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

Thursday 18 November 2021

Trailer modifications all done by Admiralty Trailers of Honiton

 A 'well done' shout out to Admiralty Trailers. We always knew getting Arwen to fit on her new trailer would be by trial and error. She's a 'beamy' lady to say the least. 

This morning, on arrival and after brief initial discussions,  I was dispatched to a local cafe for an hour .... The Aviator at Dunkerswell aerodrome ..... coffee, a bacon roll, a chat with a small plane pilot and some banter with first time skydiving jumpers on their coffee break. A very pleasant, good-humoured and informative hour. I learned loads. 

On my return the team had fitted three spacer bars to lift the frame higher up on its axle. Now there is plenty of hull clearance over the mudguards.  They also moved the wheel axle forward to give better balance and nose hitch weight. They adjusted the support bunks to a better position under a junction point where three internal thwart bulkheads meet and I got some tips on how to tie Arwen down better and more securely as well, so that she wouldn't move forward or sideways under extreme braking conditions. A winter project will be to make some side deck support blocks which are slightly higher that the coaming and the full width of the side deck. The ratchet straps will go on these rather than across the coaming. 

The drive back was quite illuminating. No rattles, less swinging (although that was very marginal anyway); the trailer is a single beam one so it does flex slightly more than the old one. In the rear view mirror the bow looks as if it is permanently shaking very slightly but its only the beam flexing a little.

 This had already led to a discussion earlier about where to store the two anchors, their chains and rode when going to and from the slipway. A bit of a fiddle but the anchor trays will now go amidships either side of the centre-case and then on arrival at the slip I will move them forward and strap them in their normal place. It will take just a few minutes. 

We couldn't find an appropriate place to bolt on the spare tyre and apart from which we all had mixed views on whether the spare wheel should go on the trailer or not. They are easily stolen unless locked on with a bike lock; if put horizontally they collect rainwater and the rims start rusting etc. I'm opting to just carry it in the car boot. 


So, all being well, back on the water from the end of next week. And, an added bonus, practically all of the hull is now accessible for sanding and painting touch ups.  

My thanks to the Admiralty Trailer team and Tony in particular. Well done guys. Much appreciated. 

 Before shots - you can see that the gap between hull and mudguard was marginal to say the least. When you started to push Arwen along the trailer, the beam midships hull area just scrapped the top of the mudguards. 

After shots - the spacer bars under the spine and the outer frames. This gives around 4.5cm clearance above the mudguards now and the boat slides along without scraping the very top of them. The bunks were moved further outwards as well. 

Again, its trial and error and we will see how we get on this this new arrangement. is the gap big enough? Only at the slipway next week will we finally know. 

At the end of the day, I have got a good quality trailer for the budget I could afford. Yes, it will require practice at getting her onto that first roller and lined up during retrieval but if I take my time and chose my slipways and tidal conditions wisely, I should manage reasonably OK. 

The whole process from discovering my stupidity over neglecting my trailer during the last year and a half of various lockdowns, through to trying to understand what trailers I could get for the budget I had, through to understanding the various in's and outs of hull configuration and trailer design have been a steep learning curve. Regular readers of this blog and viewers of my YouTube vlogs will know that my understanding of anything mechanical or engineering' technical; or anything to do with boats frankly, is 'limited'.  Ask me to solve a problem relating to such matters and we could be there for sometime given my unique ability to overthink and overcomplicate the simplistic 😀

However, on this occasion we got there in the end. My deep thanks to Tony and the Admiral Trailers team, to various blog readers and to some members of the Dinghy Cruising Association forum for contacting me privately to give me tips, advice and encouragement. Your discretion in sparing my blushes and showing up my complete lack of nous and knowledge is deeply appreciated. You all know who you are - thank you. 

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