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

Saturday, 30 May 2015

Time on the Boat at Last.

Finally got to get on board the boat today.

Flipping the dinghy over and dragging it down the beach was fine, no back strains there.

I went out and changed the starboard turnbuckle on the main stay. It was a bit windy so it took a while to devise a knot to tie on the stay to hold it down and prevent anything happening to the mast.

Anyway a few loops wrapped round the stainless wire were tied just above the eye and then the rope led down to the deck fitting. before I undid everything I fitted the new turnbuckle to the deck fitting so I only had one end to deal with reducing the time the stay and the mast were loose.

Anyway everything worked out, got the turnbuckle on working from the dinghy lashed to the side of Sprite. That way I could work sitting or standing up, keeping my back straight. After doing the starboard side I decided the port one could wait. I drank my coffee and decided to head back to shore while the tide was relatively high and there was less beach to drag the dinghy up.

Just pulling the dinghy up after getting out made my back twinge, so I emptied the dinghy and chucked the stuff in the car.

Then I returned to the dinghy with my back-saving not-so-secret weapon: a rachet winch:

With a double pull through a block it can pull up tree stumps (allegedly) but I rigged it for single pull, which sped up the pulling process. The bad news was it was still painfully slow, lots slower than dragging up the beach by hand. Especially having to do the pull in stages. I felt such a fraud, but at least when I got in the car to go home I wasn't in agony!

So, only a couple of hours on board today but I feel so much better for it.

No visit to Sprite tomorrow, I'm off to Littlehampton for lunch.

By the way there's a really nice looking Invader 22 on eBay at the moment. £750 with only 2 hours to go. No bids on it... Very strange, but I guess the bad weather this Spring has depressed the market a bit.

Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Back Update

After spending Saturday and Sunday on my back resting and going stir crazy I managed to drive down to the boat on Monday. Just to check everything was OK. I was under orders from the Mrs not to do any lifting or pulling or pushing.

I met Nicky down there and had a chat about her son's new boat. Just a short visit to check on Sprite and then back home for some rest.

So far resting has worked and my back hasn't been painful. The hardest part has been to not lifting at work. But I've managed things and so far its been 24 hours without a twinge.

If I can keep it up I might be fit in a week or so. Funnily enough that'll be six weeks which is similar to last time I popped a disc. I've gone and bought a winch to take the toil out of dragging the dinghy up the beach. It'll take longer and I feel decidedly lazy for resorting to using it but it has to be for the next couple of weeks.

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Small Steps.

My back is still crook. Last time I buggered it up it took four weeks to get back to normal. This is week two.

I was well enough to flip the dinghy over yesterday lunch time. But on arrival at the boat I found my feet were getting a bit wet. A screw had pulled out of the bottom and left a hole. Water was flowing in steadily. So it was a short visit to the boat. I wired the front cabin lights to the fuse panel. This entailed drilling a new hole through the central bulkhead. Out came the hand drill from 1943 I bought from a car boot sale last year.

After an hour on the boat I bailed the dinghy out and rowed ashore.

Ironically pulling the dinghy up the beach and epoxying the hole didn't aggravate my back. Working on my car later on did though! So today has been a day of rest. I hate it!

Saturday, 9 May 2015


Last Monday while flipping the dinghy over I pulled my back. Nothing unusual about that: I'm getting to that sort of age where aches and strains are a natural occurrence. I realise I'm no spring chicken.

But this strain degenerated into the most abject agony, so much so that I couldn't sit for very long and had to get up and relieve the pain every 20 minutes or so.

Eventually it got so bad I had to take time off work and just lie down, bored.

Which brings me to the point of this post: After a couple of days resting, I can now sit in a chair with a dull ache, rather than abject agony.

But guess what, the weather is ideal sailing weather. Typical!

So my crook back will relieve me of yet another weekend of boatyness.. 2015 isn't looking to be a good sailing season at all.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Aldi Bargain Alert

Aldi are having an automotive promotion this Sunday the 10th.

The handy 12v socket adapter I use is back again. 3 12v sockets and two USB sockets in one unit for £3.99 bargain.

There's also an automotive fire extinguisher for less than a tenner and a rachet/bungie set as well.

Check them out here:

Monday, 4 May 2015

No Sailing Yet.

I had an hour or so aboard Sprite on Saturday and did a couple of jobs. The bow roller lost it's bolt while I was on the deep water mooring so I stuck a small bolt in there as a stop-gap measure.

On Saturday I fitted the correct size bolt and a nyloc nut.

I ran the engine for a while too, to stop it gumming up.

I also fitted the spray hood after switching it around as it was the wrong way on the frame. I noticed some stitching has come undone on it so at some point I'm going to have to stitch it again.

That was enough to be going on with as I got there after the tide had turned.

Yesterday was pretty bad weather-wise, force 7 and raining, so I stayed home.

Today I went back and after fighting through a long queue of traffic I got to the boat.

I decided a tidy up of the cabin was in order, so the contact adhesive came out and I re-stuck the lining above the quarter berths. That allowed me to slide the table back into its storage position and freed up some space in the cabin. I got the spray bleach out and scrubbed the forward cushions which were getting a bit black. Then put all the winter items way up front out of the way. The rudder got put to one side and hooked to the side with a bungie cord.

The cabin looks a lot less cluttered and looks and smells cleaner.

The cockpit cushions went outside for an air too.

With the cabin done I turned my attention to the stays, which have been pretty slack of late. The two baby stays tightened up fine, but the two main stays tensioned all the way on the turnbuckles but were still pretty slack. I think the slump in the mast beam has taken the tension out of the stays. I really need to sort it but hopefully I'll get another season's sailing in before I have to drop the mast, dig the beam out and replace it. In the meantime I'll order a couple of shorter turnbuckles to tension the mast up for this season and hope it doesn't come through the cabin roof. :-)

Then Jim arrived, so I closed my boat up and rowed over for a natter. I did say at some point we should fit the solar panel I bought him for Christmas...

Then we rowed ashore and I had a chat with Nicky, the owner of Meagles. Hopefully she'll have Meagles in more or less sailing trim by the end of the season, although I did offer to take her out sailing at some point this summer to give her a bit of encouragement.