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.

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sail trimming on a sprit boomed yawl

Joel has been taking a look at my videos and offered some much needed advice on how to do the sail trimming a little better. Two minor adjustments were suggested. The first I was thinking about. I'd already got the little cord with carabiner clip attached ....ready on the luff around the first reeling point. My aim was to attach it around the mast pulling the luff closer. Tightening the down haul further would help as well. This would eliminate the crease in the sail. Well creases actually. It was a good spot by Joel.

His second point has really made me think. I've never fully understood how sprit booms are supposed to work but my understanding is improving thanks to the patience and generous inputs of Joel and John.

Joel suggests......

"Raise the front of your boom higher up the mast.  If you have a look at your "Sailing to Salcombe" video, at 1:04 - 1:10, you can see your boom bobbing up and down with each puff of wind. You're looking at wasted energy.  Preventing the boom from moving up and down will divert that energy into moving the boat forward instead".

Apparently the foot of my sail does the same thing as a vang on the boom I.e. it holds the boom down.....but this necessitates the foot of the sail being really tight.

Joel went on to explain that the boom needs to be a higher position on the mast. In this way it will be harder for it to rotate. He suggested "The plans show the sprit boom crossing the mast right about where the first reef line is, but I'd try a bit higher than that.  It might take a bit of experimentation.  Too low and the boom can more easily bob up.  Too high and the boom might spoil the sail shape.  But there’s a spot in between that’s Just Right". 

I don't know whether Joel has ever taught but he should do. Simple, clear, concise explanation with an annotated photo......and I understood it immediately.
And so the learning curve continues.

Thanks Joel for taking the time to explain things so simply and clearly.

Sunday, 20 April 2014

Completing my log

I noticed that last week I sailed my 298th hour in Arwen. At first I though I must have sailed more but actually I only sail on average about once a month so twelve times a year. Arwen is in her seventh year. I discovered the total number of outings is seventy four.

So next outing will be a bit of a celebration - 300 hours and the seventy fifth trip. I need to give some thought about how to celebrate this.


Saturday, 19 April 2014

Parc Guell

One of the places we visited was Parc Guell. High on the hill of El Carmel in the Gracia district of Barcelona, it is one of Gaudi's landscape masterpieces. Built between 1900 and 1914, it was originally destined to be a luxury housing estate! you can read more about it here at
(with all the warnings associated with wiki!)
Catalan flag
now it is a municipal park

the entrance

the focus of the parc is the terrace on columns seen above
it has a windy serpent on it

the seat backs form the sinuous serpent


Gaudi's aim was to design a place that promoted peace and calm

the walls are meant to imitate the trees in front of and on top of them

Catalan Spanish really have chilling out down to an art form

stunning views across the city to the Mediterranean

Gaudi's house


souvenir sellers who disappear and reappear after the municipal police have passed by


the blue and white tower left me baffled but then I walked on and.......

eventually discovered the parc entrance


distinctive Gaudi mosaic tiles

So was it peaceful and calm?
We spent two lovely hours wandering around it
Definitely worth a visit