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Month: January 2016

Beer bottle meths dispenser.

Just a short one. Last year I needed to devise a more suitable method of dispensing a measure of meths into my Tilley lamp preheat cup and the Trangia cooking stove. I had managed up until then quite well by simply pouring the stuff out of the bottle and mopping up any drips with kitchen roll, but on an emergency anchorage one day, sheltering from a sudden passing squall, I had the devils own job to get any liquid  into the burner to make a cup of tea. This was clearly a serious situation and I consider myself very lucky to be here to tell the tale. (As luck would have it, the squall soon passed allowing me to escape the very real horror of tea withdrawal and subsequent death.)

Lesson learnt, I set about making an easy pourer for future beverage emergencies. Here it is.

Spout for improved access to tilley pre heat cup.

Spout for improved access to tilley pre heat cup.

First, empty a small glass bottle with a large enough opening to fit a wine cork in. (Use cork not plastic bungs or it’ll just dissolve)

I find booze bottles are about the right size and more satisfying to empty.

I find booze bottles are about the right size and more satisfying to empty.

Get hold of a short piece of copper brake line from your friendly local garage.

Drill a hole in the cork and push the brake line through it.

Fill bottle with meths and push in cork.

Ta da! Perfect directional stability of pour even in the most dire of tea making conditions.

Ta da! Perfect directional stability of pour even in the most dire of tea making conditions.

Gonna be lonely this Christmas….

Work on Idris is progressing fairly well considering it’s only light for about 3 hours a day, she is still afloat and miles away. Got a couple of visits in over the festive period when I had my first night aboard on the mooring in order to get a bit more work done the next day. The next day, as it happens, was Christmas Eve and I hadn’t had the sense to watch a weather forecast. A severe gale blew up in the dark, early hours of the morning and I was chucked roughly from my bunk in the gloom to discover the dinghy was airbourne outside the cabin windows.

 

Avon vertical take off dinghy.

Avon vertical take off dinghy. Still in flight at lunchtime.

The novelty of this most unexpected Christmas miracle soon wore off as I stuck my head out of the companionway to drink my morning coffee. The waves on this tiny sheltered lake had built up to the extent that I was fairly certain an attempt to get back to shore would result in an immediate  dinghy assisted flying lesson into the sea. I may well have been able to swim to shore ok, but then again, there didn’t appear to be anyone about and it was damn cold. I was staring down the barrel of another night on the boat if this gale didn’t ease up, plus a very unhappy lady friend.

Anyhow, I made the most of my exile by frantically dismantling as much boat as I could to take home with me for repair and also to weigh the bows of the dinghy down if I risked the trip later. Locker lids inside and out came off, as did window trims and various other interior bits. I decided to remove the big doors from the heads and wet locker for varnishing in the workshop. Having removed them I liked the feeling of space so much, I decided they were also stupidly heavy and unnecessary, I could simply hang a curtain up instead. So the two solid doors went into the dinghy  along with all the other lids and trim plus the full water containers as extra ballast.

It was still howling outside so I spent a few more hours cutting pipes and removing the dribbly old sea toilet from it’s stinky hole. I knew that one of the sea cocks was seized open thus posing an unnecessary risk of boat sinky leaks. What I didn’t know was that the other sea cock, although free turning, was doing absolutely bugger all. As I cut the old hose away with the hacksaw, water gushed into the boat unhindered. So here I was trapped, afloat on a mooring in a gale with a big hole in my boat. A perfect start to Christmas. Luckily I’d had the foresight to keep the emergency wooden bungs handy in the locker with all the other tools, so a quick panicky rummage and a good thump home with a hammer sealed the leak completely.

Note hastily bashed in bungs at tube ends.

Note hastily bashed in bungs at tube ends.

Two seacocks to replace then. Hmm, maybe I don’t need a sea toilet at all. I mean, I’ve managed ok until now with a very rarely used bucket and frankly the whole toilet system seems fraught with problems. Plus its another heavy mass of stuff taking up space that would be better off housing…. a charcoal burning heater!! Of course! Why didn’t I think of this before. So the sea toilet went into the dinghy too.

Finished off by having a good clean up in the cabin and measured up for the solid fuel stove I now intended to fit in the old heads locker. I convinced myself that the wind had dropped off a bit and made a dash for shore. I did get home for Christmas. I didn’t drown. I did get very very wet.