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BIG BLUE GO BOATING WEEKEND 26-27 JUNE - Richard Cannon

 
   
    When I received the Big Blue publicity inviting us to register for the event I didn’t know what would be involved or what we would get out of it but it seemed a good idea if it gave us more publicity.
Originally we decided to just support the Sunday because around the end of June is a very busy period with the Hampton Regatta before and our Regatta after it both being two days events. Because we were unsure of how successful our Open days in May would be, at the last minute I decided to apply for both days.
Big Blue is the name for promotions by the British Marine Industries Federation and the Go Boating Weekend was organised by their marketing department in association with the RYA and endorsed by the Sports Council. There was a six figure promotional budget.
Aquarius Sailing Club were included in their impressive event guide and on their Web Site. Some promotional leaflets were supplied for personalising for our event and a magnificent 3 metre by 1 metre banner was provided, all at no cost to the Club.
During the week prior to the event I received 15 phone calls requesting information and they all indicated that they would be coming. I have never received a phone call enquiring about our normal Open Days.
The weather forecast was for deteriorating conditions over the weekend but fortunately it was better than we expected and there was a good breeze and only very light rain on Saturday, although it was very fluky by the end of the day.
 
   
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  Sunday started very wet although it had largely cleared up by the time we were preparing the boats. Then by late morning it deluged down for a while. The afternoon became fine with an excellent steady, by river standards, force 2-3 wind.
The event was advertised as starting at 10:00 and ending at 17:00; both days started fairly quiet but then became extremely busy with excellent support by both visitors and Club members. On Saturday the 17 boats out on the water, including the two Manta sailing cruisers, provided a magnificent sight and the club was really lively with a continuous stream of visitors being taken out for a sail and entertained. We were still taking visitors out at 6:30pm when Graham Thompson suggested we have race; I was completely shattered by the time I got home at 8:30 pm.
I was concerned that with such good support from members on Saturday and the poor weather we would be short of boats on Sunday but we again had excellent support from members with 13 boats out. Once again, a large number of visitors arrived later in the afternoon and were still being taken out at 6:30pm.
Over the two days we had over 60 visitors which probably makes it the best attended Open Days we have had. It was very hard work but very enjoyable and it was very worth while registering for the event. Our thanks go to the many Club members who worked so hard to make it a success. Apart from taking people out for a sail, they provided the catering, manned the bar and generally entertained a large number of visitors. Our Commodore (Rodger) in particular must have been almost overwhelmed at times by the influx of visitors to be welcomed and organised with a sail.
It was a real pleasure seeing the Club so active and the members, wives and friends, too numerous to be named, who organised, catered and took the visitors out for a sail are to be thanked and congratulated on doing a thoroughly proficient job.