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

Saturday, 21 March 2015


Got to the boat early today with the aim of getting an early season sail in.

It wasn't to be, due to the boat next to mine doing a submarine impersonation:

I called the harbourmaster and told him about the boat and also that I'd moved to an unoccupied mooring buoy away from the wreck. The problem was the wind was due to veer to the East later in the day which would put my boat directly on top of this one. I didn't fancy mine becoming a statistic too.

We had quite a high tide today, what with the Sun and Moon in conjunction and the low pressure adding about 18 inches to the tide there was an impressively long period of high water.

The boat next door refused to die completely, poking its bow above the water at high tide:

Richard, the local diver who tends to get the recovery jobs like this came out and had a look. I'm not sure what's happened with the boat because it wants to float, it's like the back end is pinned down in the mud.

The pic above also shows how close it is to my mooring (the vertical white Fender/Buoy on the left of the picture).

Not only did I have this drama, the wind was really increasing in force. At half nine Solent coastguard issued a gale warning up to force 8, which came out of nowhere. Up until then the Met Office forecasts has been for force 4-5 possibly 6. It was such a dramatic change a number of yachts queried it on VHF. By then a couple of yachts had already left the Marina, so I hope they were okay. In the pond a NE wind is about the worst as it blows the length of the harbour. At one point at its worst we had 3ft waves. Although when I drove home I drove down the seafront and the Solent looked relatively calm compared to the forecast.

One wierd thing later in the day just after lunch was we had a diesel slick blow past us, followed by quite a bit of flotsam. The sunk boat above had a petrol outboard so it couldn't have come from that (and the wind was in the wrong direction), so I just wonder if with the wind and the waves another boat had gone under somewhere else in the harbour.

So a bit of an exciting day and not what I had planned at all!


Looks like the Force 8 never happened after all, just checked the weather charts for the past 24 Hours and all I can see is the expected 4-5 gusting to 6.

Saturday, 14 March 2015


I had planned to put Sprite 2 on the beach today and have a full day of fettling. Well the weather put paid to that.

Planned it all... needed to get up at 4am so went to bed early last night after picking daughter up from work. Got up on time, drove down to boat, got there about 5am  and found the weather had changed in the half hour I drove down there. .

It was a force 5 from the North/North East  which is about the worst direction for the pond at Eastney, as the wind has the full length of Langstone harbour to whip up a swell. Had a look out to the boat in the dark and could see it bouncing around on the mooring. (Good job I bolted the bow roller plate down earlier this week!)

I'm only 7 miles away from the boat at the head of Langstone harbour but here we didn't have a breath of wind. But I guess we're sheltered from the north by the Downs and 7 miles further South allows a Northerly wind to drop back down and mess up my plans! But it's noted for the future. It's all experience.

So there was no way I was rowing out in the pitch black in the dinghy in that weather! Light was another hour or so away by which time the tide would have ebbed too far. High tide was around 4:30 this morning and at 4.0 metres, not a particularly high one in the pond. Certainly I'd be a way down the beach by then and on the soft mud, not the harder sand, so after assessing the situation for 5 mins or so I turned tail and went home.

I'll go down later today and get a couple of hours aboard. There's a fair bit of fettling to do. I got the sealant for the stanchions from Toolstation yesterday (Trade marine Sealant) but was horrified to find the Flag antifouling is no longer stocked by them! I need to find an alternative cheap supplier! I'll try and get the stanchions sealed while Sprite 2 is on the water, but the wind will have to abate for that to happen. I've got some more wiring to do anyway so I can get that accomplished and I'm going to refit the winches after sealing the base despite the rusty bolts. I reckon the bolts are a lot more solid than they look after the attempts with the Dremel this week.That way I can sail again.

Anyway, it's lunchtime, time for some lunch because I've been awake ages!

Friday, 13 March 2015

Certainty and Uncertainty

Well I certainly took an afternoon off work this week and I certainly bolted my bow roller plate back down to the deck.

I'm less certain on what to do with the winches. I turned up with the genny and the Dremel and I even got the genny working and the Dremel worked. The bad news is the Dremel didn't cut the bolts under the winches at all. I may resign myself to just doing a quick seal job on the winch bases and leaving them for another year or so.

At least that way I can go sailing sooner rather than later.

I don't fancy using an angle grinder 4 inches from my face so the "lets not do anything" option is currently the favourite choice.

Sunday, 8 March 2015

The generator lives!

By the time visiting family had left today it was too late to jump on the boat, so I dug the genny out of the shed and had another go with it. Last week I put fresh petrol in it, but that doesn't mean the stuff in the carb float bowl is any good, so I bled the float bowl to get rid of the crappy fuel.

Then I gave a few tugs on the starter cord and it started second pull! It wheezed into life for a few seconds and then died. A couple more tugs on the starter and it started and stayed running, first with a huge cloud of blue smoke from the exhaust, which quickly cleared as it warmed up. After 10 mins on half choke I knocked the choke off and it still ran.

So a result there.

I dragged the sorry Seagull out and my concerns about the timing being out seemed to be confirmed. The locking screw on the stator plate is supposed to lock into a dimple on the crankshaft housing. But on unscrewing the non-standard screw fitted it doesn't seem to be long enough to lock the stator plate. As I turned the stator plate with a screwdriver down the screw hole trying to find the dimple, a quantity of old araldite came out from between the plate and the crank housing. It seems that's what was holding the plate in place.

So it's been bodged by previous owners then. I guess the fact I couldn't find the dimple is because its filled with araldite. So it may need the flywheel taking off and a clean and reassemble. Some Googling to do over the next few weeks then....

And buy a new locking screw.

Saturday, 7 March 2015

Nice Day.

I had a better day on the boat today compared to last week.

I got the engine back in place on the stern, filled it up with fresh fuel and it started first pull!

The tell-tale was peeing water like a good 'un so the water pump is still working. So that's a job done, the engine recommissioned.

Getting the engine out of the cabin also means I have space to climb up in the bows and get the bow roller plate bolted back in place.

With the engine in place I could nip over to Jim's boat. We rafted up and had lunch:

All in all a good day.

Thursday, 5 March 2015

Arthur Beale's

I read about this ancient chandlers in last month's PBO.

As The Skint Sailor I try and avoid chandlers, but they do free/cheap demos and talks, so their events list might be worth a look at if you're in the area.

Their website is here:

Sunday, 1 March 2015

One of those bad Weekends

This weekend hasn't been good for boaty stuff. First off the tides are wrong and the weather was pants yesterday.

Deciding to do something boaty on land I decided to have a go at getting my generator running after the winter layup. No dice, it doesn't want to run. I sweated and strained with the pull starter but even a few litres of fresh petrol won't cajole it into life.

I've sprayed the carb with carb cleaner and I'll leave it for a week to see if it starts next week.

I also had a go with my old seagull that I last played with last year. I've never had it running and the chances of getting it running seem to be slimmer every time I play with it. Last year I treated it to a replacement carb as the original was cracked. This weekend I treated it to a new HT connector, lead and plug cap.

Well, still no dice on that either. I checked the points and they open, but as to whether the timing is correct, I need to do some digging. Having never run, anything could be wrong with it.

So a bit of a downer this weekend. After all that tugging at starting cords I need to rest and recuperate!