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 26 January 2019

Dinghy cruising a welsford navigator searching for the elusive Plymouth sound dolphin

Part two of this short series: searching for the elusive Plymouth Sound Dolphin

And here below is part one: breakfast at Cawsand

More in the Salcombe series will be available as soon as the weather is conducive to sailing and overnight camping in the estuary.

Monday 21 January 2019

Dinghy cruising John Welsford navigator Jaunty

Paul Ericson posted a great piece on FaceBook recently. He talked about his Jaunty Mahia Mission with a 50k downwind sail and centreboard up most of the way. With varying winds between 15 to 25 knots, they got up to 10 knots and managed a respectable 5 knots under jib and mizzen on some stages.

Jaunty was made famous by David Perillo many years ago. anyway, enjoy.

Thursday 17 January 2019

Roger Barnes and Dinghy Cruising RYA video

Sage words of wisdom and a well equipped and well tested boat for any eventuality. Roger's latest video with the RYA

Sunday 13 January 2019

Dinghy cruising a Welsford navigator breakfast at Cawsand

It seemed such a good idea when I woke at 3am and thought 'I'll go sailing today'

It was the thought of catching up with our dolphin friends what did it guv!

Thursday 10 January 2019

Dinghy cruising Dolphin in the river Tamar - crafty critters

so I missed the dolphins yesterday. I searched all day for them sailing all around the sound. My son took great delight in announcing when I got home that the tourist boats had had a field day looking at the dolphin today in the mouth of the Tamar. I was there! Just not there when the dolphin were. Crafty critters!

Wednesday 9 January 2019

Dinghy cruising: Frustration

This morning dawned minus 1C with iced cars and drive. The car parked opposite the drive hasn't been here for weeks and so I didn't take the boat off the drive yesterday. Yep, it returned late last night and didn't depart this morning until 11 am by which time I had missed the tides at the launch ramp. There is no chance of getting the boat off the drive if a car parks opposite anyway.

And to add to the frustration? Today there was a pod of ten common grey dolphin in the sound entertaining the lunch time crowds on the Hoe.

Right place, wrong time, as always!!

As I said, frustrating. Sooo frustrating!

Needless to say, the boat is off the drive ready for tomorrow. Lets hope the dolphin have decided to stay an extra day!

Hopefully tomorrow, the dreaded crease will be a thing of the past 

When he can get the boat off the drive!!

Tuesday 8 January 2019

sailing plans

........... have been amended.

With winds directly out of the north, sailing the Kingsbridge estuary is a pointless exercise so tomorrow is a sail around Plymouth Sound day. The intention is to sail from QAB over to Cawsand, stop off on the beach for a bacon sarnie and then sail up to Barn Pool and stop off the beach for a quick cuppa and then a return to QAB. A possible diversion might be up the Plym but that depends on what mood I am in.

Looking forward to the first sail of 2019. It will be chilly but fun

HT around 0730 5.05m  LT around 1350 1.2m
winds force 4 decreasing to less than force 3 around 8 kts gusting to 12kts. Sea state slight, visibility good. 

Friday 4 January 2019

Dinghy cruising preparing for forthcoming Salcombe sail

The trouble with winter camp cruising isn't the weather I have concluded but the issue of sunrise and sunset. Of course, I could be wrong on this! However, this weekend typifies what I mean.

The winds on Sunday and Monday will be pleasant so no huge gusts and no wind chill to contend with. I'd like to sail from Batson Creek up to Kingsbridge and overnight there before sailing back down and around the outer estuary on the Monday. Tides will be 18.22 and 4.9m on Sunday evening and 0645 and 4.9m on Monday morning. Kingsbridge is accessible around 2 hrs either side of high water on this tide height. Or so I have been told by locals today.

It starts getting dark around 16.30 and I would have around 2 or 3 miles of sailing to do to get up to Kingsbridge from the Frogmore creek entrance.
Ho hum. Do I risk it? I could motor the last section if need be under a white nav light on the mast. The little marina basin  at Kingsbridge is well lit so I wouldn't have problems putting up the tent.
On the Monday morning, I'd have to collapse the tent in the dark and then motor down rapidly to the deeper water before the tide drains out. This would have to be under a white nav light again.

Decisions, decisions.
Alternatively I could wait for an early afternoon high tide, a week later and sail then?
Phew, tough decisions this winter sailing lark!

In the meantime, a stroll over Snapes Point afforded some photo opportunities with the new camera and my DJ Spark Drone.

batson creek salcombe
 Looking across to Salcombe and along to the Batson Creek fish quayside

Looking back up Batson Creek as the tide starts to flood

Salcombe on a gloomy January afternoon 
Calm has returned as the population falls from its summer peak of 20,000 to its winter number of around 1500 permanent residents

So many conversions and new builds

sailing in salcombe
The passenger ferry continues to ply its way across the fairway

south pool creek salcombe
The entrance to South Pool Creek, one of my 'planned' future trips 

The 'Bag' area

Serenity, all the visiting yachts from summer have melted away

frogmore creek in salcombe and kingsbridge estuary
The entrance to Frogmore Creek with the Salt Stone mid channel on the left

Looking up river to Kingsbridge in the distance