This year the Club's Open Weekend was held in conjunction with the RYA's Big Blue Summer of Boating initiative. Planning for this annual event started back in March. Press releases were sent to a dozen or so local area newspapers in April and informational posters and flyers were also made available to members in an effort to ensure the weekend received maximum possible publicity. Information was also available on the Aquarius web site.
Internally the clubhouse was 'spruced-up, the upper patio finished, the grass trimmed and the flower beds weeded. New club name signs were mounted either side of the entrance gates and Bryan even repainted the interior of the safety boat.
Up to this weekend sailing had been very poor due to bad wind and strong current. Fortunately the elements were very kind to us for this important event. The current had dropped to about 1 knot, the wind was generally an ideal steady E to NE 2-10 knots. As a bonus it was fine and hot. Some of our lady members made very good use of our renovated upper patio.
Most of our visitors were families with children between 2 and 14 years old and the good conditions enabled even the young children to have a go on the helm; one 11 year old even mastered tacking. Sunday started with less wind and it was difficult to make way against the current. Roy Clough took his Graduate out for itís first sail and to demonstrate that the wind had improved he capsized! The coldness took his breath away and he found he couldnít climb back into his dinghy.
One young girl was persuaded to go out by her cousin and our junior helm Michael Stevens took them both out in his Graduate; there was a lot of squealing coming from his dingy when it heeled. Then for a short period the wind blew harder and Michael really gave them something to squeal about by capsizing. Fortunately the girls only got their legs wet. Very surprisingly they went out with Michael again. When asked if they had enjoyed their sail they said the best bit was the capsize!!
Towards the end of Sunday Graham Thompson had a couple buoys laid and there was informal racing over a short course with visitors crewing.
We had a very successful Open Weekend with 33 visitors. A couple of families joined before leaving; one had got details of our open day from the AQSC web site. The main sources of visitors was the banner at the entrance and the posters on the far bank.
Our thanks go to Joan Bray, Madeline Hatton and Margaret Tomkins for providing food and refreshments for the weekend and to all our members who took visitors out in their dinghies.
And finally ... ask yourself this. Was thee a familly member, friend or colleague who had expressed an interest in sailing you could have brought down to the club over the Open Weekend? ... and if you didn't WHY NOT?