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

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Update on the Navionics/MxMariner comparison


I've an important update on the comparison I did a while ago between MX Mariner and Navionics chart software.

I recently had an update on my HUDL 2 which has updated it to the latest version of Android, called Lollipop.

Since the upgrade the HUDL has been marginal in storage space, in some instances preventing application updates or downloading new applications.

So the Lollipop operating system uses more storage space, but I really should have more space, so I went digging to see what was using all the space up.

The two largest applications on my HUDL were Navionics, which uses just under 71 Megabytes of RAM.

But blowing that out of the water by far was MX Mariner which uses a whopping 380 Megabytes. 5 times more space than Navionics.

I guess this is caused because MX Mariner is essentially a collection of scanned images of charts, which uses a large amount of memory.

Compared to Navionics there's a vast memory overhead.

As you can imagine, I've deleted MX Mariner and freed up the memory on my HUDL and things are now back to normal, no insufficient memory messages any more.

Just something to be aware of if you're comparing the two together.

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Boat Drill

No, nothing to do with lifeboats!

I was given a non-working cordless drill this week. Yeah, I have a reputation for bringing things back to life or repairing them, as you can imagine.

This drill was a Sainbury's own make and the battery pack had expired. Either through over charging or under charging. Anyway, the terminals on the battery were covered in the usual fur you get when rechargeable batteries go bad.

Normally you buy a new battery pack, job done. But I've already got a DeWalt cordless drill and this being a Sainsbury's cheap Chinese special, the battery packs aren't readily available.

Instead of throwing it away I decided that since the Sainsbury's drill was a 14v drill, I could use it on a 12v car (or boat) battery. So I set to converting it into a boat drill by fitting a lead and 12v lighter plug.

Et Voila! I now have a drill/powered screwdriver  that I can use on the boat just by plugging it into a 12v socket.

The lead is a couple of metres long so it covers most of the boat. Any further away from a socket and I just use my hand drill. Plus the lead goes into the battery pack. Should I ever find a replacement battery pack the drill will still be able to work.

For a freebie (I already had the wire and 12v socket) its a nice re-use of a knackered object.

Plus the boat batteries get charged by solar panels so the elecrtricity is free too!

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Aldi Winter Boaty Bargain

For those of you that are no-so-skint, next Thursday the 22nd Aldi are selling Petrol powered jet washers for £199.

Not cheap, but its cheaper than most and you get the back up of Aldi too.

They're even doing a suction pipe that can be used to draw water from water butts for £12.99

Very handy for the sailor that is hauling out and needs to jetwash the summer crud off the bottom of their boat.

Just right for the haul-out season.

Sunday, 11 October 2015

Cold Weekend

Went on board yesterday but it was freezing: woolly hat weather. I took the opportunity to check Sprite over rather than sail. I've sort of neglected to old girl over the summer. Most of the time on board was spent in the cabin, but I did get to check the rigging and stuff outside. I even got my tealight heater on yesterday to air the cabin a bit it was that cold.

I noticed a couple of weeks ago the backstays were getting a bit slack. When I checked the forestay I found it was way loose. I didn't have any tools with me so it was put on the list to do later. The seizing wire had snapped and had allowed it to start unwinding.

Today was a lot brighter and warmer, so at least I could work in the cockpit rather than hunkered down in the cabin.

First job was tighten the forestay and re-seize it. This time with double seizing wire. It might need more tightening but it'll do for now. I also fitted new seizing wire.

Also on the to-do list was fitting a tiller extension. I bought a quick-release fitting for it and I've also made the extension shorter so it's more manageable. So that got fitted today.

I also stocked up on biscuits, as I'd run out. I stocked up for the week away that never was, and I used the last of them last weekend. I now have dunkables to go with my cuppa.

The final job was to run up the Union Jack on the spreader. There's been a rash of boats flying Pirate flags in the pond, so I thought I should redress the balance and run up my old Sydney Olympics flag. lol.

Very patriotic:

I also gave Jim a lift to his boat as his dinghy still leaks. Its the first time he's been on his boat for a few weeks. He was happy to get on board and people watch. There was another Baptism session going on at the end of the spit, with plenty of dunking and singing. I'm not sure Eastney pond or Langstone Harbour are really the place for a dip, with its less than perfect water quality. It puts splashing a drip of water on the forehead to shame. :-)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

Simple Saturday Sail

Yesterday the weather was fine, with a light breeze from the West. Ideal for sailing up Langstone harbour and back.

Just a few pictures from in the harbour:

I had a good couple of hours playing with the jib, seeing if I could make it work any better. I thought it was about time I payed attention to the telltales fitted to it. So I sailed up the harbour and back seeing what different positions of the jib track and the sheet did to the efficiency of the sail.

I did notice the top telltales flew quite easily, but the sail was harder to position to get the middle and lower telltales flying. I'm not sure if that's because there's more wind higher up or its the shape of the sail. But I only got the middle ones flying occasionally.More work needed until I can work out how to get it right.

Not much to write about I know, but I'm just happy to grab another couple of hours on board.

Today was about babysitting and I just had time get aboard, have a coffee and chill out.

Over the past couple of days there have been a few changes down at Eastney. Merganser, a boat that has been left on the beach for years has been taken away and Mashooka, the old red wooden boat has had someone working on it.

Thursday, 1 October 2015

Cheap Boat Hook.

The blog has strayed away from the Subject of Sailing on a Shoestring recently, as all I've blogged about is sailing. Which is fine, but returning to the spirit of the blog, here's my latest cheapskate project:

I lost my boat hook the other week. Not sure what happened to it, but I left it on the cabin roof and it wasn't there a week later.

So my latest task has been to replace it. Cheaply.

I got a hook from eBay for £6.50:

but the handle took a bit of finding.

DIY stores were no use, lots of cheap unfinished pine handles, lots of too thin handles and a dowel with the correct 30mm diameter was 15 quid, just as expensive as a ready-made boat hook.

So back to eBay.... nope, nothing there. I even resorted to looking at curtain poles to see if I could find something. Which gave me an idea.... We have a store called The Range, which has curtain poles and a lot more. Plus curtain poles come in a range of finishes and wood stains.

So I stopped of at The Range on the way home from work and browsed the curtain pole section.

Without success.

Undaunted I had a look at the garden tool section. Hmm, looking at the rakes and Hoes, I reckoned I could get one, take the head off and fit the hook  But £9.99 was a but too steep for a wooden pole, even though it was woodstained.

Then around the corner was a load of yard brushes... in kit form. Lovely stained wood handles you fit stained heads to. Decent weight too so not rubbish. For £2.99. Bargain.

Here's the result:

Yes the handle even has a rubber cap on the end. It looks very professional.

Just need to get it on the boat now. And not leave it on the cabin roof.