The RYA Dinghy Show, in association with Yachts and Yachting and Suzuki, proved as popular as ever this year with dinghy enthusiasts from across the country and as far afield as Australia flocking to Alexandra Palace, London during the weekend of 2nd and 3rd March.
'We had some 8,200 people attend this year’s show' commented show manager Helen Waterhouse. 'The feedback we’ve received from exhibitors, visitors, guest speakers and the visiting Olympic and Paralympic sailors has all been extremely positive, with everyone agreeing what a fantastic show it’s been.
'Many people I spoke with commented on the exciting buzz of the show and how much there was to do and take part in.
'The atmosphere all weekend has definitely got everyone fired up for the season ahead.'
Being the only show in the world dedicated to dinghy sailing it really is a must for all dinghy sailors and enthusiasts. Throughout the weekend visitors had the chance to check out the 201 boats, both old and new designs, that crammed the halls of Ally Pally, kit, gear, books and much more, as well as pick up some top tips from some of the very best dinghy sailors and dinghy sailing experts around.
A host of British Sailing Team sailors including Paralympic Gold medallist Helena Lucas, double Olympic silver medallist Joe Glanfield and London 2012 Olympic silver medallist Luke Patience, to name just a few, made their way to the show to take part in main stage talks and share their top tips in the coaching sessions. They also spent time hanging out around the show having a go at the many activities taking place including, racing at the model boat pool, giving tips on the trapezing rig and building their own paper boat at the Holt Blow Boat Challenge, as well as chatting to visitors, signing autographs, showing off their London 2012 medals and having a great time.
From hard core racers to cruisers, families and youngsters the show had something for everyone. Main stage talks attracted big crowds as did the more hands on coaching sessions where visitors got to experience everything from taking part in the boat fit boot camp, where RYA Physio Matt McGovern put visitors through their paces with lunges and squats, planks and balances, to the interactive racing rules session with Chris Watts and the always popular Rig Tuning sessions with Michael McNamara.
Younger visitors whizzed around the show collecting stickers in the Pirate Treasure Hunt, under the watchful gaze of ‘Captain D’, the show’s very own pirate, with many young visitors showing off their own pirate costumes for the pirate fancy dress competition.
Amongst all the action and hustle and bustle of the show there were also a whole host of prizes presented and winners announced throughout the weekend. Our winners were:
RYA Club of the Year 2013 – Papercourt Sailing Club Concours d’Elegance winner – Hornet 2151 ‘Red Streamliner’ - Hornet Class RS Design a sail competition – Blythe Berry from Emsworth (10)
Club prize draw 1.)Bewl Valley Sailing Club 2.) Marconi Sailing Club 3.)Wilsonian Sailing Club
Tea at the Palace – afternoon tea with Helena Lucas – Olly Turner and Tina Grice RYA Dinghy Show SailX Championship Class winner - 29er’s, Individual champion claiming the Virtual Endeavour Trophy – ‘blow’ Pirate Fancy dress competition – Molly Hinsliff- Smith (9) from Notts County Sailing Club
'We will also be announcing shortly the winner of the ‘Start Sailing Competition, where one lucky visitor will win a Topper Club dinghy and a massive haul of other essential dinghy sailing goodies', commented Helen.
The show was also a great success for the hundreds of exhibiting sailing clubs, associations and retailers.
David Page from David Page, Hiking Bench and Rigtube - 'Out of the four years we have been here this has been the most successful yet.'
RS: 'This show is the envy of Europe. Every major European country would like an event like this to support their dinghy fleets. It is unique and RS love being a part of it. Having an exhibition focused solely on dinghies is the reason the dinghy market is so big in the UK. RS is utterly committed to it and we will be back next year. It’s great fun to be part of, we love the atmosphere, and it really is a show for all the family.'
Blackwater Sailing Club: 'The show has been very encouraging. We’ve had a substantial amount of interest with a number of people coming in, talking to us and taking away our leaflets. Lots of people have promised to come down and see us at our Push the Boat Out Open Day on May 18th which is great.'
SWAC: 'Really great show, nice to meet lots of great people. We’ve have had a lot of interest in instructor packages. Really good turnout.'
Suzuki: 'The best dinghy show I’ve been at in last three to four years.'
Guess the Dinghy competition winner Anja Newman: 'I had a fabulous day (taking my mother with me), particular highlights being seeing my father’s boat on show (Tideway 520), and watching the amazing lecture on Laser upwind/downwind marks by Nick Thompson.'