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

Wednesday, 6 October 2021

A new trailer update

 The date for collection has been arranged. The trailer has been built and some adaptations to a base model have been made. You can see what the base model looks like here in a previous post at

There are some adaptations being made to the base model and these include: 

  • 750kg weight and 500kg payload
  • a gap between mid tow ball to horizontal road below 430mm (so that when reversing onto my sloping driveway from road and pavement I should have 130mm clearance between base of trailer neck and road/pavement to prevent grounding
  • four keel rollers (the middle two fixed height and the fore and aft adjustable; and with the middle two rollers being wider ( 7” or 8” width rollers) due to the centreboard casing width)
  • 10” wheels and a spare wheel to carry in the car
  • two black rubber chock supports (possibly roller type) – adjustable height and tilting angle – able to fit either lengthways along hull or across the hull for additional support and lateral stability
  • The entire boat on trailer length fitting into a space 590cm long by 190 cm wide. (This includes the provision for the bowsprit and outboard bracket (BS = 94 cm long forward of stem and with addition end gap to coupling front edge to protect rear car window; OB extends 35cm further back from the transom rear.) This may necessitate fitting a longer central box section spine than on normal TL500 trailer
  • hull sides clearing the mudguard tops
  • there may be some boat overhang and I will need to adjust the boat along it to account for bowsprit clearance – so the overhang cannot be yet calculated – but we were talking of a trailer length of 5.40m and a possible overhang in the region of 50cm maximum in order to fit onto the driveway space of 5.90m
  • exploring whether there would be a way of ensuring that the boat stem engaged with the first roller immediately when retrieving to make the process of getting the boat back onto the trailer straight – more easier

All the measurements are based on our discussions when I visited the factory plus the A2 plans I provided at that time.  Also, I received lots of useful advice, tips and encouragement from some members on the Facebook Dinghy Cruising Forum. 

We have looked carefully at how to transfer Arwen from her old trailer to the new one and this is the plan we are going with. Simply, we will have the old trailer with Arwen still on her outside the house in front of the sloping driveway. The rusted nuts holding the winch stem post in place will have been soaked with WD40 for two days previously. The new trailer attached to the car will be placed in front of the old trailer.

We will then remove the winch post off the old trailer and lower this trailer down at the front onto a block so that the coupling is below the back of the new trailer. The new trailer will be reversed to overlap it slightly and then the jockey wheel on the old trailer will be removed. 

All being well, we will then attach the winch strap on the new trailer to Arwen's bow eye and then winch her forward so that her bow comes to rest on the rear roller of the new trailer. With people supporting her either side, we will then continue to winch her forward.  

At this point we then will probably have to do some adjustment to the front keel roller height and the winch post position on the new trailer.  As we move Arwen forward onto the new trailer, we should arrive at a situation where most of Arwen is on the new trailer and only her transom is left resting on the forward keel roller of the old trailer.  Hopefully by then, we should be able to pull the old trailer backwards and finish winching Arwen forward to the winch snub post on the new trailer.

Then we need to do the last adjustments on the new trailer so that she sits correctly against the winch post snubbing block; sits correctly on the keel rollers; adjust the height of the rear most keel roller and then sort out the side support rollers.  The critical dimension is simple. Arwen sat on the new trailer, from the tip of the coupling to the rear of her outboard bracket cannot exceed a length of 5.85m. Any more and she will not sit on the driveway. 

(The alternative, probably better method, is to just allow her to slide off the trailer down onto some car tyres or cushions and then winch her up onto the new trailer from there. However, with a very narrow road and limited space, and the need to be able to move either trailer immediately in the event a bus comes along, I will go with the transfer from trailer to trailer method. In this way, unless the bus comes along just at the very wrong moment (boat midway on both trailers), I should be able to quickly move boat and trailers around to create sufficient space for the bus to squeeze by.)

I have found a scarp dealer who will come and collect the old trailer on a low loader for free and take it away. We are keeping it around until the following week just in case any problems with the new trailer crop up, although there shouldn't be. I supplied careful measurements (quadruple checked) on an A3 drawing plan showing not only her length and width dimensions but also the rocker curve on her bottom hull. 

I think we have covered everything although I have to say I am quite nervous. At the moment my greatest worry isn't her fitting on the trailer. She will with some adjustments. Its that funny coupling connection and the angle of my sloping driveway up from the pavement outside. I am just praying that as I reverse the trailer off the road, over the kerb, off the pavement and onto the driveway, that the front part of the trailer doesn't 'ground'.

If it does, the only think I can think of is to cut up some old car tyres and strap it to the base of the trailer to take the abrasion. It will literally come down to a matter of two or three centimetres! 

Fingers crossed then! 

If all goes well, I hope to be doing a few short winter sails before the end of November, weather permitting. These include

  • finishing off my sail around the River Plym and all its hidden little corners
  • overnighting up the river Tavy at Bere or Lopwell dam area
  • overnighting up Kingsmill creek on the river Tamar
  • launching at Salcombe and doing an overnight up at Frogmore Creek and/or Kingsbridge itself


Matt’s Navigator said...

I am pleased that you have a new trailer sorted for Arwen. I like your idea of how you will move her across to the new trailer, good luck with the move.

steve said...

Thanks Matt. I think it will I can do is give it a try and see what happens . How is your build going?

Matt’s Navigator said...

Hi Steve, hope the tooth is sorted. I received the sails from Jeckells a couple of weeks ago, the masts and spars are made. I now need to fit the jaws to the boom and gaff spar then varnish. I have just ordered all the fittings and rope so will be occupying my spare time sorting her ready for her first sail.

steve said...

Hi Matt - tooth sorted. You have made heaps of progress. exciting isn't it? when do you think you will get her fully kitted out and launched - do you have an aim date?