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".

Thursday, 17 April 2014

a definition of ironic

the other day I asked Steve of 'Spartina' fame to explain how the ship had come aground.....he'd posted another superb photo of a very large freighter just stuck on a beach. I wondered if it was error, a storm, a dragging anchor etc. He later posted an explanation....storm and dragging anchor.

So the irony bit.........I ran aground today in South Pool creek in the Kingsbridge estuary!  Now those of you knowing Salcombe will know that Easter is a busy time. Lots of people on beaches, especially during the spell of warm weather we have been having.

And there I was.........stuck on a mudflat.....sails up........going nowhere fast. 

How I arrived at this ignominy  is slightly hazy. Caught in one of those shifting wind positions as a wind squall came off a hillside in a totally opposite direction to the prevailing wind direction; I tacked rapidly to avoid some boats and..........there we were. No warning, no centreboard kicking up......just stuck in four inches of water.

I think it was quite funny......well I do now. At the time it was humiliating!  Still, an oar was deployed as a pole punting tool and slowly we drifted off...only to run aground against five metres further along. The wind had us pinned on that mudflat and the tide was still receding!

Sails were dropped; centreboard and rudder raised; outboard lifted out of water and slowly I poled Arwen head to wind. Then slowly using the oar as a punt pole Arwen began to shift off the mudflats; four inches of water..........eight inches..........oh awesome twelve inches of water beneath keel and suddenly we were free.


Sails raised rapidly and we headed for deeper water. Like towards the outer estuary kind of deeper water. An outgoing tide pushes us along; huge mats of green strand seaweed float by keeping pace with us.

I should have known it was going to be one of those days. I had to wait at the launch slip for  a tri-maran to be craned in. It was impressive boat handling. Anyway, digressing. Back to the fairway

 The East Portlemouth foot ferries ply to and fro across the fairway. Little ribs shoot by, the screams of glee from teenagers carried away on the wind. Families stretch out across the beaches; windbreaks are never seen at East one would be that common! Minimalist is how the Salcombe  beachergoer operates. Shoulder bag and straw mat.

The wind continued to be fickle. The topography of steep cliff sides and valleys between caused nasty sideways gusts. But Arwen coped; she heeled occasionally.....but carried on sailing through. Out in the estuary, away from the cliff sides, winds steadied and Arwen went to 5 knots. We sailed across the outer estuary towards Prawle Point before heading back inshore.

And then we joined the beach brigade.  It was really quite pleasant.



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