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

Friday, 14 July 2017

Burnt Out

Not me. There's been a caravan down at Eastney for a few months, I think the guy in it has been living in it.

I went down at the weekend and found this:

Bit of a shame.

I wonder how long the debris will be down there before it's cleared.

Monday, 10 July 2017

Slow Sail

Yesterday there was hardly any wind and high tide was mid-day, so I settled for a slow sail up Langstone Harbour.

As it was, there was so little wind it took an hour to get from the entrance to the watersports centre.

With no cooling wind, the Sun was scorching hot. There weren't many dinghy sailors in the harbour, but there were quite a few stand up paddle boarders. They were faster than me!

Once at the top, I started the engine and with it on just past ticking over, slowly made my way back down to my mooring.

Not a bad afternoon. The new battery is working well, the solar panel without the controller is keeping it charged, which means the tiller pilot is working properly. Funnily enough I tested the original battery at work and it still has 85% capacity left. I can only assume the solar charge regulator I got off eBay was rubbish.

So avoid one of these things:

The display gives loads of information, but as a solar charger it's a bit rubbish. It looks like the big battery and blocking diode combo update seems to work best of all. The battery stays charged, not dropping below 12.8v, which is fully charged. Even after running the tiller pilot for an hour or two.

Changing the orientation of the diode on the solar panel and removing the controller has made a pretty big difference. I'm sure the original battery would have been fine with this setup too.

So now the power side of things is sorted for long days sailing.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

Round The Island Race

No, I'm not announcing my entry. The cost of getting Sprite 2 up to the required spec to compete would run to thousands of pounds (of course which I don't have). Not that a racing snail like a Seawych would be competitive anyhow.

I was mulling over options: get up around 7am and watch the start of the race on the live streaming service (if its available this year, there seems to be very little info on the website), or do I get up at 4am, get down to the boat for 5am and then get out into the Solent on the high tide and watch the start of the race and the return of the fastest boats later? Or do i get up early, get down to Southampton and get the Red Jet over to Cowes and watch the start from there? I think the weather will decide. The wind is mainly from the West which means another slow slog up the Solent, or maybe a trip out to the Nab Tower and hang around watching the boats come around Bembridge.

A couple of years ago, the couch option would have won hands down, but this year is proving a watershed. I haven't enjoyed sailing so much since 2014 when I first really started sailing Sprite 2 in Langstone harbour, with it's threadbare sails, green rope and my lack of sailing experience.

This year I really like the idea of being in the Solent as the fastest mono and multi-hulls go roaring past.

The one thing I have noticed is that as I start to progress out into the Solent more, the less apprehensive I get. I think the Saturday when I had the wind building to F5 served to help me understand the boat's and my limitations. I know both of us can quite happily cope and get home safe, although the journey isn't particularly comfortable. It's taken 4 years to get to this point. Steadily improving, repairing, restoring and generally getting the boat to a state of repair where I can give it some small amount of trust. And also trust that I won't make a bad decision.

All I can do is keep an eye on the forecasts and see if I can drag my weary body out of bed at 4am.

Maybe see you out there.


Live Streaming Starts at 5:15 am according to the latest tweets from the RTIR account:


I did the couch thing. Actually it was bed, then couch thing. A 4am start was a bit too early. Plus I have a raft of things to get done today as tomorrow is taken up with a Birthday BBQ for the Mrs. Today I have to get her a card (obviously), get the racking done on the car and also take my son to the Apple Shop in Southampton to see if they can fix his iPhone (he called me last night in dire need of a lift to Southampton, the iPhone is his life).

I've had a vicarious sailing fix, I will just have to make do. lol.

Thanks to the team at the Round The Island race Live coverage, it gets better every year. Cameras and Drones at Cowes and cameras at Hurst, The Needles and also St Catherines.

I'm not sure the large yacht that hit something hard at the needles wanted it to be live on camera, but there you are! It hit so hard that must have been a retirement. It was under the Spinnaker so wasn't hanging about when it abruptly stopped! If you're quick, watch the replay of the starts on the RTIR website. The yacht prang is at 2:00:31 I actually said Ouch! out loud when I saw it.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

America's Cup: New Zealand Win!

Well, the Kiwis and their amazing flying machine proved to dominant for team USA and have won the final round of the Americas Cup. Well done to the team, they were impressive with they AC50 cyling machine (checks for hidden propellers...)

Cue cheesy 1987/2013 mashup YouTube video courtesy of Seven Sharp:

Ah 1987, when I was still single and facy free.... The decade of big hair and big shoulder pads. And that was the blokes!

And of course the New Zealand Band-Aid tribute act singing about a yacht... :-)

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Biiiiig Battery

I took the new battery down to Sprite yesterday. It was blowing F4 and threatening to rain, so no sailing.

The first problem was getting the new, larger battery in the locker below the bunk where the old one(s) were.

The old batteries were wedged into place with baulks of timber so I took those out to make room, then threaded the new bigger battery into the locker. It's a lot harder getting a huge single battery in place rather than a couple of smaller batteries.

Then the battery stuck. It was too tall to fit. and wedged itself under the locker sides. Oh dear!

So, with a lot of fiddling about I took more baulks of timber out of the locker and lowered the battery.

I think the easiest thing to do is make up a new battery shelf under the locker and hold the battery in place with a strap, so that's what I'm going to do. I've got an ideally sized bit of external/marine ply that can do for the shelf, Just need the straps. Pound shop here we come.....

I've also removed the eBay Chinese solar panel controller. Far from being useful, I think it's been the cause of the demise of the old batteries. I'm pretty sure it's reduced the amount of charge going into the batteries and then taken current out of them at night when the solar panel isn't charging. So the batteries have been running on empty and sulphated.

So, it's back to the old setup of the solar panel being directly connected to the battery, which should be fine. That way there's nothing draining the battery at night. The Solar Panel originally had a diode across the terminal, but a while back I changed it to a blocking diode, which means the solar panel doesn't drain the battery at night:

Here's the original configuration, to prevent the panel being damaged from reverse polarity, but still allowing the panel to drain the battery at night:

Here's the new configuration in blocking mode. It stops reverse poliarity AND stops overnight power drain. The downside is a small voltage drop across the diode which means slightly less charging current, but it's still worth doing I reckon. Time will tell.

There's a rule of thumb when using solar panels that you don't need a controller if the panel's wattage is 10% of the battery's capacity. i.e. 10W and 100Ah. Which the new setup will be.

With the controller ditched, the solar panel connected directly and the blocking diode, the battery should keep fully charged. All I need worry about is overcharging, but that shouldn't be such an issue with such a big battery. I just need to check on the electrolyte levels regularly.

Here's hoping anyway. I'll let you all know.

Wednesday, 21 June 2017


This has been an expensive month for me, not the boat, but the car. So far it's needed a new exhaust system and now I need to get two tyres for it after a puncture last night.

eBay provided the exhaust, from Poland of all places. But it was cheap so I took the chance. Luckily it fitted fine.

The insurance needed renewing this month too.

Now I need the tyres. Three things in the same month. Please stop it and behave, car!

Every cloud has a silver lining and all that: I'll fill the dodgy tyres with concrete to make a mooring block for Jim as the two tyres I gave him before have been nicked, I assume to be fenders on a boat somewhere. :-)

Tuesday, 20 June 2017

Battery Woes and a Result.

While sailing last Saturday, one of the things that did let me down was the battery. Ok, it's an old car battery taken off one of my old cars before it was scrapped and not a proper leisure battery and it was about 6 years old after doing service in our old caravan.... okay, okay, it was due for replacement!

Anyway, as luck would have it, about 2 years ago work bought a 100Ah Leisure battery for use at the shows we attend just in case the generator packs up.  (long term readers will remember I snaffled the generator around that time because it blew up all the laptop chargers at one show we went to!).

I've been regularly charging this battery to keep it ready for show use and secretly coveting the huge capacity. The thing is, for the last few shows, we've rented a really good Honda generator from the local tool hire shop rather than relying on a £100 Chinese one. The leisure battery option is pretty redundant and is just sat under my desk getting in the way.

Well that's what I said to the boss yesterday anyhow..... :-D

And for the princely sum of £20 I've got myself a fully charged, checked at 100% capacity, hardly used Leisure Battery. I mean, it's a written off asset by now, so that's £20 clear profit for the company.... Well, that was another thing I pointed out to the boss.

So now I have a huge leisure battery, fully charged, tested and ready to go onto the boat. I just need to get it on board and threaded into the battery locker.

So on further sails I should be able to use the tiller pilot for a bit longer, rather than it keep beeping when the voltage drops too low and it resets, sending the boat who knows where. Not that manually steering was a hardship on Saturday, but a bit annoying when you want Geroge to take over while you have a pee or get a brew on.

Sunday, 18 June 2017

Sunny Saturday Sailing. Best Sailing Day So Far!

On Friday night I went on the boat straight after work and put the boat in Southsea Marina. High tide on Saturday was 5:20am and I couldn't risk getting up half an hour late and missing the whole day. Southsea have a tidal cill which was open for a few hours after high tide, so it gave me options. The chap who booked me in was very friendly.

In the end the overnight stay turned out to be a good call.

Here's Sprite 2 in the marina:

So, I get up at the allotted 4am, scrape the sleep out of my eyes and hit the road about 4:40.

This is the sight that greeted me as I walked back to the Marina after parking the car:

Calm, still.... and way too early in the morning. Check the sunrise times for last Saturday!

Got to the Marina by 5, set everything up and then..... the engine refuses to start. Brilliant.

After running back to the car to get a spark plug spanner (mental note to self: buy one to keep on the boat!) and finding the spark plug was okay. In the end it was the cut out switch that was playing up, still shorted even when pressed. A faff with the switch to pull the contact button away and the engine started on the first pull as usual. Doh!

A quick tidy-up ensued and then untie and off out of the Marina entrance half an hour later than planned. Which sort of shortened the day, but more of that later.

Motoring down the Deep Water channel like the big boys do felt kind of weird. After all, I usually just scrap off the mud, round a shingle spit and I'm in the harbour entrance.

Not many boats about at that time in the morning, although a couple of fishing boats went out at the same time.

Coming out of the harbour I raised the sails and the wind was around an F2. Not a lot of wind but enough to keep Sprite 2 trickling along nicely. The sea was calm as well. The wind was a Westerly, so ideal for getting past Horse sand Fort and the submarine barrier, but not at all ideal for cutting the corner and heading for the gap in the barrier.

So the plan was to head over to the I.O.W. and then tack, heading towards Portsmouth.

I reached Horse Sand Fort quite easily:

The next point was No Man's Land Fort. I got there quite quickly and put a tack in once I'd got about halfway between the fort and the shore.

On the opposite tack I noticed that the wind was behaving oddly on the Portsmouth side, possibly Gilkicker and Gosport had something to do with it. I put in another tack and headed for Ryde. Mainly because the Normandie Express was coming out and I didn't fancy being in the way of her. lol.

A few big ships went through the Solent, so gauging the passage across the shipping lane was important. Ships like this one:

This is where things started to go a bit awry. Getting out of Langstone later than I planned meant I was always on the last of the Westbound tide. With the wind against me it was always going to be a slog up the Solent, but just off Ryde the tide stopped. I must have put in quite a few tacks, but on the compass although I was supposed to be going in one direction, I only seemed to be going Westwards very slowly. On each tack the same point hove into view, or at best only a little further on. The Car ferries loved me getting in the way. One tried to give me a hint I think:

And getting very close:

Then just after Stokes Bay the Wind stopped too.

I mean completely stopped: the water was glassy calm and everyone had the engine on, heading for Cowes. Now my engine isn't the noisiest two stroke in the world, but I didn't fancy burning money just to get Westwards and burn more money in a Marina for a second night. Also by that time I'd had about 5 hours of sailing. That's not bad going considering the longest I've ever sailed in one continuous go was a couple of hours.

After more or less drifting for the best part of an hour, I stuck the motor on and Headed back East for an hour or so.

Then the wind chipped up again, this time from the South East! Yep, heading almost dead into the wind again!

So, up with the sails and make the best of it. This time the wind was an F3 and Sprite 2 romped along. After 6 hours at sea I was having a blast:

By that time all the posh chaps had had their breakfasts and Lunchtime Martinis and had come out into the Solent to play too. By 1pm there were hundreds of sails visible out on the water. This lot were just in the water outside Portsmouth, looking up to the Western Solent it was a mass of white sails.It seems to be a lot quieter on the Eastern side.

I was heartened to see I wasn't the only small boat out there. But it's a shame there weren't more. It was ideal weather for small boat sailing.

I finally got back to my mooring around 3pm after having my best sailing day to date, without qualification. I loved every minute of it. I know it's been almost 4 years since I took over ownership of Sprite 2, but it's taken this long to get confident enough and to have the stable weather to able to plan in advance like booking the Marina and also having the spare cash to be able to spend on a Marina slot. £25 might not be a lot of money to some people, but it's almost a week's worth of petrol to get to work, or half a weekly shop. I don't have much disposable cash so to be able to do this has been pretty damn brilliant.

Yesterday I was thinking about heading out to the Nab Tower and back maybe, but today my body said no in no uncertain terms. I ache all over! Who knew sailing was such a good workout.

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Summer Storm and the Americas Cup.

Well, the Barometer on my weather station has dropped like a stone, the wind is howling and the rain is bucketing down.

It's been a while since we had a storm this time of year. Two years or so, since that was the summer I'd booked a week off work to go sailing after watching the Americas Cup World Series. The last day was cancelled and I think that was the worst week for summer weather in a long time. Just my luck.

I hope Sprite is okay as I had to get off her a bit hurriedly the other day and there's always the nagging thought I forgot to tighten up a line or something.

Talking of the Americas Cup, I see Sir Ben isn't doing too well. Luckily he won the ACWS and got points to carry on to the main event, or otherwise Team Land Rover BAR would be in serious trouble. To be honest I haven't watched it, not having subscription TV and the BBC not really advertising if or when they are showing it.

In all honesty I think it will end up in a match between the Yanks and the Kiwis again. I just don't think Sir Ben's boat is fast enough, sadly. It seems outclassed by most of the other teams and in terms of strategy, the other teams laid into him early on to get penalties and penalise him in the races, but that tactic seems to have died away as the other teams can see they can beat him on outright pace.

The race the other day where Team New Zealand stayed on the foils for 100% of the race showed what the other teams are up against (I saw it online). They have to be able to do the same to even get close, otherwise they'll be left for dead. Fair Play to the Kiwis, they showed a bit of class with that race and their innovative thinking, like replacing arm-powered grinders with leg powered cycle style units may also be showing the way forward for that class of boats. It seems obvious that leg power can generate more power for longer than arm power.

Ho Hum, another plucky but ultimately doomed Americas Cup for the Brits I guess.....


Yup, I was right. Despite NZ pitch-polling yesterday, they recovered so well that today they sealed the deal: Team Land Rover BAR is out of the Americas Cup.

Something very wrong with their AC50, it seems all the other teams including Softbank Japan have faster boats. There will be some soul searching over the next few weeks as to where they went wrong.

Sunday, 4 June 2017

More Actual Sailing.

Yes, I can't believe it, twice, in one week! I've done sailing.

This time I popped this year's Solent cherry. It's the first time I've been outside the harbour since last year.

Wind was F3 to a quite fresh F4, the sky was cloudless and the tide was 4.2m this morning, so a quick scoot down to the boat, get the engine on and drag Spriteoff the mud while the tide was rising.

Out of the harbour I go, as you can see initially it was pretty flat, Sprite 2 was handling and going well:

So, do the video, continue out of the harbour, towards the forts. Well, As close as I could get because the wind was South Westerly and the forts are East of the harbour entrance. In the end heading towards Bembridge, almost due South was my course, with an eye on heading West once I'd got across the Solent.

In the end it didn't happen. I got to Horse Sand fort and the wind started freshening and along with it bigger waves. The clouds were also getting more dense and darkening up, which means it was only going to get worse. I already had two reefs in the mainsail and was zooming along (for Sprite) at 5 knots. I'm pretty sure that's around her hull speed!

In the end as the wind was getting stronger I made a Captain's decision to head back toward land. The problem was with being bounced around so much I couldn't even have a brew. And that's a problem. :-)

I was going to stay out, but the lack of brew-making made me head for the harbour again, in the hope of finding shelter, a spare buoy and the ability to get the kettle on.

Look who came in the harbour with me:

Yep, it's the Rozzers! Not sure where they were bound for, but on an outgoing tide they wouldn't be there long. lol.

Going up the harbour for a recce of the deep water buoys, I noticed the tide hadn't gone down too much and that it was maybe worth trying to get back on the mooring. By this time SolentMet was reporting a pretty brisk F5 and you could even feel it in the harbour.

So, with even getting stuck on the mud being a better brew-making option I headed towards Sprite's mooring. By now after 2 hours playing in the Solent, quite a lot of the beach at Eastney was showing. I still chugged to the mooring and with a huge bit of luck I made it to my buoy, just as the rudder hit the mud. I just aimed the boat at the buoy and the attached dinghy and kept the power on until I was there, a trick that seemed to work.

Hooking onto the chain proved a mission with the wind pulling Sprite and the keels dragging on the mud. It didn't want to come round into the wind as it usually does to make things easier, but with a bit of effort I wrangled everything right and looped the chain over the samson post.

A hasty packing session followed (I'll tidy the cabin up later) and with about a foot of water left and Sprite's keels now in the mud, I climbed into the dinghy and rowed ashore. Please note the lack of brewing that has happened thus far. Such was my haste to get ashore and have coffee on dry land.

In the end the dinghy touched dry land just as the beach turns to mud. Any longer and I would have needed wellies.Lucky that, because they were in the car!

So quite a way to drag the dinghy this time, but it was worth it.

I packed everything into the car and on the way back drove down Southsea seafront. By now the Solent was full of white capped waves. I'm not sure it would have been much fun in a 19ft boat to be honest. There may be braver souls out there, but I'm quite sure that F5 is about Sprite 2's limit. I'd have been on my third and last reef and close to the limit of the old sails and rigging. In the end I came home without having a failure of any kind, which is always a bonus.

So to recap, I'd had a couple of hours out in the Solent, watched lots of bigger boats out there with none the size of Sprite 2. Sailed with the mainsail reefed for the first time made a good decision on the weather and got home safely, even being lucky enough to get on the hook  I didn't get a brew or any sort of food while afloat, but then that got rectified once I got home. :-)

All in all, a good morning.

A nice exercise in finding out Sprite 2's limitations and to some extent honing my own skippering skills.

Thursday, 1 June 2017


On Bank Holiday Monday I did do some sailing, but with very little wind it was a very slow slog up the harbour, 50/50 tide assisted. The low cloud didn't do much for the scenery either.

My mate Rob popped by for a boaty afternoon on his way back to Oxford from Exmouth.

The boat was just on the verge of losing steerage, slipping sideways almost as much as forwards.

We crabbed up Langstone harbour until we got to the Dredger at the top of the Eastern Road, then motored back, avoiding dinghies on the way.

As we motored back down the harbour, the mist descended, lowering visibility to half a mile.

We'd started up the harbour with the tide flowing in and it took so long to get up the harbour that by the time we got back down, the tide was well on the ebb.

So straight to the mooring, hook on, pack up and then ashore for a bacon roll and a coffee, over which we chatted some more about family and stuff as you do.

Then it was off to pick the Mrs up from work.

Hopefully more boaty stuff at the weekend, but the tides are 4.1m. I'm hoping to finish the scraping, but past experience says 4.1m might not be enough to get on the beach. We'll see.

If no beach/boat action, then I have a number of options. (a) fit a new exhaust on the car or (b) motorcycle restoration/resurrection (but that's another story entirely).

Sunday, 28 May 2017

Finishing Off.

Today was windless with scattered showers, so no sailing unfortunately.

With a 5.1m tide I had plenty of time to get stuff done.

First off was refitting the cup and plate holder rack at the rear of the cabin. I've given it a coat of white gloss to match the VHF hutch and brighten up the back end of the cabin:

As well as that, I fitted the new flap for the depth sounder:

The flap does the usual and flips so the depth sounder shows outside too, without taking up the whole companionway:

The re-soldering I did on any PCB joints that looked dodgy has cured the Depth Sounder of it's intermittent nature. It switches on straight away and gives a steady reading.

Okay, that's 2 jobs down, what next? Well, a coffee and then a play with my latest video camera:

This is a 4K 360 degree camera supposedly. I've used it as a wide angle camera, where the viewing angle is around 220 degrees., so it shows most of the cockpit from the top of the companionway hatch.

Very enbarrassing, I hate the sound of my own voice.

But it does show the limited quality of the camera, it looks pretty grainy and not that sharp. Even 4K with a 360 degree view at 220 degree angle spreads the pixels out a bit much.

I might dig out my old 1080p camera and pop a wide angle lens on it to see if there's any difference.

Not only is the video quality as iffy as the commentary, the sound quality is pretty dire too. Towards the end it was picking up the engine noise of the dredger going out the Langstone harbour channel 500 yards away behind buildings, better than my voice being spoken only 4 feet away.

After a bit of tidying up, I decided to leave and go ashore between showers.

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Old Scrubber

Yep, it's that time again and yes, I'm the old scrubber mentioned, since I'm not rich enough to employ someone else to do the scrubbing for me.

I took the day off on Tuesday in order to take advantage of the tides. I was a bit desperate since I wanted to do some sailing this coming weekend.

First off, to run aground. Deliberately. Avoiding obstacles like the ropes, chunks of concrete and anchors the guys permanently moored on the beach like to use to moor their boats.

One the boat is firmly beached, a hop ashore and a walk down to the burger van for a bacon butty and a coffee while I wait for the tide to go out:

Once the water is low enough, time to assess to job.

As you can see, I wouldn't be doing much sailing with this lot stuck to the bottom:

I'm getting the removal of the heavy weed down to an art now: using a garden hoe, I slice the weed off the hull, just leaving green slime. After 30 minutes to an hour, you end up with this:

Then once the water had dropped enough it was out with the scraper to remove the Barnacle farm from between the keels.

Then it was out with the sanding grid and water to clear most of the green slime. Water keeps it moist and easier to remove. Once the slime dries out it is as hard to remove as paint.

I tried a power sander and a scraper on the green residue, but it's tough stuff when it dries. I'm sure a pressure washer would make short work of it, but getting mains power and a decent water supply to the beach is a bit of a tall order.

Maybe a drill and a rotary wire brush might have more luck. I'll try that next time. What I need to do is get the hull spotless so I can lay down a coat of primer ready for slapping anti-foul on top.

In one day there's not enough time between tides to do it all. Maybe I need to organise a day on the beach with a wire brush, then another day soon after to clean the hull and lay down some paint.

By the time I got Sprite on the mooring and back on dry land, it was the very last of the twilight:

As I packed the car up to go home, a Fox walked down the beach and stopped about 3 feet away from me. It looked at me as if to say "What the hell are you doing on my beach?" We exchanged a look for a few seconds and then went our separate ways. An interesting end to the day.

Boy did I ache!

Boy do I ache two days later!

I need that lottery win so I can have a man do it all for me.....

Sunday, 21 May 2017

New Home for the VHF

Finally got it all screwed down and sorted. The VHF is now installed in it's new home.

As you can see it doesn't take up much room:

Here's a wider shot:

The horn push button is the black thing nearest the bulkhead. I need to wire it up later at some point.

The thing on the left pointing in to the cabin is the volt meter:

So, another project down, on to the next one.

Disappointing Weekend

Well, boat-wise anyway. With early and late high tides, I wanted to get the boat on the beach and scrub the bottom.

Well, that was the plan.

Yesterday I was delayed by the Mrs cooking me breakfast before I went out. I got there and the tide was well below the point at which I can beach Sprite 2. I got there about 30 minutes after high tide (4.1m).

Today I got there just before high tide (4.2m) but even at it's highest, the tide didn't get up to the point at which I could beach the boat.

This is high tide apparently:

The tide needs to be at least to the top of the seaweed line before I have a clear run to the beach. In that picture it's at least 0.5m too low.

I assume the high atmospheric pressure (over 1000mb) has depressed the tide so that it didn't reach up far enough.But checking it out, the "standard" tide hieght is calculated witha pressure of 1013Mb, but the current pressure is 1000Mb so in theory the water should be higher, not lower... I'm going for a lie down, my brain hurts. But that could be the paint fumes, who knows.

There we go then, a note for the future is the tide needs to be at least 4.5m in future before I can contemplate beaching. saved to memory. The strange thing is I'm sure I've beached on a 4.0m tide before, but that was when the tide prediction was a lot higher. I just wonder if there is some variation in predictions for neap and spring tides. Certainly these neaps don't seem to be anywhere near as high as the predictions estimate.

So, although yes you can scrub off cheaply on the beach, it's a bit of a lottery as to when you can do it. Almost makes you want to get the boat lifted out for a week, (until you see what Marinas are charging that is).

In the meantime, I'm consoling myself at home by making the new mounting panel for the Depth sounder and doing another coat of white paint on the cup and plate rack. Oh, and updating the blog while I have a coffee. :-)

Thursday, 18 May 2017

Wet Evening

I went on board Sprite last night after work. It was raining but what the hell, there was an hour of high water and quite still.

I took the new home for the VHF on board and started attaching it. It needs a bit of fettling to get it in place. I didn't realise how difficult it would be to hold a heavy plywood box containing a VHF radio up to the roof while trying to tidy heaty cables.

I needed some longer screws which I'll take on board tonight, but first impressions are it looks ok, and pretty unobtrusive. Having the VHF horizontal means you can see the display easier. Tucked up under the roof, set back from the companionway means it's out of any weather that may find it's way through the hatch.

I should be back on board again tonight, with longer screws and I've worked out for a whole 5 minutes (don't want to overdo it!) so I should be able lift and hold the whole assembly in place while I tidy all the cables and screw the thing to the roof.

That'll be another job done I've been putting off since last year.

The Mrs called me later on, just as I was packing up to come off the boat, her work PC had stopped talking to the internet (I just happen to be unofficial I.T. support to the whole family, having done it in a previous life). I cut her short as the keels had just touched down and I needed to get the dinghy ashore before I was stuck for the night.

Once ashore I called her back. Luckily there was literally nothing I could do, her company's I.T. are pretty tight on security and if switching it off and then on again doesn't resolve the issue then she has to call support (but she still calls me!). Actually tight I.T. security is a good thing at the moment...

As I was packing up I noticed the Easney Cruising Club Wednesday night racers coming back in. Plugging the tide with no wind is not an easy task.

As you can see they were all within feet of the shore trying to keep out of the flow. I'm not sure I'd be brave enough to bring a fin keeled yacht that close into shore or a catamaran as close as that one in the foreground is. There are wire baskets full of rocks there. getting hung up and stuck on them is not something I'd like to contemplate.Those racers are hardcore!

Anyway, afterwards it was back to the wife's work for a cup of coffee before taking her home.

Monday, 15 May 2017

Tidying Up

I went on the boat today and tidied the wiring for the instruments up in preparation for the hutch for the VHF being installed. The wiring has to now run to the roof of the cabin, so I did some work to extend it. I also added more epoxy to the wooden battens the hutch screws into. They should be pretty firmly attached to the roof once the latest epoxy has had a few days to set.

I'll post photos once the VHF is located in it's new home.

Thanks to David (see comments below) I've found I don't need to renew my VHF Shorts range Certificate. It's for life!

Just in case anyone needs a cheap course, Portsmouth Marine Training do a course at the moment for £75, then there's the RYA Exam fee of £60 on top.  But £75 quid is cheap compared to some.

As an aside, the 19th is the date I first met Mrs SkintSailor. We were exchanging emails and I was due to go to Southampton for my SRC course and nipped over to Portsmouth to see her. Our first date... lol. A typical bloke's way of remembering the date, nothing romantic involved at all. :-)

God, that was back in the days I was running this gas-guzzling beast:

How times (and myself) have changed.

I also brought the Depth sounder home as it's been getting a bit intermittent. I had a session re-soldering some of the iffy joints on the circuit board this evening which should hopefully solve the issue.

I also brought the volt meter I use to check the battery voltage home and installed it on the hutch.

After painting it this week, the hutch is now ready to install.

Also today I got a new gas bottle for the boat. That 4.5Kg Butane bottle has lasted almost 4 years!

While Removing the depth sounder and the volt meter, I measured up to make a new plywood flap, so the depth sounder can be flipped out into the companionway, but the flap won't go across the whole companionway. Instead it should be less than half, so it won't block the way.

I also offered the rudder I bought up to the stern of Jim's boat. It is definitely big enough. The profiled part of the rudder will end up sticking down further that the keels. I marked to position of the Gudgeon and Pintle as well as marking the top of the rudder. The top will need cutting down a bit to make sure the tiller fits under the pushpit. I just need to find the fittings and a way of connecting the tiller to the rudder.

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Rudder Bargain

Not for me, but for my mate Jim, who is actually a skinter sailor than I am. So I like to help out if I can.

He lost his rudder last year, most likely nicked off the back of the boat.

I just happened to be browsing and saw this rudder on eBay:

It's almost 6ft long and very nicely sculpted where it's supposed to sit in the water. Plenty of opportunity to modify it to suit Jim's boat. At a minimum it needs Gudgeon and Pintles screwing on, shortening and a tiller made for it. It was originally off a catamaran.

With a bit of work I may be able to make a removable tiller, so he can stow it away in the cabin in future to avoid it getting nicked. Hopefully this one isn't staying on the back of the boat.

The best bit is it only cost £8.00! Now that's a bargain. Considering the fact that its painted, varnished, sculpted into a foil shape under the waterline already, I'd say it's a bargain that will save loads of time and help get Jim back on the water.

Just need to keep an eye out for a cheap gudgeon and pintle. And maybe keep an eye out on Freecycle/Freegle for an oak table or something I can get a long enough piece of wood out of to make the tiller assembly.

Here's hoping.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Beaulieu Boat Jumble

I went to Beaulieu today, not with the intention of buying anything specific, just to have a nose around.

Thanks the two weeks of good weather, the attendance was high:

That's just one half. The other half was like this:

One thing you do notice with Beaulieu is an overwhelming interest in supplying you with the means to spend as much as you can. Even supplying a mobile cash dispenser:

Not enough cash for that widget you need? Beaulieu has a solution for that 

In the end I only got a few bits. Some more rope (you can never have enough - £15), an epoxy repair kit (handy to have around for er, repair - £10) and 4 new fenders (because mine are pretty shot and grotty). The fenders were £10 each for brand new Marjoni ones with spliced line. Which isn't bad when you consider that's what some of the stalls sell used ones for. Should save me the shame when mooring up at Marinas. ;-)

My boot-sale booty

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Some Work Done at Last.

Finally, I've been able to get on board and get something done.

Last year was a bit of a washout, with weddings, holidays and the rest getting in the way of spending time on the boat.

About a year ago I put a new locker top on one of the lockers, then the other top has been waiting in the boat ever since.

This year I'm determined to get stuff done. To that end, this weekend I've fitted the other locker top. Plus I've given both tops a couple of coats of paint.

The cockpit finally looks good and the locker tops are waterproof. I can finally leave the cockpit cover off over the Summer.

Also, since the unwelcome visitor the other week, I've been thinking about strengthening the washboards even more. So the lower board got some strengthening:

I've fitted a hardwood batten to the back of the board. It provides strength in the middle of the boards, probably the most vulnerable part.

Two jobs done in one weekend. Not bad.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Unwelcome Visitor

Got on board the boat this weekend to be greeted by the sight of a pile of mud on the transom. It looks like someone has been mad enough to walk out to Sprite and get on board. Luckily no damage apart from the mud everywhere.

No attempt was made to enter. Maybe the steel reinforcing of the washboards put them off. I fitted that the last time a bunch of boats were walked out to and broken into. It looks like they are back with the same m.o.

The thing that gets me is what this person did is hugely dangerous. The mud is a couple of feet deep a Sprite's keels go into the mud and she settles on the hull. This person could quite easily have become stuck.

Unbelievable someone would take the risk. I take all the electronics off the boat in the winter so theres nothing easily removed and sold on  board. So a huge risk for nothing.

Tuesday, 21 March 2017

Lidl Oil Pump

For those of you out there with sludge-filled iron lumps in the bilges that have never had an oil change because it's been too difficult, Lidl are stocking a 12v electric oil extraction pump.

It's part of the automotive special offer on Thursday the 23rd:

The price is £12.99, lots cheaper than marine equivalents and it should do the job.

Don't sue me if it doesn't though.

Friday, 17 March 2017

eBay Update

Well, the ad blocker has made a real difference.  So much so, the difference between browsing on my computer and someone else's is now very obvious.

I'd recommend if you're using Google Chrome as a browser to look at the add-on's and down load an adblocker. There are a few available on the Chrome add-on list. They all work in the same way so I can't say which is best.

It doesn't only speed up eBay either. the local newspaper website is 40% news, 60% adverts. It's made a HUGE difference on that website too.

I would say try it and see if there is any difference. I recommend it.

I will get back to sailing related stuff soon, I promise! But making the browsing experience better for those of you searching for the ideal low-cost yacht has to be a good thing.

Sunday, 5 March 2017

eBay Woes (Slow Response)

Is it just me, or is anyone else getting ever slower response times from eBay?

When trying to bag a bargain, you have to cast the net wide on your searches to make sure you trawl up the mis-spelled, the mis-placed or the generally badly advertised listings. The classic way to find the items no-one else can.

That means to drag up a lot of dross and you get into a rythm of quickly scrolling down the listings and filtering the gold from the poo.

But I'm finding it ever more difficult to do this, as the time it takes eBay to redraw a page is taking absolutely ages.

It's not my "up to 8Gb" connection either, the same massive slow-down occurs at work (during lunch break and for scientific purposes only, you understand).

I'm at a loss to explain it. Unless the adverts that eBay attach to every page have recently become massive and pre-load a huge video every time you click on to a new page. Maybe they're collecting mega amounts of meta-data, every page logging my activity in minute detail.

The fan on my laptop goes bonkers every time it displays a new page too, then quietens down after a couple of minutes (the time it takes to be able to scroll a page smoothly).

All very strange and totally frustrating. So much so I'm looking at alternative sites now in order to bag bargains.

Bye Bye eBay, you're no longer the useful site you used to be.


Deleting all my browsing history didn't do much good.

However, adding a advert blocker to Chrome seems to have had an effect. I'll report back after I've had a few days running in the new configuration.

Sunday, 26 February 2017

Long Row, Short Visit

Today it's been blowing around F6, so it made rowing out to the boat a bit of a slog. Eventually got there and then the heavens opened. So just a quick visit to check the hatch would fit the front panel.

It does, although it takes up most of the front panel. An Ocean 20 is just about the max size for that panel I think. I didn't check on what the fit was like inside, as I was fearful of losing the dinghy it was that windy. I was only there for a minute but already one of the fixing had come undone, such was the wind and wave action tugging at the ropes.

So back in the dinghy and to row against the wind again back to shore.

The wind was blowing parallel to the beach so I was fighting it there and back again.

I must admit I'm not a fearful rowing out to the boat in this weather, I'm just not happy about losing the dinghy and getting stranded on board. :-)

Anyway, it's good news the hatch fits. Now I know it does, I've been cleaning off the old sealant with my new power tool: my multitool with scraper attachment. It made short work of the sealant, I'm hoping it will make scraping the bottom of the boat an easier and quicker job too.

Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Gosport Boat Jumble

Last Sunday I went to the Gosport boat jumble. As my boat jumble page suggests, this very early in the year jumble can be a source of bargains. The cold weather tends to put people off. This year it was warmer, so there were more people, but they quickly went, I assume because they were looking for specific things for winter projects.

I started off my journey here:

Lovely Havant train station. Love the early 20th century aesthetics. The train down to Portsmouth Harbour was £4.80 return. To drive round the harbour to Gosport and back would cost more than that in petrol.

At  10:30 on a Sunday morning the harbour was pretty still:

Then a short ferry trip:

Over the water to Turktown.

£3-odd return. Yeah, now it's adding up to the same as petrol round the harbour, but I'm doing something different for a change, plus it's pay-and -display parking at the boat jumble so that means public transport just pips the car in this instance.

Last year I got bungie sail ties and rope very cheap, this year I went prepared with a big rucksack.

Had I wanted to carry it home I could have had a Mercury 3.3Hp outboard for £30. A guy was haggling for just the petrol cap off it and the vendor was saying he could have the cap for £30... with the rest of the outboard. :-)

Odd bits like anchors for a tenner, large fenders for a tenner or 4 for £30, and like last year there were a few rope bargains.

Last year a stall had a few real bargains like cheap hatches. This year he was in the same place again (2nd bay on the right) :

I didn't have enough money last year, but this year I was prepared. Sure enough, he had a couple of Lewmar Ocean 20 hatches, £30 each. I only need one to go on the front of Sprite to replace the non-opening port-light at the front. So I bagged one:

It needs a clean and the acrylic needs polishing, but I can get plastic polish from work. On this one the friction mechanism was jammed, but literally 5 seconds with an allen key to back off the tension released it. Now it opens fine and still holds the hatch open.

Ideally I would have liked a 10 inch square Ocean 10 hatch, but this one should still fit the front panel of the cabin. It's 13 inches wide and the front panel I measured at over 20 inches. It's even the flanged version, so the flange will cover the sides of the cut hole. All I need is to use some of my spare marine ply to make a trim round the hatch on the inside of the cabin to receive the mounting screws. The downside is it'll take all of my woodworking skills to make something that looks horrendous. I may trawl the DIY stores for a decent-looking solution. :-)

The rest of the Boat Jumble looked like this:

As you can see, not particularly busy, which is why I like it. With most summer boat jumbles the bargains have all been bought up within 5 minutes of opening time.

After walking round twice to be sure I didn't miss anything, I walked back to the ferry. The last picture is a view of Portsmouth from the other side. A view I very rarely see and I don't visit Gosport often:

On the way back I noticed the dredging barge was working off railway jetty making it deeper for the new carrier due later this year. There was a Belgian minesweeper and a South African Navy ship docked there. Hopefully it doesn't dredge up another unexploded WW2 bomb while they're there and cause an international incident. It seems they come across a new unexploded bomb every few weeks.

The South African ship was in dock to commemmorate the SS Mendi disaster, a ship that went down off the Isle of Wight.

And that was it, Back to the train station and home.

Sunny Saturday.

Saturday was clear, dry and pretty warm. Very un-February-like.

I got on the boat and had a tinker with my 3.3Hp outboard that steadfastly refused to start. The petrol tap was refusing to let more than a small dribble of fuel to the carb, so it started and then stopped. So that's another job to sort. I need to get it going, because Jim's travails the previous week focused my mind onto having backup options like an alternative motor if the main one conks out.

After opening the lockers to get two stroke oil, I noticed a bit of water in there, so I got to work with the pump and sponge. Got the water out and then started airing the wet bits. The rope in the lockers came home for a wash in the washing machine.

Yep, the lockers are odd. I need to get the new locker top on the port side this year. The locker top isn't delaminating, it just offends my slight OCD-ness. I like things to match and be nice, I'm just hopelessly sluggish at making it happen.

With the sprayhood up, and breeze was blocked so the cockpit was a pretty nice place to be.

So with the lockers dried, some bits dried and some in the dinghy to come home, after a brew and a few biscuits I rowed back ashore.

One thing I noticed on the dinghy are scratch marks. It looks like Mr water Vole, Rat, or whatever got stuck at the bow of the dinghy and wanted out:

I will have to think of a solution to this, because if ratty makes my dinghy his home and then graws through the hull at all, I will be very upset. Plugging the open inspection holes up seems like a plan so he can't use the buoyancy tanks as a home, then maybe lifting the dinghy up on bricks  so it's not as safe and cosy as it used to be would seem to be the plan.

Tuesday, 14 February 2017

Helping Hand.

Last week Jims boat broke its mooring. It let loose and all that stopped it drifting away was the chain dragging on the mud.

I went down last Monday after work and Jim was struggling. I didn't have my oars with me so couldn't get out to Sprite and help drag Jims boat back. I wish I had because in the end later that evening his boat had drifted so much it had to be rescued by the RNLI.

So this weekend just gone I started helping him make a new mooring block. I've scrounged a couple of tyres and a plywood sheet. Enough to fill with concrete. All I need to scrounge is some steel bar to make the mooring ring to set in the concrete. Not bad for nothing.

He also needs new chain as his seems to be pretty much shot. Most likely why it parted in the first place. That might be a bit more expensive.

I've also got his engine at home because it wouldn't work , hence why he couldn't recover his boat on its own.

I'll be busy then. :-)

Tuesday, 7 February 2017

Volvo Ocean Race Legends Race

This looks an interesting Prospect.

The Volvo Ocean Race is to have a race of prior entrants, what they are calling the race of legends.

Check it out here.

Now then, is it being televised and if so, where....

Friday, 3 February 2017

Antifoul on Sale Again.

Marine Superstore are having another antifouling sale here.

Amongst other products, 2.5L of Hempel Classic Antifoul for £34.95 is a bit of a bargain.

I've still got mine from last year, I really need to get it put on the hull, it's doing nothing sat in the tin...

Looks like limited colour availability, but plenty of True Blue in stock.

Tuesday, 31 January 2017

Short Visit this weekend

Just a quick visit last weekend to check on the fit of the VHF hutch.  Offering it up to it's home, it looks like the way of mounting it to the cabin roof needs to change slightly.

There are a couple of bolts for the rope clutches that come through the roof in the same place the mountings were going to go, so there needs to be a change. Not much: a few blocks mounted on the back wall of the cabin should be enough to hold the hutch in place.

Just a small change and worth nipping on board to check.

I was impressed the cabin was relatively dry and not dripping with damp like this time last year. Not sure what the difference is as it's been quite damp outside the cabin over the past few weeks, with fog and mist lasting several days. The harbour fog horns have been working overtime. :-)

I think last year loading a wet rudder into the cabin close to the end of the year introduced enough moisture into it to cause problems. This year I let the rudder dry in the cockpit before putting it away, so maybe that's the answer.

Checking the battery, it was down to 13.5v, I assume the result of a few weeks of misty, overcast days preventing the solar panel doing it's thing.

I also started to attack the Christmas choccy biscuits I took on board a few weeks ago. Yum.

Guy paddled over for a chat, it was nice to see him. He's been a bit scarce down the pond as he's been working away a lot.

I didn't even stay on board long enough to make a brew. I was off at high tide, which made recovering the dinghy easy. It's great when you only have to drag it 4 feet rather that three and four times that up the beach.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Chilled Weekend

Not much to report this weekend. Tides were wrong for getting out to Sprite. Nicky needed to borrow my winch as an old hull had broken loose and was bumping into Meagles at high tide. She needed the winch to drag the hull up above high tide. So I dropped the winch off yesterday.

Today I did a bit of food shopping, serviced the car and did a bit of housework, then went off to the boat just as the Sun was getting towards the horizon. Always a quiet, still time of day down at Eastney, as the sightseer traffic tends to die down.

I spent over an hour just chilling down there, watching the birds working their way down the beach and the geese fattening themselves for the flight back up North. I don't think it'll be long now because they're starting to fly around in bigger flocks. Always a precursor to them legging it off Northwards. I'm sure the weather at the moment is confusing them, being freezing at night and mild during the day.

But it's relaxing listening to the calls of the birds when there's no other noise. The Geese and their quiet honks of contentment, the more distant calls of the Curlew working the centre of the pond, the chatter of the Starlings as they work the beach around the high tide mark. Only broken every so often by the loud shrill call of a Gull echoing off the surroundings.

A couple of guys with cameras were walking down the beach taking arty snaps of the birds in the low Sun. One mentioned someone had seen an otter swimming. Not sure it was an otter, Langstone harbour is a bit too busy with human traffic for them. I really hope it's not a Mink, the bird nesting sanctuaries on the islands in the harbour will be under threat if it is.

Friday, 20 January 2017

Vendee Globe: Armel Gets First, Alex a close second

Well, the first two boats home in the Vendee Globe have arrived back.

Armel Le Cléac'h arrived back just after 3:30pm yesterday, winning the race. Armel has been second twice in this race, so it's heartening to see him win after getting so close before.

But for us Brits, the big Story is Alex Thomson arriving back just before 8am this morning. After his boat was damaged and lost a foil on the way down to the Southern Ocean, it was a  supreme effort to stay in touch with the leader and at one point in the final days to get within 40nm.

In the end it wasn't to be. But hey, he's a hero for getting to second.

Considering his boat, Hugo Boss almost didn't make it to the start line and the damage during the race. We all know he'd have won if he wasn't crippled on port tack.

I hope he goes again in 4 years time, although I suspect the advantage he had this year will be a lot less by then. I'm pretty sure after the outstanding performance shown by foiling monohulls in this Vendee, that all the boats in 4 years time will have foils. 3-4 years worth of development will make any performance advantage pretty small. I mean, just look at the amount of foil development in the past 5 years, first in multihulls and now in monohulls. God knows where they'll be in 4 years. I mean, a few foiling monohulls entered the Transat Jaques Vabre in 2015 and a number of them had failures of the foil and or the foil to hull joint. A year later there was none of the drama, apart from Hugo Boss being dismasted and damaged (Herculean effort getting HB back up together for the Vendee guys by the way.)

Just over 12 months after the issues and failures in 2015, a number of foiling boats have just sailed round the world.

The amount of effort to get a boat built, get the sponsors and actually sail the thing around the world is staggering. It's huge and fair play to The Hugo Boss team for doing so well.

<imagines stirring background music..>

Just like us Skint Sailors: finding a boat at the right price and getting in a seaworty state is an effort still worthy of some acknowledgement. It's not racing round the world single handed, but it's a worthy challenge that hundreds of us step up to.  All you Skint Sailors out there, give yourselves a pat on the back for doing what you are doing, having the stamina to keep moving forward, at whatever pace you can afford,  with little money and little reward. Those of you that don't yet have a seaworthy boat, keep on in there, you will get to your goal. Be positive!

Skint Sailors the world over celebrate! You are champions in your own right.

<okay, stop the music now, that's just silly :-) >

Tuesday, 17 January 2017

Vendee Globe: The finish is close

It's now probably less than 48 Hours to the end of the Vendee Globe. Not an unremarkable statement on it's own, but after over 24,000 nautical miles and over 72 days of sailing, the two boats out in the lead are only 72 nautical miles apart.

Alex Thomson in second place is closing in on Armel Le Cléac'h the leader. On the run up the Atlantic, Alex has closed a 500 nm deficit and still closes in on the leader with less than 48 hours to go to the finish.

In Vendee Globe terms, this is the equivalent of a photo finish. It may well be very close by the end, given that there is a tricky patch of weather between the sailors and the finish line at Les Sables d'Olonne which looks like forcing them up close to Ireland before they catch favourable winds down to the finish in Southern France.

So the last 48 hours will be all about routing: catching the best wind and conditions and keeping the pace of the boat up. The ridge of high pressure they are trying to negotiate has low winds in the centre, so they are trying to catch the higher clockwise winds on the outer edge of the anticyclone.

The thing is, do you cut East early, reduce the miles but suffer low winds, or do you head further North before heading South East to the finish, benefitting from higher winds but taking a longer route.

The fly in the ointment is Alex's boat is not so fast on starboard tack because he lost a foil (yes, these 60ft boats are foiling yachts!) in the South Atlantic on the way down South.

It's all to play for in the last 48 hours and Alex has a chance of being the first Brit to win The Vendee.

To get within 72nm after all those thousands of miles of sailing and in a compromised boat is an unbeleivable acheivement.

To me single handing the massive Hugo Boss yacht is a mighty achievement, I've seen it in the Solent and it's huuge.

Alex Thomson for BBC Sportsperson of the year 2017? I'll be voting at the end of the year! Even though the BBC has had little coverage of the event apart from a few small snippets on the local News.


Alex closed the gap over yesterday to be within 40nm of Armel. Currently Armel is taking a more Northerly route almost to the Scillies to keep in the higher winds. Alex is taking a more Southerly route, cutting the corner but taking the gamble that what should be lighter winds are not as light as the predictions indicate.

This really is amazing sailing. After over 24,000 miles and 70-odd days, the leaders could be minutes apart. It could even be closer! Do the Vendee Globe organisers have a commitee boat with a camera on it at the finish line? This could be a photo finish!


Looks like Alex had a nightmare of a night, having to fix a number of failures that slowed him right down compared to Armel. The sensors for his autopilot system being the most crutial. But he has no AIS as well, which tends to suggest electrical gremlins. Alex is now 90-odd nm behind the Frenchman and Armel is only 98nm from the finish. So unless he has some form of catastrophic failure, Armel Le Cléac'h is destined to become the winner of the 2016/2017 Vendee Globe Race some time later today.

Alex has now regained some speed, but he's too far away from the leader to challenge for the win if things continue as they are at the moment.

Monday, 16 January 2017

No Progress

This weekend I didn't get anything done on the boat.

Despite the attraction of high tides and a long stay on the boat, on Saturday my daughter was down from Uni and came over for dinner.

Yesterday the weather was miserable. Really miserable, with wind, cold and drizzle. Not a fun sailing day and not a fun day rowing out to the boat either. Given that one of the jobs I wanted to do was the cockpit locker top, the weather was not ideal.

So yesterday was occupied by food shopping. Oh the excitement!

Tuesday, 3 January 2017

New Home for a VHF Radio

And a horn button.

I've been busy actually doing some work on the VHF hutch that will be fitted to the roof of Sprite to the right of the companionway, above the little moulded in table.

Looks a bit rough and ready, mainly because I don't have the tools to accurately cut holes out in plywood. But once it's had a bit more work to round the sharp edges and stained to match the rest of the interior woodwork, it should soften the rough look.

I don't know if you've noticed, but the thing cracked on me where the plywood is thin, so I had to epoxy it back together.

I've added the horn button for the horn I bought back in 2015 (??). Obviously I'll have to wire it in  but first the hutch mounts have to be fibreglassed and epoxied to the roof of Sprite.

The advantage is that the display and the speaker for the VHF will be horizontal, rather than pointing up to the ceiling. It should be easier to access and control in an emergency.

Also there's a bit of space ready for future projects. Not sure what they'll be yet.