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

Monday, 25 August 2014

Award ceremonies and flying

'Her in-doors' got an award for being a fantastic, determined beginner windsurfer. Not sure whether she was thrilled to go up on stage but I know and love that persistent, stubborn, 'do or die' streak of hers. 

I duly received my Powerboat level two qualification and identity card along with another level two dinghy sailing qualification. It has been a good week's learning. Most of the theory on safety, clothing, chart work, pre departure checks, trailering etc I knew, obviously. But I still learned new things.....leave your trailer bearings to cool for at least thirty minutes for every hour towed was a new one on me. Learning how to do various tows another useful skill and perfecting some light wind sailing techniques a bonus. Everything in the rib was new to me. Challenging, I like that. Of course, it will be even more challenging going in tidal waters!

It would be nice to do other courses with Neilson but they don't do the ones I want or need. The new RYA dinghy qualification scheme has become a hierarchical modular system as I interpret it. You can't do seamanship and day sailing without having done levels one to three. Consequently it seems daft and very frustrating that Neilson do level one and two and three advanced modules ......performance sailing, beginning with spinnakers and starting racing.......yet they omit level three. As an intermediate dinghy sailor then, I cannot sign up for the other courses because I can't do level three with them. Daft frankly....come on Neilson......sort it out, please!

As I write this, we are over the alps. I am amazed at how much snow there is on some mountains now, in the height of summer. Many glaciers I know and have climbed over, have sadly retreated far more than I expected. At 35,000 feet, it is a geographers paradise............everything I know about my subject can be bought to interpret the landscape below. Ribbon lakes, u shaped valleys, braided rivers with their sinuous meanders. Transchmance farming. Down in the valleys on the small fragments of floodplain, summer arable crops. Away to my left, the Mt. Blanc massif, climbed and scrambled over way back in the early eighties. It seems a lifetime ago.....when I weighed in considerably less and ran mountain marathons for fun..........gee.......what happened?

Having crossed the sun drenched alps with their cotton wool clouds, the landscape has become obscured by a blanket of lower stratus. It thins in places allowing the sun to illuminate below, reflecting off buildings, lakes and rivers. The Swiss landscape. 

I love flying......all geographers's a sort of 'bus mans holiday'. I just wish I'd just once, remember to bring my pocket atlas.......I forget it every time!

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