How it Began

It all started with our first boat, an E-boat called Steph-in-'E', these boats are called E-boats after their designer 'Julian Everett' hence the name E-boat. When naming one of these boats they play on the letter E. We were new to sailing & (unknown to us) we had bought a racing boat!!! 

We trailed her over to Derwent water & holidayed on her for 10 days (all 4 of us), WOW that was cramped but great fun.  We had our very first sailing lesson with Neil from Ark Sailing & with a sail that didn't even fit our boat, but we managed somehow.  Neil is based on Windermere & travelled over to Derwent Water, he's a great guy & our lesson helped us get to grips with our new purchase.  We had a lot more long weekends away on Derwent Water during the summer of 2020.  So this is where it all began with our little 21ft racing machine 'The E-boat' with her flat deck, perfect for sunbathing on or running from one side to the other, but absolutely NO headroom down below, the girls got the best bed (the V berth), Chris & I got the 2 pilot berths, boy were they uncomfortable but with some camping mattresses we put up with it.  We had a little 2 burner camp stove for cooking on & a sink haha, a tiny day sailing racing yacht with a plumbed in sink, who'd have thought (we only ever used it once to empty curry slops out of the pan cos we were told we couldn't use the sinks on the marina due to covid, they sharp changed that rule when they saw a strange yellow runny sludge seeping from the drain hole of our little boat).  Cooking on that boat was an art, sat on my bed, twisted facing the stoves with just a few inches either side, but you know what, we managed & we had a lot of fun that summer,  she was a trailer sailor so it meant each time we'd tow her over & then have to step the mast & attach the rigging.  The neighbours didn't really like us much having a 21ft yacht stuck on our drive, secretly I think they were just a tiny bit jealous (2 things, our drive is a bit bigger than theirs & they wish they had a boat too) regardless though I didn't really care much.  I'd often be sat on deck fiddling with something & with a coffee in my hand, I quite enjoyed just being up there.  "When you gonna leave that boat on the lake" I'd hear them shout, "Soon" I'd yell back with a big cheesy grin thinking NEVER really......

More Fun on the E-Boat

Doesn't Chris look quite the skipper there at the helm.  It's the simple things in life that are important, you can stick your 5star fancy holidays in big posh hotels with marble floors & Gary Linekar karaoke bars, give us the lake on a boat & a couple of kayaks any day & we'll make our own fun. 

What a summer that was, 2020 seemed to have the longest summer ever and we were on that lake loads.  It's not a bad journey towing the boat over there, Once we hit the A66 from Penrith and can see the mountains its not far.  From the day Boris locked down the country the sun shone and once things opened up again a few months later our summer was in full swing and sailing became our thing.  We berthed at Derwent Water Marina which was just a small place but adequate for what we needed.  There was a guy there called Andy who was super helpful with information about the lake as there's tons of shallow spots (which we'd up until then found when we got grounded on them).  We met a few other yachties who were  really friendly and some who have been on the lake for years.   
That boat had the best deck for just sitting around sunbathing. 

Sunrise, the best part of the day, I'm always the only one up but I love to watch the sun come up ready for a new day with a brew.

You can just see Catbells in one of the pictures, we later that summer conned the kids into climbing Catbells, there's some great views of Derwent Water from up there.  


Swallows & Amazons

 The marina is busy with people day tripping to the lake for kayak, canoe and paddle board hire.  I quite fancied hiring some kayaks so we could explore the islands on the lake.  They're certainly not the cheapest things to hire but we hired them anyway.  That was a great day, we felt like Swallows and Amazons as we conquered the islands, the biggest (Herbert's island) had 2 camps with hammocks hanging in the trees, campfires burning and socks hung drying on makeshift washing lines.  This is the life I thought, simple and fun.  That's the great thing about the lake, they allow people to camp on the islands, unfortunately it's not permitted on Windermere.


Cherish Those You Love

So although lockdown was now relaxed there were still a lot of rules, no mixing in homes and no hugging others outside your household.  I saw my Mum and Dad regularly and would sit on their patio for a coffee and a catch up but I really missed hugging them both.  

One sunny day they decided to travel over to see us on the lake and come out for a tour of the lake on the boat.  

The excitement was just too much for me and without even thinking I just hugged them so tight (that hug will stick with me forever). 

There's a photo of us all on the boat, that was a pretty awesome day.  

This is just halfway up, that's Derwent Water & Keswick in the background.

A nice little bimble up Catbells with the little people

 We decided it would be great to climb Catbells, it's just a low fell, nothing strenuous, the kids would disagree with that, but once they were up the enjoyed the views and it was a sense of achievement for them.  They've only been up a couple more since, they have dug their heels in and said NO to anymore sadly so it's just me and Chris who go out walking and climbing now.  

Here's a few pics, look I managed to capture them smiling not moaning. 

This is a good fell to climb, there's a little van at the bottom selling drinks & snacks for the trek.  You'd think you were higher than you are as you can see for miles.

Derwent Water again in the background, there's the islands, Herbert's is the largest & you can camp on there.  

Neil from Ark Sailing

RYA level 1 Sailing course

 This is Neil, owner of Ark sailing, the guy who came over to Derwent water in 2020 to show us how to sail our E-Boat with a main sail that didn't fit and was clearly off a different boat (but Neil managed cos he's the man).  

We booked our RYA level 1 sailing course with Neil but this time on his boat 'Ark' a Beneteau first 21 (also a racing boat) but a lot newer than ours.  We're also on a different lake, we were now on lake Windermere (the largest lake in the Lake District).  

It was early March 2021 and we were up before the sun both days to get over to meet Neil at the beautiful Langdale Chase where Ark is moored.  Thankfully it was dry, icy cold but dry, we had beautiful blue skies both days.  Neil taught us sailing techniques like tacking & gibing, how to read the wind, rope work & safety like how to recover a man overboard.  It may look simple but there's a lot to learn & we were just starting our journey really.  

I can't rate Neil enough, he's not only a fantastic sailor but good fun to be around too.  For anyone thinking of sailing or wanting some lessons give him a call, he's a great guy and we learnt loads from him & he's now a good friend.

A Final Sail

The Final Sail for our little Racing Machine on Lake Windermere.

Our final holiday on our E-boat, (we didn't know that at the time).  We decided after sailing with Neil on Windermere for a weekend that we'd take our boat over for a long weekend.  Windermere is the biggest lake at the lake district stretching 10.5 miles long and 1 mile wide.  The weekend we chose was absolutely freezing cold, we'd been spoilt by the red hot weather the previous year, but we weren't going to let this put us off.  I have a sleeping bag now for sub-zero temperatures cos WOW it was cold during the night on that boat, mind the kids never complained but they had their goose down quilt.  Cold at night yet not as cold through the day but we still had a great few days and we realised that this lake had a lot more to offer so we decided we'd spend the year on Windermere.  

We also realised that to be spending most weekends away on our boat we needed something with a little more space below deck and a separate heads (loo).  So we started looking for bigger boats.......

There she is our little racing machine Steph'in'E the E-Boat. We moored on that jetty at Ambleside & camped there over night, you're not meant to but it was quiet & the lake wardens weren't about.

There's Chris, he really does love sailing, just look at that face. 

And finally we managed to obtain the correct main sail for our boat, a bit too late as now we're selling her but better late than never.  There's Chris on deck trying the main for size while the boat's on the drive.  He's looking very pleased with himself that it fits. 

There's Chris teaching Heidi the ropes.

Gracie & Heidi, it was a cold weekend but a fun one.

Heidi all snug in bed, the girls had the best bed (the V berth) at the bow of the boat. They even had fairy lights.

Gracie being shown the ropes.

We BBQ'd on the lake shore often, we still do now, there's a few little quiet spots over on the West side where you can moor to a jetty for a little while. 

Back at Ambleside jetty, its handy for the loos across the road.

We spent another night on that jetty & got take out pizza from the best pizza shop in Ambleside then sat eating them on the deck in the sunshine.