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

Friday, 9 September 2016

Windy Thursday

With a few days holiday still spare at work and with an MOT due at the doctors, I took yesterday off, as earlier weather reports said it would be a fair weather day.

I watched with dismay on Wednesday as the closer to Thursday it came, the higher the forecast winds would be.

And when it came to the day, it was rally windy. Chimet registering F5-F6 and gusts of F7. Not the sort of weather a 19ft yacht with dodgy rigging relishes. So no sailing then.

I got down to Eastney early, well before the tide was right to launch the dinghy. A 30-40ft yacht was heading out of the harbour with a serious amount of reefing and as they cleared the cover of the land, even they heeled over as the full force of the wind caught them.

Sod that, I'm a fair weather sailor and my boat is a fair weather boat!

That's the thing with running a boat on a shoestring of course, that firstly parts like rigging aren't up to blue water standards and the fact that us skint sailors can't afford to push things up to (or past) breaking point because it's an extra (probably large) cost.

Anyway, I fought the wind and got on the boat. There were a few jobs that I needed to do on board anyway,

The first one was measure the cam cleats for the Jib Sheets and the Main Sheet. The Jib sheet cleats are getting a bit worn and sometimes go past the stop, which means on smaller ropes they undo. The cam cleat on the main sheet jammer has broken. The cams themselves have broken through aged plastic and go past the stop all the time, so every time I pull the rope through, I have to manually reset the cams to lock the main sheet. Way too much of a faff.

The stops are the tabs in the metal. The hollow cams are broken and don't hit the stops.

Anyway, the main sheet jammer cams are 40mm centres, so getting a replacement cam cleat to bolt in should be relatively easy.

40mm centres. Should be easy to get a cam cleat to fit.

The Jib Sheet jammers are 60mm centres, which may be a bit trickier and a lot more expensive to source. They are old resin ones, so I assume they are a bit bigger than modern ones. I have a feeling I'll end up with jammers suitable for tug boats if I buy modern ones.

60MM centres for 12-14mm rope. Chunky!

The other job was to hang up the birthday present I got from my daughter on the boat:

Very homely. It's actually a wonder I have a patch of wall to hang it on in such a small boat!

The other birthday pressies I got will come in handy. the first is a cordless hoover for the car and boat and the second is a 1080p watertight action camera. So expect some videos... eventually!

At least this camera switches on when I ask it to, unlike the cheap Chinese one I got off eBay a couple of years ago. What I might do is take the old one apart and see if I can fit an external mic (so I can fit a wind muffler) and also make it switch on reliably. I can then use it as a back-up.

Fingers crossed the wind dies down on Sunday, which looks to be the only dry day of the coming weekend.


  1. Did the jib sheet jammer thing myself the winter before last and mine were old tufnol one's too... in both our cases probably the original fittings! I went with these which I really rate after two seasons sailing.. I got them on eBay for a lot less than the asking price quoted here...

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  3. Hi Steve, I've already replaced the jammer on the main sheet. I bought some Barton cam cleats last year and luckily the fixing centres are the same so it swapped right over. I'm going to use the same cleats for the jib sheets. I don't need swivelling cleats because the jib sheet wraps round the winches and then jams in the cleat. You can get winchers for the winches that add jamming/self tailing to the winch itself, but it's over 50 quid for a couple of bits of plastic. £18 for a third cam cleat is more my price. :-)

  4. Ah... didn't know you had winches.. I don't, so they're perfect for me - definitely overkill for you...