Sunday, 31 December 2017

Highlights of 2017

What a year it has been, and yet again it has gone far too quickly.

I am sat here feeling very sorry for myself as I type this, the dreaded flu/cold has caught up with me, and I am not feeling my best, but I never like to let myself or others down, so a quick run through of what has been going on.

January started with the London Boat Show, and the start of the Drascombe Golden Jubilee year, I became a TV and radio star, much to the amusement of my girls and Drascombe owners who sent me many messages.

A few changes went on at Chruchouse Boats throughout the first half of the year, however, I felt they were not for the best interest to either my customers, the Drascombe name, or the company, so with some hard work and careful planing, the company Churchouse Boats continues to be busy with new boats.

We moved premises ready for the beginning of June, a new location and a fresh start, just what we needed.

The Drascombe Golden Jubilee at The Weymouth and National Sailing Accademy was a great success, with 58 boats and 112 people in attendance, we know how to celebrate.

I managed to get out sailing a few times to the Isle of Wight, next year we will have no excuses, as there is lots in the planning, along with Drascamp in August.

The end of the year saw us with an order book through to May 2018, with boats going to Italy, America and Holland next year.

A lot of this would not be possible with out the team work at CBL, and with other people behind the scenes.

As well as my love for my job and sailing, I also find time for my family.

2017 was an exciting year with Lauren and Jamie buying their first house, then within days they got engaged.

Rags joined the family in Augsut, and is fast becoming the work dog, everyone loves him.

Moving forward to 2018, so far there is Lauren and Jamie's wedding, Hannah will be 21, Kyle will start school, and all being well Hannah will also graduate in October from Uni. Along with numerous boat shows and Drascamp, it should be another busy and interesting year.

I end this wishing you all a happy and healthy new year, I have had yet again another brilliant year with some great friends, and lots more memories being made. Here's to another good year of good weather, and lots of sailing adventures.

Sharon xx

Sunday, 26 November 2017

Busy, Busy, Busy with lots going on

Wow, it seems to have been a long time since I last updated my blog. Work ahs been busy which is great, and family life has been too.


Again we exhibited at Southampton Boat Show, the first day sadly was not the best weather wise, however it didn't stop us from being joined by family, friends, customers and suppliers to join us for cake and fizz sponsored by Barton Marine as part of our 50th Anniversary celebrations. This really has been a year for them..

As always, we are joined through out the week by customers and friends, which is lovely as it can often be a god send to have help on the stand.

After a busy weekend, Dick Pizey come down for a few hours after work on the Monday, dick has helped at three London Boat Shows, and enjoys meeting the customers and giving any advice he can, what Dick would really like to do is complete a sale of a new boat, so no pressure at London in January. Brad and Bob visited during the week, although I am sure they visited the beer tent as well as seeing all those lovely bit boats.

One of the best parts of the show for me, is the other exhibitors, as at times the laughs and talking get you through the long wet days.
Highlander Boats certainly made me smile during the week, as one day I come into the show to find a sign attached to our show Lugger,
Drascombe Diamond Club
10% off Wednesday
Over 70's only
The Scottish do have a funny sense of humour :-)
During the course of the ten days, we had lots of positive enquiries, which we followed up on our return, this included selling several brokerage boats, and a good amount of spares and accessories.
Soon it was time to pack up again for another year, and count down until we head to London in January 2017
Along with running the business, I also enjoy catching up with my girls, just before the boat show, Hannah and I went to Dorset to collect the latest edition to our family, this little fella is now five months old and very much part of the family and comes to work some days with me too.
Meet "Rags"

Kyle is now three years old, and has attended his fourth Southampton Boat Show, he is such a little charmer

Hannah has now started in her final year at Winchester University, reading Marketing, so we are looking forward to seeing how well Hannah does next year, however I will be proud of everything she does.

Lauren and Jamie have now set the date for their wedding, Saturday June 2nd 2018 we shall be looking forward very much to being part of the celebrations.

I finally managed to get one last sail out in October, after busy days and not very good weather, we sailed over to Shepherds Wharf for one night and back again in fog, that was a very interesting sail for me, as it meant keeping my wits about me and following the compass for once, and as for things moving at sea, I really wasn't too sure where I was going. Luckily we managed to get back safely and in one piece.
It has been a busy year this year, so sailing has not happened as much as I would like. However, there is always next year.


We have just started on the first of a run of new boats, the first is a Lugger which we shall be exhibiting at London Boat Show in January, she is another well finished off boat and I know she will be greatly admired. After the Lugger we have two Longboats which will be shipped out to an organisation in New Hampshire, once I have more details, then I will share them with you.

Kyle and Rags check out the new Lugger


Our usual November supper had moved this year to Lymington for a change, it was organised by Andy Peter and included a pre supper tour of the RNLI station at Lymington, and a talk after the supper by the RNLI.

 During the evening some small gifts were handed out to various Drascombers for their humour, forgetfulness, and Drascombe spirit, as well as thanks to those who helped me with the Drascombe Golden Jubilee at Weymouth in the summer.

 I have to say, it has been another busy time and in five weeks time we shall be ready to see in the new year, I will be back to say goodbye before the end of 2017.

Sharon xx

Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Drascombe Golden Jubilee 6th - 9th July 2017

Looking back, I was never 100% certain how this would turn out, after a successful Drascamp in 2016, how can you improve on an event enjoyed by all. We, as it turned out I needn't have worried.
From when the application forms started to come in, I was excited to have 30 boats, let alone 58 boats actually arrive for the event.
My adventures started with arriving at WPNSA on the Wednesday with Jamie towing the caravan down for me, a first for me, but I wanted to be on site with everything going on, after all, it was my little project.
Glenys arrived shortly after, and we headed of for some lunch.
Me and my "second" mum
Jamie and I managed to set the caravan up between us
We saw the first of the fleet starting to arrive, so I headed down to meet them.
Wednesday evening, Dick P and I headed to The Cove at Portland for some lovely fish and chips. The views from the pub are amazing. This gave us a five minute breather away from everyone to finalise the last minute details.
What a lovely view

Thursday morning and I was all excited, heading to the reception area with Glenys ready to meet the first to arrive. Henk Wels and his ships mate were the first to arrive from Holland, I was so excited to have an owner from Holland, as it shows that they believed in us putting on a great celebration.
Wow, Thursday was a very hot day, with Tony, Brad, Stewart and Chris manning the slip way, I had Ian showing cars into the carpark, and Dick giving instructions of what to do next. This is what I call great team work.
About the only time the slipway was empty
Hannah, my youngest daughter arrived in the afternoon, she was soon set to work.
In the evening, a sailors supper was laid on for those wishing to join us. It was a good opportunity for people to get to know each other, and for us to give out some general house keeping information
Friday  The weather held off, however the sail over to Lulworth Cove was just a little lumpy to say the least. I had the pleasure of sailing with Brad in his wooden Drascombe Longboat Cruiser, this is the second time I have had the pleasure, although I am sure the combination of cooked breakfast and the boat going up and down, made me feel just a tad queezy.
Looking back at the boats all in full sail, was a fantastic view. Was this really part of the plan I was beginning to wonder, or was it a dream, I could tell it was going to be an emotional few days for me.

The look back towards Portland

Once at Lulworth Cove, the sails were dropped and I jumped ship to go back with Dick P in Daislebee. We anchored next to Stewart and got aboard for some lunch.
Mussels for lunch
Hannah pulling the anchor up
Photo of Lulworth Cove by Tom Richardson
 The sail back from Lulworth was just as exciting, Glenys and I sailed back with Dick in Daislebee.
And if I thought it was going to be a leisurely sail, then I was mistaken, with being instructed to move from port to starboard, I went to move, just as the boat went over a wave, lets say I thought I was going to go over the side of the boat, having composed myself, I am then subjected to Pizey pulling on the mainsail to tie it up, that he ends up sitting on me, what an adventure of being battered and bruised.
Once we were back on dry land, it was interesting to hear from the Drascombers and how they enjoyed the sail over to Lulworth.
Friday evening, and it was a leisurely walk to the Cove at Portland, where a few of us enjoyed a fish and chip supper.

Saturday was the day of the pursuit race, for as we all know, Drascombes do not race. Stewart gave the details during the morning briefing, while Dick then ventured out with the buoys for the course.

Hannah and I had the pleasure of sailing in a Drascombe Gig, with Jeff, Will and Andrew from the London Scout Project. These lads are a credit to the group they are part off. The team work between them has to be seen first hand to understand it. Jeff is a very experienced sailor, and was good to have him there to answer a few questions for owners.

Hannah, Jeff and me
Enjoying a sail

After the pursuit race, I had a little visitor arrive called Kyle, who arrived with Simon for the rest of the day and evening. All Kyle wanted to do was to go on a boat and go sailing, well he was very lucky as he was able to go out in both a Gig and a Drascombe Longboat.

In the afternoon there was "Parade of Sails" where those who wanted to take part.
I was just finishing off in the restaurant for the evening meal when I got a phone call from Dick telling me he was heading to the pontoon to pick me up. How could I say no.
Once out on the water, it was such a wonderful sight to see all of the boats out on the water decorated, what made it even more special was the fact that on the water, sailing was Katharine Mary, the Lugger I set out to find two years ago, once found, she was renovated by the workers last year, to then have on show at London Boat Show in January, and now she is on the water with Hannah (one half of the owners) at the helm, could this really get more emotional than it was!.
Yes it could, as I then decided that I was going to telephone Kate Watkinson and update her on our few days. Speaking to Kate, and describing the sight to her, along with saying that Katharine Mary was sailing again, really did make me smile, more than I had done in a long time.

Katharine Mary
Going back in, Brad decided it would be fun to have a water fight, so once at the pontoon, all I had was a pint glass which I filled with water and threw over him, sadly I should have known I would end up worse off, as once off the boat he got his own back.
That will teach me

Once all dry, it was time to meet with the Simon, Lauren, Jamie and Kyle who had come down to join us for the evening, and head off to the Spinnakers Bar for the evening meal, Glenys and I had spent a few hours in the afternoon setting up, and we hoped that the hard work would be appreciated, a rather silly thought, as the room looked great.
The food was fantastic, and with 112 people sat at 12 tables, it was certainly well attended.
Once people had finished their meals, Dick took to the floor to thank those who helped us on the first day. He then went on to have a bit of fun with the room, as when he mentioned a Drascombe boat model, if they were sat on that table, or owned one, then they had to cheer, this had a few of us laughing and everyone was joining in.
At this time I was presented with a beautiful bouquet of flowers thanking me for all of the work I had put into the event. Along with a standing ovation from the floor.
Simon read out a letter from Kate Watkisnon, as I knew she wouldn't be able to attend I asked her if she would like something read out. The letter was not opened until the night, so it was a surprise for all.
"My name is Katharine Mary Watkinson and I am living proof that having a whinging wife is no bad thing. My dear husband was so determined that I should join him in his love of sailing that it inspired him to design a boat to my specifications. The result was so successful and admired by others that he took her to London Boat Show in 1967, and within half an hour of opening, received the first order.
You all know the rest of the story of Drascombe boats, and I should like to thank you all for your support.
I am sorry I cant be with you for this 50th Anniversary celebration, but I'm thinking about you and I send you all my very best wishes"     Kate
Stewart then went on to give the winners names of the Pursuit Race, with Dominic Jarman first place with his Coaster, followed by Alex Haig second in his Deben Lugger, and David Jillings in the Drascombe Longboat (Queen Mary Sailability)
I then took to the floor to thank everyone for attending the event, and had hoped they had enjoyed themselves. I went on to mention that as we all know, the Drascomber age is not getting any younger, however we were joined in the audience by Annabelle Crane and Kyle Harwood, both two years old, and I hope are future Drascombe sailors.
I thanked Glenys for the hard work in producing the beautiful embroidered napkins which everyone was welcome to take home with them, Lauren presented Glenys with a bouquet of flowers.
There was also one person who if it wasn't for his time spent helping me with ideas, computer work and the necessary paperwork to send out to everyone, this event would not have run as smoothly as it did. My thanks really went to Dick Pizey.
Ross Archer then wanted to say a few words of thanks to everyone who worked hard to put on an enjoyable event.
The evening ended rather emotional for all the lovely words said about how much people had enjoyed meeting other Drascombe owners.
Sunday - we like to put on something different, and I believe for Drascombe, this was.
Ruth Worsley (Bishop of Taunton) and Howard Worsley led a Sunday morning service with a few sea shanties and readings which were read by Hannah and Lauren Harwood along with Julian Merson, very poignantly in the background was "Katharine Mary" sailing in the harbour.
Time for saying goodbyes to old friends and new.
Sadly my time here at Weymouth had come to an end, however I look back on it with only memories and knowing that I had completed the tasks I set out to achieve -
Finding Katharine Mary along with refurbishing her
Finding a location which would host the Drascombe Golden Jubilee
Seeing so many Drascombes on the water in one location
Enjoying the company of many Drascombe owners
The days following the event, I received email after email thanking me for the hard work and efforts put into the enjoyable event which I organised. It wouldn't have taken place without the help of Dick and the others.
My final photo show what this is all about - Four generations of Churchouse Boats

Will (London Scout Project) Me, Simon, Stewart, Kyle, Dick P, Hannah, Jamie and Lauren
I will end with my last thoughts - The whole weekend was an emotional roller coaster for me, hoping everything would fall into place, checking on the weather to ensure no rain was due, hoping no one needed to be recovered, well I can honestly say I did not need to worry at all. The staff at WPNSA were very helpful and sometimes went beyond what we expected.
For me, I went home smiling, my job was done
Here's to the next one ........................................................ Drascamp 2018
Photo credits, Ray Dittrich, Jeff Webber and Tom Richardson

Saturday, 27 May 2017

The new season begins and a family engagement

It seems so long since I was last out on the water, apart from a quick motor when Dick P was having his trailer serviced, I haven't been out since last October.

The bank holiday in May is always the start of the sailing season with our Drascombe group, where they head of for several days usually to the IOW.

As Dick was going to join them a day later, I was able to go out for just over an hour and practice some tacking, the weather was a bit blowy, along with some rain, but in the right weather gear it doesn't bother me.

Howard had just come back in from the IOW, and said it was quite a crossing, at least he had God on his side.

Dick put a reef in (past experiences) and soon we were sailing, I really have come to appreciate the beauty of sailing, being out on the water and seeing where you end up.

Sadly it was soon time for me to depart the boat, and for Dick to sail over to join the others at Shepards Wharf.

I headed off to join Glenys for a bite to eat, as Ian was part of the sailing group.

Monday sees us enjoying a day off, only to have a phone call from my daughter Lauren to say that she had just got engaged, wow things do happen quickly in our house, the week before, Lauren and Jamie had picked up the keys to their house they are buying, now an engagement.

I am so pleased for these two, Jamie has worked for us for nearly a year, he has joined us at the boat shows, as well as learning a new trade.

Now there is the next generation for Churchouse Boats to continue, my little Grandson Kyle, is already a regular at boat shows, and is a real little charmer.

Congratulations Lauren and Jamie, also not forgetting the third person in this new family, Kyle


As I started this post a few weeks ago, I have now just got back from Chichester, having joined the group last night for the usual meal in the clubhouse.

Some new faces amongst the group, along with some familiar ones too.

Now back to work and catch up on emails, from the 1st June we shall be fully functional at our new office and workshop, more details to follow along with photographs.


Thursday, 30 March 2017

Churchouse Boats Trophy and Drascombe Association AGM 2017

Churchouse Boats Trophy 2017

February is the start of the season for many, as we attend the Drascombe Supper at Chichester Yacht Club.

Joining the usual gang in "Spoons" before hand, we soon arrive at CYC saying hello to old friends and catching up from the last couple of months.

Tonight after the meal and details of all events which are taking place throughout the year, I take to the floor to present the "Churchouse Boats Trophy".

This year, there were two people who I felt deserved the award, so they get to share it for 6 months each.

First was a person who not only was rescued once by the RNLI, but twice within several months. Both times did not stop this person from getting back on his boat, and joining in with the events. It could only be the lovely Tony Wood.

The second person is certainly well known within the Drascombe world, and there would be a few who have known him longer than me. Last year was a difficult year health wise for this person, and was not able to join in with the events throughout the year as he normally would. We were very lucky that this person was able to join us at Drascamp, and even go out for a couple of days sailing. So I was very pleased to announce Stewart Brown (my father in law) as the second person to share this award.

Stewart Brown & Tony Wood receiving the CBL Trophy from me

Ending the evening, a few of us ventured back to "Spoons" for a few more drinks, here's to a good sailing season.

Drascombe Association AGM 2017

Saturday 25th March saw Hannah (my 19 year old daughter) and me catch an early flight to Belfast for the DA AGM.

Not too keen on flying, Hannah had much fun teasing me at how small the plane was, and it was good that the propellers were going around, don't you just love children.

On the flight

Arriving early, we caught a taxi to our hotel for the night, and then took the short walk into the city centre. Walking around the city was like any other, however some of the buildings were very beautiful. We had a quick snack and then headed to the Belfast City Hall, which was the venue for this event.

Walking through the gates, it was a very impressive building.

Belfast City Hall

Walking up the stairs to the drinks reception we were met by Sandy Parfitt along with her husband John. I was proud to be introducing Hannah to many Drascombe owners who I knew there, I met up with John Stanage, and said what a beautiful building he had chosen for the venue.

Soon it was time to head into the AGM, the usual details given of the past year, talking about membership numbers, accounts and the rallies which had taken place throughout 2016, one which was mentioned was the Drascamp 2016 which had been sponsored by Churchouse Boats.

At the end of the meeting I spoke of the Churchouse Boats Trophy and who it had been awarded to at Chichester the previous month, along with details of changes which are going on at CBL.

The AGM finished with Doug Elliott giving a very impressive account of his days of building wooden Drascombes along with his brother John.

Following on from the AGM, Hannah and I chatted for a while to some more Drascombe owners, and then ventured back to our hotel, after a short rest, we headed back out to visit a charming pub The Crown and had to have a G&T to start the evening off.

We headed to the Jurys Inn  for the evening meal, and it was lovely to sit with friends.

During the meal, Doug Elliott cut the celebration cake which was then handed around to everyone.

Doug Elliott and John Stanage

The Cake
Back to the hotel ready for the flight home the next day, Belfast was lovely and I certainly plan to visit again, hopefully in warmer weather and I can have a sail in a Drascombe.

I am not back home, and looking out of my office window, the sun is out. As off today I have had over 12,000 page views in two years.

Well my sailing partner looks like he has quite a busy few months, so it looks like my plans will change, come back to see what my next venture is going to be.

Enjoy the sunny weather, and enjoy lots of sailing

Sharon x

Saturday, 21 January 2017

London Boat Show 2017 and Chicago Boat Show 2017

Wow, where do I begin, apart from Happy New Year to you all. It is hard to believe that two weeks ago we were at London Boat Show, and here I am now catching up on emails, sending out quotes, but also updating my blog so you can all see what I have been up to.

It starts for us on Thursday 5th January, when Dick P arrives to collect one of the two boats going to the show.

With Dick and Hannah in one car, Simon and I travel up in the second one, once at Excel it is time to queue for the access to the hall, this was nearly as long as the journey for one of us. Once in the hall it is time to move the second boat in and get the stand looking good.

After Lauren, Kyle Jamie and Stewart arrived on the Thursday afternoon, it was off to the pub to start the celebrations.

Friday was an early start for me (Hannah come along to keep me company), as I had been asked to be interviewed by Radio 5 - Wake up to breakfast, well to me, it was who will be awake to hear this, well I was pleasantly surprised by messages I had from people who I did not know, wishing me well at the show - people are so kind.

Next was waiting to be called for BBC Breakfast, I was live at 7.49am, this was interesting as I was unsure of what I was going to be asked, however it turned out that the interest was women in the marine industry, apparently there are few women in owner/director positions, so I felt honoured to have been asked from the few there are.
BBC One Breakfast Live

Following on after the interview, it was then time to get the stand ready for the 10am opening, at 1.20pm we were having a media event, where Stewart Brown done the speech of the history of Drascombe, and the future.
This was well attended by the media, old friends as well as three very special Guests, we were honoured to have with us Anna and Emma who are the two daughters of John Watkinson, along with Charlie who is one of John W's Grandsons.
I felt very honoured to have been able to have the chance to meet them, I have met James (Johns youngest son) on several occasions, and along with Kate we have a great relationship.
Stewart's speech was about the past, present and future of Drascombe, he gave details of boats which had been designed by John, along with how we found Katharine Mary and refurbished her ready for the 50th Anniversary this year, this followed onto the future and how Peter Thomas has come on board at Churchouse Boats, and the moulds are now being produced at Cornish Crabbers in Cornwall, a working partnership, which can only mean bigger and better things for us all.
Kyle is enjoying getting the sheets in a tangle, just to make DP smile
The owners of Katharine Mary (Lauren and Hannah( cutting the cake)
Hannah and Kyle enjoying some quiet time together.

Above is a selection of photos from the day.
Following on from being on such a high, my family all had to leave to go back home, Simon headed back too as he was flying out to Chicago on the Monday, this left just Dick P and myself for the duration.
The week started to go quickly, with visits from fellow Drascombers old and new, everyone we spoke to was complimentary of the work undertaken on Katherine Mary, I even had offers to buy her. Ian and Glenys arrived on Sunday to help us for a couple of days, it is always great to have owners on the stand, as they give reasons why they decided to buy a Drascombe, rather than listen to the hard sales talk - anyone can do that !!
On Wednesday at 8pm our time, Simon was at Chicago Boat Show for the opening, Mark the owner was very pleased with his purchase, and enjoyed collecting her from customs and delivering her to the show with Simon.
During the course of our week, I met Steve McFadden (Phil Mitchel from Eastenders), Robin K-J come along to say hello, I had my usual chat with Sam Llewellyn and met the lovely Chris Eakin (even buying his book).
One absolute highlight for me, was when one of my customers gave me a present of a 3D printed model of a Drascombe Lugger, WOW, one of a few times I have been speechless, Thank you Andrew I will treasure this, but will be talking to you about making some more.

Sadly, the week was coming to an end all too quickly. We have spoke to many interested parties, given out quotes for several new boats, enjoyed the attention for Drascombe being 50, but most of all, we SOLD a new Drascombe Longboat, well done to team Drascombe.

Thanks really have to go to Peter Thomas from Cornish Crabbers for all of his help and support, but most of all to Dick P for being part of the team for the duration of the show, his many hours of putting the presentation together about the history of Drascombe, setting up, packing away, keeping me sane, encouraging me to drink a few more G&T's, lots of laughs, but most of all great company.

Peter Thomas and myself

Dick P and me

That's the boat show over with for the next year, however we do have the Drascombe Golden Jubilee in July to look forward too, for more information email

Drascombe Golden Jubilee - 6th - 9th July 2017
Weymouth and Portland National Sailing Accademy


We have a Twitter account -

Also, Facebook

Back to work for me, hopefully some sailing soon, I am looking forward to more adventures this year.

Sharon xx