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, 18 May 2014

A John Welsford Navigator

Is a lovely boat. Roomy; a boat you sit in rather than on; simple to sail; elegant, classic lines. And always mistaken for a Drascombe Lugger.
It happens all the time. "Oh what a lovely drascombe"! "Damn fine boats are drascombes, you'll love sailing her"

It happened four times yesterday whilst Arwen was on the road and I was working on her. One lovely lady in her late forties insisted it was a drascombe because she'd sailed in one as a youngster and it had "lovely tan sails"!!!!!!

Please understand I have nothing against a drascombe. Lovely boat. BUT a Welsford navigator just doesn't look like a drascombe does it!

Yesterday was the hottest day of the year in Plymouth and the sun shone all day. We hit 23 Celsius! So yesterday morning I caught up with all those odd jobs that needed doing, putting Arwen 'shipshape' for next weekend's voyage up the Lynher. The new sleeping platform was tested. It will work, just. It is a section of 4mm ply reinforced below by two 80mm wide lengths of wood. It slots across the port side of the aft cockpit section, resting on the aft and centre and side thwarts. So no more trying to sleep on a narrow side thwart. It also gives temporary storage space under it. Or I can put inflatable buoyancy bags underneath to support it should my weight prove too much!  When put away it now resides along the starboard side of the front half of the cockpit, held in place by strong white bungee elastics.

I also fitted two small buoyancy bags either side of the centre case. Some is better than none at all. Again, removable if need be, they are held in place by strong white bungee elastic. The third one I have I may well use as mast head buoyancy on a halyard on the mast. It would work but I don't know about the wind dynamics. It shouldn't interfere with the normal working of jib or mainsail but I will ponder on it some more. I need to rig another halyard anyway for an anchor light.

I also found new storage places along the little side deck strip on the starboard side of the forward centre case for my safety harness. It comprises a long 5m, 12mm rope with a proper blue safety harness attached to that. I've tied it around the centre case area which runs between forward end of centre case and front thwart with a bowline. It is held in place by, you have guessed, some circles of white bungee elastic. The GoPro extension pole also lives along the same little side deck and is now much more easily accessible.

All ropes got trimmed yesterday as well. As some readers will have deduced from posts over many years, the sheer amount of "spare string" on Arwen  has irritated me and so I resolved to get it sorted yesterday. The jib halyard got trimmed so that now there is just enough to tie off with.  The main sheet was trimmed. I pushed the boom out tight against the shrouds and then trimmed the main sheet, leaving some spare length on it. I still managed to remove 5m....ridiculous length! What was I thinking of when it was put it on originally? Other halyards were trimmed or frayed ends cut and redone.

The anchor was extracted and the rope sorted and loosely flaked back in. Its gone a yellowy tinge of off white but still seems fine. I also added a couple more GoPro mounts in strategic places.

The last task was fitting lacing hooks under the bottom rubbing strakes ready for the tarpaulin tent. I ordered a new white tarp and tarp tape with the hope of cutting it to size this weekend but alas it did not arrive in time. So that will be next Saturday's job along with sorting the camping gear, buying food etc.

I have managed to obtain a mooring on a trot up at St Germans so won't need to anchor although I have been told that if the owner returns then I can anchor safely overnight to the east of that trot, taking the ground on level mud. That will be fine as well.

So, slowly but surely everything falling into place.

Arwen's next trip will be our 75th and my 300th hour sailing her. I'm looking forward to it.

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