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

Tuesday 7 December 2010

Robert's labour of love

Robert's labour of love is finally on its way and you can purchase it. All the details are here at his site at

I am really looking forward to reading this book.  Robert is a craftsman and a really reflective guy - it will be a brilliant and insightful read for all those interested in small open boats - sailing them , building them or dreaming about them. I look at some of the people who have also made contributions - they are legends in the navigator world - these people really inspired me when building Arwen. I pored for hours over Barrett's photographs and wished constantly  I had her level of expertise, craftsmanship and artistry. I complied a huge scrapbook of every photograph I could find of a navigator before I ever started on Arwen; I annotated these pictures with questions, ideas, design features I wanted off these boats; some things I didn't want. I scrutinised these peoples websites, flickr photos and blogs. I spent hours visualising, constructing things in my mind. Dave P's site gave me inspiration - real people, building real boats and having fun in them. These people are my heros! They are the reason I managed to start Arwen and whilst she will never win any beauty prizes like all the other navigators will - I did have fun building her; I did achieve an ambition; I did learn a huge amount and oh hell yes - have I had fun sailing her or have I had fun sailing her! However, I'd be less than honest if I didn't say I got frustrated too - despite my best efforts - I just don't seem to have the skill set some of these people used to drive me mad that despite measuring something 6 times - I'd still cut it to discover a 3 - 6 mm gap had suddenly materialised from nowhere...urgh!  I guess we all have to learn - I'm really good at helping kids carpentry skills....well - hey I'll just live with imperfection!

You see this is the thing - you need people like the Dave's, Rob, John, Martin, Owen, Chuck, Richard, Barrett, Kevin (Steve of Spartina fame and Wilfred - see his site sometime!!) - people who will willingly share their time, expertise and passion; who will encourage the novices with words of wisdom; whose creative efforts provide something to aspire to in your own creations; where there is no such thing as a stupid question - or if there is - it is never acknowledged as being one...........

Maybe I'm biased....but I really did look around other designers - I went to them all..and then after each one - I kept returning to a welsford would have been a pathfinder - had the garage extended another 6' forward - but sadly despite the best efforts of my 'harry potter mad' son - the garage didn't do a 'Sirius Black' house extending jobbie and so a navigator it cut your cloth (or boat in this case) to fit......etc etc......

I haven't seen the book yet but I don't have to in order to firmly recommend it to all - it has a pedigree behind it - an inspired author - some inspired practicing contributors and an inspired designer. What more do you need - go get one - you won't be disappointed - promise!


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