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

Monday, 28 December 2015

Post Xmas Visit

I had about 3 hours on board today. Just checking things over, having a brew and listening to my new radio. An episode of Dad's Army on Radio 4 Xtra. :-)

My moisture trap had filled up so it got emptied and binned. The second one is now in it's place.

Now the wind has swung to the South, the solar panel is finally getting daylight and the battery was up to 12.8 volts. I ran the engine for a couple of hours to charge it up. When I left it was up to 13.2v. As long as the wind comes from the S, SW or SE then the panel will pick up enough daylight to charge the battery.

The days are getting longer now, so that will help. Yep, the days are getting longer guys, so get doing those jobs for the spring! :-D

I heard some bad news from Ben, his boat hit another after slipping its mooring and was holed below the waterline. He's recovered it onto the beach and I saw today it has a plywood panel over the hole. I expect he'll move it down the beach or into the ECA compound for repair. Not such a good Christmas for him.

Sunday, 27 December 2015

Merry Christmas

It looks like there might be a theme to my presents this year, in that they may be biased towards use on the boat. We normally have our Christmas family meal between Christmas and New Year which is when we open the presents, but my son and daughter came round on Christmas day for a small get-together and brought my presents.

My daughter bought me a tool kit for use on the boat:

Also she got me a small DAB and FM radio from Aldi. Its a neat little thing, with a rechargeable battery that charges from a micro-USB cable, so the same cable you use to charge a mobile phone.

Both quite handy items, they will find their way on board this summer.

Other presents that I know about seem to be warmth-related which is a bit strange considering it's been the warmest Autumn on record. So there's a hint of jumpers and fleeces in the air. We're keeping the stores going by buying winter clothing when no-one else is. :-)

It seems the conveyor belt Atlantic storms appears never ending and the tides have been wrong, so getting on board has been pretty impossible. I still live in hope I can get on board in the next few days and fire up the engine or genny to charge the battery. Or bring the battery ashore and charge it at home.

UPDATE: Went into Aldi in Havant today (29th Dec) and they still have a few of these DAB radios left.

Sunday, 13 December 2015

Aboard at Last!

I finally got on board yesterday. After 4 weeks of gales my union jack was a bit tatty at the ends, so I took that down.

After pointing into Notherly and Westerly winds for a few weeks, the battery was down to 12v as the solar panel wasn't getting full Sun. That's something to sort out, probably bringing the generator on board and running it for a while, or just running the engine will do.

Hopefully it won't be the electric wiring failing again like it did at the beginning of last year.

Dampness seems to still be a problem, thanks to the lack of airflow through the boat. That's something that needs addressing. There is no hatch or vent at the front of the boat, the only vent is at the rear above the cooker.

Other than that, everything was ok. Phew!

Doesn't stop you worrying though. :-)

Thursday, 10 December 2015

Sailing Boat Porn

As it's drawing close to the winter solstice I thought I might as well post this video I found on YouTube.

Nice to own if you have the money and just look at how many craftsmen are employed in making the gorgeously-shaped thing.

Monday, 7 December 2015

Three Weeks and Counting.

So far its been three weeks since I got on board Sprite 2. This weekend just gone the tides were very early or very late, the weekend before the weather was bad and I was on a course (something myself and the wife are working towards) and the week before I was babysitting.

Fingers crossed that the weather changes for next weekend and I can get on board.

Not much to report really on dry land. I'm currently searching for bits and bobs to improve things next year.

A smaller, flatter main sail would be good, a less tatty jib/genoa would be nice too. The eBay searches are in place ready for the bargains to appear. I actually missed out on a couple of mainsails that would have done last week, but they went while I was at work.

Sails are a priority really as they improve the sailing experience. Given the amount of time I've spent trying to get the main to work properly, its about time I sideways and had a play with another sail to check on the difference.

The jib is different. The strip at the edge is a bit frayed, but I do have some blue sail material to make a UV strip to replace it with. That's a job for the winter season.

I also need to remake the locker tops with marine ply. If I have any plywood left I have an idea to rehouse the vhf radio.

So the winter jobs are starting to firm up. Whether I get the time is something else. :-)

Sunday, 29 November 2015


Forget Abigail and Barney, the first big storm of the season hit the South coast today.

I went and checked on the boat:

It was a bit windy!

I also met Guy, a chap that follows this blog but for some reason can't comment here.

However we do keep in touch via Facebook.

The bad news is there's another casualty. A yacht, looks a 30 footer fin keeled yacht has broke it's mooring gone aground on the Hayling side of Langstone harbour. Not good for the owner.

I noticed that Lazy Days has had it's forestay fixed:

This dinghy was having trouble staying afloat. I assume it's foam filled!

UPDATE: I got a picture of the grounded yacht from Eastney. Sorry for the grainy picture but its about 2 miles away!

Sunday, 22 November 2015

Stormy Weather

So, we've just had the first two storms of this winter, Abigail and Barney.

I've been down the boat on a regular basis and have also had regular updates by text or email from Nicky, the owner of Meagles. She lives at Eastney so its easier for her to nip down and check.

So far no boats have broken their moorings, but one boat suffered damage this week.

"Lazy Days", a small yacht has a broken forestay. The furling gear is hanging at the side of the hull and the mast is leaning back at an angle. I suspect the mast foot is bolted to the cabin roof and the bolts have either sheared or the mast foot is pulling out of the cabin roof. Either way the prognosis isn't good as there will be damage somewhere around the mast foot.

Looking at it, it makes me grateful I spotted the loose forestay shackle on Sprite 2 a month or so ago and tightened it up again.

The constant battering by the wind and the motion of the boat on the waves and when it lands on the ground as the tide goes out has a way of vibrating shackles and fittings loose, or putting stresses into them that make them fail.

Tuesday, 17 November 2015

Lost Weekend

Last weekend was a lost cause. Lots of rain and wind on Saturday, which meant it was no fun rowing out to the boat and staying on there. So I just checked her over and came off after an hour.

Sunday was a complete washout as the traffic was stacked off Portsea Island thanks to Portsmouth FC having a home game. Luckily Nicky gave me updates during the day and evening, so I didn't have to worry too much. Thanks for that Nicky.

There's another storm on its way with winds of 80mph predicted for the next couple of days. Certainly the sailing season is over for the time being.

Saturday, 7 November 2015

Pound Shop Field Trip

I went to the pond shop today to stock up on supplies.

More epoxy, to replace my depleted store:

Epoxy for a pound. And I thought Toolstation was cheap at 3 quid!

I also bought a couple of dehumidifiers. My last one lasted the winter and kept the cabin pretty dry. I noticed last week that the cabin was damp again and found the dehumidifier I had was used up.

So another couple of these went in the basket:

Finally I was just looking around and found a set of small baskets that should fit behind the seat back and help tidy the bits up:

So, a fiver spent on the boat today!

Sunday, 1 November 2015

Just Playing.

Had a nice few hours on the boat yesterday and today. Nothing special going on, just a visit to see everthing is okay and just do a little fettling like tighten the forestay a little more.

Yesterday I also epoxied the bottom of Jim's dinghy. Poundworld are selling epoxy resin adhesive. A pound for one of those twin syringe packs is a bargain, so I bought a couple. Yesterday I slathered the stuff on Jim's dinghy and it soaked into the resin-poor matting, making it watertight again.

A watertight dinghy re-enthused him and he came down to the boats today:

I also tried out my phone and did a 360 degree panorama. Had to chop it into 2:

It may well be  unviewable without the ability to zoom in, but its just an experiment.

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Update on the Navionics/MxMariner comparison


I've an important update on the comparison I did a while ago between MX Mariner and Navionics chart software.

I recently had an update on my HUDL 2 which has updated it to the latest version of Android, called Lollipop.

Since the upgrade the HUDL has been marginal in storage space, in some instances preventing application updates or downloading new applications.

So the Lollipop operating system uses more storage space, but I really should have more space, so I went digging to see what was using all the space up.

The two largest applications on my HUDL were Navionics, which uses just under 71 Megabytes of RAM.

But blowing that out of the water by far was MX Mariner which uses a whopping 380 Megabytes. 5 times more space than Navionics.

I guess this is caused because MX Mariner is essentially a collection of scanned images of charts, which uses a large amount of memory.

Compared to Navionics there's a vast memory overhead.

As you can imagine, I've deleted MX Mariner and freed up the memory on my HUDL and things are now back to normal, no insufficient memory messages any more.

Just something to be aware of if you're comparing the two together.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Boat Drill

No, nothing to do with lifeboats!

I was given a non-working cordless drill this week. Yeah, I have a reputation for bringing things back to life or repairing them, as you can imagine.

This drill was a Sainbury's own make and the battery pack had expired. Either through over charging or under charging. Anyway, the terminals on the battery were covered in the usual fur you get when rechargeable batteries go bad.

Normally you buy a new battery pack, job done. But I've already got a DeWalt cordless drill and this being a Sainsbury's cheap Chinese special, the battery packs aren't readily available.

Instead of throwing it away I decided that since the Sainsbury's drill was a 14v drill, I could use it on a 12v car (or boat) battery. So I set to converting it into a boat drill by fitting a lead and 12v lighter plug.

Et Voila! I now have a drill/powered screwdriver  that I can use on the boat just by plugging it into a 12v socket.

The lead is a couple of metres long so it covers most of the boat. Any further away from a socket and I just use my hand drill. Plus the lead goes into the battery pack. Should I ever find a replacement battery pack the drill will still be able to work.

For a freebie (I already had the wire and 12v socket) its a nice re-use of a knackered object.

Plus the boat batteries get charged by solar panels so the elecrtricity is free too!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Aldi Winter Boaty Bargain

For those of you that are no-so-skint, next Thursday the 22nd Aldi are selling Petrol powered jet washers for £199.

Not cheap, but its cheaper than most and you get the back up of Aldi too.

They're even doing a suction pipe that can be used to draw water from water butts for £12.99

Very handy for the sailor that is hauling out and needs to jetwash the summer crud off the bottom of their boat.

Just right for the haul-out season.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cold Weekend

Went on board yesterday but it was freezing: woolly hat weather. I took the opportunity to check Sprite over rather than sail. I've sort of neglected to old girl over the summer. Most of the time on board was spent in the cabin, but I did get to check the rigging and stuff outside. I even got my tealight heater on yesterday to air the cabin a bit it was that cold.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago the backstays were getting a bit slack. When I checked the forestay I found it was way loose. I didn't have any tools with me so it was put on the list to do later. The seizing wire had snapped and had allowed it to start unwinding.

Today was a lot brighter and warmer, so at least I could work in the cockpit rather than hunkered down in the cabin.

First job was tighten the forestay and re-seize it. This time with double seizing wire. It might need more tightening but it'll do for now. I also fitted new seizing wire.

Also on the to-do list was fitting a tiller extension. I bought a quick-release fitting for it and I've also made the extension shorter so it's more manageable. So that got fitted today.

I also stocked up on biscuits, as I'd run out. I stocked up for the week away that never was, and I used the last of them last weekend. I now have dunkables to go with my cuppa.

The final job was to run up the Union Jack on the spreader. There's been a rash of boats flying Pirate flags in the pond, so I thought I should redress the balance and run up my old Sydney Olympics flag. lol.

Very patriotic:

I also gave Jim a lift to his boat as his dinghy still leaks. Its the first time he's been on his boat for a few weeks. He was happy to get on board and people watch. There was another Baptism session going on at the end of the spit, with plenty of dunking and singing. I'm not sure Eastney pond or Langstone Harbour are really the place for a dip, with its less than perfect water quality. It puts splashing a drip of water on the forehead to shame. :-)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Simple Saturday Sail

Yesterday the weather was fine, with a light breeze from the West. Ideal for sailing up Langstone harbour and back.

Just a few pictures from in the harbour:

I had a good couple of hours playing with the jib, seeing if I could make it work any better. I thought it was about time I payed attention to the telltales fitted to it. So I sailed up the harbour and back seeing what different positions of the jib track and the sheet did to the efficiency of the sail.

I did notice the top telltales flew quite easily, but the sail was harder to position to get the middle and lower telltales flying. I'm not sure if that's because there's more wind higher up or its the shape of the sail. But I only got the middle ones flying occasionally.More work needed until I can work out how to get it right.

Not much to write about I know, but I'm just happy to grab another couple of hours on board.

Today was about babysitting and I just had time get aboard, have a coffee and chill out.

Over the past couple of days there have been a few changes down at Eastney. Merganser, a boat that has been left on the beach for years has been taken away and Mashooka, the old red wooden boat has had someone working on it.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Cheap Boat Hook.

The blog has strayed away from the Subject of Sailing on a Shoestring recently, as all I've blogged about is sailing. Which is fine, but returning to the spirit of the blog, here's my latest cheapskate project:

I lost my boat hook the other week. Not sure what happened to it, but I left it on the cabin roof and it wasn't there a week later.

So my latest task has been to replace it. Cheaply.

I got a hook from eBay for £6.50:

but the handle took a bit of finding.

DIY stores were no use, lots of cheap unfinished pine handles, lots of too thin handles and a dowel with the correct 30mm diameter was 15 quid, just as expensive as a ready-made boat hook.

So back to eBay.... nope, nothing there. I even resorted to looking at curtain poles to see if I could find something. Which gave me an idea.... We have a store called The Range, which has curtain poles and a lot more. Plus curtain poles come in a range of finishes and wood stains.

So I stopped of at The Range on the way home from work and browsed the curtain pole section.

Without success.

Undaunted I had a look at the garden tool section. Hmm, looking at the rakes and Hoes, I reckoned I could get one, take the head off and fit the hook  But £9.99 was a but too steep for a wooden pole, even though it was woodstained.

Then around the corner was a load of yard brushes... in kit form. Lovely stained wood handles you fit stained heads to. Decent weight too so not rubbish. For £2.99. Bargain.

Here's the result:

Yes the handle even has a rubber cap on the end. It looks very professional.

Just need to get it on the boat now. And not leave it on the cabin roof.

Monday, 28 September 2015

Big Bargain Back on eBay.

I've  decided  the  anchor I got off  eBay  is too big,  so I've  relisted it.

Just look out for a 20kg danforth anchor.

Starts at a tenner. Not bad for a monster anchor over a metre long and nearly that in width.

Sunday, 27 September 2015

Saturday Sailing and Night Manoeuvres

I had a good day sailing out of Langstone harbour entrance yesterday. The plan was maybe get to Cowes, but the wind was too light and the boat's speed too low to get that far, so I just pratted about between the entrance and the forts for a few hours.

Off Southsea Sea Front
I went back into the harbour too late to get back on the mooring so stuck the boat on the mud and waited for the tide to rise. High tide was 10pm and sunset was 7:30 so getting onto the mooring would involve me motoring round to Lock Lake in the dark. Er...

Here's a confession: I'm pretty terrified of boating in the dark. Back in the days when I was boating on the canals, you stopped at dinner time outside a pub and didn't do any night time driving. So the concept is pretty alien, due to lack of experience really.

So I thought a little trip in the dark in a place I know pretty well would help me acclimatise and help get over the fear.

I've already fitted red lights in the cabin for night use and the navigation lights all work. Sort of. Except it seems the switches for the anchor and steaming lights are transposed so that needs sorting out at some point.

Here's the cabin at night:

I had the advantage that the night was still and there was no wind, plus the "Supermoon" was pretty bright too. Ideal conditions for moving at night really. It was still so dark the camera couldn't focus properly.

Laying to on the mud wasn't bad, the boat stayed level, which was good. There were no dramas motoring round to the mooring except that I was a bit early and got stopped on the mud again about 60ft away from my dinghy swinging on the rising tide.

About 30 minutes later I had enough water to get to the dinghy and more or less let the boat drift onto it slowly using the light wind with a bit of outboard motor for control. Pretty easy really.

So I had a good few hours in the Solent and lost my night time cherry, not a bad day at all.

I went down this afternoon and just did a bit of people watching while having a brew sat on the mooring. After checking I'd secured everything last night, I came back off before the tide dropped too much.

So not a bad weekend.

The forecast is good for most of the week and the tides are high springs too, but one of the guys in the office is off this week, so the chances of getting a day off is pretty slim. Bugger.

Monday, 21 September 2015

Snatched Sail

Yesterday I went down the boat and as the weather was unseasonally nice, decided to go through the rigmarole of taking the winter cover off, fitting the rudder, fuelling the engine, etc. I was determined to get out and make use of the opportunity.

Look: Blue Sky!!

me and Jim had a couple of hours on Sprite basically revisiting the same thing we did on our slow Sunday sail a few weeks ago: chugged out of the harbour using the engine and then sailed back in using the jib only, this time we sailed most of the way up the harbour, spending a couple of hours watching the world go by.

The Sun was getting low when we hooked up. The early evening was upon us. Sunset is already around 7:30 and we finished two hours before that.

As we motored back to the mooring I snapped the silhouette of the Spinnaker Tower, a handy landmark anywhere near Portsmouth.

Finally as I was about to drive away, I saw Deneb come into the harbour in the process of lowering the Mizzen, so I got a quick picture in before I had to go:

Not a bad day at all. Probably the last of the season maybe, but we'll see.

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

Southampton Boat Show: Giving it a miss for 2015.

The best boat show of the modern era has to be Southampton. Long gone are the days of my childhood of (Christ, almost 40 years ago!) when everything boaty was crammed into Earls Court. The Excel London boat show is a shadow of Earls Court, and has been polluted by the money from Canary Wharf. Champagne Bars, big mobos, it has everything that is the antithesis of the skint sailor.

The Southampton show is the one I enjoy going to, with lots available for those of us with long pockets and short arms. However this year I've been disappointed by the lack of deals available for entry to Southampton. Last year we found a half price or 2-for-1 ticket offer on Groupon, which allowed me and Jim to go and enjoy ourselves with relatively clear consciences, but this year there appears to be a distinct lack of offers.

Yes you can order in advance and get in for £13, but the small print says the booking fee is £1.95, putting the price back up again!

So sadly, this year I'm giving it a miss, its beyond the price point this sailor will stump up.

It'll probably rain anyway.

Thursday, 3 September 2015

Big Bargain and Big Tides

I got a bargain at the weekend. As you do, I was looking through eBay and spied an anchor with a starting bid of £6. Aha! says I and chucks a tenner on it, thinking it would be handy for Jim. He doesn't have an anchor at the moment, he lost his old one a few months ago.

Well, I won the auction for £6 and duly drove to Haslemere to collect it.

The electric gates to the seller's house were interesting, the gravel drive through the grounds up to the house were interesting too. Luckily they didn't set the hounds on this dodgy looking Skint Sailor (I phoned ahead so I was expected).

The house owner led me to his outhouses and there she lay; the biggest anchor I've seen in a while. The word "Wow" did pass my lips when I first clapped eyes on it. Its a monster: the shank of the anchor is over a metre long! I sheepishly handed over my £6 and mentioned he would have got more money weighing it in for scrap. I carried it down the gravel drive and through the impressive electric gates back to my car.

Here it is filling half of my car's boot, bear in mind this is the boot of a Volvo V70 which isn't exactly small:

I reckon that the weight of it alone will keep a 20ft yacht anchored! Its probably more suited to something twice or three times the size.

Just need some way of storing it or mounting it on the bow of Jim's yacht, maybe with some weight in the stern to counterbalance it!

Last weekend saw 5.3 metre tides which is pretty high. I went down to Eastney yesterday and noticed that a few of the boats had moved around on the beach. The Snapdragon had stripped one of its beaching legs off:

Of course big incoming tides mean a rapid outflow out of the harbour. A yacht was struggling to get in even hugging the shore.

In the end they couldn't beat the tide and ferried across to the waiting buoys, although hooking up to that was a mission. That stream of turbulence in the foreground is a buoy that has been dragged under the surface by the flow. Not an easy thing to hook up to.

During my time up North last weekend I still managed to do something boaty by visiting the canals and rivers.

Anyway, I've yet another busy weekend this coming weekend. I'm working, so not much boatyness going on at all unfortunately.

Monday, 24 August 2015

Depressed Market

I have a regular search on eBay for cheap boats. From what I've seen over the past few weeks this seems to be the year to buy a boat. 

I guess due to the poor weather this year prices seem to be quite a way down on last year.

Just in the past few days a Westerly Pageant went for less than £800. Okay it had leaky keels, but its not a problem beyond the DIY'er and a week or so on the beach a neaps.

There have been a few Westerly Centaurs that have gone for under £4000. That's a pretty low benchmark for Centaurs, probably about a grand under what a similar Centaur would have commanded last year. 

Other smaller boats are going for a few hundred quid and I've seen small project boats going for under £200. 

So if you're going to buy, buy this year but bargain hard. 

Battening Down

It was an ideal day for sailing on Saturday, but I had to ferry my youngest from UNI in London back to his mother's in Oxford.

He'd amassed a bit more stuff than he started with a year ago and so needed the Swedish tank to transport the stuff back home. Not a problem the car is comfy and it almost drives itself so I didn't mind the road trip. 278 miles round trip, so you ca imagine it was almost an all-day job. Sure I could have done the trip and been back to sail on the evening high tide, but after a whole day driving I needed to veg out on the sofa. :-)

Sunday dawned pretty rubbish, so me and the Mrs had a pajama morning. We stirred at lunchtime so I could take her off to her daughters and thence to bingo and I could take myself back to the sofa and live coverage of the Belgian Grand Prix.

Later in the day the rain petered out  and after the Grand Prix and bringing the Mrs home, I made a visit to the boat to put the winter cover on. 

Its been such a bad and wet summer that one of the locker tops is starting to delaminate. So the cover should protect it while I get some marine ply ordered, cut to size and prepared. I think this time I'll do a better job, spend a bit more money and make sure the things last. I'm also contemplating fitting better hinges too, so I'll be on the hunt for them over the next month or so. Looks like I've got myself a winter project already!

I got back to the car and watched a couple of motorboats come into the harbour. While I was watching them two Starlings came and perched on the car:

The first came and perched on the mirror, bold as brass and then the second one must have wanted in on whatever he thought Starling number one was getting. As it was I had nothing for them unfortunately. But we eyed each other up uneasily for a few minutes while I took a few photos. They didn't leave until I started the car and they got the message that maybe I wasn't going to feed them and they must have got the wrong wheeled tin box. Maybe the right tin box with the trained monkey inside will be along with the food later. :-)

Maybe they knew I was ordering a takeaway. But tough luck guys, it was being delivered back home. I got back just as the delivery guy pulled away from the house and the Mrs was dishing up. What good timing!

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Rain, Rain, Go Away....

The synoptic weather charts for the next week look pretty grim reading.

A weather front is going to be sat over the UK for the next few days and there are a succession of low pressure systems queued up in the Atlantic on their way to us. It looks like summer has gone on holiday for the week.

Have a look over at but try not to get too depressed.

I'm already contemplating fitting the winter weather cover over the cockpit when I can get on board.

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Chilled Weekend

Saturday wasn't much to write about. I spent a few hours on board and made myself busy by measuring the main sail, making lunch (beans & sausage on toast), listening to the radio, reading a book and generally chilling.

I invited Jim to tag along on Sunday and have a spot of lunch on board. The plan was to motor out of the harbour and see if there was any significant wind and do a spot of sailing.

Well, the wind wasn't there when we got out of the harbour. Bigger and better boats than us were struggling to make progress, so basically as soon as we got close to the Langstone fairway pile I cut the engine, hoisted the jib and announced we'd arrived at our lunch spot. :-)

What little wind there was eventually spun us round and there was just enough in it to allow the tiller pilot to keep us on course after a bit of a fettle with the gain settings.

So we happily abandoned any planning and just went with the flow and had lunch.

Jim had seafood:

I had a pie:

We spent most of the afternoon watching the bigger boats all come back in under motor one by one and a bunch of motorboaters looking like complete novices. One in particular refusing to trim his outboard and kept launching the boat skyward with a burst of throttle and then slap-slap-slapping the boat out into the Solent, only to return at crawling speed 5 minutes later when the occupants must have felt sick.

It took two hours to drift back into Langstone harbour, during which we finished lunch, people watched, had a chat with a chap in a small catamaran and generally had a really relaxing time.

The plan to abandon any and all plans was actually a good plan in the end. If you get what I mean.

No pressure, no tipping the boat on its side wanting more speed, just a leisurely drift into the harbour more or less under the control of the tiller pilot.

Eventually the tide turned against us and the knot or so we had at slack water ground to a halt and we ended up stationary against the flow of water.

So it was time to start the engine and motor round to the mooring, where we had another hour or or more having a natter and watching the world go by.

The stand at high water on Sunday was impressively long. So long that when we got bored and came ashore we didn't have to pull the dinghy up much of the beach at all.

I'd say this Sunday was the best day of the year so far. Okay I sailed the other weekend but for sheer pleasure, Sunday was just about as good as it gets.

This coming weekend involves moving my youngest from Uni back to his mum's in Oxford so that day is pretty full. It's also the Portsmouth Boat jumble on Sunday so it may not be a weekend on the boat.

I bet the weather will be excellent sailing weather, just you watch.....

Thursday, 13 August 2015

No Sailing

Sunday I went out and bimbled around the harbour entrance but there wasn't a whiff of wind. The sea was flat calm. So calm in fact I a large fish about 60 feet away at the surface. Not sure if it was a basking shark or not, but by the time I got near it, it had gone.

As I came out of the entrance Solent Coastguard forecast a force 5 for later in the day. As Sprite tips over in all but the slightest wind, I didn't fancy staying out all day and experiencing that. So I came back in, just about scraping in on the tide (4.3m at high tide so pretty low). I quickly stowed everything away and rowed ashore.

Not before taking a picture of my hull and keel. The neap tides usually mean clear water thanks to the slow tide not stirring the mud up.

Yes the greenery has returned. I can understand the value of anti fouling, but its too expensive and besides its easier just to run Sprite up on the beach and scrape it off if it gets excessive.

Maybe someone will by me some primer and anti-foul as a Christmas present. :-)

The tipping over in the wind thing needs addressing. Despite pulling all the slack I can out of the main sail its stayed a bit too baggy (its better than it was but its just annoying now) and the drag seems to just tip Sprite over, so the hunt is on for something to replace it. I need a sail that will drive her along properly.

I also need a sail short enough so I can have the spray hood up without the boom interfering. Lets see what ebay has...

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Sorting a Leak

Not on my boat, but on Nicky's boat, Meagles.

Her speedo log fitting was leaking, so I volunteered to sort it for her. A couple of hours at low tide was all it took.

Cut away the slather of sealant that had been applied to stop the leak, remove old sealant from fittings, clean everything up, degrease, apply fresh sealant, retighten and job's done. :-)

It looks like the previous owner had refitted the fitting after the hull had been painted. The sealant did a wonderful job, but the paint lifted from the gel coat and the water got through the joint that way. It was so easy to push out of the hull you could tell there was no bond to the hull at all. I scraped any paint from round the hole for the fitting so when it was refitted the sealant bonded to the gel coat and not the paint.

Anyway it was all done by 10 am this morning and high tide wasn't until 7pm so it had plenty of time to set. Checked on it this evening and its dry as a bone. Success!

One less thing for Nicky to worry about. :-)

There's a boat jumble on Worthing seafront tomorrow. I've never been so I'd like to visit..... But then the tides are right for a full day out in the Solent tomorrow and the weather looks good....

Argh, I can't decide.... Sailing takes precedence I think, I've done precious little of it this year.
Its Cowes week so maybe its not a good idea to go there. Maybe anchor up in Osborne bay and watch the boats while having lunch? That sounds like a plan.

Monday, 3 August 2015

A Very Good Weekend.

I had a good day's sailing on Thursday, just across the harbour from West to East and back again. Just an hour's easy sailing using the jib only.

Friday was babysitting day and a trip over to the Isle of Wight with someone more professional at the helm of the Wight Rider.

Saturday was lots better, with 5 hour's sailing.

First thing was a trip out of Langstone into the Solent with a lot of other boats. Not quite the Hamble Scramble, but very busy for Langstone! I assume everyone was taking advantage of the weather. Engine on and main sail up to beat the incoming tide.

But there wasn't any wind sand I didn't fancy a long slog with the engine on, so I turned back and had a play in Langstone harbour for a while.

After an hour the wind picked up and I went out again. This time sailing:

Today the wind was force 3 but due to pick up to a force 5 so it was a quick scoot for Me, Jim and my son Josh up the harbour using the jib to have a nosey at the dredger unloading at Kendall's Wharf.

By the time we got back up the harbour the wind had increased and the swell made things uncomfortable with three of us in the cockpit, so it was time to hook back up and have a brew.

After the disappointment of the week, the weekend went some way to compensate especially having 5 hours of sailing on Saturday.

But the unsettled nature of this year's weather struck again today with the wind picking up. Had I gone up the Solent for an overnighter somewhere, it would have been a rough old trip back today.

Sunday, 26 July 2015

Stormy Weather Stops Play

Well the predicted stormy weather hit today and caused the Americas Cup World Series to be cancelled. It was so windy spectators were asked to leave the arena on the common lest a tent be wrenched from its footings and sock some poor unfortunate on the bonce.

The winds are supposed to die down but of course it'll take a day or so for things to really calm down. That's probably when the next belt of rain is due.

To cap it all youngest son wants to come down from London on Tuesday and stay over after finishing his Uni term.

This cruise seems destined not to be.

Sail-Oriented weekend But Cruise in Jeopardy.

Well, I went with Jim down to the Americas Cup World Series practice sessions yesterday. It's a good job we had decent waterproofs because the rain started about 5am and never gave up all day.

How do I know it started at 5am? Well, I saw the weather forecast but just in case decided to get an early night and if it turned out dry I was going to go out on the boat and watch. So it was back to bed and then donned the waterproofs just before lunch when the racing started.

This is the rainy view we got:

To be honest the race was a bit unfathomable, with the boats going all over the place in seemingly random patterns. Not sure what was going on.

The weather forecast for Saturday was good, so I thought I might get up early and get out on the boat to spectate. So I went to bed and..... woke up 9 hours later and way too late to get on the boat and catch the last of the outgoing tide.

To be honest that's probably my subconcious going "Meh!" at the thought of watching it again.

Anyway, later in the day I braved the crowds and watched the race, this time with commentary from Express FM. I saw that many people had taken to the water to spectate:

So with a commentary could I make some sense of it at all? Nope, still couldn't make head nor tails of what was going on, even with a commentary! The boats were too far away, they weren't really that impressive I guess because the wind wasn't strong enough for them to foil much. To add insult to injury a J class yacht flying a spinnaker came down the Solent behind the race. The huge yacht was far more impressive than the AC45s, despite there being the best part of a century between them.

Here's a shot of today's "action":

I know the AC45s are at the cutting edge of sailing technology, but I imagine foiling 60ft catamarans as per the original spec of the ACWS would have been even more impressive. I obviously have an interest in sailing and I'd love it if we won the Americas Cup, but the actual event left me cold.

I'm not sure that the current format of the event shows the boats off to their best. All it seems to be is a corporate jamboree for the champagne swillers, very much like the London boat show seems to have become, with a bit of sailing tacked on. I certainly don't think the current race format suits something as special as the Americas Cup. I just think it belittles it.

Anyway, after watching the race I was supposed to be cruising down the South Coast this week, but so far a day full of rain on Sunday and gales Monday/Tuesday are ruining that plan.

Maybe I can salvage a couple of days in the week to sail up the Solent and stay over for a night. But the weather is so variable at the moment if I do stay out for a night there's no telling if it will allow me to come back!