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

Saturday, 31 March 2018

the refit continues

Progress has been good over the last few weeks. I have never done any maintenance work on Arwen over the last six years or so, mainly because of work and family commitments. But, retirement brings with it time and so this winter I have endeavoured to try nd put things right.

So in the last few weeks, what's been achieved?

  • spars have been stripped back, rounded, sanded, varnished, painted, leathered and fixings reattached
  • rudder has been repainted
  • loose fittings on tiller tightened
  • the circular 8" hatches taken out of the front thwart bulkhead, old sealant stripped off and hatches cleaned and replaced
  • the under deck locker hatch has had its lock fittings cleaned and tightened
  • anchor trays have been cleaned and wooden runners attached so they sit better in the foot wells of the front cockpit area
  • anchors and rodes and shackles checked
  • life jackets cleaned and cylinders checked
  • new sleeping platforms made
  • new mast and spar transport supports made for when trailering Arwen
  • outboard cleaned and lightly serviced
  • new outboard bracket attached (with the back to front mis-hap - imagine eye rolling emoji inserted here!) 
  • sail stitching checked and sails cleaned
  • all running tackle checked and frayed rope ends rewhipped 
  • outer hull dinks and dings cleaned and repainted
  • mast refurbished and re-rigged
  • new cord loops and deck eye fittings along hull interior sides (for clipping in camping gear)
What's left to do?

  • leathering the oars
  • painting the hull interior (big dilemma - do I keep it white hull interior with light grey Interdeck non slip floors OR do I just paint everything light grey inside? white shows the marks, when scratched, undercoat shows through etc - I really can't decide on this one)
  • attaching the bronze star casting given to me as a birthday present from my wife - trying to decide where best location is for that - it looks lovely
  • trailer maintenance
  • sand blasting some old tyre interiors - the tyres are great, the metal work they attach to rusted away - if I can get someone to sand blast them for me and if i can insert inner tubes (because the metal rims are rusted way in places - i will have two spare wheels for trailer) 
In the meantime, I spent the long cold winter evenings doing a lot of thinking about my lack of sail understanding. Often accused of overthinking things, I went back to my default setting - and questioned everything I do. I then read a number of books and consulted with a good friend, who has the patience of a saint. The end result is several 'articles' which Chuck and Mike , at Duckworks Magazine graciously published on Chuck's site.

I have posted 'abridged' versions on the blog but if you havent seen them and are interested, if you use the menu on the right hand side and scan through 2017 and 2018, you will find the posts; alternatively, go to Duckworks Magazine.

The 'articles', some accompanied with videos on my YouTube channel have been on

  • building a galley box for Arwen - part 1 and part 2
  • Creating sailing videos - a trilogy of articles  covering equipment, videoing techniques and post editing, setting up your YouTube channel
  • setting up the standing lug rig on a welsford navigator - part 1 - don't make my mistakes; part 2 - my understanding of how to get the best out of the rig based on my very limited experiences thus far. 
Seven 'articles'. I hope they are use to someone; if nothing else they have certainly clarified my own thinking. 

Not long to go - I need a spell of several days of settled, dry weather to paint the hull interior outside on the drive and then Arwen will be slipping back into the water.
I have some extensive sailing plans for this season, hopefully resulting in some more articles........and certainly better honing of my limited sailing skills. 

if you have a view on whether I should keep the interior white or go for light-ish grey, please let me know; I am so indecisive on this one. 

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