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

Sunday, 14 June 2015

A Very Productive Day

Yesterday I spent all day on Sprite. Well not so much on board, I'd put her on the beach, but I did quite a few jobs while she was there. I unhooked from the mooring at 11:30, which was just over 2 hours past high tide. That way I could just beach her and I knew then that I'd be floating well before high tide in the evening.

First off, while I was waiting for the water to recede I got to work in the cabin brewing a cuppa. :-)

Next job in the cabin was to sort out the fixings for the table. It fits in several places on the boat, but the chart table position fixings had broken. It just needed a couple of pieces of thin plywood to sort out the brackets, but its something I'd not gotten round to. So out came the hacksaw and the hand drill to make some. Job done in an hour or so:

Table in place. That cup looks empty.... time for another brew!

By then the water had receded far enough to have a look at the state of the greenery attached to the hull of Sprite.

This picture was taken on my Hudl2, the rest on my Galaxy S2.

So I set to with my favourite tool, the garden hoe. It's got a handle long enough to keep you away from the nastiness but it certainly works scraping the hull clean. Last year I didn't have anything to lay on, so I left the hull between the keels untouched. This time I was prepared, so set to work with a small scraper.

I found that between the keels there were barnacles upon barnacles, creating a layer about 1cm thick in places! Don't get me started on how fouled the speed sensor for the log was... but I cleared it and got it spinning again. Just need a head unit now...

Eventually after much scraping the hull looked like this:

Its not pretty but its free from weed and barnacles.
Free from weed maybe, but that staining looks unsightly.
Something the Mrs keeps having a go at me about. She like a pristine boat she does.

Yeah, one day  I'll be able to afford to antifoul under the waterline.

Not sure if you can see the amount of barnacles on the ground. There were lots!

So... Bottom declagged, what next. Well, I've seen the videos on youtube about cleaning hulls with oxalic acid. As you can see, I had a major staining thing going on with the hull. So for just over a tenner I got a kilo of oxalic acid crystals delivered off eBay.

I used about 200 grammes in 2 litres of water. That de-stained the whole hull!

As if by magic the staining has gone.

I need to research removing waterline algae next if the acid hasn't killed it.

Within minutes of application with a sponge, the hull had returned to white.

I don't have any pictures, but it even reduced the rust stains on the transom.

All I can say is, its great stuff for cleaning staining off the hull. I bought a kilo and only used 200 grammes, so I have four more hull cleaning sessions before I need to buy any more!

One word of warning is don't use it on painted surfaces, because it will bleach the paint.

So, once done it was back inside to brew another coffee and wait for the water to return. I did a couple of jobs that I'd been ignoring like screwing the 12v sockets in the cabin in place properly. Then a well earned rest for an hour or so, resting my back.

Finally the water stopped slopping under the hull and started floating the boat, so I could pull Sprite off the beach using the anchor. The force 5 that had been blowing all day and prevented me having a look at the sails died down after dinner time which was a bonus as I got off the beach and hooked up without a fight. I was back on the mooring at 20:30.

What a lovely evening.

And today I'm full of bruises and I ache. Rest day today I think.

Updated to add the usual disclaimer: ALWAYS use Gloves and Eye protection when using Oxalic acid as its pretty nasty stuff.


  1. D'Oh, you've just reminded me that I was supposed to measure up to make a chart table for Ciao Bella while I was out over the weekend.. Good work with the Oxalic, it has worked a treat. Sprites looking good. :)

    1. Too right - must get some oxalic myself for next winter...

  2. Oxalic is good stuff. All you need is 500g which you can pick up off eBay for a fiver. That should do a small boat at least twice. Or go halves with someone and do two boats. lol. Only really works on gell coat hulled boats though, it would make a mess of a painted hull.

    Next job is to adjust the stays and straighten the mast.

    I'm getting closer to my week of cruising so I need to get everything sorted.


  3. Have to try that acid, I have a few well ground in marks and rust stain on the foredeck.

    Thanks for the info.


  4. Jim, I didn't believe the videos on youtube on how effective it was, but after using it I'm converted! Rust stains may take a few applications. After 1 application the rust stains on Sprite had reduced significantly but not eliminated.
    I got my 1kg tub here: