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, 13 February 2021

A talk by John Welsford

 I have just had the privilege of listening to John do a zoom talk to the Dinghy Cruising Association. It was about boat design and John took us through the steps and considerations he goes through when designing his boats.

It was a extraordinary talk and just showed what a greater thinker and designer he is. From the comments it was clearly very well received. 

I love the navigator design. I just wish I could do justice to the design and sail Arwen better.

 I think the talk was recorded and it will be available at some stage, probably on the DCA website.

If you are interested in boat design or John's designs, this is a talk worth listening to. 

When lock down is lifted, I will get back in Arwen and endeavour to sail her better this year. It's understanding sail trimming that lets me down each time.  The navigator is an excellent boat, if only her skipper could do better 🙄


Lester Searle said...

Shame you are not nearer Steve - we could sail in company. I know what you mean about "skipper limited" I keep finding "Leighton" can do things I didn't know about!!! I suppose that's why its so much fun.
Cheers, Lester

steve said...

I have learned that John is a patient and very forgiving soul. He is also very fortunate that the overwhelming majority of people who build his boats actually know how to sail them.

I learned to sail over two courses RYA1 and 2 on a laser in the Med. Since then I have been playing catch up. I built Arwen because I liked her. I didnt have a clue about her rig and just went with the standing lug sail yawl configuration. Hadn't a clue really.
Still don't.
However, I have managed to sail to some interesting places. I haven't hit anything yet although there have been odd scrapes with pontoons and mooring buoys. I only sail within my limits - which is not a good way to learn - but is a good way of lessening the risk to the public.

I like pottering in the boat; an occasional adventure along the coast in reasonable conditions is a bonus. It does not show the capabilities of John's extraordinary navigator design in any way at all - I leave that to other navigator owners to do.

if you ever come down this way with you boat and I am around and not travelling in the motorhome or off on some daft travel expedition somewhere, then yes, lets go sailing our boats together - it would be great fun.

jshaley said...

Steve, I appreciate your blog because I consider myself an infant when it comes to sailing as well. I've actually owned a string of dinghies but mostly putter around on small lakes with shifty winds. And similar circumstances for selecting a design from JW. There IS something about Navigator. But then SCAMP seems to be designed for what I want to do (very similar to your adventures). Walkabout adds better rowing. Sweetpea offers a nice place to get out of the weather. The Whaler rivals crew capacity of the Caldonia yawl. Getting dizzy.

steve said...

JsHaley - hello - thank you for the kind comment. I think John's new design 'Long Steps' will be the boat that beats them all. That is a true sail and oar raid boat and extremely well designed as you would expect. If I was building a new boat then it would be a scamp or the new long steps without a doubt.