A blog about sailing a John Welsford
'Navigator' yawl around Plymouth Sound
in South-west England
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. Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".
All being well, after my elbow and then a rather unexpected pit stop in the local casualty unit because everyone thought I was having a stroke (which turned out to be inflammation of a cranial nerve), I might just, just mind you, be able to do some low level maintenance work on poor Arwen tomorrow. I'm not sure who needs it more - her or me at the moment!
The weather should be fine tomorrow with bright sunny spells and winds from East....so if I turn her around after pulling her down off the drive, she should point into the wind and I should be able to raise sails whilst she is on the road......well that is the theory...................
My intention is to
run the snotter control line back down through the deck and along the port side of the centre board so that it is easier to hand in the aft cockpit
take off the slab reefing system and simplify reefing so that it is just a case of attaching luff reef cringle and leech cringe appropriately - I haven't explained it very well but I know what I have to do. I will then remove various cleats on the boom and fill the holes left behind.
tidy up where the various control lines run along the centre board sides by running them through new deck eyes
sort out one or two cam cleats which are falling apart
replace the one cam cleat for the mainsail halyard with a horn cleat.
sort out my various tool kits and spares - I carry way too much so rationalization is needed
remove the jack stays and just clip the extra long harness into a hook attacked to the keel plank in aft cockpit
sort out the tiller tamer which keeps jamming for some obscure reason as yet unfathomable to me
sort out and replace the tell tales on the shrouds which keep catching
re position the fishing rods to a more secure location
attach more deck hoops for another gas pipe length for the cockpit tent
try and make the topping lift on the mizzen more effective
lengthen the down haul on the mizzen boom snotter
remove some storage bags i made on side coamings - they aren't large enough and it would be better to just have one canvas bag of ropes with loops in attached somewhere forward into which sail ties etc can go for storage. I have an old mesh dive bag somewhere which will suffice
tidy up the new cockpit bags 'her indoors' made for Arwen at the start of the summer
these halyard bags made such a difference during the summer cruise to Fowey
I would also like to try and put down some rubber mat flooring so it is easier on bare feet which rightly or wrongly is how I normally sail in the summer months. Anyway, we will see how we progress tomorrow. I'll take photographs of my poor handiwork!
she needs a good clean up and de-rigging for the winter months although I am tempted to try and get out in her a couple of times in November if I can
Wow. Never known a term like it. Feet haven't touched ground. Sixty five hour working weeks. The educational world has gone mad. There is a whole list of things to do on Arwen, not least of which is to paint her but at the moment that is a distant pipe dream. My hairline fractured elbow hasn't healed. In fact it turned quite nasty, puffy, inflammation and fluid build up which has been painful to say the least and a downright nuisance. Can't lean on it, can't use arm to push self out of chair, can't pick up heavy bags with it. On course of anti inflammatory and antibiotics which make me nauseous. It is a good job I am generally a cheerful chappie. Work kept me busy and slowly it is beginning to show signs of healing. It has been a long nine weeks!
So now thoughts turn back to poor Arwen, neglected, unsailed, lying on the driveway under her tarp. I emailed a few boatyards locally and all want to take a look at her and give me a quote for painting her hull. Some suggested ridiculous things like scrapping paint back to bare wood and spray painting her with awl grip paint something or other. All I want is her to have a sand down and then repaint. I would do it myself but I suspect doing so will aggravate the elbow and so common sense must prevail. 'Banger', a local legend in Salcombe gave me the name and number of his friend, 'Podge' who would be interested in doing it. Baltic wharf at Totnes, the Weir Quay Boatyard and The Salcombe Boatyard all said they were interested if I could get it across to them. So, all being well, sometime during the week after next, the elbow will be strong enough to get Arwen hitched up to the car, driven off our awkwardly sloping drive and taken off to these various places to get quotes.
In the meantime, the winter to do list looks like this.........................
Sort snotter so it runs down through deck and back along to the aft centrecase cockpit area
Remove Jack stays and just try attaching safety harness to rear eye pad at back of aft cockpit
simplify reefing system by making attachment to hold sail as you transfer leech cringle from lower to upper cringle hole; and removing the slab reefing system lines; and by attaching clip to rear of sprit boom
Paint interior and deck
Varnish interior wood coaming
Sort out tiller tamer so that the rope passes through the rope slightly more easily than it currently does
Make a sleeping platform or doctor some old camping shelve tables I have to make a platform (recycling something - it appeals to my sustainability part of my brain)
Remove jam cleats; replace some; reposition others at aft end centre case for downhaul, centreboard up haul, main halyard, topping lift
Replace main halyard cleat with horn cleat
Sort wind tell tales on shrouds so that they don't keep getting caught on the shrouds
Put thin rubber tube around rollers on trailer to see if that stops them chipping paint off the chines
Repair trailer roller at aft of trailer
Reposition fishing rods on side decks so that jib lines don't get caught on them
Add more deck hoops for gas pipe for tent
Repair bow end tear in tarp tent
Install manual bilge pump with outlet hose into centrecase
Build a small galley box for trangia and other stove and cooking utensils
Repair stitching sail batten pockets
Check sails for wear and tear
Sort out topping lift for Mizzen to work more efficiently
Sort spare trailer wheel
Sort ropes running either side of centrecase so they run through deck loops and don't get caught up on each other
Check seals on all hatches
Sort out tool kits and spares boxes....rationalise!
Sand and paint rudder
Repair rudder split in casing
Lengthen downhaul on mizzen boom snotter
Remove the side plastic bags and clean varnish up there
Make new row blocks and position slightly further aft
Better get to it over half term. Could do many of these jobs then if I get organised!
Arwen's travel bug mission is as follows......1. To visit all seven continents; 2. To visit as many different countries as possible; 3. To visit as many different volcano summits or near summits as possible; 4 to visit as many mountain summits as possible; 5. To visit as many ancient buildings as possible. 6. To be returned to somewhere on Plymouth Hoe, devon, England for the 22.03.2022 when PlymouthWelshboy himself will be sixty years old on that day. What a great birthday celebration that will be. Whoever you are, add a note, log your find, drop me a note, have fun, travel safely, enjoy life to the full, smile, be kind and generous of spirit and learn new things. Life is short and it isn't a practice! �� www.arwensmenderings.blogspot.com
Arwen has a geocache travel bug. It is a movable geocache, one that goes with travellers from geocache to geocache until they decide to drop it and leave it in one for others to find and move on.
Arwen's travel bug started on Vulcano, one of the Aeolian islands off Sicily. It seemed a good idea at the time!! Down in the crater was a geocache. The one in the fumarole field proved impossible to find, her skipper choking from sulphurous fumes and losing his way in a yellowish haze! Apart from which it was rather hot and his legs kept getting scalded by fumeroles.
Anyway, one brave couple from Germany, Alex and Bridgit, rescued the travel bug and carried it with them to several other Italian places before they returned to Germany, where upon, the bug was off travelling various geocaches. One proved attractive and so the bug was duely deposited.
And now it is off on its travels again. Across the Rhineland.
Our evening meal happened by accident. A
punt really. Where we are staying serves no meals and so we headed out of the
area towards the nearest beach on a hunch that maybe there might be a pizza
place. No ristorante but there was the Havana Beach Bar. A wooden floor built
out over the beach next to a flimsy narrow wooden jetty built on scaffolding
poles. The floor had a wooden white cabin with the hatch covers held up and within
was one very clever barman. He knew all the cocktails and so we sat next to the
sea in a stiff but warm breeze and watched the sun set over the Egadi Islands.
Mojitos in large jam jars.......did the trick very nicely for her indoors who
became very chilled out. A girl played live music, a talented singer and guitar
player and the crowd of twenty and thirty year olds and us, chilled out and dug
the beats and rhythms. A meal of potato and cheese with salami, lettuce, rustic
bread Cobb and aubergine and olives in tomato sauce staved off hunger and
chilled us further. The sun sank and glowed deep orange for us all to the
accompaniment of cocktail shakers and a girl who sang really really well.
A welshman displaced to wonderful Plymouth in SW England; a novice sailor and boat builder with a passion for all things to do with the sea. My learning curve is vertical....but hey that's what makes life interesting isn't it! So follow my journey as I learn to sail Arwen,grappling with charts, tide tables and passage planning so that I can become 'a dinghy cruiser'
And by the way, just occasionally, little snippets about 'Stacey' our beloved 1968 motovespa super 125 scooter may feature along with odd insights into our family travels< but these will be kept to a minimum, I promise!
The 'Navigator' is a 14' 9" yawl with a beam of 5' 10". she weighs in at 309 lbs and has a sail area of 136 sqft. She has a standing lug sail. She has side, centre and front thwarts and space for six although she is an ideal single hander. there are a huge number of potential locker spaces. For more details about the design of navigators go to www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/navigator/index.htm