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

Monday, 27 April 2015


Lots of stuff there that no-one wants until they want it.

Not many real bargains, although I picked up a 25 litre fuel tank for a tenner:

There seemed to be a hotspot for bargains in one corner of the boat jumble. I bought the tank for a tenner and could have picked up a substantial-weight Danforth anchor for the same price too. Not sure I'd like carrying it back to the car though.

I think the dull weather (or the £9.70 entrance fee) kept most people away. I just went for the experience, I didn't take much money and didn't expect to part with it unless there was a genuine bargain to be had.

But all-in-all it wasn't a bad day, I got a long-range fuel tank for Sprite 2 and I got to nosey at some weird and wonderful bits and bobs.

Next on the list is the fuel hose and primer bulb.

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Slow Progress.

It's been a slow start to the season for me this year. No sailing yet. Last year I'd had a couple of forays into the harbour.

This year the distraction of the sunken boat, the bad weather, buying the new car and then working at Oulton Park last weekend have soaked up quite a few weekend's worth of boatyness.

So to redress that I went out to Sprite today despite the naff weather. luckily most of the work was inside. I spent the day doing some rewiring. After the fiasco of the rotten battery wire, I decided a while ago that the important systems needed a rewire.

The instruments and the tiller pilot were connected through a chocolate block under the starboard bunk. I'd replaced it as it was a green/blue mess when I got the tiller pilot going last year, but now it was time to upgrade with an unbroken wiring run.

I wired the tiller pilot direct from the fuse/switch box using 20A wire. It probably doesn't use 20 Amps, but the motor does take a lot of amps, so with thicker wire it's able to take the current with a lower volt drop.

I also had enough 20A wire to run to the depth sounder and the battery monitor.

Hopefully that will remove any electrical flakiness in these circuits now.

The VHF Radio and accessory sockets are already served by chunky wire, but I'll check the state of it at some point and see if it needs replacing.

I'm not too concerned about the other circuits like the Nav Lights as I don't intend on sailing at night any time soon. They work pretty well anyway, but I do have a set of LED Port/Starboard I got for my birthday last year that need fitting some time. But no rush just yet.

But now I feel a lot better that a potential weak point in the wiring has been eliminated.

One thing that has changed in the past two weeks is the hair algae has gone mad. The Geese left about a month ago and it shows! My drogue bucket is covered in a green carpet!

Oh, and it's Beaulieu boat jumble tomorrow. If the weather isn't too bad I'll pay it a visit. Its been 7 or 8 years since I last went.

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Home Sweet Home

I've been nipping down to Eastney on an almost daily basis, checking on the status of the sunken boat.

Well last night I nipped down after work and there wasn't a sign of an upturned hull to be seen at high tide. Maybe she had been recovered? I'd have to wait until low tide to be absolutely sure she hadn't sunk completely.

So I drove down there this lunchtime to check and surprisingly Sea Nile wasn't on the mud. So I walked down the beach and there she was, looking in a very sorry state:

Being upside down on the mud hasn't done it any favours 

Not sure if the weight of the hull broke the window or it was done during recovery.

All the locker tops have floated off.

The engine is trashed after 3 weeks under water.

The windscreen was flattened when it rested on the mud.

So after confirming the coast was clear I walked up to get the dinghy ready. Last night I'd put some epoxy on the hull to plug a small leak. There was no dinghy, but instead there was a cut rope.....

Bugger! I looked around and there was the dinghy up the beach. Obviously someone had "borrowed" it in the night and luckily I'd arrived at low tide because the dinghy was left below the high water mark. I dragged it up the beach and re-attached the painter.

Then, despite it being a force 4-5 I launched rowed all the way out to Sprite 2. It took a good 15 minutes crabbing along against the wind, but I managed to reach the boat and get aboard. Nothing was stopping me getting back in the pond!

Once I was sure there was enough water in the pond (3.6 metres on my phone's tide app) I motored around back to my mooring and hooked back on.

After a celebratory brew I packed everything away and rowed ashore back to the dinghy's normal place.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Sunny Easter Monday

I had a flying visit down to the boat on Easter Monday. First thing I noticed was Sea Nile was still upside down and sunk. So maybe the harbourmaster will recover it next weekend and I can get back on my own mooring.

Why am I so eager to get back to a half tide mooring you may ask?

Well yesterday I was rowing against wind and tide and it took 10 minutes to row out to Sprite 2. Good exercise I suppose.

At least it was a sunny day so I could air the cushions and the cabin a bit while watching the world go by.

I watched a dredger go by...

Then a flotilla of dinghies went past. Very polite chaps from the nearby sailing club, scudding by with a cheery "good afternoon"...

But it really is a bit isolated out there. If I forget anything its a 15 minute row at least to get the thing. 

As of yesterday Sea Nile was still upside down on the mud. 

Not only that a fin keeler ended up on the beach on its side after breaking its mooring and dragging its teeny anchor. It must be the month for it.

Monday, 6 April 2015


Despite protestations from Cazzy that we should get a nice executive saloon, I need a load lugger. The 18 year old Vauxhall Vectra was like an old, faithful dog, on its last legs. So it was taken off to the vets, or in this case the local scrapyard on its final journey.

For the replacement I chose Swedish armour, a Volvo V70. It is a tank in proportions and the engine seems to have been taken out of a truck. I drove it from Surrey yesterday.

Its swallowed all the boaty bits with space to spare.

Knowing my luck fuel prices will now skyrocket...

Temporary Home.

The chap whose mooring I'd moved on to to get away from the sunken Sea Nile complained to the harbour master as he wanted to put his boat on there this weekend.

So after a bit of a discussion with the lady at the harbourmaster's office, it was decided they'd let me use a deep water mooring and send the bill to the chap with the sunk boat. The harbour master never does anything for nothing... I guess the guy's insurance will cover the cost.

Anyhoo, on Friday I toddled round to mooring D3 and boy is it a deep water mooring:

That's the depth in metres

Its also a loooong way out from the shore. 5 minutes of rowing distance.

The bad news is I've not been able to take advantage of the all-tide mooring as I've had to replace my car. So Saturday and Sunday were taken up looking at cars and then collecting the chosen car.

This morning I had Ester Egg and birthday present delivering duties.

Wednesday, 1 April 2015


Well, after 4 days of force 9 winds, things are slowly dying down. I've been down to the boat daily to make sure it's still there.

The sunken boa (Sea Nile) is now upside down on its mooring, but the harbour master has got in contact with the owner and he thinks he can refloat it and move it himself this weekend. Good luck with that one mate!

The owner of the buoy I'm on has complained to the harbour master that I'm on his buoy which apparently stopped him putting his boat on the buoy last weekend. A buoy there hasn't been a boat on since last August. It'll be interesting to see if the boat does appear on the buoy once I've moved off it.

The harbour master sympathised with the reason for my moving moorings, but of course they have to ask me to move. To that end they've offered me a deep water mooring on one of their managed moorings just off the main channel up the harbour (they're sending the bill to the guy who's boat sank: I hope he has insurance), so if the weather calms down I'll try and get on there at the end of the week. It's a bit of a hike in the dinghy though to get there, but it might prove beneficial for the weekend because I can scoot out of the harbour at any state of the tide as long as the flow isn't against me. I'll just have to make sure I get everything in the dinghy when I row out to the boat!

If the wind dies down early this week hopefully the Solent will have time to calm down and I can have a few pleasant days sailing.