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

Friday, 22 December 2017

Costs for 2017 and a Review of the Year.

Here's the yearly roundup of costs, which this time are pretty meagre:

As usual first are the basic expenses.

£132      Mooring Fee

£160      Insurance.

Same as last year. No change at all.

£11.60   Fuel. Only 2 cans (10 ltrs) worth of fuel, same as last year.
              Enough for the two big sailing days and the rest used pootling up and
              down Langstone harbour. Got to love the fuel costs with sailing!

£2.50     Absolute tides Update.

£13       Navionics Update.

£30       Second Hand hatch from Gosport Boat Jumble.

£30       Nasa Clipper Speed Log

£5         Keel Shoe.

£24      Two sets of High Capacity LiPo batteries for my handheld VHF transceiver.
            (I will do a blog about it next year: they vastly increase battery capacity - over 2000 mAh)

£25      Overnight Marina Stay

£433.10 is the Total Expenditure on the Boat for 2017. (£36.10 per month)

I didn't spend any money on ungents, paints, sandpaper, etc. I used the stuff I had left over from the previous year.

I spent £8 on a rudder from eBay for Jim's boat and £16 on a new impeller for his outboard.
After all he's skinter than me, so when I can help out, I will.

Most money this year went on the car (tyres & exhaust) and moving house (bills, bills and more bills).

So, expenditure for 2017 was the lowest yearly amount so far (except 2013 but that was offset by selling stuff to pay for the boat).

It's interesting to note that instead on fettling, in 2017 I made a concious effort to actually go out and sail, especially out in the Solent, which I did on a number of occasions, but with two stand-out days.

The first was the F4-F5 reefed sail on the 4th of June. That sail tought me that I was being a bit timid previously about what Sprite could handle. With the sails reefed she romped along and didn't heel over on her scuppers almost out of control. It was an educational sail that day.

The second big day was my full day's sail on the 18th of June. A full day (over 12 hours) out on the water of the Solent. A brilliant day which would only have been better if the wind had played ball and not disappeared for a couple of hours in the middle. Staying in Southsea Marina overnight was a stroke of genius. It allowed me to get out of the harbour without waiting to lift off the mud. But however handy a Marina Berth is, I'd never be able to afford one permanently. But it was nice to sample the ease of just walking up to the boat and stepping on board easily.

I learned a lot from those two days. If I could, I would make it a priority to get the maximum amout of sailing time in 2018 so I can try different things and learn more.

That's not to say fettling was abandoned...

Stand-out DIY project of the year was the VHF hutch. It located the VHF Radio in a place where it's not in the way, it's easy to get to from the cockpit and the cabin and the display can be seen easily. One of the best things I've done I think. It works a treat.

Another win on the DIY front was the battery charging arrangement. The original arrangement had night-time drains on the battery from the solar panel and the charge controller. Ditching the Chinese solar controller, re-arranging the blocking diode on the solar panel and getting a big battery all paid off and I now don't have any power worries on board even during these months of short days. Swapping the diode round and ditching the charge controller made a dramatic difference. Removing drains on the battery has increased charge performance massively.

I also finally fitted the second locker top in the cockpit in April, so I had matching locker tops.

As with previous years, 2017 was a year where it was hard to predict decent weather, apart from June. June stood out as being a pretty settled period where you could actually plan to go sailing for once. That's why I booked a spot in a marina. Such was my confidence in the following day's weather and what a day I had! If only I could have managed the Sunday as well. But I ached all over after a full day sailing. This year I will make more of an effort and if two consecutive days show up then I'm sailing aches or no aches!

Posting on here has been sporadic, mainly because I've not visited the boat as much as previous years and also because a blog full of "visited boat, drank coffee, went home" posts would get a bit boring and put people off.

But that about wraps it up for the roundup of 2017.

2018 looks to be a year of major maintenance. As I've already mentioned I'm planning to put Sprite 2 on the hard for a week and get the antifoulding applied and refit the window rubbers. Possibly fit the hatch on the front and if I have time look at the mast support beam.

We've already had the first big storm of 2018 sweep past and cause damage down at Eastney. Luckily we have a community of impoverished sailors down at Eastney and we check on each other's boats. I'll get down an take some pictures of the aftermath in the daylight at the weekend.

For the rest of the year, wish me luck. Lets see how it all pans out. Happy New Year!

Hump Day 2017

Well, it's here again, the day we look forward to longer days and shorter nights.

Look forward to scenes like this:

Sun, cloudless skies and sailing....
Happy Winter Solstice Day to you all in the Northern Hemisphere.

To those of you in the Southern Hemisphere, make the most of the rest of the summer, we're taking it back!

Big plans are afoot for Sprite 2 next year. Everyone has been told I need money for Christmas, even if it's only a fiver. Don't waste money on dodgy smellies, just send me the money.  Sprite is coming out of the water for overhaul next year and I need every penny for Marina fees! If anyone has an idea for saving money on lifting her out and putting her on the hard for a week or two, I'd love to hear it!

As is customary at the beginning of January I'll be wrapping up 2017 with a yearly costing. It will be interesting to see what the costs are for this year. I haven't really done that much work on Sprite 2 this year at all, instead I tried to concentrate on sailing her.

Wednesday, 6 December 2017

Sad, Damp Days

I went onto the boat on Sunday. It was dark, overcast, damp, cold and there weren't many people about.

The interior of Sprite is getting a bit clammy, so I lifted the seat cushions to air the lockers out.

I only stayed on for an hour or so, just checking things over like the battery (still charging, voltage was 13.8 on switch-on and stayed 13v with the radio and other instruments/accessories on). I also tightened the ropes holding the cockpit cover down.

Then legged it back to shore.

I had a walk down the shore after sqaring the dinghy away to have a look at Mashooka. Her mast seemed to have dissappeared.

This, sadly is what I found:

It looks like one of the mast stays has parted and the mast has gone over. Sadly though, as the mast has gone over, it's taken the tabernacle with it which in turn has caused the deck to collapse. Or it's possible the deck collapsed allowing the mast to go over.

Either way it's a very sad sight.

Here's a closer picture:

The cabin roof, ratrher than staying above the deck, sort of collapses down to deck level at the front as well. It looks pretty grim.

Considering only 3 years ago she looked like this:

That was back in late 2014 when people started to strip bits off her after laying on the beach unattended for so long. You can see she was missing some of the brass port lights.

As with most wooden boats, the amount of maintenance just to keep them afloat is huge. I think Mashooka was a bit too far gone to bring her back without a vast amount of money and effort. It looks like she is close to unrecovereable now sadly. Certainly not without great expense.