The dingy show is the one opportunity for class associations to convince active sailors that their class is a fun class to be in. The RYA put in months of preparation for the show with floor plans, mains stage entertainments and much more behind the scenes work that I could list here. As a retailer and a sailing enthusiast, this weekend is the most fun of all. With 3 space vans filled with Rooster stand equipment and stock, a transporter towing a half a laser (yes half a boat is cheaper than a whole one for floor space) and a Streaker together with the computers, tills and receipt machines, and the last van full of what ever we had forgotten! Our build starts on Thursday to present the face of Rooster to visitors to the show.
Trapeze Station Testing
At the show we had built a trapeze station to help sailors try on one of our new multi point trapeze
harnesses. I got some shots in before the show opened..
Hot sellers were our new 60L Carry All. An ideal size for everyone - our 90L
has been really successful, but can often be bigger than the door you want to carry it through!
With every class represented at the show it was good to see boats surrounded by class sailors and committee members who could talk about events, training and also listen to their members feedback for inspiration to improve what they offer. Unfortunately once again the the UKLA Chairman was mostly on his own as the UKLA's secretary had arranged a class world qualifier the same weekend. So no Paul Goodison, Nick Thompson, Ali Young or Charlotte Dobson to grace us with their tales and antics on the main stage. But I was wrong. Paul was there, he said "this weekend has been in my diary for ages". Good for Paul supporting the show I thought; there will be loads of youngsters inspired by Paul this weekend. "But what about your qualification for the Worlds?" "I'll worry about that later." he said. I really hope that the UKLA don't punish him for doing his bit for the class, the RYA and his sponsors.
Having gone through the Laser Qualifier mill for many years - perhaps too many, it is easy to look back on them now with a critical eye. I find myself getting very vocal as it appears that the class programmes appears to drive the over 28's away - with all the main regattas in the very early spring and late autumn which are hardly champagne sailing. I know what the committee will say: with so many international regattas in the calendar, its hard to fit in the 6 qualifying events in the normal sailing season.
Have they considered giving average points when the qualifier clashes with an international regatta, or reduce the number of qualifiers sailed - which would give the sailors more options?
The only other regatta that sailors might find themselves keen to do would be the Laser Inlands - which is usually held on the bonfire weekend. I used to find this frustrating as it would clash with the family bonfire commitment. Every year I attended, I used to suggest that if they wanted sailors between the age of 28 and 40 to attend that they should keep it away from the 5th November weekend. Just checked this years dates - its the 3rd and 4th of November again - and so it will not be surprising that the Laser inland fleet will be devoid of sailors between 28 - 40 years again. Its also not surprising that the numbers of new Solos, Streakers and Phantoms will be swollen by 28 - 40 year old disgruntled sailors who paced the dinghy show and found a class with a calender that they were looking for. Why am I moaning? Perhaps its because I love the Laser® Class and wish it were more member friendly.
Pity our new Rooster Visors arrived this morning - they would have been a great seller at just £12!