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".

Monday, 3 December 2012

languishing in the doldrums!

I’ve been wondering about the joys of owning a small trailer sailor boat! Only I have forgotten what it is like to use one. Mine languishes forlornly on the drive, hoping her owner will take her for one last sail this year.

Moray McPhail, of Classic Boats once posed this conundrum:  ‘Why do I want a boat?

He mused that maybe answers should include:

·         To go sailing in

·         To potter around fixing things

·         To anchor, sit and read on

·         To go for an overnight camping trip on

·         To meet interesting people

·         To challenge oneself in adverse conditions

·         To get away from it all

·         To test one’s patience, fortitude, skill etc

I am sure there are many more reasons! Sadly I think I have forgotten them! I have a dim hazy recollection that owning a small sail boat demanded a set of skills that were unique. You had to know about tides, wind patterns, weather lore, passage planning; be able to read the rips and currents; interpret the channel bouyage; and know the quirkiness of your boat!

You had worked out things like weather helm; what to do with the mizzen when you tacked; and how to use the jib to turn more speedily through a tack. Your skill shone through when you could sail upwind in the lightest of summer breezes when all other boats lay idle, drifting in a malaise!

And so I wait. I wait for a weekend where I won’t work all day Sunday trying to catch up on the work I failed to complete that previous week. I wait for a spell of dry weather when the nation isn’t flooded! I wait for one of those crisp winter days when the sun shines; there is just enough breeze and no sign of rain; when the tides fall just right on a neap so that there isn’t a race back to the launch ramp to pull out Arwen before she is beached for two hours at low tide below where the ramp ends abruptly.

 I am extremely lucky. I own a boat. I own a Welsford boat. I built her myself and I know every plank, epoxy blob, fitting and creak! I know how she never sits properly on her trailer; how her sails always set with a crease which never disappears despite my best efforts. I know that some days she flies like the furies!

I have a dim recollection that this may have been the last time I sailed in Arwen this year with me good old Dad! we sailed around to the Yealm and back.

Christmas holidays. Please, please, please let there be a weather lull when tides and weather falls right. Arwen and I need to escape onto the water. We need space, and horizons to aim for; we need to feel the wind across our faces!

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