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, 7 February 2016

Howard Rice's epic voyage of exploration

is getting under way, the pre launch and expedition preparation. Follow it here at

And at

It will an epic small boat adventure.


Hiking boots are old friends............

I don't know why, but I found these opening lines of John's latest blog post, to be imaginative and creative.

Wish I could write like that.......wonderful.

Saturday, 6 February 2016

The Garmin etrex 10

Have just spent a fun hour entering waypoint information for South Coast sailing and rivers Tamar, Lynher and Fowey into the new Garmin etrex 10 unit I now have. We invested in one for geocaching and, surprisingly (!!!!!), it does very well for waypoints and sailing as well. Who would have thought it????
I've been getting some hard stares from 'she wot must be obeyed' but as I explained, it's unexpected value for money as it seems to kill two birds with one stone!!!

A wonderful glimpse of dinghy racing in 1950's plymouth

I found this gem of a film in YouTube. I know the launch ramp really well. Impossible for Arwen to use. Can't get a car down to it any more and it would be too steep anyway. What was particularly nice was to see the area without the pontoons there now........a lovely clip. Very enjoyable.

Monday, 1 February 2016


i do love john's boat 'scamp'. Well it will thoroughly tested on this voyage by Howard. A blog to watch for the Howard voyages around the foot of South America!


Saturday, 30 January 2016

New year's resolution

to sail this year in an organised fashion so that Arwen's  interior doesn't look like a bomb has gone off in it. So I've spent a couple of hours sorting out in my head where things will now go when the weather finally allows me to pull the poor old girl off the drive.
My aim is to have a completely uncluttered interior. I think it was Joel who once said that he couldn't have things rolling about in Ellie...things which he would trip over or stand on. My friend Dave has a similar philosophy and he has stoically put up with things rolling around in Arwen without complaint, good friend that he is. I intend impressing him, next time he joins us for a cruise. He deserves a shipshape boat after all the time he has put in teaching me how to try and sail in a semi decent fashion.
 So with all this in mind, some new Lomo dry bags have arrived in 8 and 20 litre sizes. They make storage so much easier and fit through her circular hatches without undue hassle. They also keep contents dry in the front thwart side locker, where, as regular readers will know, due to my annual complaining, the hatches keep leaking because water gets through the tarps and collects down the front of the cockpit because the drive slopes down that direction......and it makes me sooooo irritated!!! Regarding the dry bags, I  have always been very impressed with the quality and value for money from this company. No Lomo product has let me down yet.
So when the weather is better, those side hatches will be permanently sealed up with marine sealant and a new circular hatch installed in the top of the thwart. In the meantime some nice bronze gleaming hatch toggles arrived at Christmas and these will be attached to the front bulkhead hatch which will make life so much easier. For the first time ever, I will be able to use the front under deck locker space. However, it is limited...........the mast stands right in front of the access hatch and the clearance either side is consequently around 6 inches width, if that. As I have said before, as a novice boat builder, I didn't really think through that aspect. Hindsight being a wonderful thing, I do wish I had offset the hatch to one side, pushed the deck coaming further forward, kept its width smaller etc etc......but hey there we go! Lessons learnt for next time!

Saturday, 23 January 2016

To lash or not to lash......this is the question

I had to seek advice during a fit of paranoia and as normal John Welsford had the patience of a saint and answered. My dilemma, how to attach the clew to the aft of the sprit boom. Three options came to me as I walked past some boats the other day

Option one: just attach it to an eyepad with a stainless steel carabiner.
Option two: lash the clew to the eyepad using three or four mm white braid
Option three: have it on an outhaul which runs back along the boom to a jam cleat

For years it has been lashed to the boom as per John's plans and this has worked well so I really don't know what bought on a fit of uncertainty. However, after a chat with John I concluded that possibly the best of two worlds would be better i.e have a lashing of braid onto a carabiner which can then be attached to the clew.

Of course I then implemented this action which took a pleasurable twenty minutes to fulfil and then twenty minutes later realised it was a futile gesture because I can't detach the sail anyway because of the reefing system.

Still as 'her indoors' said, it kept me busy and out of her hair for a bit.

I think I have said before that if God had given me a brain, I would have been dangerous!