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 17 December 2010

hey its snowing!!

It's snowing. We rarely get snow here in Plymouth UK - we are so far south and it is normally so mild - the gulf stream and mild waters of the Atlantic keep our air temp a few degrees above elsewhere in the UK. However, we are being given severe weather warnings and we woke to a small snow cover this morning. It is supposed to get far worse tonight - the temp is dropping rapidly so who knows? I definitely can't see the moors from our front window which is always a sure sign the weather is closing in and the skies look grey and leaden! maybe we will get our white Christmas here in Plymouth - the first one in 30 odd years! Here's hoping!

This is Arwen at the moment:

this is the fresh snow - the stuff that fell last night has almost melted away
Arwen is on our new driveway which we had dug out so that it would make
it easier reversing her up and onto the slope.

Arwen will be OK under that lot - there are three separate tarpaulins covering her. It's just the weight of snow building up on them that is the issue.

the view at the moment along our little street - some of the snow is sticking again
if it does - it will be tricky getting out of the road tomorrow - our little road ends in two steep hill corners either end - fun in ice!

Definitely NOT sailing weather at the moment!
On other matters - we learned today that as part of the severe economic cutbacks the country is facing - some of our coastguard stations are being axed. My local one, Brixham, is being closed. Falmouth, our big rescue co-ordination centre - which stretches far out into the north Atlantic is being reduced in staffing and to operating during daylight hours only. We will have a new super centre at Southampton. I think the cuts are a big mistake and lives will be put at risk. My little handheld VHF won't reach Falmouth or Southampton - that's for sure. I feel really sorry for all those expert coastguards who are losing their jobs. They have all been outstanding and will be greatly missed by us all. I'll report more on the cuts to coastguard services in UK when I have a better handle on what is being proposed.



HM Coastguard said...


It likes you haven't read the document! Its available on our web site at Front page and follow the links. The 154 radio sites around the UK won't be moving at all, so if the proposals go ahead we'll still be listening in wherever, we and you, are.

It depends on your VHF fit. A hand held has a 5W range whereas a fixed set VHF has a 25W power range, so using the latter and within about 30 miles of the coastline especially with a VHF DSC fit (which has a slightly extended range)we'll still be hearing you. All our aerial sites will simply be rerouted.

Happy sailing!

HM Coastguard

steve said...

hello HM Coastguard.
thanks for making a comment - much appreciated. I haven't yet checked the document - just the press coverage - so a fair point! I did say I'd get back to making more informed comments after researching a bit further - so I appreciate the link. My dinghy is an open cruising dinghy so I can't really get a fixed unit in it; also I trailer it everywhere which makes getting a VHF aerial on the mast somewhat difficult although I guess I could ask people at DCA what they do.
You didn't make clear whether or not you will still be able to hear my 5w handheld as I sail up and down the coastline between Dartmouth and Fowey- so if someone could clarify that for me i'd really appreciate that.

In the meantime - Merry Christmas to you all at HM coastguard and thank you all for watching out over us - we do all appreciate it