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

Sunday, 31 July 2016

Another Scraping Saturday

I spent most of yesterday scraping the hull back to grp. It's pretty clear that over the years before I got Sprite the antifouling has worn away which has allowed the green slime and barnacles to stick to the GRP hull.

A few weeks ago I scraped the Barnacles off, then yesterday I set to getting the green slime off in order to get back to a decent surface for primer and then antifoul.

I spent 6 hours scraping the hull, and succeeded in getting the back end and the front of the hull clean, with just the bit under the keels to do.

Probably the first time the gel coat has seen the light of day since it was first antifouled.

The green slime started off being easy to scrape, but as it dried out it set rock hard and was more like paint or varnish to remove, so progress slowed the further I got.

But at least I'm making progress. Hopefully only another day scraping and I'll have a clean enough surface for primer and antifoul for the whole hull and the keels.

Today I'm babysitting one of the Grandkids so In can't finish the job off today.

Hopefully the green slime doesn't grow back before the next early/late high tide.

Saturday, 23 July 2016

Finally, a Good Day.

As we've had a run of good weather I was determined today to get out and actually sail the boat, rather than fettle

So, I arrived a good two hours or more before high tide and got everything prepped for sailing, then headed out into the harbour entrance. Boy was it busy, with the jetskis on overdrive in the entrance and about 20 boats leaving the harbour as well. The wakes of the motor boats ticked me off a bit. More than once a boat passed close trailing a huge wake. Something I've not missed since last year. Why do they do it? Why not give us a bit of room so the wake is lessened, rather than plunging Sprite into a 3ft water trough?

Of course it was the America's Cup racing today so plenty of people were on their way out to see it. Not for me though, as I'd be punching an outgoing tide on the way back. I've done that before and didn't enjoy the hour's experience of only just beating the tide. The wind was on the nose so I motored out with the rest.

The plan was to do a trip out of the harbour to have a sniff of the sea proper, then double back under sail, to go up to the top of the harbour and back.

The view at the harbour entrance:

On the way up the harbour Sprite sailed pretty well. The Jib seemed to work better than before despite me molesting it and fitting the UV strip. The main seemed to work better than before, although that could be the effect of the jib on the slot between the two. Certainly the main is as baggy as ever.

But to her credit Sprite kept up with a dinghy sailor who was travelling in the same direction with the wind behind both of us.

On the way back down the harbour with the wind on the nose I tried my hand at tacking. It's something I have to admit to being a bit rubbish at before, but today I did a handful of tacks and seemed to get the process sorted.

The wind picked up half way down the harbour and Sprite actually used the wind and started sailing. The increase in speed was gratifying after lying in the mud the other week. The whole sailing experience was a lot better than last year.

So it's quite clear that a clean hull is important for decent sailing performance (well d'uh!) and with that in mind, applying antifouling gets bumped up the priority list.

Hopefully I can get it done between the early/late high tides next weekend.

All in all though today was a bloody good day.

Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Living with a Sailing Boat

Out of curiosity I've had a look back through the blog to see when I last had a decent day's sailing.

It was September. It's no wonder I'll have to re-learn how to sail, it's been so long.

If we're really lucky and have a very good year, the weather will be good enough to sail from April to September. More often than not the sailing season gets cut short or interrupted in between.

The assumption is in a good year I'll get at most 5 months sailing in. With four weekends per month, that's 20 sailing sessions. (I can do maths!). At most. Per Year. Chuck in the tides being wrong, or the weather not playing ball, it's a lot less.

With low overheads like I've got, it's quite easy to spread the cost over the year, but even if I calculated it just on a 5-month sailing season, I'm not paying much more than £100 per sailing month to sail the boat. Which in the great scheme of things is still reasonable. Of course spread it over the year then things get better at around £40-£50 per month.

But when you look at the thousands or tens of thousands of pounds that people pay to lay up boats in marinas for most of the year, pay for servicing, maintenance, etc.

They must be really, really keen on sailing to justify the expense. :-)

Tuesday, 19 July 2016

An (Anti-) Foul and Dastardly Plan is Forming

I'm just checking the tides for the next couple of weeks and it looks like the weekend of the 30th/31st is another early and late high tide weekend.  I'd rather be sailing, but to be honest this year has been pants weather-wise so I may as well concentrate on stuff that will make Sprite easier to live with and sail better rather than actually sail, so when it does come to the good weather she'll be ready-ish.

Now I've scraped most of the rubbish off the bottom, it might be a good weekend to stick Sprite on the beach and start to anti-foul the bottom. Weather permitting of course.

So, I shall check with the Mrs this evening to see if anything is planned for that weekend and if it's free then I'll crack on planning.

First thing is find a decent board to lie on rather than damp mud.

Second is to get the genny running so I can use the angle grinder.

Third is to get some scotch pads for the angle grinder to do a final clean up of the bottom before applying primer.

Then the Anti-foul.

Oh, and a full NBC suit with mask to avoid contact with the paint...

Not sure I'll get it all done in 4 hours, so it may take the weekend, but I may as well give it a shot and get the bottom sorted while it's relatively weed-free.

Weather permitting of course...

Monday, 18 July 2016

Bottom Scrape

On Saturday it was the annual chore of scraping the bottom free of weed.... and barnacles. So many barnacles. I cleared them all of last year and didn't think the whole bottom would be completely coated again in 12 months, but it was.

But, after a few hours of work in the sweltering heat, Sprite 2 was weed and barnacle free.

I got antifouling paint in the Spring, but yesterday didn't have enough time to clean the hull to a decent enough standard to apply primer and then paint. I'm thinking that Sprite will need to be hauled out for a few days to get that done. Maybe the next early/late high tide cycle I might book some time off work and spend a couple of days doing it. The hard work is done, but I'm  not sure what applying primer and then getting it wet would do to the bond between it and the antifouling.

I'm just wondering the best/quickest solution to get down to a decent substrate for the primer to adhere to. I'm not sure a sander would do it, I'd need something like a sandblaster, an electric scraper, or something like a rotating polisher but fitted with a rough scotch pad instead. I think the ones fitted to angle grinders may be a wee to much on GRP.

I'm almost considering saving up to join a club to get Sprite hauled out for some yard time. It's my birthday next month, maybe if everyone gives me money I can put it towards the cost.....maybe.

One thing I do know is that I'd apply it about an 20-30mm higher than the original application. There was plenty of algae above the original line, so applying it a little higher should stop that.

I also filled in a hole at the bow, where the gel coat had cracked and flaked off, exposing the glass fibre strands underneath.

It was a blistering hot day on Saturday, so I rigged up a tarpaulin as a Sun shade. Even after applying Sun cream I had to keep ducking under it to recover. I also drank about 4 litres of water to keep hydrated.

On Sunday I rested my aching arms. :-)

At least now Sprite will sail, rather than dragging a ton of weed along.

Sunday, 10 July 2016

Change of Scenery

Last week I swapped sailing boats for boats of another kind. I took the Mrs to Eurodisney for her 50th Birthday treat (her choice) and we stayed in the Newport Bay nautical thened Disney hotel (partly my choice)

Here I am steering the boat-shaped observation deck overlooking the indoor pool:

Then mid-week we\swapped the pretend boat for a real one on a river cruise through Paris:

The start of the cruise, by the Eiffel tower.

A very landlocked sailing ship. No way to the sea without
unstepping those masts to get under the bridges.
Why have a separate tender ans car when you can combine both into
one with an amphicar!

Some of the bridges were very pretty.
So quite a good week. Lots of walking, plenty to see and do and me and the Mrs acting like big kids. Whats not to like? Well, apart from the aching calves that is...  lol.

But even us oldies had a good time. The hotel was great, so was the park, where we did a few of the rides and shows and we got to go on the Eurostar for the first time. 

Now I need a holiday to recover. And this rubbish weather in the UK needs to pack it's bags and move North. The French are currently holding our summer hostage, over the other side of the channel it was blue skies and fluffy clouds... get to the UK and it was grey overcast. 

After Brexit maybe we can reclaim our summers back from Europe too. :-)

Saturday, 2 July 2016

Round the Island Race 2

Well, I was  there at the start, logged in and streaming the race video. I got 20 seconds of live video and then things went to pot. I'd get 20 seconds of video after five minutes of buffering. Nowhere near as good as last year.

Not sure if it was because of the number of people logged in, or whether my internet was pants.

Either way it wasn't worth watching, so it was out for a cooked breakfast with the family.

Maybe next year. I did watch the race video this evening and coverage is better than last year, with a camera positioned at the Needles. It's just a pity that I couldn't watch it live.