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

Sunday, 10 April 2016

Busy Boat-Related Weekend, But Off the Boat.

Done some boaty stuff this weekend, but not actually got out to the boat.

On Saturday I had a look at my £35 Mariner 2.5Hp outboard. The head was cracked and leaking water, so last year I invested in a replacement head, but never got round to sorting it out.

So yesterday I unbolted the head and I could see the crack had gone into the waterway.....where a previous owner had stuffed chemical metal or something similar in an attempt to plug the leak. eBay bargains eh?

The bad news was the lack of water in the chemical metal area has caused the piston rings to nip up on the bore and there was a bit of scoring. So, no wonder the exhaust wasn't the usual two-stroke crackle then, with so much blow-by. Anyhoo, with the replacement uncracked head fitted the engine still runs so who cares. It's just down on power but as I'm only using it as a dinghy pusher and emergency back-up for Sprite, it'll do.

Once I've replaced the water pump impeller...... and drilled, tapped and replaced the seized bolts that sheared as I tried to get to the impeller....

One thing to note with these small two stroke engines is that they are essentially all the same. The head I fitted was off a Johnson 3.3 bit fits the Mariner 2.5 exactly. The engines were badges as Mercury, Mariner, Yamaha, Suzuki, Tohatsu and Johnson. Parts are interchangeable but just make sure you get the parts for a similar Hp rating. The 2.2 bore is different from the 3.3. The 2.5 bore is the same as the 3.3 but I supposed the carburettor is different to increase the horsepower.

So, the outboard needs some more work... on to the next thing then.

Thanks to the recommendation by Brian on the mainsail post, I've bought myself a speedy stitcher. It looks just the job to stitch the thicker areas of the jib sail. I'll probably change the waxed thread for polyester though, so it matches the white thread already on there. It does look a quaint, oldy-worly sort of device, even coming in a suitably retro card box. A job for another day though, stitching the jib.

Today's job was cutting the marine ply into locker tops and the bits needed to create the home for my VHF radio. That took me a few hours, carefully cutting (reasonably) straight lines with a jigsaw.

I've already bought hinges from eBay. So I loaded the car up and drove down to the boat, where it was a bit too windy to row out to Sprite. I really needed an outboard... er....

The wind from the West was whipping up big waves inside the harbour, that crashed and sprayed over the Eastern shore. The strange thing is the water looks calm close in, sheltered by the shingle spit at Eastney, but the wind was fierce, howling and shrieking through the rigging. The boats really swinging in the wind. Rowing would have been a chore once I was out of the lea.

I walked down the beach and took a few photos. This is the Westerley that tipped over during Katie. Apparently it's skeg is holed, hence the inability to float.

This open Gaffer is a new addition on the beach:

As it was blowing from the South East I thought I'd check on the yacht stuck at the top corner of the harbour. It wasn't good news:

It's been there for a fortnight since storm Katie blew through and those two weeks have taken their toll. Such a shame.

Hopefully this is the last big blow, but I doubt it.


  1. Good pictures Mark. Be interested to know how the speedy sticher works as I might get one myself.

  2. Good pictures Mark. Be interested to know how the speedy sticher works as I might get one myself.

  3. Hard to say, and i may be wrong,but the swamped boat looks like a Kingfisher? Shame.

  4. It's a shame to see the damaged vessels. I was down at Bosham on Sunday and was pleased to see that the yachts that had broken from thier moorings and been driven ashore there had been recovered.
    Re speedy stitcher:
    I find that using V69 or V92 thread that it works great with a fine needle. They are available as an extra but are a few pounds each. I got some aftermarket ones from classic marine.CO.UK a few years ago which were a lot cheaper,but I am not sure if they still sell them. When my last fine needle broke earlier this year I tried a no 100 needle for the sewing machine in the speedy stitcher. It worked fine but was not as strong.
    For really heavy work like leathering at the clew I have a spool of polyester thread. The problem with that is that it is not waxed and on withdrawing the needle the strands opened up.
    I cured that problem by heating up a little pure white beeswax with a little olive oil mixed with it in a ramikin in a saucepan of water. Once it was liquid I dropped in the bobbin that I had wound the polyester thread on and let it soak for a bit before removing it from the heat. I then found I could work with the thread using the heavy duty needles that come with the speedy stitcher.
    Hope that helps.
    BTW classic marine also sells the good old fashioned tufnol blocks!

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  6. Latest on the sunk boat is the mast has now gone. It was there yesterday morning and wasn't there on the way home from work in the evening. Hopefully the owner salvaged it.