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".

Sunday, 16 March 2014

Some musings.....

Well I didn't win the eurolottery. £107,000,000 and one winner! Well good luck to them and I hope they enjoy it, it changes their life for better and they can bring joy and happiness to many. In the meantime, its Saturday morning. 'Her in doors' is still snuggled under the duvet. Most favourite daughter (I only have the one) is up after her night out; favoured son (again the only one I have so I supposed I ought to favour him to bits really) is getting ready to head out to his volunteering job with a national conservation charity and I have the kitchen to myself. The garden view from kitchen window is one of unkempt devastation. The grass is long and coarse, daffodils poke through it, scattered up the hill slope, bringing a touch of colour to a drab green and tired landscape. In the top distance the tree house with its tent looks shredded and forlorn. Brambles dominate the the top garden and the woods look scruffy. Much work to be done but hey it's Saturday so maybe not today.

Kate Humble is on the radio chatting about 'lambing live' and all feels well after a tough, tough, tough week in school.  Nough said on that one really.

I continue to learn some lovely little nuggets as I read through 'the dinghy cruising companion'. I find it a good read but I'm not sure what very experienced dinghy cruisers or sailors would make of it. I hope they would find plenty in the low key, authoritative but gentle writing style of the author. Much of it is basic common sense and sound advice and insight.

 But, as a novice sailor, well some of it is gold dust; some of it is 'doh!' moments as you realise that the sentence you have just read contained such a simple, common sense nugget of advice that you can't believe you haven't done it yet. I'm having plenty of 'doh!' moments!!!

The book sits on the kitchen table in front of's sides festooned with those little 'post it' book marks you can buy which stick out of pages on which you have found something relevant or essential. I can see over 50 of these little stickers and I'm only third of the way through.

Kate is talking about aquaponic green houses.....her voice is like liquid honey poured over pancakes or cream squirted into hot chocolates..........yummy, comforting; a child like enthusiasm just emanates from her voice....curiosity, excitement about anything to do with nature and the outdoors .......she's lovely.

Anyway, digressing.

So things catching my attention this morning

1. Why aren't my jib cleats inside the boat on wedge shaped blocks so it is easier to pull sheets into and out of them when sat out on the side deck?
2. My centreboard case top has a hole with a bung for when the centreboard gets stuck. I have a broom handle that fits the hole........but I don't carry a mallet or hammer to hit the pole so that it forces the centreboard back down........doh!
3. Why haven't I got a lead line on board? It does seem rather vital in a cruising, creek crawling dinghy
4. If you use the formula in the book, Arwen's oars should be around 10'6" in length......oops.......mine are at least 3' too short
5. How dim can I be? I have an out haul anchoring system for beaches but here is a simpler approach for the odd occasions.........tie a rope to the crown of the anchor, flake out sufficient scope into the bottom of the boat, balance the anchor on the stern transom deck and then shove the boat out. All being well the anchor drops off the back, Arwen swings around to lie at anchor and I have a rope which can be tied to a large rock up on the beach. When I need Arwen, I just haul the rope, break out the anchor, and drag it up the beach along with Arwen.
6. I've just learnt how to moor Arwen to a very tall breakwater or harbour wall - all the mooring rope arrangements and calculations needed. Simple.......lovely stuff.
7. Learnt more about my sailing rig and how to rig it more efficiently than at present

Anyway, the 15 min dip ins that I do are really throwing up all sorts of new knowledge that I frankly I should have known. But rule 101 of teaching - you don't know what you don't know!

Lots to think about and practise over the next few sails at Easter! Great fun!



Bursledon Blogger said...

Steve, you live by the sea, have a great family,a get to sail a great boat that you built - some might say you've already won the lottery of life.

Not sure about items 1-7, how often will you really need them? for example lead line on a dinghy? I've used the centre board as a depth sounder for years, gently making our way into the shallows if you're going faster than that will you really be able to use a lead line? having done the bigger and bigger boat and then back again simple and easy works for me.



steve said...

Probably right on all counts max
Congratulations on grand daughter

Tough week at school; getting back in perspective after a walk in the sun

Thanks for the reminder....appreciated. The photo of your daughter and child is fantastic by he way