Hello! I’m Eleanor, I’m 23 years old, and have been Elizmor’s new custodian since November 2013. On this page you can find out a little more about me and my life so far, and what inspired me to buy a big old wooden boat.
When I was 14 I left school to become home educated, and one of my first self-directed projects was to write a book. How Teenagers Think soon grew to 10,000 words of wisdom for parents about bringing up teenagers, written from our point of view – I interviewed a large number of my peers from around the country to give parents an insight into our minds. Encouraged by my grandfather, who had been an author & entrepreneur himself, I decided to try and get the book published. After a lot of rejections – “Sorry, we don’t publish books by child authors.” – I found a quirky independent publisher and the book was a great success, translated into four different foreign languages, and opened the doors for me as a youth insight consultant. I spoke at conferences around Europe and consulted to organisations about young people, specially focusing on how we used technology.
As part of my education I joined local home education groups, and my dad raised funding for 25 of us to go on a sail training voyage with The Cirdan Sailing trust. I was 16 at the time and had the best four days of my life. I was asked back to volunteer with Cirdan and have regularly volunteered ever since, gaining a Trinity House bursury to complete my RYA qualifications up to Yachtmaster Coastal practical/Yachtmaster Ocean shorebased. I still volunteer with Cirdan today, having sailed a lot on their 101-year-old gaff rigged vessel Duet in 2013, including taking part in the Morgan Cup (one of only four crew members – that was a tough race!) and a Fastnet qualifying passage.
Whilst I started sailing relatively late, at 16 years old, I had spent my childhood years hearing of my Dad’s own tales on the high seas – when he was a teenager, my grandparents rented out their family home in London, took my dad and his brother & sister out of school, and bought a 65ft steel De Vries Lensch motor yacht Jernica on which they cruised around the Mediterranean for two and a half years. Dad, no older than 12 or 13, taught himself to look after the twin engines and was often found down below with pasty white skin whilst his siblings were tanning themselves on deck. Thanks Dad – perfect training for Elizmor’s chief engineer!
Inspired by the tales of Jernica and the sailing I had done with Cirdan, I saved up everything I earnt from my book and at the age of 18 I moved out of home and bought my very own sailing yacht. Milestone (affectionately known as Miley) is a Colvic Victor 34, built in 1980 – a GRP ketch with a lovely wooden bowsprit.
I lived on Miley in Portsmouth Harbour for two years, regularly cruising the south coast as far as Dartmouth, and could often be found dancing on the tables at the Folly or barbecuing on the beach at Yarmouth in the summer.
In 2010 I sailed to Brighton where I have kept Miley for the past three years, embedding myself in the city’s vibrant digital media community, where I have picked up work as a digital marketing strategist.
In August 2013 I left my role at iCrossing, an international digital marketing agency, in search of new adventures, and with some freelance work to keep me busy.
In October, I saw Elizmor advertised for sale online.
I have lived on Miley for five years now, and have always been looking forward to that “bigger boat” that every boat owner dreams of. And I’m being literal here – ever since I bought Miley, I have had a recurring dream where I find an ‘extra cabin’ somewhere down below. Unfortunately I’ve even hauled her out of the water to check for hidden space under the waterline, but nope, she’s 34ft and doesn’t even have an aft cabin so that’s my lot.
Elizmor on the other hand… is the boat of my dreams, with extra cabins and space galore. So after a couple of trips up to Preston to check her out and get a survey done, I suddenly found myself in charge of a very large boat (and with another not-so-large one that I need to sell to pay for all this), and now the adventure begins. When I found her, Elizmor had been lying on the hard in need of some work before a re-launch and voyage down to the south coast. In April 2014 Elizmor I launched Elizmor back into her natural habitat, and the journey continues…
Contemplating such a mammoth task on a massive, old wooden boat five years ago would have been unthinkable for me. But the past five years of living aboard Miley and getting involved with other sailing adventures has been the perfect preparation for all that Elizmor entails. The people I have met, the things I have learnt, the boats I have sailed – it’s as if my whole life, piece by piece, has been leading up to the responsibility of taking on Elizmor.
So that’s my story so far – and now Elizmor has come into my life, there will be a lot more to tell in the months and years to come. I hope you can join me on our adventure.