Sunday, 7 December 2008

new websites

I have been busy adding another website - to my other sites. This new website is all about GPS receiver units - both handheld and fixed. The site has information about GPS and access to used GPS units as well as new equipment. I have added some video on a few pages that show how to use GPS both handheld and fixed. This equipment is sometimes called chartplotters and lots of other hardware can be attached to add to the navigation system. So please click on the link and check out the new website - hopefully it will be of some use to you - maybe you will be able to buy a GPS receiver unit at a bargain price!

Thursday, 28 August 2008

More websites

I have taken a break from making the dinghies. Instead I've been busy making websites; lots of sites. Some are related to my main interest - boating. Others are sites that I will enjoy writing about on a regular basis and will add to my income, in some small or large way. So far there are 4 sites concerned with boating of some sort, and its USA equivalent,; which advertises used outboard motors; and my latest site -

The other websites such as, advertise several affiliate programs associated with ebay. In a departure from boating I thought my wife might like to get involved in building a website which interests her. So she chose, which tells you a lot! My youngest daughter, who is in her final year at university has also inspired me to change the focus of a previous website I had, selling ebooks. has shifted from advertising ebooks to featuring cheap business management textbooks. The site also has other textbooks advertised that students would find useful.

So you can see I have been busy these last few days and hope to tell you more about each of the websites as I add content etc to them.

Sunday, 24 August 2008

second website

I have been busy adding a second website,, just to keep me occupied these long summer evening!

This new website helps people locate and buy used, second hand outboard motors. All the main outboards are advertised, mercury, evinrude, johnson, yamaha, as well as the old 'favourite' british seagull engines! Spares are also featured for all of the above mentioned.

Also on the site is a brief history of outboard motors, who invented them and the main players. Some development work is also discussed, especially the reduction in emissions and the now wide spread use of 4 stroke engines.

I hope you will visit the new website and find something useful on it. I will be adding more content articles to 'sailorpower' over the coming weeks, so add it to your favorites to visit it again.
Hi, its been just over a month since my last post. The reason being the holidays and a break from making dinghies. However, I have just sold my latest dinghy! As usual it was not straight foreward. You know, advertise it, someone phones, comes to see it, then says they will buy it, then takes it away. No, no, not with me. There is always some complication.

This time out of the blue I got a 'phone call from someone who needed a dinghy, quick. He said he would be around to view the dinghy after dinner, and arrived at 8pm. Within 5 minutes he decided to buy the fibreglass dinghy. But had only £15 as a deposit and no means to transport it. We looked at his car, a Ford Focus, and could see no way of adding a roof rack to it. However, he said he had a small trailer that with some adaption could take the dinghy. I heard myself volunteer to make two spars to add to the small trailer, a bit of drilling and bolting. So we arranged for the next evening that he would bring the trailer up and I would add the spars.

The next evening I had everything ready and shortly after 7.30pm he arrived. He was towing a 3 ft by 3ft (1m x 1m), box trailer similar to those you see transporting garden rubbish to the dump! A super quick operation of marking out, drilling and bolting the spars onto the trailer and it was ready to take the dinghy. A couple of straps and some rope was enough to secure the dinghy, upside down on the trailer. Money was exchanged and the new owner was delighted with his purchase. With plans to use the dinghy for fishing next week, he was off down the road! Another happy customer.

OK it involved a bit of extra work on my behave but it all adds to the whole experience, doesn't it? One of these days someone is just going to view a dinghy and take it away without any hassle! 'Till the next time.

Saturday, 19 July 2008

Dinghy number 3 is nearing completion. I took a trip to my local marina today to place 2 adverts for boaters to see. The notice boards were pretty busy but with a little rearranging - the A2 size advert for the visiting circus - just had to go! Anyway hopefully some 'phone calls over the next few days will see the latest dinghy sold. I had sort of agreed to try and test out each dinghy in the local sea but dinghy number 2 was a bit of a rush, so that was the plan scuppered. Maybe if I have time this dinghy with get a try out with the family.

When I was at the marina I visited the chandlery to buy a pair of galvanised rowlocks for the dinghy. This has been my third pair from the chandlery. Very expensive - £ 8.80 for a pair of 3/8" rowlocks! I should really be more organised and buy them on ebay. The exact same pair of rowlocks are £ 3.00 a pair plus £ 1.50 postage. That is almost half the price of the local chandlery! Need to plan ahead in future.

In fact so much of the materials I need for building these dinghies could be purchased from ebay, I could be saving myself a fortune!

That reminds me click on my link to visit my website at where lots of gear and equipment can be seen and bought.

I will report back when dinghy number 3 is sold. No doubt it will not be a straight forward transaction, mine never are!

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

I got a 'phone call on Tuesday evening from someone asking if I still had the dinghy for sale? I said I had just sold the dinghy but I would be finishing another one very soon. He said could he come round on Friday evening to view the dinghy. At first I agreed then realising there was no way the boat would be ready on time I 'phoned him back and arranged for the following Monday. He said his name was Dave and he would be round at 7 p.m.

Well the pressure was on to get this next dinghy finished. As usual there was a mountain of other stuff to do - but none of it to do with the dinghy. One of my daughters wanted to change her car for a newer one, and wanted my advice. Not a 5 minute activity! Some friends wanted the wife and me round for a BBQ on Saturday - right in the middle of my fibreglassing process!

As I was trying to get the shell out of the mould, as usual it was putting up a struggle and I had an idea of using boiling water to pour between the mould and shell (as mentioned in my last blog, not a good idea). However, the shell became distorted with the heat from the boiling water! Just what I didn't need. Eventually, the shell popped out and I inspected the damage.

It was only a small area that needed filler to put it right. However, when I sealed it with the gel coat to make it watertight, the finish was not the same as the rest of the hull. What to do? After a restless night the decision was made to cover the whole dinghy hull with a new layer of gel coat.
Once this was complete, I used wet and dry paper of various grades to sand the hull until it was lovely and smooth. I polished it over and over and over again. Aiming for a near perfect finish. It was a long Sunday but I thought it was worth it as I could now feel comfortable about selling the dinghy in an as new condition.

So by Monday afternoon the dinghy was complete with a last minute second topcoat of pigmented resin painted over the inside of the dinghy, just to finish it off!

At 7 p.m. Dave showed up with his 2 children. I quickly explained that the dinghy was ready but still "tacky" with resin. But it would soon be dry. The 6 year old child called Carly immediately put her foot into the dinghy and left a footprint mark in the resin. Good start! Dave thought it funny. After a few minutes Dave said he would buy the dinghy and asked if a cheque would be alright. He seemed OK, drove a nice Saab estate, dressed well, so I said yes. I heard myself offer to deliver the dinghy the next day, as the resin was still not dry. We arranged for 4p.m. SHARP! as Carly had Drama club at 4.45 p.m. and the 10 year old, Liam had Karate club at 5p.m. So I would drop the dinghy off at the dinghy park and chain her up. I said I could provide the chain if Dave brought the padlock. This was NOT a good decision!

At 4 p.m. the next day I was there at the slipway next to the dinghy park with the dinghy already to be lifted over to get chained up. Dave pulled up in the smart Saab estate and immediately opened the boot. Out came lifejackets, wellies, outboard motor and some very old oars ( his grandfathers!). He said he would like to put the dinghy "through her paces". So within minutes we were all kitted out - apart from me - no wellies! The tide was well out as we carried the dinghy down the slipway. In fact we ran out of slipway and there were only some ugly looking rocks at the waters edge. I was not keen to launch at this point but Dave was enthusiastic. In fact nothing seemed to bother him. He was one of these types were everything was an adventure, so it seemed.

With us all in and the bottom of the dinghy scraping across the rocks ( my dinghy's gel coat! ) we were afloat. The outboard motor fired up and we headed out to Dave's lovely 35 foot (11.5m) yacht. As we approached I noticed Dave was reluctant to slow down - that enthusiasm I mentioned previously. I was in the bow seat and as we hit I remarked on the sturdy fendering I had on the dinghy. Soon we were off again this time heading along the bay towards where lots of dinghies were stored on the beach. I asked Dave why didn't he want to keep the dinghy there instead of at the deserted dinghy park on the point. He said he might consider it.

Then we were heading at full throttle towards the beach. I mentioned to Dave that the sea bottom came up quite swiftly in this bay and soon we would be in a foot of water (3ocm). He seemed to deaf ear that comment, but said to Liam - who was in the bow seat - to shout out if he saw any rocks. Within seconds there was a constant screaming of "Rock, Rock, Rock". We surged on. I heard the bottom of the dinghy scraping over the rocks as we headed in towards the shore. Dave was not happy with the inaccurate information coming from Liam and told me to change positions with Liam. I was now lookout.

Well it was only inevitable wasn't it. A large rock straight ahead, dinghy travelling at full tilt, no time to alter course, CRASH! Carly said " Is there a big bash in the bow?" Dave stopped the outboard motor and ordered the oars slipped. At last we were going in slowly. But with the noise of the outboard motor gone we could all hear the sound of the dinghy scraping over the rocks ( my dinghy's lovely gel coat! ). We came to a halt. Stuck on a rock. Everyone over the side was Dave's instructions. I took my shoes and socks off and entered the water. It was cold! Of course Dave said it was surprisingly warm.

Then Dave realised the time. Carly's Drama lesson. Liam's Karate lesson. Quick. Well it was like a scene from one of those war movies as we attacked the beach on the run with the dinghy between us. When the sand ran out and we were on the grass, the dinghy was dropped. I continued on the run towards the car at the point. As I jogged round the bay, I could hear Dave shouting at Carly to get out of the water. Needless to say, as I glanced over, Carly was blissfully splashing about in the rock pools, with the wellies full of water. I walked swiftly towards the car and got in, soaking wet. The dinghy had taken water over the bow when Dave was "putting her through her paces" in the swell out in the bay.

I drove back for Dave, dinghy and the kids. With the dinghy on the roof of the car, the outboard motor in the boot and everyone in the car we drove back round to the point and the dinghy park. The dinghy was chained up and Dave - full of grins - happily shook my hand, pleased as punch with his new boat. He drove off. I looked round at the dinghy and tried not to focus on the gel coat. My dinghy's lovely shiny gel coat! It was in for a beating over the next few years, no doubt.

As I drove home reflecting on that eventful 40 minutes. It seemed longer. My car seats were wet. I was wet. I shook my head all the way home. What a guy! I hope that cheque clears!

Monday, 14 July 2008

Let's start by saying this is my first blog. Why have I started a blog? Well mainly because I have started a new enterprise to bring in some more money to the household. So what is this new enterprise I hear you asking? Making dinghies and selling them. Hence the title - dinghy4sale - linked to the website - - cool eh!

I may as well tell you how I came about this whole load of work (enterprise). I was browsing ebay one night, entering words to do with dinghies and came upon this listing for fibreglass dinghy moulds. The listing was not very clear as to what was on offer - two moulds but you were only bidding to receive one of them?!? I contacted the seller and it turned out he was not the owner. The moulds belonged to his friends cousin - or something like that. Anyway, to cut a long story short I was the winning bidder. The only bidder actually!

So soon the wife and I were on a 500 mile round trip with a trailer to pick up the mould. We arrived at this old run down house to be greeted by this warm welcoming retired boat builder. We hit it off very quickly and soon were sharing stories about boats and dinghies in particular. I learned a lot about the moulding techniques - do's and don'ts. The mould I had chosen to buy was for an 8 foot (2.4m) dinghy, which turned out had a shell of a dinghy already moulded in the mould!

That's the plus side. The minus side was everything looked old and messy! I persuaded the wife to look beyond the appearance of the mould. Mould or is it mold was growing all over the outside of the mould. It had been left outside under trees for a few years. How many years was a little vague when I questioned the old boat builder!

So with the transaction complete we were again on the road. But the wife was not happy with the prospect of this messy moldy mould arriving back at the house for all the neighbours to see!?! The hunt was on for a nice new clean tarpaulin to hide the messy moldy mould, on a Sunday at 5.30pm. To cut another long story short - no luck.

Anyway, it was close to 10pm before we arrived home - under cover of darkness! Still the wife sent me out with a bucket of hot soapy water and a scrubbing brush to clean the moldy mould. Needless to say, a few neighbours noticed this mad guy up to armpits in soapy bubbles scrubbing away in the dark. The secret was out.

Next day a tarpaulin was bought. Over the next few weeks a space was created to start this dinghy moulding operation. To cut a long story short - this involved extending two garden sheds 12 feet(3.5m) away from each other into one long shed. So I now have a shed that is 26 feet (8m) long. That's not for the dinghy mould - that stores all the junk ( quality items) that might come in useful one day! No the dinghy mould now resides in the garage which has never ever been so tidy.

So the enterprise was ready to begin. The first item on the agenda was to get this shell of a dinghy out of the mould. Easier said than done as it turned out. I followed the instructions of the retired boat builder to the letter - but it was stuck firm! I was beginning to think I had bought a lemmon. With the clamps on both sides of the mould tightened up, the shell just would not budge. Then I remembered reading on line about pouring hot water down between the shell and the mould. ( Don't try this at home! - another long story - for later) Nothing appeared to happen. Eventually I heard this creaking and groaning - no not from the wife - from the mould!

Up popped the shell - like 'Raise the Titanic'! Maybe not such a good simile!

It was free. Soon we lifted out the shell and found it perfectly made. I was sorry I doubted the old boat builder's work. So I set about fitting the shell out to become a very sturdy dinghy for rowing or using an outboard motor. A week later and with all the family present we launch the new dinghy at the local slipway. Pictures were taken. Some can be seen here and the website - has one as its header caption. Everything went well and the dinghy proved very stable with either 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children aboard. Being quite beamy the dinghy can hold a lot of gear as well as people. I was delighted.

However, the purpose of this enterprise was to make and sell dinghies. So dinghy No.1 had to go. There was a boat jumble sale event coming to the area and I thought what a good place to show off the new dinghy and get her sold. Maybe pick up a few orders!

To cut a long story short. The dinghy was not sold. Lots of interest, lots of advice! Local Police showed some interest - not in the dinghy - but the trailer as it had no mudguards covering the wheels. Illegal evidently? Anyway, I think everyone at the boat jumble was looking for bargains and did not come along to fork out £295 for a new dinghy. £295 I hear you say! For a new dinghy? I know I should be selling them for more but I am trying to build up the business and don't want to stuggle to sell them. Similar dinghies on ebay or boatsandoutboards are selling for betweem £380 to £450. So I thought the dinghy would be snapped up!

A few days later a man who had seen the dinghy at the boat jumble 'phoned and spoke to the wife and arranged to view her. He said he just had to pick up a trailer and would be 2-3 hours. The fact he was coming with a trailer and crossing on a ferry ( expensive!) made me think he was coming to buy, not view. Within a few minutes of viewing her he said she was ideal - no not the wife - the dinghy!
£295 in my hands and the first dinghy sold! Relief. By the way I gave him £5 back to go towards the cost of the ferry fare. I know I'll never make a ruthless business man!