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.

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

My friend....

yes I do have one.....has been researching my problems with the sail and has come up with a couple of useful points.
1.  We think the mast sheave box was put in the wrong place when the mast was built and is actually 7" lower than where it should be . I have never bothered to check but now getting the plans out, the mast builder did put it lower. That explains a lot doesn't it!
2. I have the top of the sail tied on the wrong place on the top boom. If I move it further up the boom that will raise the sail slightly. This in turn will help tension the leech better.
3. I think we can alter the downhaul as well so that it goes up through the deck, thus pulling the sail closer to the mast
4. Reefing....the slab reefing is slightly wrong. The reef downhaul that goes through the first reefing point back on the leech drops vertically to a block on the sprit boom. The block needs to be moved further aft to create an angle so that when it is pulled, the aft corner is tensioned aft.

I guess we will have to see what happens
It's worth a try!

In mourning.............

heartbroken. My beloved Vauxhall Zafira , 12 years old and 101,000 miles on the clock has finally died. The radiator collapsed, the head gasket blew and basically the engine is shot. All without much warning.
I am saddened and traumatised as I LOVED my Zafira. It could accommodate anything, towed Arwen everywhere and saw us through carrying kids and grandparents all in one go on countless occasions.  Since 2003 it has been my mobile school office full of books to be marked, folders of lesson land and schemes of work, resources from maps to cocoa pods. It has been parked in the same school parking bay for twelve years and is recognisable by everyone in school from students to support staff.
Traumatised. How can I get so upset by losing a car? It isn't the money that now needs to be spent on a new one ...that's just downright frustrating, inconvenient, annoying and somewhat curtailing on future holiday plans!

It's the grief......I LOVE my Zafira! It's awful.

So we have been car hunting on a limited budget and have finally decided on a Skoda Yeti. It was going to be a diesel 4 x 4 but then I made the fatal error of reading around all the articles about Diesel engines and the future of diesel cars in UK over next ten years. So diesel got thrown out around 3am in the morning. Can't afford a petrol 4 x 4 ....having looked at Mitsubishi, Toyota rav. 4's and everything inbetween. The problem is simple drive slopes up at a hellishly steep angle and I need fantastic visibility out the back of a car so I can see trailer as it rises up above height of car. Well all new SUVs irritatingly have thick back sides and narrow rear windows and most slant downwards as zero visibility out the back when reversing a trailer up a steep drive!

We have visited twelve garages, sat in thirty cars, test driven eight, researched car buying review sites for hours. Within our budget........Skoda yeti it is. The other alternative is a VW Touran.....pricey for what it is.
Ho hum! Hate parting with money. Hate having to get rid of my Zafira. This one definitely hurts!

In the meantime Arwen will have to sit on the drive for possibly another six weeks before I can tow her off it in a new car! This one really hurts!

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Dinghy cruising in France

A lovely event....and one day, when I am good enough.....Arwen and I will day!

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Simple pleasures

Simple pleasures include going out on 'Stacey', our 1968 motovespa 125 super.
Today it was a quick trundle in the early morning sunshine over to the Barbican to see the 'Phoenix' before going up onto the hoe for tea and bacon sarnies. The sea was mirror calm at 8am and the morning sun glinted off the sound whilst there was no breeze. Flags hung limply, lethargic, barely able to raise a flutter.
It is amazing how many people were out and about. The city council street cleaning team were out in force preparing the barbican for pirates day. A group of oap's were out for morning breakfast. The crew of phoenix were having their morning briefing. Throw in joggers, cyclists and some walkers and it was nice, relaxed.

'Stacey' behaved impeccably as well.

Monday, 11 May 2015

More on weather helm

Simeon gave me a good web link

Apparently we don't talk about weather he ml in polite sailing circles....sorry guys! Major phoopah!


Sunday, 10 May 2015

Mastering the dark arts.........of sailing!

I remain, as always, slightly baffled about some elements of sailing. A eureka moment last year was when Joel, over in the USA managed to get me sailing Arwen, without holding onto the tiller. It was a matter of balancing sails by all account.

Sailing baffles me. I sort of get the principles but only just and I do mean only just!
When I let go of Arwen's rudder, she will, all being well, turn up into the wind.....luffing up I think? But I could be wrong on that......nautical terms are another thing I am not hot on either!

I know the principles of effort and resistance come into play somewhere about now. There is, I think, the centre of effort, the lift that gets generated as wind passes over the sails. I can see this marked on the sail plans for Arwen. Then there must be something to do with the sideways pressure of water against centreboard, Skeg and hull. I'm guessing that this is in opposition to the pressure on the sails. The balance between the two forces along with the drive of wind in sails moves Arwen forward?

Alter the balance of the two and that affects what the boat does when the helm is released......I think! I assume that when sail resistance and hull resistance are in line the boat sails straight when rudder is released, although I guess trim comes into play I.e which side my considerable bulk is in poor Arwen.

Now somewhere in here comes weather and/or Lee helm. I know that if sail centre of effort is either forward or behind the centre of lateral resistance then one of e helms comes into play. I think weather helm to a slight degree is better so that the boat would always luff up head to wind.....or at least I vaguely remember someone telling me this......I could be wrong. Is it if the sail's centre of effort is behind lateral resistance then weather helm happens?

Certainly, on my longer coastal voyages in the past, I have had slight weather helm, a pull towards the wind on the rudder. Arwen seems slightly faster when this occurs or maybe it's just my imagination.

It took me some time last year to achieve this balance out in the sound but I did do it. Of course, waves would make it trickier I guess. Yet this is a technique I need to master this year. Holding onto a tiller for several hours one handed whilst trying to navigate, eat, put on and off clothing can be stressful!!!

So this half term I'm off out to develop some serious skills

Sailing onto and off a beach
Mastering the use of some form of anchor buddy or pulley system
Mastering this dark art of fine balancing a boat - raising or lowering centreboard, moving my weight about - anything to learn this dark art of shifting the centre of gravity. Raising the centreboard moves CE backwards I think and this reduces weather helm. Shifting weight inboard and aft  reduces it as does easing the sails. I'm guessing that lowering centreboard, tightening sails, heeling more to leeward, sitting more to windward and forward will increase it?

I'm getting old...I find it so difficult to retain all this. I guess just going out and trying things out will help. Main aim this season? Use the engine and rudder far less. Use the sails, centreboard and trim far more!

Friday, 8 May 2015

House keeping.........maintenance

The rudder stock has been fixed. Burgess hydrosol was dribbled into cracks and allowed to dry. Then a clamp was applied to tighten the cracks up and a small mending plate screwed in place. Clamp taken off and the cracks have remained closed. The rudder pivot bolts were tightened up to reduce the play that seemed to have appeared in the rudder blade.

Some iroko has been cut and glued into thick blocks. When dry, they will be cut and shaped and mounted on the side decks tight against the coaming. They will form the base for new cleats for the jibs. Where they are at the moment, mounted on the side seat rests, is basically useless!

Other things to do...well some hole filling on the boom. Then there is the cutting away of an area of rotted wood and fibreglass on the starboard floor, front side.

Busy, busy, busy.