6 October 2014


Today's stormy weather saw me down at Eastney checking on the boat before work this morning, during my lunch break and after work too. I guess I've become accustomed to good weather this year and need to get acclimatised to storms again!

Sprite was fine, as was Jim's boat. Ready for the next storm later this week.

This evening I went for a walk up the beach to check on the boats there. The Snapdragon that keeps losing its beaching legs, has lost a beaching leg again and is at an angle.

One mover is the Leisure 17 that was washed to the top of the beach in last winter's storms. It looks like someone is moving it as the holes where the deck fittings were hacked out have been covered by duct tape and it's been dragged away from where its laid up all year. I don't know whether the harbour master has moved ready for towing off or whether some brave soul has taken it on. I suppose I'll see in the next few weeks.

I did a tour of various bits of Langstone harbour this weekend. It looks as if the first Geese have arrived, so it won't be long before the green weed on the mud banks is stripped and the grey winter mud returns.

Sunday, 5 October 2014

Boat Jumble

I went down to the Autumn boat jumble at Royal Victoria Park in Netley Abbey today.

I wasn't going to go, but I woke up early, watched the Japanese Grand Prix and as it was sunny and I had time, I nipped down there.

There were a lot of stalls, but as I'm now looking for specific items, I didn't find much to spend my money on. I got 70ft of 8mm braided rope for less than a tenner and that was it.

Even though it was the end of the season, a lot of stalls were selling stuff dearer than you can get it on eBay, so I wasn't tempted. I got the rope from a stall I got my previous rope from. They tend to be cheaper than anyone else there but its still decent quality rope.

I was on the lookout for a small hatch to fit in the front of Sprite, but they are way to expensive. Even old, old portholes are past my budget. I'll keep looking for a cheap one.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

App Time (an occasional series)

The last tide application I talked about, "UK Tides" has for the past couple of months not been functioning properly, due to the UKHO changing the address for its data source.

So, I've been forced to trawl the pool of applications on Google Play.

I've settled on "Absolute Tides", which appears to be a really good app. Not as well laid out and clear as UK Tides, but with the extra features very useful.

The first downside with Absolute Tides is it isn't really a free app. The app is free to download, but there is a data bundle you have to download yearly which currently costs £2.

Its a pain the free app doesn't do anything without the data bundle and its not easy to find either because its not made explicit in the blurb for the main app that you really need the data bundle and there is no link pointing to it.

However its understandable that they charge, because the UKHO themselves charge for the data. To be fair though, the tide data is pretty accurate.

Anyway, lets have a look at the initial app screen:

 As you can see it gives you a week's worth of tide data. This is great, although a downside of the app is it only gives you the tides for this month. At the end of the month there doesn't appear to be a way of showing what's happening next month even though that may be a few days away.

Another criticism of the app is this screen is not that clear. It could look better with some thought.

Tap on a day and you can get a graphical display of the day's tides:

All very useful and pretty run-of-the-mill. However Absolute tides goes a bit further if you tap the "Tidal Streams" button on the bottom right.

You get this screen:

Yes you get a representation of the current tidal stream, like you get on the back of charts.

You can scroll forward so you can see what the tide will be doing in a couple of hours, etc.

It has its downsides or rough edges, but essentially its a very useful application that is worth £2 a year to get accurate tidal data.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Wreck Removal

Well the wreck that the Harbourmaster team tried to remove on Saturday has gone:

They've taken another old boat along the beach too.

There are a few other old boats above the tide line that will probably get moved too.

One is called Merganser, a 24ft mastless GRP bilge keel yacht that hasn't had a harbour ticket on it since 2011:

The last year anyone cared for Merganser.

Its a shame as the hull is in good nick, but over the years its lost fittings and been damaged:

This is a hole in the roof that used to be covered by a ventilator by the looks of it.

A few of the fittings have been cut with bolt croppers.

This is a hole in the fore deck.

It did have a tarpaulin over it, but that's in tatters now due to age.
The nav lights are long gone.
With all the holes in the roof etc. water ingress is a problem:

Such a shame: all the water collects in the cockpit where there's another hole.
For all the holes in her, the interior looks quite good though. Such a shame that it'll eventually end up crushed or cut up.

Interior viewed through the hole in the fore deck looking aft.

Quite good condition sea toilet under the forward bunks.
If anyone wants a free boat they could always slap a harbour ticket on it, repaint it and call it their own. Since no-one cared for it since 2011 I doubt there's much chance of the original owner coming back to claim it.