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.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".






Saturday, 28 December 2013

Whilst studying some photographs......

In the yahoo folders, I discovered a number of things which I may need to alter on Arwen. There is no doubt that my mast seems wrong. The sheave box is definitely in the wrong place and I will need to dig out the ans to check but it does seem around 10" lower than everyone else's. this would explain why trying to tighten the luff using the down haul is such a problem and why there seems to be a gap between the luff and the mast.

On the boomkin out back, I think I will replace the current eye arrangement with a metal screw in eye that can be repositioned to face the transom. It will mean the mizzen sheet leads right back to the transom without any turns in it. Less friction must be a good thing.

The down haul is attached to the top of the deck to one side of the mast......a roller arrangement and the halyard comes through a hole in the coaming or is tied to a cleat attached to the inside of the coaming. I actually think I prefer my down through the deck arrangement but I will take another look at it.

I think the top boom is too heavy and I need to taper it and shave some weight off it without losing the stiffness. Again I can take a look at the plans. The length is right and the width at one end is right but I didn't bother to taper it and I think doing so will help enormously.

I like the way some nav owners have drilled a series of circular holes insets of threes along the bottom edge of the internal coamings. Here they have tied on fenders, stored oars etc and actually it is a clever idea. So I will see what it might look like on Arwen. It would mean re varnishing the coaming but then it does need doing anyway.

I need to redo the reeling ties as well. A recent outing in which I had to double reef demonstrated that they were slightly too short...so lengthening them will make life easier afloat.

Someone has made two uprights that slot into the mast holes against which the mast and booms can be tied during transport.....a far better arrangement than the one I have now.  Someone in Sweden had made lovely wooden slatted floor bases out of ash which looked stunning and practical.

I need to alter the lazy jacks. I need a triangular piece at the bottom of the sail either side so that more of the sail is caught between the two lazy jacks as it collapses down.  In the meantime, some people have put a topping lift on the mizzen boom as well and I need to alter the lazy jack there so that it does both functions.

Some people have used halyard organisers to guide ropes back to the cockpit....wooden pieces with holes drilled I which are attached to the small sides running either isle of the centre case.


Thursday, 26 December 2013

Windy gizmo

I got given a very thoughtful pressie at Christmas.......a windy gizmo............an anemometer. Bright yellow and protected by a thick rubber bumper it is cheap and cheerful but really works. Excellent value for money and I'm thrilled. I've been looking for one for ages and this is just right. Photos and a better review to follow when I can get out on the water again but it has simple controls and settings and wind speed in knots with Beaufort scale. Perfect and really thoughtful.


Tuesday, 24 December 2013

what the difference a day can make

the gale is blown out. What a difference a day can make.

Hidden away in a corner of Sutton Harbour marina lies this little gem


the skies clear for a brief period
 

stormy times ahead


I have never seen it so rough. The winds were howling through the rigging. Screaming would be a better adjective. That metallic tinkling sound as lines rattle against metal masts.   
 
 
Even in Queen Annes Battery marina, boats tossed slightly as the currents found their way through the normally impenetrable outer wall. And what waves! I cannot ever recall seeing waves being driven down that narrow area of the barbican before.
 
 
Angry, foaming, grey waves with bright white foam tops......white horses on a mega scale! They piled up against the lock gate of the Sutton harbour entrance. No one in their  right mind would have attempted an exit or entry through those narrow lock gates.
 
 
At the harbour masters pontoon, the harbour launches rose and fell great heights, secured fore and aft. Even the pontoon was rising up and down on its steel pilings.

And this was the sheltered area! We drove around onto the hoe. No one was trying to walk along the hoe foreshore road. You'd have needed to be insane.
 
 
The breakwater was hidden under a maelstrom of malevolent breakers,  spume rising high in the air and being whisked shoreward. The sound was a boiling mass of white caps. Waves crashed against the base of the hoe, white water breaking high over the restaurants at the waters edge. It was genuinely quite impressive and awe inspiring. Nature's fury at its best.

 


And we have more to come. Christmas travel plans disrupted, many homes without power......flood warnings out everywhere. Railway travel severely restricted. I'm glad we live on a north facing hillside!!!



My thoughts and prayers and best wishes go to all those travelling, to those affected by the weather......take care in your Christmas journeys. And thank you to all our emergency services, from the fire brigade to the RNLI, from Police to the AA and RAC, from council workers, to environment agency and electricity board workers.....and those struggling to get our railways moving again. Thank you all for keeping us safe this Christmas


Steve

Sunday, 22 December 2013

I saw three ships come sailing in


 I saw three ship come sailing in,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
I saw three ship come sailing in,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And what was in those ships all three?
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And what was in those ships all three?
on Christmas Day in the morning.

Our Saviour Christ and His lady,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
Our Saviour Christ and His lady,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And where they sailed those ships all three?
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And where they sailed those ships all three?
on Christmas Day in the morning.

All they sailed in to Bethlehem,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
All they sailed in to Bethlehem,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the bells on earth shall ring,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And all the bells on earth shall ring,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the angels in heaven shall sing,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And all the the angels in heaven shall sing,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And all the souls on earth shall sing,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And all the souls on earth shall sing,
on Christmas Day in the morning.

And let us all rejoice again,
on Christmas day on Christmas day.
And let us all rejoice again,
on Christmas Dayr in the morning.

One of my favourites......bound to be really for a sailor. It was a traditional folk song performed by wandering minstrels. The original version of the carol, the Three Ships were the ones taking the supposed skulls of the wise men to Cologne cathedral in Germany. However, there have been many different sets of lyrics associated with this carol and the most common lyrics today talk about Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem.

Some say it dates from medieval times. i suspect that three ships approaching Bethlehem would give new meaning to the phrase 'sea level rise'. i read somewhere that one thought might be that actually it refers to 'ships of the desert.........camels'. Well it would make more sense wouldn't it.

I don't know what kind of ships were around at the time of the birth of Jesus. I read in one blog elsewhere that there is a boat called 'the Jesus boat'. Discover near the Sea of Galilee it has been dated to the time of Christ and was probably used by fishermen on the lake. Romans, Greeks, Phoenicians and many more certainly traded around the Mediterranean shores and lets not forget the Egyptians either. Grain, ceramics, stone, dyes and wine were cargoes of value carried around in large boats with oars and sail.

Rumour also has it that the lyrics are associated with Cornwall and Glastonbury, places both dear to my heart and very co one to home. Both places were the ancient seats of the Celtic tribes in the west of our country. It is claimed that Jesus visited this part of our country and walked along the pilgrims route to Winchester .......along the very ancient tin trade route. My knowledge of history is insufficiently good enough to even begin to verify this assertion. Cornish folklore talks of when Jesus came to Cornwall. St Joseph of Arimathea was a tin man, making his money trading the precious metal between the Mediterranean lands and Cornwall. He made voyages to Britain in his own ships bringing with him on one occasion baby Jesus and his mother Mary. Landed at St Michael's Mount  Penzance bay so legends say!

Other oral legends tell that when the Romans invaded Palestine and the Holy lands, Joseph with the three Mary's sailed to the south of France with the chalice that caught he blood of Christ as he was crucified and then travelled throughout Europe preaching. In this oral tradition the here shi would be the three Mary's bearing the gospels.






Saturday, 21 December 2013

A new navigator blog

Written by John can be found at
http://johnsnavigatorbuild.blogspot.co.uk/