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

Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Jib Sail Progress

Revitalising the jib sail has proved to be a more extensive process than the simple restitching of the Main Sail.

I started on it on Sunday. Here's the sail at the start:

First job was to strip off the blue UV strip and also the edge strip. The edge strip was easy to remove once the stitching had been cut, as it had the consistency of paper. I suppose due to decades of exposure to Sunlight.

I ended up with this pile:

I ended up with the sail looking like this:

The dark area at the bottom of the sail is where the UV strip should be.

Doing some measuring I cut three panels from the blue sailcloth big enough to fill the strip and also go around the back edge of the sail. I've fitted all 3 main panels now, the sail now looks like this:

the ends of the UV strip need fitting, but due to the thickness of the cloth at those points the stitching will have to be done by hand.

The machine stitching is a bit dodgy, but I'm getting better. I need to run a second band of stitching later to strengthen everything.

Once the leech strip is done, I'll start on the foot. I still should have enough blue sailcloth.

It's not the classiest job in the world. I'd label it functional rather than aesthetic.

By the time I've finished it I'll have the settings on the sewing machine spot on.

Just in time to forget it all again.... :-)

Although I might revitalise the spray hood next and the dodger is coming unstitched in places...

And I have some curtains I could cut up and use on the boat.

THEN maybe I can pack the sewing machine away.

Stormy Sunday Night: The Chaos Katie Caused.

Storm Katie lashed the South Coast on Sunday night. Our house felt as if the wall was going to be ripped out and we're half a mile from the shore of Langstone harbour behind a wood and the A27 embankment!

During breakfast, the various updates on Facebook on Monday morning told me there might be carnage out in the harbour. And there was.

First off on Facebook during breakfast I got this picture:

Yes, that's the harbour board tug stuck under the Hayling Island bridge. Spectacular in a number of ways. The first is that a Harbour Board vessel broke it's moorings, especially with the amount of references to checking moorings on this year's fee renewal notice! The second is that the boat made it all the way from its mooring at the harbour entrance, up the length of the harbour without running aground. The third is that it made its way through the pilings for the old Billy Line railway bridge. It's something that's tight even for a normal yacht.

Another post on Facebook from the Portsmouth News newspaper showed a few yachts up on the foreshore at Port Solent at the top of Portsmouth Harbour. It's pretty rare that boats break their moorings there.

When I got to the car it was covered with salt spray.... the wind has carried it quite a way!

So I knew that I'd find a few "issues" down at Eastney when I went to check on Sprite. I wasn't wrong. For some unfortunate boat owners, the day would be pretty bad, as they realised their pride and joy was either beached, sunk or damaged.

The first things I noticed was a small speed boat had sunk and the Hurley behind it had started unfurling it's main sail:

Then over near the entrance one of the big yachts on the deep water moorings had unfurled and shredded it's jib:

Then walking along the beach to check on Sprite, this Westerley was on it's side. I'm not going to even consider how it got in that state:

I'm not entirely sure how the owner is going to right it either.

The "Floating Skip" as I call it had the hatch blown open. I say hatch, it's more like a large caravan skylight:

Lazy Days has now unfurled its mainsail. Its jib was shredded earlier in the winter, it looks like its main is due to go the same way unless the owner sorts it:

Two yachts were also up on the beach over on the Hayling side:

There were two other boats on the beach at the top of the harbour too.

So the scene wasn't quite carnage, but enough boats were affected by storm Katie. Too many really. Owners really need to keep an eye on the state of their mooring ropes and chains and to make sure their mooring tackle is substantial enough..

A case in point is John's boat Seaboo: it dragged it's mooring so much it dragged his old boat up the beach (Seaboo is tied to it) and Seaboo ended up 20ft along the beach and is now near Nicky's boat Meagles.

The reason? An insubstantial mooring. Here's what is supposed to hold a 26ft yacht in place:

A car tyre filled with concrete and a rusty old anchor. Hardly substantial enough to hold the boat. Plus it wasn't even buried!

The proof that John has had trouble with Seaboo moving is the rats nest of ropes tying her to anything in an attempt to keep her in place.

Literally the only rope that stopped her floating off up the harbour was the one connected to his old boat. But in the process she dragged his old boat (now owned by Steve) up the beach. It's the yellow one behind Meagles. It's usually at the high water mark where the seaweed is. It got dragged a lot higher.

Its a wonder it wasn't turned on its side like the Westerley. Had the keels dug in, it probably would have.

This morning on the way to work there was another yacht on the seawall at the top of Langstone harbour by the Eastern Road. that won't be moving until the next Spring tide... tides are dropping at the moment. But yet another escapee.... really.

Sunday, 27 March 2016

No New Work but Building Up to It.

This weekend I've not done any work on the boat. On Friday I took the Wife out to Caen Hill locks on the Kennet and Avon Canal. It was scheduled to be the only good day of the weekend and it was a shame to waste it, so we had a road trip and a day out.

Very nice it was too, although I have a sore foot from walking, because with that and the pub crawl I did yesterday with some mates, I've walked a fair few miles this weekend.

Today is all about the car as the MOT is due.

But.... I've been ordering bits for Sprite ready to work on her in future.

The first is antifouling. Courtesy of Steve's comment earlier in the blog I got some Hempel Classic antifouling from Marine Superstore for £35, which is as cheap as Toolstation were selling Flag antifouling a year or so ago, before they discontinued it. I also got some Hempel waterproof primer (£20) as the antifouling needs a good base.

On Thursday the marine ply I ordered arrived. (£40) So I can make new locker tops as well.

Finally on Thursday I also received the gaskets for the 2.2hp outboard. Another little job that needs doing.

So once the car is through the MOT I'll be really busy doing boaty stuff.

I still need to get stainless hinges for the locker tops. I might paint them grey to match the hull colour this time rather than varnish them.

I just need some good weather and some early and late tides. I can get Sprite up on the beach then to get the work done.

Not quite the skint sailor with all the expenditure, but it needs doing. The antifouling is a sort of luxury, as I could quite easily just put Sprite up on the beach and scrub the weed off twice a year, but the Hempel is a late Christmas present, I'm not paying for it. :-)

The marine ply is a necessity as the locker tops are really warping despite having the cockpit cover over them. I stood on the port side one and its really spongy. So replacement is a necessity.

The gaskets for the small engine will hopefully get it running properly, so I can use it as an auxilliary for Sprite and as an engine for the dinghy.

Sunday, 20 March 2016

Main Sail Repaired

The sail repair job got off to a faltering start yesterday. I did some repairs on the sail cover in order to re-acquaint myself with the art of sewing. The results were not good as the needle kept jamming and then eventually broke.

So this morning I walked to the local Hobbycraft store and bought some Denim needles along with some double sided tape (for fitting the UV strip on the Jib sail).

The Denim needles were a revelation, scything through the mainsail material. They made it so easy the repairs to the mainsail are all done.

All the thread ends are tied off, so no chance of unravelling.

Next step is the Jib. I bought some blue Dacron for a UV strip the last time I stitched the Jib a couple of years ago, but never got round to using it. This time the ease at which the Denim needles are working means I should be able to sort things this week with luck. 

I need a stitch ripper to remove the remains of the old UV strip and the rotten stitching, then I can apply the new Dacron with double sided tape to hold it in place temporarily while I stitch it. There's a thin strip around the edge of the leech that has had it too, having split into several parts. I'll apply the UV strip to tuck round the edge and doing two jobs at the same time.

Once it's all stitched, I'll give the sail a wash. At the moment I reckon washing it will to more harm than good, it's that bad. 

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Early Start and Sorry Sails

Early start today to get on the boat to remove the sails. The jib is pretty rough with the edging strip parting company from the sail itself as I lowered it and bundled it up.  The stitching on the main is a bit rotten in places as you can see on the photos.

First the jib:

The Leech Strip. In bits. Again.

It had lost most of its UV strip before I got Sprite.

The foot is nasty too.

As you can see the jib needs some work. The main less so, but it still has it's faults:

Stitching wearing thin at the head of the mainsail.

Here it's so thin it's not there!
And here...
And here!
So.... I've already got some sail thread off ebay and broken out the sewing machine, I just hope it's strong enough...

UPDATE: After two broken needles, I'm off to the local craft shop to get stronger ones.

Monday, 14 March 2016

A Good Weekend.

Had a pretty good weekend on the boat this weekend. Obviously Friday was cleaning, Saturday was spent sorting stuff out: messing about with the sails: getting the mainsail back on and messing about with different tensions, fitting tell-tales, reproofing the sail cover (pound shop re-proofer) and then fitting it. There is some dodgy stitching on the main and it needs some repairs, but the jib is looking extremely tatty and needs quite a bit of work. A job for this Spring unfortunately.

Friday and Saturday were great: Sunny, with little wind. Sunday on the other hand, was pretty windy and colder.

Jim came out with me for a shakedown run just using the engine. I won't trust the sails until I've done the repairs. I don't want to damage them, they're all I've got.

We went out into Langstone harbour just as the wind picked up a bit more. From the North East, the worst direction for Langstone. The Northern end of the harbour was fine, sheltered from the wind by the land. The dinghy sailors came out to play just as we turned back South..

The Northern end was sheltered, but the wind direction sets up a swell by the time it's blown the length of the harbour. Near the harbour entrance it was getting up to 3ft and to be honest half an hour of that was enough. It reminded me of the trip along Hayling seafront bringing Sprite back to Langstone. No pictures, it was just too lumpy! By the time we got back on the mooring it had set up a swell there too. The wierd thing is the swell was at almost 90 degrees to the wind. Trying to pack everything up was a mission!

The engine worked well: the engine cover has kept it in decent nick over the winter and it fired up after two pulls. Not bad after a couple of months. I can definitely recommend using a cover. The difference is amazing compared to previous years where I've had to use almost a can of carb cleaner to get the thing to run properly.

I noticed this weekend that one of the boats at Eastney called Charlita has loose standing rigging and the mast is bouncing all over the place. The forestay, backstays and the sidestays are all very loose. It won't be long before it loses the mast as the masthead fittings will either shear or wear through, or the turnbuckles will undo completely.

I've put a shout out on Solent Sailors to see if anyone can contact the owners and let them know.

Friday, 11 March 2016

Sunny Afternoon Aboard

I took the afternoon off work today. A full complement of staff in the office meant I could answer gthe lure of the blue sky outside.

I took my £15 pressure washer (a hand pumped sprayer from the Range) plus a bag full of cleaning products.

I spent a nice hour or two in the sun cleaning the winter's encrustations off Sprite. I'll  get back on board tomorrow and finish up. I'll  also re-attach the mainsail.

Maybe go for a sail....

Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Bargain Boat No.5 MacWester Rowan 22

Enough, Enough! I hear you cry.Okay, I've made my point, there are lots of boats out there this week and eBay will be filled with them for the next week or so too. At least until harbour fees have to be paid, then owner's are committed to another year of ownership.

Here's number 5:

So, Skint Sailors of the UK, get out there and source your sailing yacht for dinghy money....

I haven't even started looking at Gumtree, Boats & Outboards or Boatshed. Or even the Local Free Ad papers, where you are less likely to have competition...

I've only been looking at sailing boats. I'm sure there are motorised bargains out there for those not predisposed to wind power.

I guarantee there won't be a better time to buy. Unless 2016 continues the Meteorological Madness of late 2015 all the way through the year, then maybe next March. If we have another rubbish year, even the hardiest of sailors might start to think of more weather-proof  pursuits.

Bargain Boat No.4 (Season of the SeaWych?)

Here's another cheap Seawych on eBay. This is the biggest number of SeaWyches I've seen on eBay ever.

Shame the trailer isn't included, but for the price it's still cheap.

Bargain Boat No.3

This is a Poacher 6.4 Cat Ketch. I was looking at this one for myself whilst it was under £50. But now it's moved from ludicrously cheap though ridiculously cheap to seriously cheap I can't justify buying it.

But it's still cheap. :-)

Quite an unusual design, with wishbone booms, no jib sail and a ketch layout on a 21ft boat. It piqued my interest as to how it would sail. It might have made quite an easy, fast sailor. Never mind.

I did email the seller and he said it comes with the sails, booms and the trailer it's sat on.

Bargain Boat No.2

On eBay.... £200 and no bids yet..... for a Seawych.

It needs some work, but really what boat doesn't?

Sunday, 6 March 2016

Bargain Boat No.1

Just to prove my point about this Spring being the best bargain boat season for a while, here's a Seawych that sold on eBay this weekend:

Not a bad price.

There's another yacht on eBay that I'm trying to resist buying. It's a bit bigger than Sprite and its a bit of a drive to get, but the downside is it needs transport.

It's been on eBay for a week and hasn't reached £20 yet. No, it's not a wooden wreck either!

Must resist......

Long Time, No Board

I Didn't get on Sprite last weekend as I was up North celebrating my Step Dad's 100th birthday. Worth every mile of the trip from the South coast I reckon. It's not every day someone you know reaches 100.

Not only did he get the card from the Queen, he also got a "congratulations for collecting so much in pensions" from the head of the DWP.

Most impressive though was a framed blessing from the Pope. I've never seen one before and didn't realise that the Pope ever sent anything on your 100th.

Anyway, two weekends looks to stretch to three, as this weekend I'm working on my car. The ball joints on the suspension are worn and need replacing for the MOT at the beginning of next month. Today I replaced the track rod end and would have replaced the lower front wishbone, except for a stuck bolt. It got doused in WD40 and I'll attack it with an impact driver tomorrow.

Getting back to the subject of the boat, the tides are very early or very late tomorrow so not ideal. I've done the usual flybys this week and everything looks ok.

I got the mooring fee renewal from the Harbourmaster on Friday. This year it's a month later. I swear there's more rules and regulations this year. Or maybe I'm just reading it this year...

But all that's not until the end of the month. Lets hope the car gets through the MOT ok!