Thursday, July 30, 2015

‘Pike’ Ready to Go

Preparing 'Pike'

Ready to go

The time has come for a trial sail with ‘Pike’. Tomorrow’s forecast looks good, and high water at Burnham-on-Crouch should be at 13.18. There couldn’t be a better opportunity; therefore I’m planning a fairly early start for having several hours on the water before returning home.

Hopefully, I’ll be able to report back tomorrow evening with an account of how things went.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Keter Borneo Storage Box

There are still a number of things that require doing before everything in the garden is in order. One job that was on the list was ticked off this morning after I assembled a Keter Borneo Storage Box that arrived yesterday, courtesy of Amazon, only one day after ordering it!

I was amazed how well the components were manufactured. All the main parts precisely slotted together to form the box, and the lid was attached with two self-assisting piston operated hinges to aid its opening and closing. Forty-five minutes after removing bits and pieces from the packaging, the box was assembled. The only tool required for doing it was a Phillips screwdriver.

I can recommend the box for watertight storage, as enthusiastic Amazon reviewers confirm that items within their Borneo Boxes have remained dry and well aired. A few reviewers say that care should be taken when opening the lid after a heavy downpour, because water can lodge in crevices on the top of the lid, and it may trickle into the box as the lid is opened.

After assembling the box I was able to do three more jobs, and there are no pressing ones to be done. The forecast for the next few days is looking good. Therefore, I’m hopeful that I’ll be able to take ‘Pike’ for a sail - most likely on Friday, when high water at Burnham-on-Crouch will be at 13.18.



Keter Outdoor Storage Boxes

Borneo Storage Box

Phillips Screwdriver

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Finishing Touches to the Patio

I finished building the patio a few days ago. Today, my wife and I gave it the finishing touches by adding six solar lights, a candle lantern, a hanging basket, a cordyline plant and a dwarf palm tree.

The solar lights were designed with short supports that could be stuck in the ground, but I mounted them on metal rods that I attached to the patio wall. This makes them more visible, and dare I say it, more attractive. At night, the light they emit gradually changes, simulating the colours of a rainbow, i.e., red, orange, green, blue, indigo and violet.

I made their supports from chromium plated hanger rods - the sort you find in wardrobes - and I fixed them to the wall with homemade aluminium brackets. My wife arranged the hanging basket, and she planted the cordyline and dwarf palm tree in large, square-topped pots. She also put a decorated candle in the lantern.


Cole and Bright (Manufacturers of the Solar Ice Orb Light)

Solar Ice Orb Light – Black Nickel

Monday, July 27, 2015

Crewsaver Buoyancy Bag

Before I can take ‘Pike’ for a sail I must check that her stern buoyancy bag does not leak. When I bought her I found that the bag was deflated, and I presumed it leaked. It is a 1998 Crewsaver 27 kilogram (60 lbs), 760 mm x 230 mm polyurethane nylon, pillow-shaped bag that is held in place by two straps.

The cheapest new replacement would cost £33.50 from, including free delivery.  Altogether I looked at nine online chandlers, and I thought that Seamark Nunn would be the cheapest, but when I added the delivery charge of £4.99 it worked out at £35.90. The most expensive was CrewSafe at £38.45.

I tested the bag for leaks by submerging it in a bath of water and I couldn’t find any escaping air. Over the next few days I’ll monitor the situation to see if it gradually deflates.


Sunday, July 26, 2015


I’ve just purchased the ‘Ship Finder’ AIS App for my iPhone which works a treat. There’s a Dutch yacht named ‘Cine Mara’ in which I have an interest. She’s currently stormbound at Alderney awaiting better weather, and with the App I shall be able to track her, know her speed and course, her exact location and destination if programmed by her skipper, along with her ETA. All of this information is updated every 3 minutes. At just under £3 for the advertisement free iOS App, I think this is good value for money. The free version has limited information, and it is spoiled by intrusive advertisements.

An advertisement free live chart showing the positions and movements of vessels may be had by visiting the Live Ships Map – AIS on a computer. (See Link below)

Note: All photos are of ‘Cine Mara’.**


Live Ships Map - AIS



Automatic Identification System

**'Cine Mara' - The Galway hooker: Dutch and Irish connections

Saturday, July 25, 2015


There’s an alcove between the garage and the shed which is large enough for an outdoor storage box, and as I had a number bricks left over after building the patio, I thought I would use them to make a suitable surface for supporting a storage box. A Keter Borneo Storage Box would fit quite nicely, and it could be used for storing the garden furniture cushions.

The photos illustrate what I was able to achieve today. I shall have to buy thirteen more bricks to finish the job.

Friday, July 24, 2015

Charlie Pitcher – Part 2

When I first heard that Charlie Pitcher was to attempt a solo row around Great Britain I realised what a difficult task he had given himself. I’ve sailed quite a bit along the coasts of these waters from as far north as Peterhead, south and west through the English Channel to Western Ireland and I’ve come across some very difficult situations on account of bad weather. Therefore it was no surprise to me that Charlie would find the same, especially as he would be relying on his own strength and willpower to overcome adverse weather and many obstacles along the way.

Without a doubt Charlie is a very brave and selfless man who takes on the most difficult of challenges for fundraising and for testing his own resourcefulness and endurance. His ‘Day Thirty-One’ blog* tells of his disappointment at having to postpone continuing his row around Britain, but sensibly he put his family and business first, since he set himself a time limit for the row and was far behind the planned schedule. He says it has been the most difficult challenge so far, and that’s after rowing the Atlantic twice, completing a Scottish Ultra Run, doing a hundred-and-fifty-one mile Sahara run, plus several marathons.

Charlie is a hero of mine, and more so for taking on the most difficult challenge of his life. I wish him success at completing the row around Great Britain which I believe he will attempt to do next year.

Well done Charlie.

*Day Thirty-One Blog

Other Links

Charlie Pitcher Rows Great Britain

Charlie Pitcher