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

Saturday 5 November 2011

There are some days when you wonder whether it is worth getting out of bed or not!

Stacey’, my son’s 1971 motovespa 125 super restoration is giving me such feelings! Those of you following the blog will be aware of the tragedy and sense of complete loss and bewilderment experienced by me and number 1 son when we discovered that a piece was missing from the front legshield. The story is described in this post at

There is an update on that story which I will share later at the end of this post but in the mean time we’ve now run into other problems and once again we must prevail on the patience of the vespa smallframes forum and hope the guys can come to our rescue AGAIN!

Conundrum one: when the rear brake hub and wheel is fixed back over the rear brake plate – the brake arm to which the rear brake cable fits, won’t budge. It won’t shift one iota. Take the wheel off and the brake arm can be pulled forward and the brakes expand as they should. You can see it happen in this short video.......

that little lever on the bottom right with the hole in it moves forwards (to the left) no problem without the hub cover on so why won't it do it when the brake drum is put back on?

So WHY is it that the brake arm cannot be moved at all when the rear hub front with wheel is placed back on? WHAT DO WE NEED TO DO TO SOLVE THIS PROBLEM?

Conundrum two: the kick start, clutch lever and gear shift arm problem.

Now neither number 1 son nor I know what should be happening but this is what we have at the moment. The kickstart won’t depress......but this could be because we haven’t got it in neutral?

the gear shifter arm....seems to have two positions and then completely stuck!

Next, as you can see on the video below, put the gear shift arm into one position and the axle rotates freely; pull the clutch lever forward and the gear shift arm moves forward and the axle doesn’t rotate.
Pull the clutch lever forward again and the gear shift arm will not move into any other positions whatsoever other than the two mentioned above – nothing – won’t budge!
Now is this normal? How do we know that things are working correctly?
(The clutch arm moves forward about 2 cm, is that correct?)

We don’t want to reopen the clutch and engine again unless we know things are definitely vespa smallframe members...please come to our rescue again.....what should we see/experience at this point of engine rebuild? Do the video movements look right? Should we be able to move the gear shift selector all the way through several positions when pulling the clutch lever forward?

having put it all together and into the frame just to have to drop it back out again is tiresome to say the least!

It’s a real problem when you don’t know what it is you should be seeing because you have no experience to base it on!


(PS: the update on the story about the missing piece of the legshield. Well our next door neighbour owns his own gardening business and he knows lots of people and so when he heard the story he said ‘leave it with me’. A few nights later we get a ‘leather clad’ biker turning up at the door who has ‘come to inspect the scooter’. He declares it safe and road worthy. He checks the welding; he checks the brake pedal assembly plate; he checks everything. It turns out he has his own motorbike and scooter repair centre in our own fair town. He does all the MOT’s as well; ....and wait for this......he lives eight doors down the road from us! The same road, same side of the street! Whenever he passed and our garage door was opened at night he had assumed I was building another boat so he never bothered to call in......small world isn’t it!! So why don’t we ask him about the engine? Well he’s more a motorbike guy and the vespa small frame guys – well they are brill, passionate about vespas, and between them know just about everything there is to know about vespas. I’d rather check with them first. Our guy down the road, is as he says, 'there for mega-emergencies!' Let's hope now isn't one of them!).

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