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, 7 June 2015


Spontaneity is getting up at six o'clock on a sunny Sunday morning and making the rapid decision that time and tide wait for no man so it's 'make all haste' to get the boat down to the ramp and launched!!!
What should have been happening was a) gardening and b) marking, lesson preparation and reading.
Sometimes though, that call of the sea, is just too powerful to ignore. 

Guilt is beginning to take hold of me now as I type this post. I'm feeling slightly irresponsible!

Hello! That's a rare sight! Something definitely out of place in the sound!
Yup! Definitely not what I was expecting.......Plymouth, 'the Miami 'of the west country! Well who would have thought it!

 I saw her coming in. I am amazed at how they manage to turn her in such a small space!

All quiet in the car park - no fishermen or stray 'leads' zooming overhead. Phew!!
It was a wonderful morning sail. A falling tide from 5.0 m. Everything went like clockwork until hoisting the sail out in the sound when a series of small events took place which sort of sum up my worsening absent mindedness. First attempt? I'd forgotten to unclear the downhaul. Second attempt and I'd forgotten to remove the very last sail tie. Third attempt and one of the slab reefing lines came undone and disappeared. Fourth attempt, and I must say, most infuriatingly, I'd got the lazy jacks crossed over somehow. Now I did attempt to climb the mast to try and reach it given it was flat calm with no breeze. But that mast was a slippery sucker.......and two metres up I was suffering vertigo holding on for grim death with knees locked around that mast. Consequently I just unthreaded the lazy jack entirely, hanked it all up and made a mental note to try and avoid being an incompetent idiot in future.

On the plus side, I gave 800 people eating their breakfast on the east side cabin balconies of a moored cruise liner, much to laugh about. That's just the way, never a cruiser liner around when it's going o so well, the tiniest mistake, and a whopping big one is there to witness your shame and humiliation.

A small navy ship is escorted out across the sound, taking the full way, across to Jennycliffe Bay and then diagonally back across the sound to exit at the western entrance.

the early risers; it is 09.30 and some are getting onto one of our tourist boats to be dropped off at the Barbican landing stage

 A few people were breakfasting out on their starboard balconies, soaking  up the early morning sunshine

Do you think it may be people from the Bahamas coming here for a holiday?
Probably not!!
Tenders plied backwards and forwards from the cruiser liner to Millbay docks, disgorging tourists to our fair city and one or two of our tourist boats managed to go alongside as well. I had this terrible urge to go alongside and offer up bags of Devon fudge, pineapples and jars of clotted cream whilst dressed as a Devon pirate! 
The RFA Black Rover was moored up near the breakwater and I have to say I felt much better about my own disasters but very sorry for the owner of the speedboat that had somehow 'parked' itself on top of the breakwater. No seriously, it was on top of it, well above the tide height.  Now that truly is a disaster to befall some poor soul.

How?  I mean how......there are rocks right in front of the how did it happen?

I criss crossed the sound, inside and outside the breakwater. Huge Box jellyfish the size of household black dustbins drifted alongside Arwen, their huge creamy brown domes about 2m below the surface. I've been told there are thousands to be seen and many have washed up on local beaches. They are huge!!

No idea who she the time I had turned, she had set her sails and was out pacing me fast.......within fifteen minutes she was over in the lee of Penlee Point...........and I wasn't!!

In the afternoon, the sea breezes picked up and the broad reach back across the sound to Jennycliffe Bay was exhilarating. Arwen was making 5.9 knots, racing over wavelets and beating several larger vessels at one point. It is the fastest I have been in her and clearly has something to do with the sail alterations I made. Her upper yard was more forward of the mast; the sprit boom cleared my head. My friend, who suggested the alterations will be well pleased. 

So now it's time for marking and lesson preparation.......ugh! Back to earth with a bump!

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