Saturday, 27 August 2016

Birthday Celebrations

It is that time of year when I seem to have lots of birthdays going on.

Hannah, the youngest turned 19 on the 31st July, the partying started the night before her birthday with friends coming over and a few staying the night, it is amazing how much fun the youngsters get out of a bouncy castle.

With her birthday on the Sunday, it was a good day to have family around to help celebrate, much to Hannah's delight the weather was great, so plenty of wine, beer and none of Hannah's singing luckily.

Back to work for a break, I then take the Friday off work so I can go to Ashlett Sailing Club for the start of their annual regatta. Taking Kyle with me so that his mum can prepare for his birthday party the next day, we spend a lovely few hours in good company.

It is then my grandson Kyle's second birthday, I can not believe that he is two years old, he is such an adorable, charming, social little man who chats away to people he meets all the time.

With his small fiends at lunch time, we then have nearly thirty family members around in the afternoon for tea. What a great way to spend the day.

Finally, the big one!! Lauren is 21, my beautiful, clever, caring, mother to my grandson has finally turned 21.

How the time has flown since she was the small bundle, who was dependant on us all, but now is a mum herself, I am so proud of her.

Now time to get ready for Drascamp xx

Thursday, 21 July 2016

Preparing for Drascamp 2016

I do sometimes wonder how I got involved with Drascamp, however as the time has moved on (a year since it was first discussed) I have got used to the idea, and along with all the planning, I am now very much looking forward to the event.

However before then, there are lots of things to do, three family birthday over three weekends, with the last one only days before Drascamp starts, so I really am looking forward to my days away at Drascamp.

In the yard we have been busy with more refurbs and some insurance work, along with selling a Lugger for Southampton Boat Show and a Coaster for Chicago Boat Show in January 2017 - all exciting things going on here.

Anyway, back to Drascamp. We have 40 families signed up, 90 people (15 of them are children) and 30 boats consisting of 11 different ones, including 9 different Drascombes at one event (not sure if this is a record or not)

Horse racing pirates, Quiz evening, sea shanties, BBQs, Sailing, fireworks at Poole, Bournemouth Air Show and fish and chips are among a few of the things we shall be taking part in during the event, for me I will still be working as Simon and Hannah are going to a music festival, so the emails have to be answered and so will the phone calls at the end of the week. All in a days work for some of us.

Anyway, I am looking forward to writing up about our first Drascamp, but as always there are other people who are contributing lots too it behind the scenes. Brad, Bob, Andy P, Andy C, Tony and Dick, your contributions and help are much appreciated.

Now to get ready for these birthdays.

Happy Sailing everyone


Saturday, 25 June 2016

Katharine Mary -Update 25th June 2016

Katharine Mary Update

I would love to say that we have made a start with the refurbishment on Katharine Mary, however we have been very busy in the yard with refurbishments, insurance work along with the general day to day accessories and spares, which sadly means KM is still untouched.

We let Martin loose with the masking tape, marking out the areas for repairs, I can still see beyond the tape, and she will be finished and on display at London Boat Show in January, how can we not have her on show next to a brand new Drascombe Lugger for the 50th Anniversary, this is where I have to let the workers know who is in charge at the yard.

Someone told me recently I was mad to even contemplate restoring this boat, and all it was good for was fire wood. I have to say that person was soon informed that by restoring this boat meant a lot not only to me, but also knowing a piece of the Drascombe history, from where it all began, has been saved and will be refurbished.

Martin is a skilled wood worker, and with plenty of practice on old wooden Luggers recently, I know Katharine Mary will be finished to a high standard, she will never look brand new, as she is a 50 year old boat, however we will be proud to have her on show next year.

Below are a few photos of where Martin got carried away with the tape.

I will keep you update as we start work on her, the sails are off and ready to be valeted, the spars are all in good condition, ready to be stripped down and re-varnished.

Next task is to take off all the fittings, nothing will be new unless we really have to.

Til the next update

Sharon x

Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Bank Holiday Rally at Chichester 2016

This time last year, I was attending my first ever rally, now I feel like I have been at these events for years. It is lovely to see so many familiar faces, along with meeting new ones who have ventured out for the first time.
I was lucky to sneak of from work on the Friday morning, after having to do a detour to the office to collect some chairs, where I saw Tony W watching Simon repair a small leak in his D22.
Upon arriving at Chichester, I park up and walk along to see who was already there and getting into the swing of launching their boats. Norman and Trisha re the first I see with their Dabber "Dabbler", they are such a lovely couple and always have time for everyone.
Trevor and his daughter Esme (not forgetting Buster the dog) launch their Dabber next, this was the first time for them at Chichester, so lets hope they have a good time.
I see Martin and Jane Lings who had arrived with their Coaster, so I stop for a quick catch up with them.
I am not doing too bad seeing the organiser of the rally is still sailing around in Chichester Harbour, anyway it is all good PR for me and Churchouse Boats
I go back and help Trevor to attach the jib to the stemhead, when my sunglasses slip of my head into the sea, not a great start, but with the help of Esme who walks in and retrieves them for me, I am truly grateful - Especially after my expensive trip at Falmouth last year!!

Soon I get the phone call to say that Dick has moored up, so I go along to meet up with him and the others, with greetings exchanged and a walk back down to the slipway, I take Dick off to Force 4 to by a Personal Location Beacon (just in case I push him in), then onto Tesco for the final top up of drink and food, then to Itchenor Sailing Club to pick up my room key.
When we arrive back we are joined by Alex, John G, Andy P, Peter T, Andy and Anne to name a few. Off for a quick change and we head down to Chichester Yacht Club for some food and drinks all round.
Back to my B&B for the night and hopefully a good sleep before some sailing tomorrow.

Arriving at the marina for 8am, just in time to have some breakfast alfresco, heading down to the meeting point for 9.20 Julian had arrived late the night before, and was ready to go.

Finally we are ready to go, so heading out to the lock we find that we are the last boat to go in, knowing I don't like water very much, Dick says I can either steady the stern of the boat or go on the coach roof, I still think I made the wrong choice.
Being next to Marcus and his Drifter, with Julian and John Stanage in front one side and Alex and Bob the other, this could be fun, climbing up, I hold the stays as I have been instructed, and then panic as the water starts making the boats move, not one of the most easiest of tasks, and I am sure most of the marina heard me, oh well it gave a few people a laugh.

Having fun in the lock - Thank you Bob for the photo

Heading out the lock and into the harbour, we found time to shut the engine and I was allowed to put the main sail up on my own, wow, there I was thinking it was going to be easy, think again, but at least I had a go and nearly managed it on my own.
There is just something magical about being on the water, the peace (when I am not talking), how different places look when the tides are high and low, along with all the other boats which are also out on the water.
We had a great time sailing along, with someone showing me how to tack and jibe, I will get the hand of it one day.
What I do find hard is to hold the tiller still while looking around, every time I move my head the tiller moves too, something else I have to learn how to control.

Julian Merson

Andy and Ann Cooper

Lovely way to sail

Alex Haig
We have company on route, Alex with his Deben Lugger (a Drascombe in disguise) follows us, and then goes off round some boats and before we know it he is back again.
We moor up next to Jim and his Gig Cruiser for some lunch and are soon joined by Richard, Tamzin and Annabelle (who slept in the Coaster for the first time), Trish and Norman and Alex.
This certainly is the life, sunshine, good food, relaxation, lovely views but most of all great company, there are not many places you get that combination.
Before heading off, Dick goes with Norman to sort out his jib sail as we noticed it wasn't sitting right, this was followed by him then going off for a quick sail with Alex in the Deben, this left me with the chance of  taking Daislebee back on my own, however I thought better of it this time.
Going back, we have a lovely sail, however needing a call of nature when someone keeps heeling the boat is not funny, soon it was time to go back to the mooring, something I was doing until I come a bit too close to a propeller and decided to let the expert take over.
Back at the marina, we set up the BBQ's for the evening and are soon joined by all of the other rally participants, the Drascombe band soon starts to play, food is eaten, plenty of liquid refreshments drunk and talking of the days activities.
All too soon it is time for me to pack my car up, and head back home to my family, another great Drascombe rally, thank you DP for organising it, here's too Drascamp, however I am hoping that I can get on the water before then, I will supply the earplugs if you want.
Happy Sailing Everyone xx

Sunday, 22 May 2016

Katharine Mary - The first Drascombe Lugger

We all know the history of how Drascombe boats began, for a few years now I have always been curious of the whereabouts of Katharine Mary.

With the 50th Anniversary of Drascombes in 2017, I thought how nice it would be to have the original Lugger on show against a current production Lugger, so I set out to find her. Luckily it was easier than I thought

So one Sunday back in October last year, I set off for the drive with my mum to visit the owner, Graham has owned KM since 1976, and for the past few years has been sat on dry land. Meeting with Graham and his wife was lovely, I went with the aim of asking if we could use her to go on show during the 2017 celebrations. However once we got talking, and I asked what their plans were for her, Graham asked if I would like to buy her, well to say I was surprised was an understatement, how could I say no to an offer like that.

After some talking and looking over the boat, I agreed with Graham a price which we would pay for her.

Upon arriving home and telling our daughters about Katharine Mary, Lauren and Hannah decided to buy the boat themselves, preserving a piece of Drascombe history.

Our plan is too refurbish Katharine Mary back to her originality as much as possible. Kate Watkinson and her son were delighted to hear that we had found KM, and what are plans for her will be.

I will update my blog as often as I can about her progress, as I am sure there are many of you interested in her.

Katharine Mary will hopefully be on display at the London Boat Show 2017 all being well, along with a new Drascombe Lugger, however if I have my way there will be a few more Drascombes on the stand .

What a great way to start the 50th Anniversary year.

Monday, 2 May 2016

First May Bank Holiday Rally

The first bank holiday in May is the starter for the season for many of the Solent Cruising Group.
With the usual Drascombers arriving at Ashlett on Tuesday/Wednesday last week to do last minute preparations to their boats.
On the Wednesday evening, Simon, Hannah and myself arrived at The Mill at Ashlett to join them for an evening meal, Curry and a pint for £7.00 not a bad deal.
Ian, Glenys, Tony, Dick, Brad and then Nick kept us entertained of stories and adventures. The highlight being when someone asked who remembered a torch to walk back to the boats, when Tony put his cap on, with a built in torch, how very civilised.
Tony demonstrating the hat


Leaving them to make their plans for the next day, we headed off home.
Saturday, I receive a message fro Dick to say that the group would be heading to Porchester in the evening as planned, and if we wanted to meet up with them then to head down to Porchester later on.
Simon and I decided to drive down early, and went to Wicormarine where we waited for them to moor up and headed to the little café for refreshments. As I was down here, I thought I would make the most of an opportunity of having a sail, the second one of the year for me.
Group selfie (with bits of me and Tony)


After getting my sailing jacket and life jacket, I say goodbye to Simon and headed off to meet the fleet.



After getting on board of Daislebee for the first time on the water this year, I was looking forward to some sailing, we motored out far enough for Dick t then put the sails up. 
Once the sails were up, off we went with Dicks guidance through the boats, what he has too remember is my last real time on the water was in August last year, and since then I have been running a business, home and been asleep since then.
Tacking, jybing, looking which way the wind is coming from, watching for the boats and buoys coming towards me, was starting to get too much, grrrrr men!!!!
Looking back at the other boats following us, we saw a lovely black cloud following us, haha, this could now be fun, after being told to get my sailing jacket on, off comes the life jacket, fleece and jumper, on goes the jacket, well it would if the Velcro didn't all stick to the wrong bits, and if I could do the zip up it would be easier, having a slight problem up top, looking down to put the two zip bits together with cold hands was proving rather challenging, especially when being rushed!!
I gave up in the end, leaving Dick to get his wet weather gear on, I lie on the cockpit while Dick does the zip up for me, along with lots of giggling, luckily just in time, as the weather turned horrid, with the boat heeling, I was holding on for dear life, however I was reassured that the Shrimper 19 wouldn't capsize, great, I was more worried about falling overboard with moving from one side to another of the boat.
Looking a bit black over yonder ..........
Once the rain come in, I dived into the cabin, as I realised I left my waterproof trousers in the car , lesson one be prepared!! Leaving Dick to bring the boat into Porchester, I was dry below.
Once moored up, we were met by Richard and Wayne who were out for the first time in a Coaster from St Denys Sailing Club. Simon and Glenys had been watching from the shelter of Porchester Castle, although there were a few giggles when I text Simon to say I was sat in the cabin, as I forgot my trousers, luckily everything is taken with a laugh and joke.
Taking shelter in Porchester Sailing Club, we were made to feel very welcome and was able to warm up. Sadly they did not provide food, however they did recommend a local fish and chip shop, and I have to agree we all had clean plates
Soon the evening come to an end and it was time for Simon and me to head back home, leaving the other to take to their bunks.
A lovely enjoyable time had by us all, but sadly no Stewart with Bolitho this weekend, so I still have to wait to go out sailing with my father-in-law.
Here's to the next sailing lesson, and maybe this time someone will go back to basics for me.
Happy sailing xx


Sunday, 17 April 2016

First sailing of 2016 at Queen Mary Sailability

A couple of weeks ago, David Jillings visited us at our office, during the course of the conversation he mentioned that the Sailability sailing would be starting us soon, this prompted Simon to invite myself along to one of their Thursday morning sessions.

So, Thursday 14th April saw me driving up to Queen May reservoir to see the first of the groups go sailing.

QMS is all run by volunteers, who give up one day a week to take out school children and adults with special needs and/or disabilities from the local area, and let them experience something different.

Watching the first children come back with smiles on their faces, is what building these boats are about for me, supplier and customer satisfaction.


The second group went out, and for this school it was the first time they had attended a session at QMS, when all of the children and helpers were on board, David took them out, this time there was a gentle breeze which gave the children a lovely sail, soon it was time for them to come back in, and the ones who may have been apprehensive at the beginning, certainly had a smile when they come back in.

As the sessions had finished for the morning, David asked some of the volunteers if they would like to have a go in the Drascombe Longboat.

So setting off, David had six of us on board. The difference with this Longboat is that they wanted a seat and a steering wheel, rather than use the usual tiller steering, the steering wheel system works well with the children.

The helmsman changed a couple of times, however I was quiet happy to be a passenger and enjoy the sail. With some tacking and jibing, I was really starting to enjoy myself, until that one moment when I was a bit to close to the water than I wanted to be, I am so pleased that the others found it entertaining.

I really do admire the work that the Sailability group provide, and was very grateful to see first-hand what they do.
This is the first of hopefully many sailing trips for me this year, and I am looking forward to the annual Chichester Rally in May.

In the meantime, Happy Sailing  xx