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A Wonderful Weekend at the 2024 RYA Dinghy Show – DF65’s at the pool

I am always amazed at how a piece of water approx. 40ft by 40 feet with four road bollards as marks with 6 DF65 craft sailing round in circles can provide so much entertainment to so many, both young and old.

The dinghy exhibition is alive and kicking at Farnborough. The last time I went to one was at Pickets Lock. Thankfully I cannot remember the time or date but the 1970’s come to mind so for me it was a trip down memory lane. My days of dinghy sailing are long gone but it was wonderful to look at the craft that now frequent our waters and to see the experts presenting their skills on weather, body conditioning and outstanding efforts of exploration.

The majority of the stands were static displays of craft but a few stood out. The International Cadet stand had a boat on a rotating platform in which crews could display their talents in hoisting, gybing and dropping spinnakers against the clock with a bank of wind fans making for authentic conditions. There was trapeze stand, an optimist full of plastic balls which you had to guess the number, apart from when kids got in and through the balls everywhere much to the annoyance of the organisers who had to return them and then there was the pond with the DF65’s.

The DF65’s at the dinghy exhibition are normally organised by Mike Weston of RC Yachts ( Unfortunately, he was unable to attend the event but luckily the Datchet Radio Sailing team overheard this conversation and pitched in to help and organise the sailing over the two days.

Ready for the Dingy Show with 6 DF65s all tested

Hats off to Phil Holiday, Hugh McAdoo, Les Thorn, Graham Hetem, Richard Jones, Geoffrey Bremmer and Nigel Barrow ably supported by Jude Rey of the RYA for taking on the task of organising the sailing for the weekend.

Believe me it was hard work. From 10 am to 6pm on the first day we had a constant queue of people sailing in groups of 6 with changeovers every 5 minutes. The team were kept hard at work separating collided boats, boats that were stuck on the bank or on the bollard bases. At the end of the first day at 5.55pm we rewarded ourselves with an organisers race which we had to abandon as another group of 6 youngsters stood behind us watching enviously. What could we do but let them have one final go. We finally stopped after 6pm when the show was officially closed. Phil and Hugh recharged the batteries overnight and we were ready for another full day on Sunday. Again, the team were kept busy from 10 until 5pm.

In a way we were lucky as the fish and chip shop in the form of a London bus and other food and coffee stands were right behind us so we probably had the best footfall of the exhibition.

Overall, we counted over 700 old and young had sailed for 5 minutes or more over the weekend. It was satisfying to know that in a sailing exhibition, we were the one stand where you could demonstrate your sailing skills in an interactive manner. Virtual reality and simulators, who needs them.

Watching the sailors was fascinating. Whether they were expert or beginner, the concentration in sailing the boat was the same and all claimed the 5 minutes time had been cut short but that what happens when you become immersed in something. Over the weekend we discovered two new clubs were forming, several committed to buying boats, people wanting to join clubs and a lot of interest was generated in the sport of radio sailing.

There are many people who would like to take up the sport. We just have to work out how we get them to the water at a local club.

In summary this was a great weekend. Happy people, lots of interest and memories to take home. What more could we ask for.

Again my thanks to the Datchet team for dedicating their weekend to others pleasure.

Nigel Barrow
Racing Officer

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