Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my dinghy cruising blog about my John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. Built over three years, Arwen was launched in August 2007. She is a standing lug yawl 14' 6" in length. This blog records our dinghy cruising voyages together around the coastal waters of SW England.
Arwen has an associated YouTube channel so visit to find our most recent cruises and click subscribe.
On this blog you will find posts about dinghy cruising locations, accounts of our voyages, maintenance tips and 'How to's' ranging from rigging standing lug sails and building galley boxes to using 'anchor buddies' and creating 'pilotage notes'. I hope you find something that inspires you to get out on the water in your boat. Drop us a comment and happy sailing.
Steve and Arwen

Friday, 14 May 2010

Getting the hang of weather helm and adjusting sail trim

It took a bit of time to work out weather helm but I think I'm beginning to understand it..........people reading the blog will soon put me right if I have this wrong. I think that with weather helm, if I released the tiller, Arwen would turn up into the wind.......I've found in the past that I have had to pull the tiller towards the weather deck. Too much weather helm tells me, I think, that the boat is over pressed and I need to ease the mizzen. A slight pull though is a good thing, isn't it?

As for sail trim - I was really confused but John came to the rescue (again; and again; and again; and again!). I couldn't get the sail to rise high enough...solution - move the halyard on the upper yard further down (for'ard); tie the parrel beads at the same point as the halyard and make sure its lower for'ard end protruded past the mast. Simple....unless of course you are me......never mind lets not dwell on my innate ability to be an idiot. At least I understood the reasoning behind the tack down haul tension.

To tune the sprit boomed main involves moving the for'ard end of the sprit boom up or down the mast.......another homer 'doh!' moment. Moving it down helps tighten the luff and eases the leech; moving it up tightens the leech and eases the luff.  John even helped me get rid of that terrible crease with a 'knotted hankie' analogy.......moving the halyard back a bit and using more down haul tension at the tack.......the damned crease disappeared........oh joy of abject lack of sail trimming knowledge was no longer on a huge humiliating display to all of Plymouth Sound........THANK YOU JOHN!

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