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 31 October 2013

rollers and centreboard tackle update

fixing the roller has cost £15.00 and took ten minutes. A frustrating expense.


the old roller - the one plastic insert had shattered; the other had managed to squeeze itself well inside

The star washer was a bit tricky but then I remembered an old trick - taking a socket the same diameter and putting a clamp on the rear end to stop the pin from sliding out the other end, it was a simple matter to tap on the star washer.

Alas, despite several intensive searches I was unable to find a similar smaller roller but a spare castor roller I had has sufficed.

In the meantime the block/tackle set up for the centreboard is now complete.

 I've put on some simple ply washers to fill the gaps where I managed to mis-measure (see previous post) and now they seem to work fine. My only concern now is that the double block fits down inside the centreboard casing!!! Now given my mathematical inabilities who wants to take a bet on it fitting well?


Repairing the trailer

Would have gone sailing today but discovered that the rear trailer v roller is in worse state that first realised. The plastic inserts either end had shattered but the hairline cracks hadn't shown up on initial inspection. Only when I dropped it on my foot by accident last night did I discover the fractures......several of the plastic not my foot.......although it was heavy enough to hurt!

So it's off to Marine Bazaar in the hope that they have a 7" roller v shape. With a bit of luck the other parts should arrive from trailer trek today as well which means I can refit the offending roller structure today or tomorrow. I am not happy about securing it with a star press washer affair but I have no choice. I can't get a roller spindle long enough that has split pins either end. Infuriating. Neither can I drill through the old spindle I have. Doubly infuriating.

The roller has done well with fairness. It is six years old, constantly immersed in salt water and takes the whole weight of the boat initially on winching until it tips downwards onto the remaining rollers. So there has been plenty of stress on it over the years.

I'll do a post on fitting it sometime this weekend.


Thor and Greenwich

Funny coincidence
Wrote a post about Greenwich. Went to see the new Thor movie in evening. Can't say I liked what they did to Greenwich but it would have been awesome to have seen them filming it there. I'm a bit of a 'marvel' fan....sad but true!


The National Maritime Museum at Greenwich

Greenwich is London's hidden gem. Across on the south bank it is a mixture of elegant buildings housing the Royal Naval college; the maritime museum and then the Royal Park with the Royal Observatory. Sadly the park was closed and that is the only access to the observatory. the high winds had damaged trees and heath and safety gurus were taking no chances; and whilst I understand this.......I am gutted. I was so looking forward to the Prime Meridian, Harrison's clocks and the observatory. Still, there is another excuse for going up to London next year.

I'm not sure what to make of the Maritime museum. Again, it wasn't what I was expecting. I sort of wandered around and had done everything within two hours. I enjoyed it, don't get me wrong....but I was left with a nagging feeling 'is this it?'

Am I expecting too much? Am I missing out on things in my search for perfection I forget to enjoy what is there? Things to ponder on.

ah...before us the masts of the Cutty sark

The Royal Naval college at Greenwich

Across the water, Canary Wharf...and 'the storm'!

The National Maritime Museum

All the photos below are copyrighted to the Maritime Museum

I think this is an Enterprise dinghy

 Another fine collection of figureheads

this is King Frederick's Royal Barge

the carving and gold leaf work is truly stunning craftsmanship

and the marquetry on this rudder is exquisite

the facial expression on these lions - all hand carved

The front end of the Royal barge

an elegant craft built for speed

there were many fine models

showing the design of many fine ships

I found this part of the collection fascinating

a portrait miniature of Lady Emma Hamilton
she was a beauty

a note from Nelson to Emma: copyright the maritime museum

this was the uniform worn by Nelson when he was shot
The ball hole can be seen just below the epaulette on his left shoulder

a wall mural showing the launch of another navy frigate

and an oil painting depicting a similar launch

this is a half tonne model of the King George V

a half tonne

the catapult plane
Pilots would have to ditch and then be recovered
I'm not sure what their survival rates were like

Wednesday 30 October 2013

The Cutty Sark, Greenwich

was definitely worth a visit although actually in reality there wasn't much to see if the truth be told. The SS Great Britain Collection at Bristol is far more interesting but then I may well be very unfair to the Cutty Sark here. It is an extremely impressive restoration but I was expecting more......some artefacts; more about the tea trade; perhaps it just hasn't survived.

The ship was however extremely impressive and I had a pleasant hour wandering and having a bite to eat in the café beneath her hull (yep - I think probably the best placed café in the whole of London  - where else could you eat cakes beneath a 280' long clipper?)

the bow end with a rather impressive bowsprit

this isn't the original rudder - its a jury rigged rudder

one of the few displays

this is how the iron work looks - skeleton style

these were the only sort of artefacts on board

a model of what she would have looked like

she didn't only carry coal; wool from Australia was another cargo

up towards her bow, port side 

exterior gunnel's

the ship's bell
Cutty Sark is a Scottish girl's short nightdress style undergarment

just one of the many, many......many blocks in the rigging

way off in the distance....Nando's and across the river, Canary Wharf

three masts, miles of rigging and loads of spars

how did they remember which rope did what?

the door to the port heads
lovely varnish work

I need to learn how to do this in Arwen!

ship shape and Bristol fashion

that wood is beautiful

over there is the Shard, the latest addition to the London skyline

we mused on what it must have been like up there during the morning gusts of 70 mph!!!!

crew quarters

all that hemp
I wonder how many miles of rigging are on board?

a mind boggling array of spars

the stern end with lifeboats
on the left are the captain's and crew quarters

whipping that is exemplary

the chicken coop

on the mizzen mast

the ship's wheel and the stern rudder gears

ship's binnacle compass

the captain's quarters

mess area

ship's pantry

the ship's fire buckets

underneath - the gallery and cafe

hey I remember these tins as a kid.........
a treat was mum allowing us to dip a spoon into the treacle

looking along the keel to the bow

a collection of ship's figures

the copper clad hull, only it is a mixture of copper and something else which I forget!

a decent latte

when you have a huge yummy choice of cakes and you cannot decide which to have, do the sensible thing, buy them all!

above the hull of the old ships; below the hull of the new clippers
no wonder they were faster!

more of the impressive collection of ships figurines

all come from ships from the 1800's

I was rather taken with this one

looking along the keel from the bow

some rudder strap!