2006 RYA Dinghy Show
I had a
quick count up and I think this was my 13th dinghy show as SigneT stand
manager. This year's show was again at Alexandra Palace and followed a
well established pattern. Set up on Friday afternoon with Steve Leeding
went pretty well. Steve's 919 boat was on the stand resplendent with an
all varnished hull and new sails. Although the electrics weren't
connected by the time we left we did manage to beat the worst of the
traffic getting home.
I thought Saturday was quiet with attendance seemingly
down on last year. Keith & Madeline Hatton, Roy Melsom, Steve &
Jonathan Leeding and Richard Cannon helped man the stand which was much
Highlight of the day had to be a lady coming on to the
stand and as she stood admiring ST919 Madeline went up to her and asked
if she knew anything about SigneT's. She smiled and said "just a
little", introducing herself as Jenny Proctor, Ian Proctor's daughter!
Madeline's face was a picture. Jenny explained that she was trying to
organise a regatta, probably in the West Country, sometime in 2007-2008
for all the classes that her father had designed over the years. Should
One change, exhibited at the show, concerned a similar vintage
boat to the SigneT, namely the Mirror dinghy. In it’s latest
manifestation its lost it's familiar Gunter rig and has adopted a
Bermudan rig; but its still sports its in-elegant chopped off bow.
Sunday was a little livelier. By midday we'd had more people on the
stand than during the whole of Saturday. Pat, Jenny and Michael Overs,
Chris and Stephen Whiteside and Madeline Hatton all helped out, ably
assisted by Cate Whiteside and John Pryor. My thanks to Jenny, Pat and
the team who during the afternoon presented me with a subscription to
the 'Dinghy' magazine as a birthday present.
Once the show
closed our well drilled team swung into action, everything went into
the boat and we were out of the place lickety-split! And within an hour
had the cars loaded and ST919 on her road trailer and away.
Several other exhibitors that I spoke to were unhappy about the cost of
the dinghy show but all felt that to stop would be to the detriment of
their respective classes (nearly £500 total, £411 to the RYA for the
stand. In year 2000 it was only £232 and £167.).
Palace has recently changed hands. Haringey Borough Council has sold a
125 year fully repairing lease to The Alexandra Park and Palace
Charitable Trust. This was done to remove financial reliance on the
local council taxpayer and enable the trust to generate income from
commercial use. This will include bringing in external partners to
invest in the building in exchange for long leases.
Restoration of the buildings may well include construction of a Hotel,
Casino etc. while existing facilities will continue to honour all
current contracts. The trust must also continue to meeting its
charitable objectives and continue to make 'the palace' accessible to
the general public.
The 2007 Dinghy Show is scheduled for
Alexandra Palace as the last of a three year deal. I spoke to Jenny
Curry one of the shows organisers and she said she believed that the
RYA would try to keep the show at the current venue for the foreseeable
P.S. Cat Ferguson, the show co-coordinator, reports that
11,567 persons visited the show which was 7.2% up on last year. The box
office saw a 9% rise in visitors buying tickets on the door and Sunday
saw 1,427 children visiting the show, nearly doubling last year's
figure. Attendance figures have now risen by 13% in the past three