Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.

Saturday, 26 July 2014

classic boat rally 2

So..........a bacon buttie, cuppa and a read of the newspaper and then it was 10.00am and the pontoons were opened up to visitors. Its the first time I've been onto the pontoons in Sutton Harbour. people were enjoying the early morning sun, some were varnishing woodwork.....a never ever ending task I should think on some of these boats.

Elvin is a motor launch built by Clapson and Sons in Barton Upon Humber in 1937; she is also a Dunkirk Little Ship and so rather special. she is listed in the National Historic ships register. Arriving at Ramsgate ready to go and help at Dunkirk, she had a RNVR officer and a civilian crew. The Navy weren't too happy about this but the crew ignored them, cast off and went on; where they went alongside a pier and rescued 25 French troops and 8 British. They landed their part back at Ramsgate all safe and sound. She is now owned by Hywel Bowen Perkins, which sounds very much a welsh he is doubly blessed!

Lovely mahogany and teak work

I admire the owners of these boats, not because they own such a boat, but because of the obvious dedication they have in conserving such stunning craft. Each is a labour of love and a black hole where money is concerned I suspect.

This is an amazing vessel
A World War One Motor torpedo boat
The only one left in existence!
she was built for the Royal navy in 1916 by Thornycroft and was named coastal motor vessel 9 (CMB9). Another one listed on the National Historic Ships register she is owned by Robert Morley. LOA is 40'; of double diagonal mahogany; and one of twelve such vessels. She could launch a torpedo from a stern tube mounting and she saw action in 1917 at Zeebrugge. in 1918 she was converted to a top secret Distance Control Boat (DCB1); she was the prototype and was fitted with twin screws, bilge keels, radio masts and a small bridge containing wireless controls which could be controlled by an aircraft. The torpedo could also be launched by the plane and she was capable of 40 knots. And there we have it, all her subsequent work is still top secret classified. She remained in service until 1950's and was found in poor condition. She has now been fully restored.

People ambled around; many stopped to chat to owners. I noticed that mooring stern to pontoon is the norm. I always thought it was a 'Mediterranean' thing but clearly it has come across here too. It makes sense, easy to step off and easy to be seen.

I fell in love with this boat; she was well kept and had such pretty lines. I met her owners and they were charming. Apparently she is for sale!
Some nice touches scattered across such elegant craft
Remiss of me but I forgot to get the name of this vessel but I think she is 'Matanga'. If she is then she is a Bermudan staysail schooner designed by john Powell and built by the Sussex Boat Company in 1951. she was completely rebuilt in 2008 by Bernard Yendell of Devoran, Cornwall. her LOA is 33'
her current owners Paul and Brenda Bidmead bought her in 2013 and she is based at Falmouth.
Anyway, I look forward to seeing them sail in the next couple of days.


A few more snaps.........

The boats are sailing the sound tomorrow and Monday. I will try and get out on Arwen and see them under sail.

The plymouth classic boat rally 2014

I had forgotten it was on but providence shone on me as I had decided to do an early morning cycle ride into the barbican for a captain jasper bacon buttie and cuppa. What a pleasant surprise to discover the fleet waking up.

I loved this Dutch looking boat. I will post more photos later tonight


Thursday, 24 July 2014

piccadilly circus out in the sound

My what a busy morning. I keep my VHF alternating between channel 16 and channel 14, the long room (Queen's Harbour master at Plymouth).
Well channel 14 dominated the morning. When I drove onto the ramp at 8am there were five warships in the sound. By the time I had launched, all had gone up river to the naval dockyards.

And so much to see.......four tugs in line astern proceeding out to the outer sound to escort HMS Bulwark back in. The Golden Rover taking up a buoy just inside the breakwater; the fire tender on exercise; several ships coming in or departing the cattedown.

Such excitement- a good thing really because there was barely any wind; heavy showers, thunder and lightening for most of the morning!



Monday, 21 July 2014

Rain check on tomorrow

Well the cruise up the Lynher is postponed. A rain check.

Because gardening today I disturbed an undiscovered wasps nest as I was trimming the hedge. Twenty five stings and two minutes later, after the swarm had covered me, I was off to casualty.  Suffice to say I'm not allergic to wasp stings but I'm swollen all down the arms, hands and back. Fortunately none attacked my face. My wife says its because the wasps were traumatised by my ugliness!

Full of antihistamine , I'm not allowed to drive for another twenty four hrs.
Day one of my Summer holiday. Lets hope it gets better!