My friend also observed, from personal experience of helming my boat, that Arwen is a pretty large and heavy dinghy and so carries the outboard well in most sea conditions that I sail in and since I don’t sail in anything much above force four, it should be fine.
He did prompt me to think about what anchor I carry on Arwen. Is it appropriate for the type of sailing I’m doing that day? A picnic stop in Cawsand needs only a moderate hold as opposed to the grip needed for an overnight anchorage. What are the weather conditions – onshore winds and swell? In that case I may need a heavyweight anchor which ideally should be deployed amidships and low down so that balance and stability are not affected. He also thinks that on long trips I should stow it as I’ve done before in the bucket amidships. He finished by posing some really useful questions (as he always does):
What is the intended sailing area?
What is the sea state in which I will be sailing?
What will the weather conditions be during the trip?
Where will I intend anchoring?
How secure does anchoring have to be – lunch time; afternoon loll or overnight?
What if it goes wrong – what is my plan B?
John W also had words of wisdom, as always, based again on decades of sailing and design experience. He agreed that weight at the ends means inertia in the ends. He painted this image:
“Imagine a bar with two weights on it that can be positioned anywhere on the bar. Rotate the bar holding it in the middle with the weights in the middle. Try and stop the rotation. Then imagine doing the same thing with the weights at the end of the bar. Much more difficult to stop the rotation”!
He went on to observe that fast deployment of the anchor basically requires that the anchor is on the bow, unless the anchor is small and light enough that you can easily heft it overboard from amidships and that boat balance was often a matter of compromising without losing safety.
Like my friend Dave, John and Pete, another forum member, (who has given me much sound advice in the past) felt that if the outboard was light enough to mount on the transom when needed then that might be a good solution. Everything of weight that can easily be put in the centre of the boat (chain, fuel, water, tinned food, outboard etc.) should be put there, but eventually it is a matter of my judgement.
Pete finished, much like Dave, by saying
“If you find that the bow is submarining in bad weather or that waves are coming over your stern then your boat has probably got too much weight in the ends and/or it is overloaded”.
Wise words and a clear message here. Have your wits about you and keep checking balance, trim and sail area aloft; and sea state and direction, if the weather turns!
John made a final reassuring point.
“Navigator is designed to take up to 20 kg of anchor and chain up forward in the anchor well. The volume in Navigators hull is so distributed as to take into account the various weights required, and the positions in which they will be stored and no, you will not have made her unsafe. Note that she is designed from first principles as a cruising sailing dinghy, whereas most of the boats that people often use as cruising dinghies are [more] general purpose boats adapted for the purpose.”
It is good to have people around to help you work things through. My thanks, as always, to Roger, Peter, John and Dave for giving up their time to educate me further about small boat sailing intricacies. I appreciate the advice and time you gave gents....thank you.