Drascombes from the beginning
A lot has been written about how Drascombes began, so we have scaled down the facts to make it interesting reading.
John Watkinson grew up with small boats on the River Dee, at the age of nine John built his first boat using boards stolen from the hen house roof, his parents were impressed that they responded with encouragement. He showed acadmeic ability as well as practical skill winning a maths scholarship to the Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.
After a distinguished war service, John became the Royal Navy's recognised small boat specialist. he was loaned to Cambridge University to help design the first inflatable life raft.
While stationed in Northern Ireland, John met Katharine, a Signal Wren. On discharge from the Navy they bought and managed Kelly and Hall, a small yard building and repairing traditional boats. After several years, they decided to "sell up and sail", but due to bad weather and sea sickness they returned.
Once back in Devon, John promised to build Kate a boat she would like, although Kate declared it must be "A day boat, so I could get home to a comfortable bed, have no boom to bang heads and have any engine fumes well out of the way"
The result was the first Drascombe Lugger "Katharine Mary"
Knowing the prototype was a success, John took the first production Drascombe Lugger to the 1968 London Boat Show. They sold this boat within 20 minutes of the opening and came home with 18 orders.
There have been a few companies over the years building Drascombes, but since 2002 the license to build Drascombes has been with Churchouse Boats, when Stewart Brown (the then owner of the company) was granted permission to build them.
In 2006 the proto-type Drifter 22 is launched, the first new Drascombe boat for 20 years, she is well received, and is a popular choice for the single handed and family sailor's buying a new boat.
Move forward to March 2013 and Stewart Brown retires and sells Chruchouse Boats to Simon and Sharon Harwood. Simon has been working here since 2002 and worked on the first Drascombe Lugger which was built under Churchouse Boats. Sharon joined in January 2010, working in the office. Martin joined in 2010 and is the main wood worker. Hannah, Vernon and Shawn complete the team, along with Lauren who helps out at the Boat Shows. Stewart works for us on an ad-hoc basis (a valuable walking Drascombe encyclopedia) while Richard the cat can always be found checking out the boats as they arrive either for work or brokerage sale.
We shall now be using the name Drascombe (with the approval of Kate Watkinson) far more than we have in the past, although we will still be trading as Drascombe by Churchouse Boats.
We are proud to announce, that Katharine Mary has been puchased by our daughters, with the intention of refurbishing her and having her on display during the 50th Anniversary celebrations during 2017.