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

Sunday 27 June 2010

so unbelievable!

4-1....words fail me.......and that is rare.  My home team Plymouth Argyle, bless em, would have made a better job...we deserved to lose.....well done to Germany......brilliant playing on their part and well deserved winners!


who was the idiot?

Who was the idiot at FIFA who said no to goal line technology? Is there no justice in this World? That ball was so over the line.......get the ref some glasses; get rid of his linesman......appalling refereeing!

That's my seethe over and done with....unbelievable, I just don't know where to start!

'recon' of tamar slipways

I managed to crawl out of bed yesterday and went to get some fresh air by taking a pokey at the slipways eitherside of the Tamar bridges. These are good launch places if I want to go down the River will save a couple of hours sailing up from Queen Anne's Battery. Both are also 'free' - so that's a bonus!

This the slipway downstream of the two bridges on the saltash side.
Photo taken at around 4 hrs down from high tide

Full length shot of slipway; pretty sharp turn at top and only a few dedicated parking spaces
These get filled rapidly. There is some on street parking available but get there early!

The slipway seems to extend a fair way out but be warned - too far out and there is a current that drags the boat around

Also, there isn't anywhere to tie off the boat so single handed launches are difficult........!

North of the bridge is another slip. The car park here is allocated spaces - people apply to Caradon Council and pay an annual fee - so you cannot take one of the numbered spaces. You can use the free car park next door and leave the trailer on the road or park your whole rig on the road but bring your trailer clamp with you and get there early.

This slip driest out at around three hours down from high water.
It also has a very nasty drop off (deceptively shallower in this photo than in reality)

Nice angle of slip; wide enough for two boats to launch at same time.
However, there aren't any tie up rings lower down the slip
Again, this makes it very difficult for single handed launchers like me!!

There are other things to see in the immediate vicinity.....the two bridges above are pretty impressive - the Brunel railway bridge is over 150 years old for a start. Then there is the Union Inn, with its rather impressive murals....its also a well known live music venue as well....and it has a great waterside location to boot!

Well known local landmark highly visible from the Tamar road bridge above which connects Devon and Cornwall

The side wall is equally as impressive - that's quite some mural of local characters and Saltash Passage history

A small shingle/mud beach in front of the pub with some local boats tied up

It was good to get out out - it helped clear the head cold a little and I was able to get some idea of the launch issues at this site. I was also able to snatch this little video clip...everyone seems to be having a happy time...and isn't that what it's all about?


Friday 25 June 2010

the best laid plans of mice and men.............

Doh!  Sorry to disappoint folks but don't expect that blog from Salcombe. We are in the middle of a heat wave here in UK - conditions for tomorrow are perfect......and I've been forced to bed with a stupid 'coming right out of nowhere' cold. High fever, swimming vision, constant drip of the nose and eyes cascading waterfalls. I'm off work and won't be out and about - sorry folks. Promise to deliver on Salcombe post when up and about. (I know I'm ill because her wot must be obeyed actually showed a glimmer of sympathy and asked me if there was anything she could get me.......a normal response from her is a demand for a death certificate before she feels there is anything wrong with any of us).
Take care folks...will post again sometime next week. Meantime, anyone reading this who is sailing at Salcombe tomorrow...........I'm green with envy and feeling very grumpy like a bear with a sore head (literally) and the face like the backside of a rhino who has swallowed a wasp! Have fun on the water this weekend people.


Tuesday 22 June 2010

Getting over excited........!

I’m off to Salcombe at the weekend.

I’m off to Salcombe!

I’m off to Salcombe.........

You can tell I’m excited. I’m acting as crew in my friend’s character post boat. We are meeting up with other post boats and its going to be great fun. I LOVE Salcombe......who wouldn’t? It’s a spectacular place out of season; somewhat overcrowded and tiresome during the summer season! I briefly mentioned it in a previous blog – see  You can find out more about character post boats at

14' 6" Character Post Boat: my friend owns one and it's a real pretty boat

Salcombe is in South Hams – an area of outstanding natural beauty (ANOB) in South Devon. It lies on the shores of the outer Kingsbridge estuary, which for the geographically inclined is an example of a ‘ria’ (guess which subject I teach!!).

The southern end of this google earth image opens out rapidly; go north and it is a myriad of creeks reaching inland to Kingsbridge

Before I start on the sailing, what I love about Salcombe is it's small wonderful houses, narrow streets, quaint shops and hidden away boat building yards. Then there are the wide variety of different chandlers, a quay where crabbing boats off load; lots of boats to see and admire......out of season its nautical heaven!

Copyright Shaun Ferguson: this is the view looking across Batson Creek to the little boat building yards that back onto the little creek on the right

The town's main street (Fore Street) runs parallel to the water’s edge and it has alleyways branching out up the steep hillside to the rest of Salcombe. The streets are narrow, the buildings fighting for space! Island Street is the other main street in the town, and is linked to Fore Street by a wide waterside pathway, with superb views across the Estuary. Island Street provides a home for the many boatyards of Salcombe.

Narrow streets

Houses right down to the water's edge

Looking across some of the small craft pontoons to the new lifeboat pontoon
Copyright Roger Cornfoot

There are plenty of ship wrecks in the outer harbour area dating back to the Bronze Age (the Bronze Age for Pete’s sake – wow!). In 1936 a four masted Finnish barque stranded itself at Bolt head...there is even a WW2 submarine – sunk in the 1950’s as a sonar target. Salcombe was a fishing village and ship building area through the 16th century.......herring was the main catch. The town went with the royalists during the civil war! In the 1700’s they even had smugglers! In the 1800’s Salcombe was famed as a fruit export/import emporium! Salcombe ships sailed to the Mediterranean, Caribbean and Azores bringing oranges, lemons, pineapples, sugar, rum, and coconuts, ebony wood....the list was endless. By 1870’s Salcombe had 35 shipwrights, 14 ships carpenters, 3 ships riggers, 3 sail makers and assorted tin platers and blacksmiths!

Batson creek leads nowhere but it does have the main public slipway; the main pontoons for visiting yachts calling in on the harbour master; and the main pontoon for the lifeboat

Anyway enough history.....what about the estuary and the sailing waters I hear you all cry?

The estuary entrance lies between bolt head on the west and Portlemouth downs on the east. The ria, caused by the drowning of a river valley through sea level rises, is huge and goes all the way up to Kingsbridge.

Looking across the main fairway channel from East Portlemouth side of the ria
The outer estuary is to the left of the photograph

There is a bar at the entrance, exposed on low spring tides, which can be tricky to pass depending on wind conditions. Either side of the estuary is a number of superb beaches and anchorages. My favourite is East Portlemouth but don’t ignore South and North sands, Cable cove or Fisherman’s Cove. A ferry operates between Salcombe town quay and South/North sands – a great little trip. You can catch a foot ferry across to east Portlemouth as well.

Looking across the outer estuary: you can see the bar being exposed - it goes out beyond the back of Wolf Rock which is on the right of the photo in middle channel

The little ferry that operates between the town's whitestrand pontoon and North and South sands on the western flank of the outer estuary area

taken from the East Portlemouth foot ferry jetty: copyright Salcombe restaurants

There are loads of little creeks to explore – Batson creek where there is the public slip, fishing boat quay (they land 2000 tonnes of local shell fish each year) and some small craft pontoons; along with a little side creek off that up to the rear of some fantastic old boat building yards; many of which are still in operation.

Aerial of Batson Creek public slipway: since this photo was taken, harbour authorities have put a pontoon alongside the outer edge of the slip for temporary tying up of boats just launched
You can arrange in summer to have your car parked next to the slip and your trailer stored in the adjacent trailer park

One aspect of Salcombe not so pleasing is the fact that it has the second highest property prices in the UK, outside of London and Sandbanks in Poole, Dorset. Properties with estuary or sea views can fetch between £1m and £5m and some rent for as much as £12000 a week in the high season. It is popular with a well off nautically inclined social group and all the cafes, shops and businesses cater for this. So...go out of season!

One of my (and my wife's) favourite escapes and hidden pleasures.....we abandon the kids on a Sunday morning, drive across to Salcombe and sit on the terrace drinking Lattes and reading the Sunday papers........wonderful!

So what about the sailing I hear you ask....., get on with it..........well creeks, pubs, sandy beaches, mudflats, herons, seals, cormorants, dolphins (I spent a very happy 30 minutes last year at 5am in the outer harbour before the traffic was about.....drifting with a family pod of porpoise who took great delight in playing around Arwen.......and I didn’t have a camera.....just don’t go there! No one believes me!).

Horsepool Cove and creek is worth exploring as the tide comes in
- if you have a shallow draft like mine

It is a spectacular area for dinghy sailors and plenty of places to camp cruise. You could lose yourself for a couple of days within the estuary confines....easily. The harbour master team patrols the estuary throughout the year in boats with blue and white fendering. They listen out on VHF channel 14 I think – although I will confirm that after Saturday’s jaunt.

One of the many little pubs found in the windy streets of Salcombe: copyright Roger Cornfoot

The waypoint to gain entrance to the estuary is Wolf Rock buoy 50.13’53N 003:46’.58W (again do your own checking on this....I’m still learning about giving Lat and Long). There is an 8 knot speed limit from the bar onwards and remember that with a strong onshore breeze from south east – the bar is very dangerous! It is downright treacherous when the tide is ebbing and I can personally vouch for that from last year.......stupid – I sailed on an ebbing spring tide....ignorance and limited experience are a very potent cocktail of disaster! On that occasion I was very lucky, managed to avoid wolf rocks and learned a valuable lesson!

Can't move in august....all the little tenders stored on the slip between the main pontoons outside the central car park and harbour master's office in town centre: copyright Shaun Ferguson

I’m not sure but will try and confirm at weekend, a rule I heard told last year....that in July and august, yachts cannot sail within the harbour area due to overcrowding. Dinghies fact Salcombe yawls seem to take great delight in sailing up and down and across the estuary at the busiest times!

I’m not qualified to give you detailed information about the lead in marks...other than to say that once past the can find the red bass rock buoy and the green cone wolf rock buoy. The leading line goes between them both. If you keep on the green side you can continue north to the Blackstone beacon.

This map shows the area up from 'the bags'.....carry on up the estuary here
and you are creek crawling; and stranded when the tide goes out....its all

Further around from the town quays is the area known as the bags. Lots of swinging moorings, deep water pontoons, the old Merseyside ferry the Egremont (which is now the ICC sailing club). If you carried on up – you would be creek crawling on your way to Kingsbridge!

Did I tell you how EXCITED I am about sailing with my friend on Saturday in Salcombe?

I'll post a little report at weekend; in the meantime.....I'm out on the water in the river Lynher area on Thursday......but that's with the Navy....and so no photos or posts on that one!


if you want some of the best little boat video clips ever...........

If you want to drool......Dylan Winter's latest clips from the annual 3 rivers race......well, all I can say is switch off the TV; abandon World Cup viewing; send the wife out shopping; give the kids the car keys and money to spend; throw the dog out into the garden; bury the phone..........pour yourself a beer........choose a quiet spot in your home and sit back and enjoy..............what beautiful boats!  Enjoy.


Friday 18 June 2010

An evening stroll around the barbican and Hoe

I managed to get a short walk around Plymouth Hoe in last night with 'her wot must be obeyed'. It was lovely weather - sunny with little breeze and a high spring tide to boot. It gave me an opportunity to get some photographs to show you.  This is Cap'n Jaspers on Plymouth's barbican. Now Jaspers must be world famous I am is an iconic Plymouth eatery! Cap'n Jaspers is a take away, specialising in burgers, it is situated on Plymouth Barbican, Devon. Don't be mistaken into thinking this is just some greasy shack diner....far from it! Jaspers has a nautical theme; there is a seating area overlooking Sutton Harbour moorings and pontoons and the tables legs are mooring chains!  Everything is cooked fresh and to order.....there is plenty of it; it's value for money and cooked to perfection. A fresh crab salad with crab straight off the crabbing boats is a delight as is the half a yard hot dog roll - 2 jumbo sausages, fried onions; and then the almighty jasperizer.....two beef burgers cheese, bacon and onions........oh my! With tea strong enough to dissolve teaspoons .....this is an absolute must visit place in the city. Visit on a sunny evening and a Sunday morning and all the city's bikers will be down there and there are some fantastic machines to see!

This is the northern end of Queen Anne's Battery Marina where I launch Arwen from

Down from Jaspers, just outside the lock gates are the QAB pontoons. The one facing us is where QAB launch their boats from. Nice little boat drifting back in under sail - winds were perfect blowing straight onto the pontoon.

Within Sutton harbour is the Plymouth fish market......the city has a much smaller trawler fleet but there are a number of smaller local lobster/crabbing boats

Sutton harbour is only entered via the lock gates that exit just north of Queen Anne's Battery. Boats wishing to enter have to contact the lock office and then wait until the pedestrian footbridge is swung back and the locks have filled/emptied. It was the original Plymouth port and has a long history. there were railway sidings along the old docks and many of the original port buildings survive in the historic barbican. It's where Drake set sail from as did the Pilgrim fathers...............

Mayflower Steps...where the Pilgrim Fathers departed . The building in the left background is our national marine aquarium.

Further out from the locks towards the cattedown is the new cruise ship unloading pontoon....well that's the idea....but call me a cynic....but I haven't noticed many cruise ships calling at I'm slightly confused as to its purpose. I know that all our dockyard cruise boats use there is some value I guess.

Our new floating pontoon for boats from the many cruise ships.....that don't appear to have Plymouth on their charts!

Still at least the bridge over to the pontoon from the dockside is finding a a diving station for local teenagers!

We carried on our walk up the road past he Citadel to emerge on Plymouth Hoe....and what a lovely view. Plymouth sound was flat calm, the sun was shining and two frigates, a RFA ship and a coastguard ship were all moored in the Sound. The breakwater was only just above high water level way off in the distance.

The little trawler made it back inside Mountbatten breakwater with the dinghies from Mount Batten water sports centre and the Coastguard boat in the background

All in all it was an excellent little stroll in good good lady is fun to be with.....always.
Next weekend I'm sailing in a friend's boat at Salcombe as part of the Character 'post boat' rally and I'll post a little report on the blog next Sunday.  I'm really looking forward to it


Sunday 13 June 2010

A good day out with my old Mum and Dad

I was quite excited yesterday morning - up early getting Arwen ready. Mum and Dad were calling in on their way back from their holiday in Cornwall for a day’s sailing in Plymouth Sound. Both of them love being in the boat – it gives them a sense of peace and freedom I guess. At the crack of dawn I was taking covers off Arwen and coupling her up to the car. I’m nothing if not keen and I rarely get my parents to myself! Tidying up odd bits and pieces; attaching the outboard and making sure it had a full tank. Packed the waterproof bags with spare clothing; checked the spare lifejackets. Checked that she was still securely held by ratchet strap and that all masts and booms were secure on their carriers – all the tick list things completed with time to spare.

Although taken when Arwen was stored for a time at QAB....this shows the dreaded tarpaulins
I really must get a new cover with snap buckles.

Back to the kitchen, the sense of excited anticipation rising; quick check of the weather forecast again - force 3 winds with occasional gusts, coming from the north/north west. A check of the charts and tide tables one more time suggested an easy run out to the breakwater with the wind behind us and the tide going out. It was a 5m spring tide with high tide we’d depart at 10.00am (gives Mum and Dad time to see the kids and get a cup of tea) but it also meant the tide will be flowing outwards pretty strongly as we departed.

Cheese and marmite sandwiches (you either love it or hate it – we were a marmite ‘WE LOVE IT’ family; big flask of tea and some juices; yogurt bars, fruit and we are provisioned for the day. (I noticed that none of the large chocolate cake that arrived.....made its way to the boat – umm!) The plan – I’ll depart early for the marina and have Arwen ready to go for 9.45am. My wife would bring Mum and Dad down to the pontoon.

The dreaded either LOVE it or HATE it - there is no in-between!

Simple plan what could go wrong?
As I drove off Mum and Dad arrived and so a quick pull over into a lay-by and chat on the mobile; “see you at the pontoon at 10.00am Mum; tides going out! Go see the kids; get a cup of tea and then come down for 10.00am – see you”!

So I’m alongside the pontoon at 10.00am – no sign of them; 10.15am, no sign of them...where are they? I’m watching the tide go out at a rate of knots; I’ve moved the boat twice along the pontoon to keep a depth of water under Arwen and I was running out of pontoon! A phone call home – is everything OK? “Oh are you ready for us...?” says the wife – “we were busy chatting – we’ll come down now – see you in half an hour”.

Half an hour? I’ll be high and dry – are they on the same planet as me? Which bit of “falling spring tide - see you at 10.00 am” didn’t they understand – have they no sense of urgency and sailors need?

Arwen, tied alongside with water draining away very rapidly!

They duly arrive, ambling down the pontoon; we sort out clothing and lifejackets; bags stored in lockers and we are off.........easing out of the marina lane and into the main Sutton Harbour area just in front of the lock gates. You need eyes in the back of your head here as several pontoon exits; there is the refuelling pontoon at QAB and the main thoroughfare into/out of Sutton harbour all merging at the same point. Opposite is the big mooring pontoon for the river Tamar cruise boats and water taxis as well – so a weather eye on them as they reverse out is paramount. We pass the old phoenix wharf and into the main Cattedown area. More boat traffic – boats coming off moorings along the river Plym; harbour pilots going out to escort in little ships; some of the Mount Batten water sports centre boats weaving between moorings and dive boats laden with black clad bodies speeding away in rigid inflatables. The sun is shining; Mum and Dad have sat to balance the boat nicely; the outboard is pushing us along helped by the tide and all seems well.

One of the busy Cattedown wharves with fishing boats tied alongside and a Mount Batten water sports centre boat in the foreground

Then sadly, a mayday call comes over the we round Mount Batten breakwater into Jennycliffe Bay. Over the next few minutes it becomes clear that a major ‘man overboard’ incident is taking place just off Looe, further down the coast in Cornwall. Co-ordinated by Brixham coastguard, the all weather lifeboat from Fowey, the Looe inshore lifeboat and an RNAS helicopter from Culdrose are dispatched with urgency. A Mayday Relay signal is broadcast by the Coastguard into the area to alert other vessels to the unfolding incident and requesting immediate assistance. Other boats with First aiders on board rush to give assistance.

My small midland Atlantic hand held VHF which has a limited range

I only have a small handheld VHF and occasionally reception is patchy from other boats depending on distance etc......I didn’t catch all of the details sounded like the casualty was airlifted to Derriford Hospital in Plymouth after being transferred to one of the lifeboats. Some RNLI crew remained on board the boat to help the remaining crew get her into harbour at Looe I think.

I’ve often wondered whether there is a need to get a VHF aerial and extension and place the aerial at the top of the mast.......I don’t know what other small ‘open boaters’ do....but clearly I need to think about this further given I couldn’t get all of the radio broadcasts today.......When I eventually sail down to Fowey in Arwen, I want to know that in an emergency, my broadcast will be heard loud and clear for several miles in all directions.

In the shelter of Jennycliffe Bay , we put up the mizzen and Arwen obediently turns head to wind. The main is hauled up as high as I can get her and the downhaul tightened before the jib is pulled out and off she goes accelerating like a pedigree greyhound. 4.5 kts on a close haul across to Drakes Island Melampus buoy; then we turn south west onto a beam reach and rocket off along to Cawesand Bay.

My Mum, never sailed before, but looking pretty happy at the helm

Lots of boats were heading out – all white, plastic and big – all heading off down the coast to Fowey, probably to return tomorrow. We sail into the bay and across to the pretty villages of Cawesand and Kingsand. Mum and Dad are taken with the picturesque nature of these two small fishing villages with they brightly coloured houses reaching down to the water s edge and the imposing fort above (built in the late 1700’s to protect the western approaches to Plymouth Sound).

Pretty Cawesand  on the left and Kingsand on the right

Cawesand has had a chequered smuggling history in the past due to its closeness to Plymouth. Now it is a popular boat trip across the sound where tourists descend onto its sand and shingle beach. Kingsand, next door, gets its name from the fact that King Charles escaped over the beach to a ship in the bay. There is a historical rumour that 700 Spanish ships paused here in the bay centuries ago before sickness forced them to leave!

So many boats crossing our path on their way down the coast to Looe, Fowey and Falmouth

Mum and Dad are in their element and a request to sail down the outside length of the breakwater follows – off we go on a reach, averaging 4 kts across to Bovisand Bay. Mum took the helm for a bit but it was proving gusty and at times with lots of weather helm on tiller necessitating some adjustment of sails. Dad’s in charge of the GPS giving regular updates on speed.

Mum at the helm, with the breeze in her hair.....

Mr 'I'm fully competent with a GPS'...........
Happy as Larry he old dad

As we approach the eastern end of the breakwater a lovely site meets our eyes – some form of old gaff rigged barge about 30’ long under full tan sail emerges and makes her way sedately across Bovisand bay, heading out to sea. They don’t build them like that anymore ....or do they?

Any one recognise her or know what kind of boat she is?

I decide to try and head back inside the breakwater by cutting through the eastern entrance – even though the wind is virtually blowing directly from the north down through the very place we want to head into – doh! I sail as close to the rocks as I can at Bovisand so that I can tack around and pick up an angle of approach that will just have me cutting inside....and the wind dies. At 1.5kt Arwen decides she won't tack; we can see water shoaling fast – the bottom kelp covered rocks appearing under us rapidly and so I resort to a quick burst of outboard power to get us out of danger.....lesson learned! Thank God for outboards – without it we’d have been beached on the emerging rocks! It’s clear I won't be getting back within the breakwater through the eastern entrance – so its a long close haul tack across to the tinker buoys, onwards to the OSR buoys and then onto the Draystone – a serious case of déjà vue emerging.....didn’t I do this route last week?

OSR buoy in the outer Sound area, south of the western end of the breakwater

 At least we were making 5 kts and so serious waves. As we approach Penlee point, we are able to see the medieval church grotto through the binoculars.

Captain Ahab here, looking across towards Penlee Point

The old medieval grotto church is midway up on the left of the houses

Around the Draystone buoy and back down towards centre of breakwater.....if I put one more tack close into it – I should then get across to the coastline along from Cawesand and one further tack will put me on a line all the way back to Mount Batten pier (and guess what it!). Conditions were choppy as we went through the western entrance of the sound.....of course it was a wind against tide situation through a narrow entrance.....but Arwen coped with it admirably.

The lighthouse at the western end of Plymouth Breakwater

More reassuringly, I saw the incoming submarine this time and we were able to take appropriate avoidance action without having to be asked by the RN police patrol boats. There was also this beauty hugging the coast around Penlee Point.

Another boat I can't name....but what classic lines and a sharp turn of speed

The Brittany Ferry past by as well, slowing right down, barely making any bow wave. Into Jennycliffe bay we returned, passing the big ship mooring buoys with their cormorants sitting neatly on top drying their outstretched wings.

One of the ship mooring buoys in Plymouth Sound, used mainly by RN and RFA ships

Heading back into Jennycliffe Bay

As we approached Dunstone buoy, we turned head to wind; a pull on the lazy jack (which also doubles as a topping lift) and the main sails dropped neatly between the jacks where they were securely tied. The jib furler worked first time and the jib rolled itself away obligingly (not always a fore gone conclusion believe me!)

At the end of the survives....but mum has her head in her hands no change there then!

One of the little tanker ships passed by on its outward journey and we all commiserated with a yacht which was having huge difficulties. A very large badly torn and twisted genoa was flapping wildly half way up the mast with ropes whipping around in all directions as a small crew below ran across the deck in all directions desperately trying to catch hold of anything. It happens and there but by the grace of God go I!

We potter back under the 3.5 HP engine into the main Sutton harbour entrance – the wind is picking up – blowing immediately offshore. As I trundle up the clearway between the mooring pontoons (its only 25’ wide if that), it becomes clear that a little more power will be required to nose her up alongside...normally a quick rev of the engine and she surges forward; pull the kill cord and the engine cuts out and you drift the last 3 or 4 feet up alongside with the barest of nudges. So imagine my consternation when I pull the red kill cord, it comes out and the engine carries on going..........I immediately knock it out of gear but too late we are going to impact with such force.......but we don’t. He may be over 70 but no flies on my Dad – sensing impending doom coupled with healthy self-preservation senses – he’s already leapt into action – got a mooring line around a pontoon cleat and hauled the boat to a stop....well done that man!

"He calls himself a sailor and the boy can't even shut off an outboard
with a kill cord........he's no son of mine!"

(a later investigation shows that two wires were shaken loose fro the screws that hold them in place and so a circuit wasn't made and the outboard kept running....its the second time this has happened - sounds like its time for some soldering methinks)!

All in all – a lovely day; 14 nautical miles at average speed of 4.8 kts and two very happy parents.

Mum and dad's route.......the more solid line is the inward return route

Thanks Mum and Dad for a cracking day – really enjoyed it.  You can see clips of our voyage at


A sad Postscript:

Sadly, after Mum and Dad had gone home and I had cleared up and put Arwen under wraps, I was channel hopping the news services (I’m a world news junky really). The local news reported on the mayday incident. Unbeknown to us that morning due to garbled radio messages and static.....we had missed that the elderly lady who had gone overboard had died at the scene. The report was short on details but last night it served to remind me that the sea is a dangerous place even when the sun is shining and the weather is good. Although I do not know the boat or the people, and I very much doubt whether they will ever read this blog, my heart naturally goes out to them all along with my very deepest sympathies. They are in my thoughts today.....and in a quiet way, so too are the RNLI, RNAS, RAF and Coastguard services who are always ready to come to our aid in all weathers. My thanks, as always, goes to them all.