20May2002 Open Weekend 18-19 May - Richard Cannon

We were hoping for a good result from the Open Weekend publicity in local papers, schools, shops and libraries. Unfortunately the weather was very uninviting on Saturday; It was raining when it was time to leave for the club although it stopped soon after arriving and starting to rig boats. There was a strong gusty SWW wind; far from ideal for taking out visitors who had never been in a sailing dinghy before.

After the problems at Desborough SC with car break ins, as we couldn't lock the visitors out, there was a heavy overhead manning the car park both days. Many thanks to everyone who took a turn at this tedious task. We may have prevented problems as one motor bike drove in and went straight out again.

Mike Baker was first out with a disastrous start in his Signet; He pushed off without realising that his visitor crew had jammed the genoa sheet on what became the windward side and promptly capsized with the stern less than a metre from the bank. Fortunately his crew was very agile and didn't even get his feet wet, while Mike was in the water holding the mast up and manoeuvring the boat so his crew could climb off. It didn't deter him from going out with Mike.

From the club down to Platt's Eyot it was very gusty and fluky. Upstream, especially beyond the slipway, it was very patchy and difficult to sail. The best area was the reach in front of the rowing club; there was a steady wind straight down the reach and there weren't any rowers out.

Fortunately the weather was much better Sunday; sunny most of the day. The wind was still SWW and fairly strong but much more manageable and it was possible to let visitors take the helm on the run. We had a much better attendance with 15 groups of people keeping us very busy and a number seemed very interested.

We had a very big age range go out and have a go on the helm; the youngest was 2 and the oldest 81 years old. Our junior Fin Gloyn took a young girl out in the Pico.

The new gas BBQ did an excellent job cooking burgers and sausages for lunch. Members and visitors were also kept well supplied with tea, coffee and cakes. Many thanks to all our members who provided all these essential services.

We had a good section of boats on the water including three Bosuns, Enterprise, Signets, and Pico. Rodger Wheeler and Laurie Bridges have taken over a Bosun that Graham Thompson bought for the cover that came with it and it was sailed for the first time. Mike Baker's Signet looked splendid with a new herring bone patterned deck and a complete repaint.

Our helms were kept very busy and Richard never managed to finish a drink of coffee before being asked to take someone else out. We now hope to be receiving completed membership forms from our visitors.