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

Sunday 18 February 2018

DCA south west group meeting

I spent a very pleasant afternoon and evening yesterday with some talented, good humoured, enthusiastic and knowledgeable people talking boats, sailing destinations along the SW west coast and other bits and pieces. It was  real pleasure and joy to listen to people sharing their boat building and restoration stories along with tales of small boat cruises.

A pub lunch, lovely walk along the river, cuppa in a local café followed by anther pub evening meal and meeting after.

I picked up a number of ideas. Bearing buddies for the trailer was one. A really good informal demonstration and explanation of the navionic chart app for android phones was another. I arrived at the realisation that maybe my white tarp and water pipe cockpit tent may need a slight upgrade (although I don't dinghy cruise often enough to warrant the outlay on something like a duck cotton tent).

Another handy hint, carry a small pot of touch up paint and when there is a scratch or ding, sand it immediately and paint over. Oh how I wished I'd thought of that one so long ago - it would have saved such current anguish over the state of Arwen and the need for this winter refit.

In listening to people and their various stories and experiences it did occur to me that I really don't know enough about sail trimming and rig tuning to get the best out of Arwen. Having sailed for seven years now - I've only averaged around 8 trips a year and most of those are day sails. In terms of sailing hours I guess Arwen and I have amassed something like 400 hrs of sailing since first learning in a laser 1.

I need to contact some navigator sailors, specifically those using the standing lug sail sprit boom yawl configuration. I need specific rig tuning advice and tips.

In the meantime, lots has been achieved: the rudder restoration, new mast supports when trailering boat, a galley box built, a broken cleat replaced, mast fittings tightened and odd shackles replaced, boomkin checked, floor rails on anchor buckets, collapsible sleeping platform built and fitted, mast re-varnished, some hull dents filled, sanded and painted .

So what is outstanding in this refit/refurbishment?
  • replacing a through coaming fitting which came loose where the furling line runs
  • installing a bilge pump
  • repairing a slight crack in the mast foot box
  • making a cover to go over mast slot in thwart to sop rainwater collecting in it when Arwen is on the drive
  • repainting cockpit sole with interdeck grey paint, which I may even extend up onto the rear   cockpit thwart tops
  • some trailer maintenance - re-greasing rollers, replacing a missing rear roller side roller, cleaning wheel rims which have rusted over time, re-inflating tyres to correct pressures after resting over winter
  • moving some hatches from thwart side bulkheads to actual thwart tops
  • sanding and recoating rubbing strips and gunnel rubbing strake
  • painting hull interior
  • new varnish to coaming seat backs
Arwen has been neglected for seven years so I guess  its hardly surprising some remedial work needs doing. After all she lives under a tarp on the drive most of her life and I've been remiss in maintaining her. Those odd little jobs that needed doing, well they amassed over time!!

No comments: