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, 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!

Friday, 29 August 2014

A little fun on a motovespa 125 super

Stacey......a motovespa 125 super

Occasionally makes an appearance here in Arwen's blog. Arwen, Angharad (our wee lap strake canoe) and Stacey all live happily together in our garage cum driveway area.
Stacey was manufactured in 1968 and assembled here in Bristol at Douglas-Vespa in 1970. She gained her registration in 1971. She has a 125 cc engine, two stroke and so requires oil to be mixed in with the unleaded petrol. 

Her top speed on a good day is 50mph; on an average day 40mph and on a bad day 30mph. What day she is having is very hit and miss and we never quite know until we are out on her. 

If you have been a long time reader of this blog you will recall we found her on ebay in a barn so to speak down in deepest west Cornwall and we were somewhat surprised to find our tentative ebay bid won! We duly bought her back in a trailer and then set about stripping her down piece by piece and rebuilding her over the next year and a half. She had new everything except piston and crankshaft. Her body work was bead blasted and primed and resprayed. The seat, an original, stayed as did the speedo but wheels, brakes, exhaust that was all new. The back and front lights had new frames and there was a new horn as well. 

She is a pleasure to drive. Normally very well behaved, she will throw she odd 'over revving hissy fit' which can be quite alarming especially in narrow streets or villages; mor at major traffic junctions and roundabouts. Very occasionally she will argue about going into the gear you want and randomly select one of her own instead! She likes to remind you who is boss!

Anyway today she had an outing to Salcombe, a round trip of fifty miles or so. Lots of hills and the rolling countryside of the South Hams in Devon.  She behaved herself most of the time and it was rather good fun. Blowy but fun!


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Learning to drive a powerboat

Last week I managed to gain my RYA level 2 powerboat certificate......a plastic photo ID card to add to my collection. The instruction from Toby was outstanding, challenging and demanding. He was very thorough. We spend mornings doing slow control using the throttle/gear handle making sure one hand was on the power and one on the wheel at all times. Switching on and off, kill cord procedures, s turns, sharp controlled turns, crossing waves low and high speed, safety equipment and its usage, turning the boat within its own length, coming long side, picking up MOB and moorings. 

Chart work, weather interpretation.........outboards and ribs, displacement and planing boats.

My, there was so much to take in and think about. Lots I knew, some I had forgotten and plenty was new. But we got there in the end. 

Of course, it was great in wind and waves...but the med isn't exactly a tidal area is I must quickly get into a rib in the next few weeks to go do it all again but taking into account tidal's just trying to work out who I know who has a rib and might be prepared to take me out (which after a little reflection is......nobody); or I o hire one for an hour or two at Salcombe.....that sounds a fun option, costly but fun. I now need to persuade her indoors!

Another superb navigator on the water

Go to

Enjoy the navigator and the other wooden boats. 
Looked like a great day out


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Monday, 25 August 2014

Learning to use a centre main sheet in a laser

Wow. It's tricky getting all the hand coordination right when using a centre main sheet for the first time in a number of years......and that tiller extension.......aargh!