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.
Don't know whether these are of any interest to anyone........and whether it is only UK based.......but .......... http://blog.tomski.com/2013/05/18/google-earth-as-a-tool-for-planning-dinghy-cruises/ And http://www.navionics.com/en/webapp And a few pics from yesterday
Joel was right. He did a great post about how a welsford navigator will sail herself if you balance the mizzen, jib and mainsail.
I decided to test this out for myself. With the vastness of plymouth sound before me and the winds coming from the north west, it was the perfect time for sailing back and forth from Mt. Edgecumbe in the west to Jennyycliffe in the east.
It took a little figuring out. You have to get a neutral rudder so I sheeted in the jib and mainsail as hard as it could and then started experimenting with easing out the mizzen. And lo and behold, Arwen sales herself. What a revelation to someone who doesn't sail as frequently as he might like!! Not only that but I also discovered that occasionally when Arwen just jeered off course slightly, an adjustment on the jib would have her back on course............amazing!
And so a few happy hours were spent tacking back and forth on close hauls and close reaches and the great thing is you could line up marks on distant shores aft and for'ard to see how much deviation the was from your course. Very little I am amazed to say!
Of course I'd actually gone sailing with the intention of getting back the long ago lost skills of picking up a mooring under sail; or of coming alongside something and actually stopping under control; or sailing onto and off a beach. Why the sudden desire to remaster these skills? Well because I am escorting our CCF students one evening a week to a Royal Navy training facilities where hey adoring their powerboat level two and the instructor said since I was an experienced sailor I may like to take some students out on a bosun dinghy and teach them the finer arts of sailing back to the shore and picking up a mooring. !!!!!&^#?|"$¥ was all I could think...........quietly in my head!
Things were going so well until I couldn't find the mobile phone. I searched the boat, the rucksack, the car (three times). It was depressing but the sun was shining and having lost a mobile phone and having resigned myself to her indoors being somewhat annoyed, I decided to make the best of the day............but it wasn't the same. All the time was the nagging doubt....where was the phone? Had someone picked it up?
It is clear that I'm getting senile. I came off the water early because of the phone. I packed away the boat and was about to get in the car and leave the marina when I found the phone. Stuck in the roof rack. Just don't ask! Don't say a word!
It was, albeit short, a great morning on the water. I'd gone with the intention of doing some picking up mooring and coming alongside practice but the winds were very fickle first thing.
But the was plenty on the water........I think it was HMS Illustrious in the distance. HMS defender, a frigate came past. The plymouth lifeboat paid me a visit and waved, as did the inshore lifeboat. I got caught in he middle of a big boat race as well......outpaced, outgunned........me not them.
Tides were perfect. High tide at midday. Winds rose steady during the morning.
All in all not a bad day but a little frustrating in places
One more lick of varnish on the mast top today. The weather has been way too windy for Arwen out in the Sound. I also took the opportunity to install some little bag holders on the coamings. I actually used three little tuff bag pencil cases. They are well forward up near the jib cleats where they come through the coamings. A quid each. Not bad. Not bad at all. Now I have places for hand held compass, GPS handheld unit, little bags of nuts and sultanas; waterproof notebook, china graph pencil; camera accessories.............the list just goes on.
Of course, they don't look pretty.........but she is a cruising boat......well sort of!
I should have been out sailing today - nice south west breeze around 10 knots and plenty of sunshine with a high of 19 C.
However, 'her in-doors' hasn't been well over the last couple of days and since she is always there for me it seemed only right and proper to spoil her a little. So all the washing and ironing has been done; the meals cooked; number one son looked after as he revises for his AS levels next week; and several conversations with number one daughter to cheer her up in the final week before she sits her final degree exams. Flowers have been bought and put in the front room and I am amassing brownie points even though that wasn't the intention.
I've managed to plant out all the veg boxes as well - onions, potatoes, cauli's, broccoli, spring onions (Oh bog - forgot to get those - oops and 'her in-doors' did especially ask for them - ah well another trip tomorrow!); then there be carrots, leeks, a couple of aubergine plants and a couple of experimental red peppers! And if the neighbouring cats come anywhere near them................!!
Somewhere in between, I managed to also sort the slipped mast mast band issue. Can't say it looks pretty but it will suffice. I spent ages racking my brain on this one because as you can see it had slipped around 10 centimetres (4 inches for our 'over the pond' and 'down under' friends). The shoulder on which the mast band rested had worn away over 6 years.
Anyway, I've screwed in some mahogany blocks, glued beneath; sealed the gaps around the mast band with clear sealant and when all is set will coat the mast with sealer to finish it off. all being well the blocks will stop the band from slipping down again...........I hope! Couldn't afford a new mast band so make do and mend is the order of the day.
Whist at it, I also took the opportunity to put the mooring pole out of the way. I am forever tripping over the damn thing; or it gets caught in ropes in the boat. It has a place inside but it is always awkward to reach. Here clipped on the side deck, it should be accessible but out of the way!
Wow! Busy day! Oh and I managed to sort out 'Stacey's' air leak ('Stacey', for those not in the know....is my son's 1967 - 70 motovespa 125 super restoration project; a barn find which had seen better days. She gives us endless minor troubles but she is an old lady and we do love her so...even when she does leak oil all over the garage floor over the course of one night!!!!).
Anyone who can remember the stupid comments made by a vespa forum in the US about both Arwen and Stacey being worthless heaps of junk; and poor Stacey being no better than 'anchor' fooder.......well........her gears have been corrected so that they go the right way now. Her throttle tube is in the middle of being repaired too. Her electrics now work and all air leaks are fixed.
All is well with the world. What's more, if 'her in-doors' is feeling better tomorrow, I may even go for a sail and conveniently forget the pile of marking that is awaiting me in the hallway! Wow I am feeling rebellious!!
A welshman displaced to wonderful Plymouth in SW England; a novice sailor and boat builder with a passion for all things to do with the sea. My learning curve is vertical....but hey that's what makes life interesting isn't it! So follow my journey as I learn to sail Arwen,grappling with charts, tide tables and passage planning so that I can become 'a dinghy cruiser'
The 'Navigator' is a 14' 9" yawl with a beam of 5' 10". she weighs in at 309 lbs and has a sail area of 136 sqft. She has a standing lug sail. She has side, centre and front thwarts and space for six although she is an ideal single hander. there are a huge number of potential locker spaces. For more details about the design of navigators go to www.jwboatdesigns.co.nz/plans/navigator/index.htm