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

Tuesday 31 December 2019

Happy New Year

Wherever you may be, whether you be sailing or not, Happy New Year to you all and may 2020 bring all that you desire.

Monday 30 December 2019

Sorting what I carry and where I store it

One of the things I must do is go back through what I carry on-board Arwen and re-think where I store it all.

Back in May 2010 I stored things like this

Recently, I have been storing things like this...

I'm sure I carry way too much.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Some of the posts from 2019.......

May I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
Over the festive season, if you need a quick fix of dinghy cruising nautica, here are some of the posts from 2019.....

I managed to sail up two rivers without resorting to the outboard. I started to learn some canvas work skills, built a set of oars and reshaped the yard and boom. I added five new videos to my YouTube channel at

I saw plenty of wildlife, visited some lovely traditional boatyards and met wonderful new people.

Anyway, have a wonderful festive break - see you out on the water in 2020.

Finally in print

Sailing back from the river Yealm

Making a sailors ditty bag

Making new shrouds for Arwen

Note: these are the old shrouds - I made new ones out of dyneema

Building a new pair of oars - part 11

Sailing up South Pool creek

Charging a VHF using portable power banks

A day sail around Plymouth Sound

Getting great photographs of your boat out on the water

Safety considerations  - what do you carry in your PFD?

Making galley boxes - an update

Friday 20 December 2019

Finally in print

I have over the years had a number of articles published in educational journals; I've contributed chapters to some books as well.  But never until now have I written anything non-educational that has been published before.

Part One with part two to follow in the spring bulletin. I hope people enjoy it and that I haven't wasted their time or pages in what is an outstanding magazine.

It took a lot of coffee inspiration 

But here we have it - six pages in a brilliant magazine

Sunday 8 December 2019

Boat trailers

Arwen's boat trailer is 10 years old and still going well. There have been several bearing changes and three sets of tyre and inner wheel changes as well over this time.

The trailer was designed for a rib and is extendable from 14 - 21'. I got it at a very knock down price, which was all I could afford at the time.

The problem with the trailer is its design. The hard rigid plastic rollers play havoc with the lapstrake design of Arwen's hull and so the paint regularly gets slightly damaged and flakes off leaving grey patches on the bottom planks and hull base.

Thank heavens, there were three top coats, three undercoats and three grey coats over the fibreglass!

Cut to the chase - I saw this picture of a trailer for a navigator, Now I am wondering whether I could remove the side rollers and replace them with bunk planks?

Thursday 5 December 2019

Winterising Arwen

Winter is coming.......chilly winds, frosts, damp fogs.

Arwen has been winterised. I was holding out for a December/January sail or even an overnight up Frogmore Creek at Salcombe but its not looking promising. Even with a new tarp cover, moisture is building up in her cockpit which always leads to mould. So everything is now on the work bench in the garage and all the damp has been wiped out of her. If I go for a New Year sail I will just have to put time aside to re-rigging her again.

This is what happens when others fill your garage with 'stuff'. 
You end up having to use your work bench as a storage place!!

In the meantime, one article has been submitted; the other one is being drafted now and hopefully will be dispatched next week. Then a short break and a few more for the spring. Writing sailing articles is a new venture for me. I've written for plenty of educational journals before but that's an entirely different style and format. Steep new learning curve! I'm not feeling very confident but going outside your comfort zone is always a good thing to do once in a while.

Hopefully a toasted tea cake covered in Marmite will fuel inspiration