slug email

one of the the great unexpected benefits to starting ktl as a blog is that my inbox has become a much more intersting place


Paul sent me an email today:



Am I lone in being disappointed by the demise of the “Slug”. For me the enjoyment of your journey from the Isle of Wight to the Wash was that you did it in an old boat with unmatched sails and an antiquated engine. It was a winning formula: an old boat with an old engine sailed by an old bloke with a handheld camera. Couldn’t fail.


Most of the stuff written about sailing are accounts of brave souls taking to the seas in ocean-going yachts bristling with state of the art technology. But your boat was an old tub which played a minor role in a series of interesting and informative videos with background music provided by an old single cylinder diesel which thumped away like a carpet being beaten. It was a Mirror Offshore no less – yachting for the everyman. If he can do it then so can I.


Watching your videos was like going back to a different era but now that you’ve changed your old VW Mirror Offshore Beetle for a shiny new Minstrel Golf, I worry that  your video diary will now seem a bit glossier, a bit less everyman than before. I hope not. I think it might help if your new boat was less shiny and a bit grimier.





This was my reply



of course you are not alone




the slug has been a wonderful boat - small, slow, seaworthy, easy to handle, tough as all heck, ugly, great sounding engine, as for the mismtached sails - well I really like the idea of a coloured genoa and white main


we used to have that on our sailing dinghies so that mum and dad could pick us out in a fleet.


However, some of the most miserable moments of my generally happy 58 years have  come to me while staring down at the beast and wondering how I am going to fix it this time


but the slug was the boat I could afford and the design is perfect for the job


but not with a 50 year old engine installation


I could have cut a hole in her to make a well


but taking a power saw to the sensitive parts of an exceptionally well designed boat would be a tough thing to do - the surgery might kill the patient



that was the way the project started - just sail in the best boat you can afford


actually that is the same thing - I inherited some money from my mum - not a massive amount but I have invested it in a boat that is new enough to get me round without making too man y more videos about engine breakdowns



as my inbox tells me


with this one I can throw out the bad engine and put in a replacement within 24 hours if I have the cash


I can tow it home the next time I run out of money - as a freelance it happens a lot


this one feels like a plastic shell, another man's boat - but I hope that when I feel her move under the tiller, feel the pressure of the wind on the miansheet then I shall feel differently


I shall miss the sound of the diesel engine - especially into the second, third or fourth hour of outboard noise on the ,long sea passages - but I can get headphones on and listen to music


_ I fervantly home that 6 very modern four stroke horse power will get me out of trouble.




PS - may  I  post your email and my answer as a blog because I am sure lots of other people feel the same way


could you send me a snap of your boat to illustrate it?




and finally from Paul




I'm happy for you to post it but I'm embarassed to send you a picture of my boat given what I've said in my email. I graduated from a Gull Dinghy to a Vivacity and then a Hurley 20 spending too much time and money in an effort to improve them. However my mother died in 2011 and I spent out on a Mirage 270 which I have renamed Irene in her memory. I have therefore followed the same path as you in choosing to upgrade but I always liked your doggedness in sticking with an old Mirror Offshore. But I suppose you should grab the opportunity when it arises - tomorrow you may be run over by a bus.









This is about Dylan Winter's Blog, Sailing around Britain. Tags: , ,

13 Responses to “slug email”

  1. 4 May, 2012 at 1:12 am[email protected] says:

    I think Paul summarised my thoughts brilliantly. I watched with great interest and learned from the people you encountered about some of the trials and tribulations of owning and running an “older” boat not quite on a shoe-string but… – The leaky stern gland – within weeks mine swallowed a piece of someone’s discarded ground sheet. Also the video demonstrations of the problems that I was to soon encounter even down to replacing engine mountings I had to replace within days of the Slug’s. The 4 hours it took to replace the 3 Allen screws to put the gearbox back in. However, onwards and upwards – ’til you get to the top – then keepturningleft a bit and then back down the other side. Whatever will we do when the journey is over? I spend more time on the Slug than I do my own boat! I seem to recall you flew(comparitively) past the Hamps Sussex & Kent coast, but fully understand why you/we wouldn’t want to miss any of the current (Suffolk Norfolk Wash) area.
    Now a naiive question: Will you generate enough power for all your torches, cameras, wi-fi /laptops etc without the beast? or can these be powered from your outboard? – I did note one of the earlier logs about 110volts etc and don’t get too technical (Sorry if I’m rambling a bit its been a long day)
    PS Couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t leave a comment during the past couple of weeks although I could still log in. Your last website tweak obviously doesn’t prompt for a resubscribe as effectively as not being able to log in!

  2. 4 May, 2012 at 4:18 pmPaul Mullings says:

    This Paul couldn’t agree more, rather than loose Dylan’s ever enlightening Cooks Tour of the British coastline I am happy for him to proceed with a more reliable alternative – after all I want to still be around when he crosses the finish line.

  3. 4 May, 2012 at 7:19 pmchapman says:

    I have found the VLogs on fixing the slug educational but the main attraction is the sailing blog not ‘keep mending the beast’. Look at all the interest the Duck Punt has generated. I suggest you keep the slug somewhere cheap – like on the mud in St Osyth. When ‘Hedgehog’ is up north there will be times when you want to go sailing but do not have the time/cash to get up there and back. In which case you can go down to the slug and make the most of those short opportunities.

  4. 4 May, 2012 at 7:46 pmDylan Winter says:

    two boats…. you crazy man!

  5. 6 May, 2012 at 9:28 pmchris.mccartney says:

    I too will miss the “”Slog and the Beast,, but as sailing goes’ i expect even a modern boat and new engine will still have few ,,Surprises,, up their sleeves even new boats and engines have a few qheezez up their sleeves to keep Dylan on his toes

    look forward to seeing new boat on the water


  6. 9 May, 2012 at 4:09 pmAndrew says:

    I will miss the beast, but am happy you are moving to a slightly larger boat. You sail in mighty cold water. Sailing Lake Superior, I am well aware of the dangers that cold water can bring. It is nice to have a little more distance between you and it.


  7. 10 May, 2012 at 10:07 amdylan winter says:

    I will miss the sound of its voivce and dry heat it produces in the boat

    an hour with the engine on and the inside of the boat is completely dry and warm

    no outboard can do that for you

    and I will have to do somthing about electrical power


  8. 21 July, 2012 at 8:22 amPeter Empson says:

    Hello Dylan,
    I viewed your film of fitting the 6hp Tohatsu (coincident with me having just purchased a similar 5hp Mariner long shaft Sail Drive version). Mine is for a transom mount on my Hunter Horizon 21 so different from the OB ‘well’ on your Hunter Minstrel. Perhaps you know that the 4, 5 and 6hp Mariner, Mercury and Tohatsu engines are mostly the same except for Tohatsu offering a version with an ‘extra long shaft’ (25in?).

    PS. I enjoyed watching the DVD’s I purchased from you!

    Also, checkout — for all things to do with British Hunter Boats!


    Peter Empson (Doncaster)

  9. 21 July, 2012 at 9:05 amdylan winter says:

    never really got the badge engineering game – however, I went for the Tohatsu because it did soe well in the PBO outboard tests and was cheaper than a mariner

    It has a lot of hard work ahead of it… really hope it works

  10. 16 December, 2014 at 11:00 amTim says:

    Hello Dylan, I really enjoy your sailing travel-logs. While my boat is on the trailer for the holiday season I’ve been watching you and Katie L. Episode 1 rings true with winter sailing here on the Pamlico Sound and the Pamlico / Tar River. I only have to deal with wind tides but the condensation inside the boat is similar. Being a bit of an IDEA THIEF I have used the flower pot and candles to knock the chill of inside the boat. I too have a lot of low bridges on the numerous creeks, in my area that I need to dip the rig to pass under. I wish I could raise and lower the rig on my Balboa23 like you do on Katie L.

    As I have watched the different episodes it appears that you have made changes from the sliding gunter with a boom to a boomless rig that you lift by yourself. Not to mention the river rig borrowed from a dinghy class boat. I’d like to see a explanation of the evolution of the rig on Katie L. on video or in your blog. I might wind up stealing some more ideas from you.

    Thanks for keeping me entertained during my trailer spell this December. I’m addicted to watching
    Best wishes,
    Tim on the new “Croatan” in eastern North Carolina.

  11. 16 December, 2014 at 2:34 pmdylan winter says:

    cheers Tim. It is a topper main – but I reckon you could usea laser main too. Being loose footed means no boom, no gaff. By leaving the gaff at home you lose some height but all I am doing is aiming to keep the boat in the middle of the stream. The genoa is on a two part purchase to make raising and lowering the mast easier.

    the A frame – constructed entirely from 2 x 2 with holes drilled in it and lashed together with ropes – keeps the dropped mast over my head – no need for stooping.

    Having the mast canted up also gets the first bit of the raise out of the way. The A frasme also has a big v at the top in which to catch the mast. A gunter rig is a fine thing. Short mast, big main, small jib.

    The best idea to nick is the galley – best thing I ever devised I think


  12. 4 September, 2019 at 10:41 pmKevin Giles says:

    Re: The badge engineering bit…
    Tohatsu had developed small outboards that had proven very good. When Mariner wanted to update its range of small outboards some years ago, the company decided that, rather than spend on developing a new engine, it was better to license a good, well proven design from Tohatsu and pretend it was their own design by sticking their own, well respected, name on it.
    I sussed this out a few years ago when my boat came with a Mariner 4hp saildrive & luckily fond a good spares dealer (Fairweather Marine in Gosport). Since then I have only ever bought Tohatsu spares for my Mariner engine as they are cheaper & they all fitted perfectly. I have done this on several occasions and the only difference I have ever seen between Mariner & Tohatsu parts is the labelling on the packaging & the price.

  13. 6 September, 2019 at 9:35 amdylan winter says:

    I have been really happy with my Tohatsu – the one that was stolen was great until it left my ownership for service overseas.

    I then bought a second hand one for £500

    Bloody noisy though

    I wear ear defenders when motoring

    it is beyond annoying


Leave a Reply