You know the season is fast approaching when you make the annual trip to London, more specifically Alexandra Palace for the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show. The show is always a great place to catch up with friends, see the latest boats, boat improvements and also a great chance to grab any bargains. The show is an annual trip for me, I've been pretty much every year with my dad since around 2004. This year was slightly different, back before Christmas Steve mentioned to me about his plans to get some Team Rooster sailors to come and work on the stand for the Saturday, sounded like a great idea to me. So when I was greeted with an email from Izzy mid January I thinks its safe to say I was pretty excited. Why I hear you ask. Well firstly I've never experienced the dinghy show from the retail side before, I've done the odd show on a class association stand but never before on a retail stand. Secondly I love talking about Rooster products, I suppose its because I use the kit so regularly you become very confident about what you're saying. Thirdly it was a great chance to spend the weekend with the rest of the Rooster team that I had not met before and get to know what their roles are within the company. I was lucky enough not only to end up working on the stand all weekend (on my own accord - no forced labour by Rooster!) but also spent the weekend with the staff at the hotel & evening meals. I would like to thank everyone at Rooster for making me feel instantly welcome - great bunch of people, now all considered as friends!! After a lovely meal at an Italian on the Friday night it was back to the hotel for some rest before the weekend got into full flow.
Once we got to Ally Pally we were straight to work in putting the finishing touches to the stand. Izzy gave us a quick tour of the stand showing us where everything was and answering any questions we had, shortly after that a few final words from Steve and we were ready to go. As soon as the lady on the tannoy said "Ladies & gentlemen, boys & girls the show is now open" thousands of people wandered through the main door. That was the last moment of peace. Throughout the day a heavy, constant stream of people entered the Rooster stand, browsing through the range, deciding what to buy and asking questions they had. I found it pretty easy answering questions because I pretty much own/use every item Rooster makes, it was also nice to see some old friends come on to the stand . Saturday was over in a flash. I managed to have a quick look at a couple of other stands after the show had finished, saying hello to people I haven't seen since last years show. So back to the hotel and off out for another meal to a Persian restaurant - it was extremely nice & very filling.
Onto Sunday, the "quieter" of the two days. It was still pretty busy but nowhere near the mad rush of Saturday. First job for the day was to restock the shelves. I managed to take a quick 5 min break to go and have a look at the RS Aero, I was pleasantly surprised to see the changes they have made from the pre production boat they had on their stand last year, I am dying to have a go in one, I think my light body weight might suit the boat. Steve has had a go in one recently so I was glad to see his blog post about his experiences. The day continued just like Saturday, advising on kit for different conditions. Then the massive pack down approached us. What an operation this is. Boxes stacked everywhere, sticky tape running from end to end, piles of trusses, lorries reversing. It was utter organised chaos. Then our lorries came in and we set about loading them up - which went very easily, everything fitted back in. And that was that, the end of an amazing weekend and it was time to say goodbye to everyone before my trip back to Cornwall.
I would like to thank everyone at Rooster for a great weekend and for making me feel so welcome. I heard that I've been signed up again for next year already, haha. I would also like to say a massive thank-you to Steve, Helen & Izzy for looking after me and the opportunity to work for you!! THANK-YOU!!
James - Team Rooster
Photo Credits: Dave Treagust