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

Thursday 27 September 2012

another welsford navigator gets launched

Lasse, from Sweden recently launched his navigator and what a beauty it is. He's kindly allowed me to publish one or two of his photos here on my blog. If you want to see more then go to his own blog at

He jokingly reminded me that he hoped I could speak Swedish. Haha!  I'm from what makes you think I can speak another language? In fairness to my kinsmen, I do speak some welsh which is my second language and my sister is a real linguist speaking German, French and Japanese fluently. (I think she also has some Spanish as well - I'm very jealous of her - a talented girl)

Anyway digressing, Lasse has built a lovely navigator to rank alongside Yuko, Annie, Ellie, Jaunty and Slip-jig to mention a few.

Here are the pictures.

I love the white hull, colour sheer strake and cream sails look
Very elegant, this boats sits very well in the water
I also like the liftable outboard bracket; not for the first time I have thought of removing mine and installing a similar bought one
I'm not sure which gentleman is Lasse but I am loving that lovely wood transom and rudder blade.
That looks very classy. Arwen's looks marked and in places the aluminium paint shows through.
I also like the lower coamings. In hindsight I think I made Arwen's a little too high
Ah! That infamous 'navigator' sail crease! Nice leather work on the booms
Now I am always fascinated by how people arrange their snotters.  (I'm sure I could have phrased that sentence so much better with hindsight). Lasse seems to have his boom higher up than I do; his yellow snotter rope goes inside the parrel beads; mine goes out and over them. His sail seems to be tied for and aft on the top boom; mine is tied through each hole along its length. I have no idea whether one method is better than the other but it just interests me that we all come at it slightly differently.
Very nice leatherwork. Good craftsmanship I think.
Having seen this arrangement I am definitely going to alter mine under the deck. This is simple and clear. The halyards seem slightly thinner than mine too.  I need to ask Lasse about the red rope blocks - I'm trying to work out what he has done there; it almost looks as if it is a pulley system below deck to haul down on what though? I like the arrangement of the black ropes as well. I am assuming they are to the centre board.
Those varnished boards look elegant and have come up well. I am always envious of those who do varnish work like this. However, I must admit I'm in the John Welsford camp - 'the best looking varnish is white paint' brigade!!
Now this is an interesting photo. I love the compass housing. Very practical and classy. I also like the empty space below the thwart either side of the centre case. I built lockers in there. Sometimes I wish I'd left them open plan! I notice Lasse has a bilge pump in the thwart on the starboard side? I'm thinking of installing one in Arwen too.  I like the little cut outs in the coaming and those look to be lovely oars. Lasse, what lenght oars did you do in the end and did you download any plans off the internet? If you did is there any chance you could share the website?
Well, all in all, an elegant, classy looking well built navigator. Lovely craftsmanship, some simple, practical adaptations too.  Lasse has more photos on his website. Be sure to go take a look, even if you can't speak Swedish!!
Well done Lasse and thank you for letting me share these photos. Congratulations.




Joel Bergen said...

Very nice Navigator! Lasse has obviously done a very fine job. The drylocker hatches, much of the rigging, and the home-made roller furler all look VERY familiar (big grin!) I'm pretty sure the red rope blocks are the mainsail tack downhaul. The thin halyards should be ok if Lasse is using dyneema or another very low stretch line. If not, they'll stretch too much (I learned that the hard way). Great idea for the compass and the coaming cutouts, but I think Lasse will eventually need to move his jib fairleads aft. Many Nav builders (myself included) miss the little note on the plans that says where to locate them. I saw on his website that Lasse also has a very nice Powerpoint file with slides of his construction history that shouldn't be missed. Excellent job! Congratulations Lasse and thanks for the report Steve!

steve said...

Ha! Now you mention it - I've seen it somewhere before!

Eagle eyes - missed the ppt on Lasse's site. Will go back and look at that.

I assume you are well? How's the weather your side? We are back to floods again!!!!!!!!!!!! pretty bad ones up north and this is only September. i suspect that parts of the UK are going to have a VERY long winter season this year.

I'm going to try and get out in Arwen this weekend. I've spotted a weather window between somewhat savage wet depressions. I'll let you know how we get on. Take care


Joel Bergen said...

I couldn't be better, and the weather has been unusually good. I haven't been out sailing since the PT Festival ended on Sept 9th though. It's the middle of salmon fishing season here now, so all the boat launches are an absolute madhouse of fishing boats. I've been fishing on a friend's boat and catching up on my neglected Honey-Do list. Fishing is the best we've had in many many years. I do hope to get at least one more sail in before the rains start. Hope you have a good sail.

Anonymous said...


The red rope is the main downhaul. I have installed a very similar system on Good Enough. The lower block is fixed and the upper block has a short length of high-tech rope attached that runs up through the deck. The upper end of this rope is attached to the tack of the sail. The major limitation of this system is that you have a bit less than a foot of adjustment.

In use, I fully slack the downhaul before hoisting the main, then haul her up and sweat the halyard to begin tensioning the luff. Only then do I really dial up the tension with the downhaul. I have found that it works quite well. It is nice to be able to handle all the lines from down IN the boat, as opposed to having to lean over the foredeck very far.

Finally, I completely agree with your accessment of this new Navigator: Gorgeous! Well done Lasse!


steve said...

hey two of my favourite on line people in one go.
Wayne where have you been? Good to hear from you - hope you and family are well. I did install a similar system on Arwen but found I couldn't get sufficient tension - you can see the holes on Arwen's deck. Now I just do the downhaul straight into the cockpit.

Joel - you know how to kick a man when he's down sir - salmon fishing, best season etc etc - please!!!!!!!!!! I haven't caught a bass all year!!

Good to hear from you both - will try to get out on the water tomorrow