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.

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dinghy cruising in France

A lovely event....and one day, when I am good enough.....Arwen and I will day!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures include going out on 'Stacey', our 1968 motovespa 125 super.
Today it was a quick trundle in the early morning sunshine over to the Barbican to see the 'Phoenix' before going up onto the hoe for tea and bacon sarnies. The sea was mirror calm at 8am and the morning sun glinted off the sound whilst there was no breeze. Flags hung limply, lethargic, barely able to raise a flutter.
It is amazing how many people were out and about. The city council street cleaning team were out in force preparing the barbican for pirates day. A group of oap's were out for morning breakfast. The crew of phoenix were having their morning briefing. Throw in joggers, cyclists and some walkers and it was nice, relaxed.

'Stacey' behaved impeccably as well.

Monday, 11 May 2015

More on weather helm

Simeon gave me a good web link

Apparently we don't talk about weather he ml in polite sailing circles....sorry guys! Major phoopah!


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mastering the dark arts.........of sailing!

I remain, as always, slightly baffled about some elements of sailing. A eureka moment last year was when Joel, over in the USA managed to get me sailing Arwen, without holding onto the tiller. It was a matter of balancing sails by all account.

Sailing baffles me. I sort of get the principles but only just and I do mean only just!
When I let go of Arwen's rudder, she will, all being well, turn up into the wind.....luffing up I think? But I could be wrong on that......nautical terms are another thing I am not hot on either!

I know the principles of effort and resistance come into play somewhere about now. There is, I think, the centre of effort, the lift that gets generated as wind passes over the sails. I can see this marked on the sail plans for Arwen. Then there must be something to do with the sideways pressure of water against centreboard, Skeg and hull. I'm guessing that this is in opposition to the pressure on the sails. The balance between the two forces along with the drive of wind in sails moves Arwen forward?

Alter the balance of the two and that affects what the boat does when the helm is released......I think! I assume that when sail resistance and hull resistance are in line the boat sails straight when rudder is released, although I guess trim comes into play I.e which side my considerable bulk is in poor Arwen.

Now somewhere in here comes weather and/or Lee helm. I know that if sail centre of effort is either forward or behind the centre of lateral resistance then one of e helms comes into play. I think weather helm to a slight degree is better so that the boat would always luff up head to wind.....or at least I vaguely remember someone telling me this......I could be wrong. Is it if the sail's centre of effort is behind lateral resistance then weather helm happens?

Certainly, on my longer coastal voyages in the past, I have had slight weather helm, a pull towards the wind on the rudder. Arwen seems slightly faster when this occurs or maybe it's just my imagination.

It took me some time last year to achieve this balance out in the sound but I did do it. Of course, waves would make it trickier I guess. Yet this is a technique I need to master this year. Holding onto a tiller for several hours one handed whilst trying to navigate, eat, put on and off clothing can be stressful!!!

So this half term I'm off out to develop some serious skills

Sailing onto and off a beach
Mastering the use of some form of anchor buddy or pulley system
Mastering this dark art of fine balancing a boat - raising or lowering centreboard, moving my weight about - anything to learn this dark art of shifting the centre of gravity. Raising the centreboard moves CE backwards I think and this reduces weather helm. Shifting weight inboard and aft  reduces it as does easing the sails. I'm guessing that lowering centreboard, tightening sails, heeling more to leeward, sitting more to windward and forward will increase it?

I'm getting old...I find it so difficult to retain all this. I guess just going out and trying things out will help. Main aim this season? Use the engine and rudder far less. Use the sails, centreboard and trim far more!

Friday, 8 May 2015

House keeping.........maintenance

The rudder stock has been fixed. Burgess hydrosol was dribbled into cracks and allowed to dry. Then a clamp was applied to tighten the cracks up and a small mending plate screwed in place. Clamp taken off and the cracks have remained closed. The rudder pivot bolts were tightened up to reduce the play that seemed to have appeared in the rudder blade.

Some iroko has been cut and glued into thick blocks. When dry, they will be cut and shaped and mounted on the side decks tight against the coaming. They will form the base for new cleats for the jibs. Where they are at the moment, mounted on the side seat rests, is basically useless!

Other things to do...well some hole filling on the boom. Then there is the cutting away of an area of rotted wood and fibreglass on the starboard floor, front side.

Busy, busy, busy.

Wednesday, 6 May 2015

I cannot believe

how tired I am - OFSTED takes it out of your that's for sure.

I have got a little repair plate - stainless steel - to put across the back of the rudder stock - so that the cracks can be sealed and then closed up.
The pivot nut on the rudder will need some tightening as well. Shroud plates bolts will need checking and I noticed when trying to slab reef the other day one or two holes in the boom where I had removed some fitting but clearly forgotten to refill screw holes with wood putty or epoxy - oops!

Lots of dents and dings - lots of little retouch up jobs for painting - so much to little time to do it in!

Sunday, 3 May 2015

Twenty four miles an hour

I guess that was a good reason for coming off the water. The Mountbatten breakwater was recording winds in excess of twenty four miles an hour!
My friend made the right call and we were sensible to come home as we did. When we were coming into Sutton pool, the engine kept konking out because wind was against tide and some big waves were pushing us along from the stern and water was getting up the outboard somehow.

It was definitely a good call.