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 26 November 2010

Robert's Navigator book on it's way. This has been an extraordinary labour of love by a very talented man. I'm really excited at getting my hands on a copy. Robert tells the story more at his excellent blog which can be found here


Robert's book - doesn't it look fantastic (copyright Robert Ditterich)


new video film

Dave has posted an excellent short video for the Akaroa wooden boat festival 2010. I love this film - it is well shot, full of atmosphere and shows how much fun sailing with others can be. A classic - well done Dave and thanks - its brightened up a very nasty, snow and down right freezing winter night here in the UK. You can see some lovely boats and a number of navigators.....and then there is that stunning scenery as well

Find the video at


Saturday 20 November 2010

finally at last.........

Angharad got her launch. This afternoon she was put onto the car rack and driven over to Oreston slip - a tiny little launch ramp on the side of the Plym. It's a lovely little place overlooking the old docks. Angharad slipped into the water for her first test float. Given I have no paddles yet I didn't get to canoe....but it was enough to see she floated level......and didn't sink. Here are the photographs.

Angharad strapped to the roof of old faithful

getting the painter ready

And she's launched - Angharad takes to the water for the first time

Lordy me....she floats horizontal she does!

Celtic Cross on foredeck

and now its back to the car and home again


Sunday 14 November 2010

Here is a video of Kevin with the last sail of his season on board his navigator Slip Jig. He's sailing on the Chesapeake bay in Maryland and wow doesn't it look great. I have always liked the videos of Slip Jig - interesting camera angles - well thought out.

He woke up with frost on the windshield and a forecast that was clear skies high of 60 degrees F, small craft advisories, wind NE 15 knots with gusts to 20. What really happened was 10-12 from the SE and the wind shifted to the S in early afternoon to less than 5, temp on the water was mid 50's in the afternoon.
enjoy the video which can be found at

I'm still waiting for my last sail of the season - like Kevin - I'm waiting for the right forecast!!!!!


Friday 12 November 2010

we did promise not to....but.......

We did promise not to mix scooters and sailing but hey, here is a quick update. The weather has been miserable - we can't get out in Arwen; we haven't been able to do a maiden launch of Angharad. We have made progress on the 1965 motovespa scooter though and secretly we are rather please with ourselves because neither Sam or I know anything about engineering (although he's just started a GCSE in it - so I'm playing catchup........again!). So with apologies to all my boat are some shots of the stripped down scooter.

the top of the steering column with the handle bars and the front steering fork removed
The circular metal bit at the top of the column is a very stubborn bottom half of a ball bearing cage
which refuses to shift.......I bet for some of you wooden boat purists this is striking fear in your hearts.........or down right revulsion......I still feel that swapping to scooters from wooden boats is something naughty to be done privately behind closed doors!

This is a small frame chassis for the uninitiated. Everything has been taken off it and we now need to find a grit blaster who is sensitive enough to gently blast off the paint back to bare steel. We'll then etch prime it and two tone pack paint it

some rust areas to sort out especially where the floor panel joins the central raised area

this is the front wheel hub assembly known as the fork. you are looking at the back plate of the brake drum and the grey bit is the lower end of the front shock absorber. sadly we are having some problems with this - some idiot tried to force the back plate off with a screwdriver and the nut on the other side has jammed!

the offending castellated nut - i think it will a blow torch job to heat the nut slightly so that it least I think that is the theory!

This is the carburettor and my mad son wants to take it apart - I applaud curiosity...but this feels one step too far!

before we took the front steering assembly apart

original light, horn, badge - 45 years old and it still worked having been stored in a barn for 30 years unloved - amazing!

The very highly sought after rear tyre holder - very rare and difficult to get hold of apparently

and we are hoping to take it from this...................

to something similar to this.....well that's the plan
The reality might be a tad different!
(apologies because we are unsure where we got this lovely scooter photo from and so cannot acknowledge the excellent restoration workmanship)

Anyway we just thought we'd let yoou know how we were getting on - hopefully the next post will be boat based!