Arwen's meanderings

Hi everyone and welcome to my new blog. My name is Steve and i am the lucky owner of a John Welsford designed 'navigator' named Arwen. I built her over three years with the help of my father, father-in-law and two children. She was launched in August 2007 at Queen Anne's battery marina in the barbican area of Plymouth. This blog is a record of our voyages together around SW England.

Sunday, 21 September 2014

Back in academia

Dropping number one daughter back into university to do her postgraduate studies. I'd quite like to return to academia myself. Many years ago I did teacher training and tutoring of masters Quite like to return to that as I sit here on a wonderful university campus!

Monday, 15 September 2014

Last bits from Southampton

Was it worth it? Well yes I guess. Nice day out, bought a really cheap but very high quality waterproof dry bag from a supplier not heard of before and it looks really good.

Will I go next year? Probably not.

I quite liked this trailer step.  I wonder if I can find some yr 11 GCSE engineering students who need a project for their assessed coursework?

The ship above was the Phoenix out of Charlestown in Cornwall. I have posted photos on blog of her before. Lovely.

Cornish crabber boats....stylish, simple, clean lines. I love them. Simply stunning.

Another set of interesting boats came from Swallowboats out of Wales. Clever design features, crisp lines and self righting due to water ballast tanks. Great and deservedly popular boats.

And now the 'plastic stuff' and some big beasties......

Sunday, 14 September 2014

The 2014 Southampton boat show

My friend and I thought we'd pop across to the Southampton boat show today. Pop across!! Three hours each way by car but actually worth it. We had a great few hours looking around. Here are a few photos to get a flavour. We then dashed back as I had school work to complete for tomorrow.
Anyway, here is a flavour. Enjoy.

Saturday, 6 September 2014

Biting the bullet

We have bought new mountain bikes! Part of our new 'we need to something about our fitness' drive. Our old bikes are over twenty years old and we realised when borrowing bikes in Greece last month that bikes have come a long, long, way!

So we hit the savings and have ended up with two new trek mountain now there is no excuse! The old bikes will go to a local bike project where teenagers in trouble learn new bike mechanic skills and do up the donated bikes before they are passed on to local inner city children in need of a bike. It's a great project to support.

So, an afternoon swapping over pannier bags, handle mounted bags, bottle holders etc and then an evening ride into the barbican and back. What's more, the weather is heavenly. Of course it! We've just started a new school term!

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Dithering over a bilge pump

You can tell I'm back at school. I have suddenly lost the ability to make a decision. 'Overwhelmed headless chicken syndrome' is a better name for the condition and it affects most teachers. During the last few weeks I'd forgotten what mountains of paperwork looked like. Hey ho.

My initial thinking for the bilge pump was to drain out any rainwater collecting during winter and to clear the floors of seawater during sailing. Whilst the first issue is frequent, the second isn't so. I suddenly realised that with a foredeck and coaming, it is rare that spray actually gets into Arwen. The only water that tends to accumulate on the floor is from rain off the sail.

So can I make do? Do I really need a bilge pump? Up to now the portable hand pump has sorted the winter water collection problem, as long as I remember to check weekly! Can't use the pump when sailing unless I heave to......and that's easy enough to do I need to go drilling holes and installing one more thing to trip over?

I'm dithering again. Last week, prior to school starting, it seemed such a good idea. Now?
I'm dithering! I hate being a ditherer!

In the meantime, I may need some sanity respite and I am wondering about some winter projects.

  • Removing the large circular hatches on the front vertical face of the front thwart and sealing them up with ply patches. Putting new hatches in the front thwart seat. This would make that storage space far more accessible and drier as winter water collection wouldn't seep through the hatches as it does now!!
  • Wannigans.........I.e. portable storage boxes....have raised their head again in my mind. Could I construct a wannigan for the front part of the port side cockpit. It could extend my sleeping platform area and securely store food and cooking gear better than my crate. If I made two....the other one could secure store the spare kedge anchor and warp. The issue is to what extent it would affect boat trim and balance
  • Can I make a wooden raised mast collar that fits on the deck to stop water going down the deck mast hole and collecting in the mast step box?
  • I'd like to make a set of sleeping boards....Joel style.....they are so simple, effective and 'cool'
Having some small jobs which I can spend 30 minutes a night on over a few weeks at a time...will help restore sanity I suspect. I think this academic year is shaping up to another 60 - 70 hrs per week one; which is fine as long as I get a 'woodworking break' occasionally. The smell of planed or sawn wood restores the soul!

Wannigans, hatches, mast collars and sleeping platforms. Bilge pump, jury out this space.

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Housekeeping on a wooden dinghy

Takes a lot of time. Arwen had a good scrub out this afternoon. What's more I even scrubbed the small kedge anchor rode which had lain somewhat muddy in its storage crate since our trip up the Lynher. Shame on me!  I also marked off with waterproof tape 1 metre intervals and 5 metre intervals on the main anchor warp as well to help me better calculate depth and scope when anchoring.

I pumped out some summer rain water as well and that got me to reflect on how to get rid of winter rain accumulation this year. Well my friend last night started the reflection when demonstrating his set up for pumping water between water butts in his green house.

He has bought a little whaler orca 500 pump which he is attaching to a Yuasa 12v 12 amp dry cell battery which he is storing in a cheap food storage Tupperware tub. It's water tight when clipped down. He will drill a hole for the wires to exit through a waterproof seal/gland. He will wire up a fuse and a switch and then use a solar panel trickle charger to keep the battery recharged up. It's a clever set up. Details about this little pump can be found here. At the moment various chandlers have them on line for around £14. Good value and they are submersible as well!

I have thought about bilge pumps before. I have often looked at a whaler urchin hand pump but where to mount it? It needs to be somewhere in the aft cockpit and then tubes would need to be drilled through the centre thwart lockers and......well the pump would get I the way even if it was mounted flush in the thwart and too much drilling through bulkheads. The advantage of the orca is its simplicity and minimum drilling required. The battery could be stored in a watertight locker and only a small hole and waterproof seal would be required for wires to exit. The pump could be attached to. Piece of 3mm ply and basically be moveable. As long as the exit tube rises upwards and can form a u bend on the inside of the hull before exiting via a waterproof seal in he sheer plank...which it can....then all is hunky dory so to speak.

I need to investigate it more but for the price of a whaler urchin I could get a simpler more versatile system and if I installed a float switch them over winter it would automatically pump out water. However, for simplicity sake I'm just thinking some wiring and I just connect it up periodically to pump out once a week the rainwater collection.

I'll give it some more thought but my initial thinking is its useful. During sailing it could be also used when its raining to pump out water that collects in floor well as as well!