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

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Snatched Half-Day visit

I saw blue sky last Thursday and took a half-day off work to get on board Sprite. Just another check over and airing visit, but its all I can do this time of year.

The new battery is holding at 13.8v still. I tied up the mooring buoy with new rope because the original has become pretty frayed.

That's about it. Since Thursday its been windy and rainy and another Atlantic storm is due this week too.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

A Break in the Weather

Yesterday dawned mild and misty. No wind and no clouds above the mist.

I arrived at Sprite 2 just as the last of the mist was burning off:

The new(er) battery is holding at 13.8v so it looks like the one I took off last week has finally lost capacity.

I also took my £18 spinnaker on board and hauled it up the mast. unlike the £16 main sail, the spinnaker is the right size for Sprite 2, just coming to the height of the spinnaker pole when hauled up the mast. So that's a result!

I spent the rest of the time on board with the heater on it the cabin to help dry it out a bit, having a coffee and running the engine.

All the time I was watched by a couple of young gulls. Maybe the boat was their perch and I was stopping them getting on board. Here's one stalking me:

Possibly the local fishermen have been feeding them scraps and they've learnt that humans on boats equals food, but they hung around for ages.

As you can see Jim came down as well today and took advantage of the good weather.

Nothing much else to report really, its not the season for it at the moment.

But it was good to have a gap in the weather and to get out and enjoy it.

Today I'm getting some drone flying practice in. I got a camera-equipped one from the missus for Christmas. Obviously its a bit too expensive to learn flying on, so I got a cheap sub-£20 one off ebay that arrived this week that I'm currently learning to crash..... I mean fly.

The bad news is the thing drain batteries quicker than a quick thing so the next thing to be delivered will be 6 batteries and a charger. I should get more air time and learn more quickly that way. Hopefully later this year I'll get some aerial shots of Sprite with the big 'un. Might come in handy for checking the mast top too.

Sunday, 17 January 2016

It's Been a Long Time...

Since I saw a wide, blue sky like this:

Quite a few weeks, in fact. Certainly the battery has suffered due to the solar panel not getting enough sun.

The battery was below 12v even though the solar panel was generating nearly 13. I'll be looking at the charging circuit tomorrow just to make sure it's working ok.I brought the battery home and it's currently on an overnight charge from my Lidl intelligent charger.

I've been thinking about some form of wind generator. I've been wondering if old computer fans could be put to use. I'll see if I can get hold of one and see what sort of voltage it generates. On a swinging mooring you don't need a fancy rotating windmill as the boat always faces into the wind. Just 2 or 3 old fans bolted to a removable pole should suffice.

Today I took the mainsail off Sprite 2 and ran the £16 sail up. It's about two thirds the size of the original sail, but flatter. Even in the slight breeze it seemed to work like a sail. So if tomorrow is dry I might take it out and try it.

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Handy Lidl Gadgets

Thursday just gone Lidl had car accessories on offer.

An intelligent battery charger for £13.99

A 1Kg Fire Extinguisher for £8.99

A cordless spotlight/torch for £16.99

Temperature and battery monitor for £2.99

Plus the usual 12v lighter plug extensions.

May be worth having a look before Monday's new offer if you're in the market for stuff for the boat. The 1Kg Fire Extinguisher is always handy.

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Brief Encounter... I mean Visit

I just snatched 20 minutes on board today, just to check things over. By the time I'd got the various land-based things I needed to do done, the tide was down to 3.9 metres, which is just before I normally come off the boat as that corresponds with a bank of seaweed that makes dragging the dinghy up the beach much harder.

So, a quick visit to check the moisture trap and  the bilges for water, check the front of the boat for loose fittings and then back to shore.

Whilst on the shore I noticed that a little green fishing boat is listing quite a bit. It lists normally anyway, but today it looks like it's got a bit of rain water on board. it looks quite precarious:

At times it looked pretty precarious, with the\waves only inches from the gunwhale:

I've posted on various groups, so hopefully the owner will sort it out. At the very least pump out the rainwater.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Death of a Boat

A few days ago I went down to the boat and found this on the beach:

I'm not sure which boat it's off. The Westerly that was up at the top of the beach has gone, but the keel looks too small. But a few boats have left or been cleared from the beach so who knows.

But it's a shame to see that a boat of any type has been cut up.