Cumbrae delivers at Scotland's Boat Show

26 Oct
Cumbrae delivers at Scotland's Boat Show

The weekend of 14-16th October was the weekend of Scotland’s largest boat show, held at Inverkip Marina.

An integral part of the show this year was the ‘Get Afloat’ sessions organised by RYA Scotland. Cumbrae was delighted to be asked to be one of the partners delivering these ‘taster’ sessions, with participants able to try out a RIB experience and/or get out for a sail on the centre’s yacht, Santa Vey.

Over the course of the weekend, RYA(S) had over 350 participants enjoy an ‘on the water’ experience, with Cumbrae delivering more than half of these! Cumbrae instructors, Stu and Lisa headed up the RIB rides, whilst Tom and Beckie focused on the yacht sessions. Cumbrae’s Charlotte and Carla were ‘off the water’, talking to those interested in the courses on offer at the centre, as well as helping participants get ‘kitted up’ with buoyancy aids and life jackets. It was a busy, but wholly enjoyable weekend.

Friday 14th Oct - A Royal Start

To mark its ‘30th year’, the Boat Show got off to a special start, with HRH Princess Anne, patron of the RYA, opening the event this year. Charlotte got the opportunity to talk to Princess Anne about the Island and Princess Anne also talked to Stu and Tom, asking about the ‘taster’ sessions on offer.

Not surprisingly Friday morning flew by and it was soon time to welcome the first participants of the RIB sessions. The first of these were Harvie and Alan, two gentlemen from Bo’ness diving club:

First RIB participants: Harvie and Alan from Bo'ness Diving Club
First RIB participants: Harvie and Alan from Bo’ness Diving Club

Caught on camera

Before Tom headed out with that first RIB ride, BBC Alba popped over to film us, asking Tom a little more about the RIB (what the centre mainly uses them for etc.) as well as asking Harvie and Alan about what had brought them to the event that day. We were then filmed heading out onto the water, so, ‘watch this space’ to see if Cumbrae ends up on the TV!

BBC Alba interviews Tom
BBC Alba interviews Tom

After the first session finished, it was back-to-back RIB sessions throughout the day, on the two VSR RIBS Cumbrae had brought to the show. It had been a great start to the weekend really.

Saturday 15th October

RIB rides continued today, with one participant clearly inspired after his experience:

’‘Whoa…I have been out on a rib before but have never actually had a go in the driving seat! Thanks so much! It was great fun!!’‘

Today also saw ‘Santa Vey’ arriving at Kip Marina, in anticipation of the yacht rides taking place during Saturday and Sunday:

Tom sails Santa Vey to the show
Tom and Beckie sail Santa Vey to the show

Saturday was a busy day both on and off the water, with Charlotte and Carla chatting to many sailing enthusiasts – with visitors seeming to be particularly interested in the ‘Day Skipper Practical’ course offered by the centre. It was also great to hear from so many young enthusiasts, whose interests ranged from junior courses in kayaking, to windsurfing, to dinghy sailing.

A beautiful evening unfolded as Saturday’s events drew to an end:

A beautiful evening unfolds on Saturday
A beautiful evening unfolds on Saturday

Sunday 16th Oct

The weather forecast was rather bleak for the last day of the show, with heavy rain due in the afternoon. However, the morning started off dry and bright and the first of the yacht sessions got underway at 10.30am:

About to head off on for a Sunday morning sail
Getting ready to head off on for a Sunday morning sail

With 5 out of a potential 6 booked onto that slot, Carla grabbed the opportunity to join the group for what was a lovely hour’s sail, which included catching a glimpse of some seals along the way.

In chatting to the group, Carla found out that a couple of the ladies on this yacht session had completed courses at Cumbrae a few years ago (RYA Day Skipper and RYA Coastal Skipper), back then on the ‘Sun Odyssey 36’ yacht so they were delighted to be trying out the ‘Salona 38’ this time around. Jeanette, one of the ladies from this group, commented:

’‘Absolutely fabulous - loved every minute of it! Thank you.”

A participant enjoys the chance to be at the helm
A participant enjoys the chance to be at the helm. Everyone gets a chance to get involved:

Also on-board with us was Laura, the news and website editor for ‘Practical Boat Owner’. Laura is based down south, near Dorset and was embracing the opportunity to leave the PBO stand at the show for a short spell and enjoy some sailing on Scotland’s west coast. She was really taken by how quiet the waters are in this part of the world:

Laura from 'Practical Boat Owner', with Beckie
Laura from ‘Practical Boat Owner’, with Beckie

During the sail, we also came across Lisa and her RIB group out enjoying themselves:

Lisa out with her group
Lisa out with her group

Multi-talented Cumbrae Instructors

Unfortunately, the poor forecast came to fruition so, in between sessions, Stu took the opportunity to entertain visitors with his juggling skills!

Stu entertains visitors, during a very rainy spell!
Stu entertains visitors, during a very rainy spell!

The poor weather didn’t put participants off though as the ‘taster’ sessions continued throughout the afternoon. Someone took to Facebook later that night to say that they had come off the RIB ‘soaked but happy!’

Actually, those on the last of the sessions got rather lucky as the day turned into a rather settled and calm evening:

The last RIB ride of the weekend
The last RIB ride of the weekend

Another lovely night, to bring the weekend to an end
Another lovely night, to bring the weekend to an end

Packing Up

Lisa and Stu preparing to head back to the Centre
Lisa and Stu preparing to head back to the Centre

After all the sessions had ended, it was time for Lisa and Stu to refuel the RIBs for their 30min journey back to the centre. At this point a lady and her family, who had been on one of the RIB rides earlier that day, commented:

Is that you getting ready to head back now? Oh, I’m jealous…wish I could come back in the RIB with you!”

It was so encouraging to hear such enthusiasm, from someone who’d obviously ‘caught the bug’. It was especially nice to hear that her young son had been very apprehensive about going out on the RIB but had come off saying how much he enjoyed it. The whole family, as it turns out, were keen to get involved in a course in the future.

It really was the perfect way to end what had been a fabulous few days, and remembering such enthusiasm will keep us all buoyant as the winter nights start challenging our spirits out on the water!!

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