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