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

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.