Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.
Arwen has a YouTube channel of her own. Search "plymouthwelshboy".

Friday, 13 July 2012

aspirations week

I've been very lucky this week to spend time with some outstanding watersports instructors and fantastic young teenagers. The fantastic thirteen were from my school and I was very privileged to take them sailing. I have laughed all week; went hoarse yelling instructions; prayed that their listening skills would develop and marvelled at their capacity to remain good humoured through four days of torrential rain, continual capsizes and gusting winds.

All this success has been down, in no small measure, to the outstanding instructors of the Mountbatten Water Sports Centre here in Plymouth. Anna, Maya, Lee, Sam, Alex and have all been stars. Anna, we all wish  you good luck in the Laser 1 nationals next week. The posse were very keen to hire a mini bus and come up to Abersoch to be your groupies!

Sam, the activities manager, has been accommodating, thoughtful and brilliant throughout. The quality of instruction was amazing. Clear simple instructions and demonstrations; constant good humour and drilling of technique. Having used the centre twice now I can honestly say that all the instructors have been some of the best I have ever worked with over the years; and many of them are volunteers too!

At the end of the week, everyone gained their RYA Adult Level One certificate. Five gained their Level Two.

We've handled Pecos, Laser Bahias, Laser Topaz and appalling weather. Hailstones, high wind gusts, torrential rain, cold, peat coloured waters have not put us off. We've had the odd accident or two - booms across noses; knock out of boat situations, run over toes (by trolleys), pinched hands between wire shrouds and a fair few booms across heads (thank God for helmets). We managed to successfully run a bahia across someone elses large boat trailer (the owner was very tolerant given it took us 20 minutes to remove the offending boat off his trailer). One broken mast clip; one torn sail; one dented dagger board. That's pretty good given our previous track record (three broken masts; four broken dagger boards; three damaged rudders and two bent booms (a different centre - least said the better!!!!)

The GroPro camera performed well. slight fogging despite having anti fog strips in the camera but it is good. Clearly it is an up close camera to give the viewer a sense of being part of the action, so distance shots are poor. it also gives a slight curved edge to some of the photos because of the lens type. Clever bit of kit though. Make sure you get a 32Gb card for it though. My 16Gb just wasn't enough.

It has been a cracking week. Thank you everyone!



Joel Bergen said...

Hi Steve,
Sorry to see the weather still has not cleared up for you yet. I hope it clears soon. My son and I were thinking of you at Sucia. Here is a gift, my friend, that I hope will help tide you over until fair weather returns. It's a bit long at 15 minutes, but that's intentional. Wishing you fair winds soon,

steve said...

You are a kind man.....thank you!
So, out of interest.....
what was the windspeed?
How fast do you think Ellie was going?

She is a lovely boat, simple and elegant. You seemed to be flying just under Jib and Mizzen too!


Joel Bergen said...

The weather report was 15-20 mph winds, which seemed spot on. Don't know what speed I was doing - probably only around 5 or so because it's scary big, open and unfamiliar water up there so I was sailing cautiously. I went straight to jib and mizzen early on. Plus I was having a great time and was in no hurry to get home haha! I'm very wary when I sail the San Juans. It's challenging. Swift tidal currents swirl in every direction. Winds can change from dead calm to gale force quickly. Sometimes it'll be barely blowing and you go around an island and get blasted. Early Spanish explorers got so frustrated sailing here they basicly said "screw this" and left the whole area to the British.

steve said...

Wow!Big winds, big tides, big currents. ellie did well under Jib and Mizzen too - were you reaching or beating....looked like beating to me

Joel Bergen said...

I had south ease winds and was sailing east. Sailed a straight line from sucia to sandy point marina in about 2 hours. It was great. I sure am glad to see good weather headed your way! Hope you get some excellent sailing to try out your new camera.