LNBP’s Dave Otway reports on another hugely successful weekend for us at this year’s Crick Boat Show. 

Another excellent attendance at the Show by our hard working team especially as we had agreed to run four trip boats instead of the usual three. We were also carrying out the usual collection and return of the boats which were to be one from UCC, one from North Kilworth and two from Foxtons.
A crew had been arranged to bring Guinevere and UCC’s trip boat Water Ouzel up from Braunston, but when the advance crew, Dave and Brian E arrived on the Tuesday, Guinevere’s bowthruster had been removed and was under repair by UCC. We were assured that all efforts to make it serviceable would be carried out with the aim to enable her to be ready to go on the Thursday. Luckily Lancelot was available due to a hire cancellation and was fully prepared and ready to go for a trip, so we made a decision to take the pressure off the repair and to take Lancelot instead. A lot of loading and unloading carried out but at least we were ready to go on Thursday morning.  In the meantime Water Ouzel had been fully checked and was also made ready.
Schedule worked well after that and we were able to leave on the Thursday morning with the rest of the crew aboard, John, Brian T and Mike H, and despite a two hour wait at the Watford Flight arrived at Crick in good time. The Harbour Master came out to greet us and confirmed we had our usual mooring, although a newcomer to the show with several new wide beams for sale taking up the usual working boats moorings, came dashing down to claim the mooring was his. As we continued to tie up he stormed off to the Harbour Master but didn’t get any change from him and was told to see the organisers. We weren’t moving as, although the alternative mooring would have been the good one along the Quayside, we felt that it would be better to leave free for the trip boats coming in to unload.
Friday was ‘set up and get wet day’ but at least our marquee was already up and sorted. Others of the team had already arrived on the campsite and during the day the other trip boats arrived with our teams, Chris, Di and Alan on the North Kilworth boat and Paul, John and Lynda on the two Foxton boats. With their overnight moorings sorted, including two moored alongside Lancelot to prevent any attempted takeover, we finished off setting up the bunting, assembling signage and putting up the banners . Crick being Crick it rained that night, but at least we were ready for the Show to start on Saturday morning.
Saturday morning and our trip boat crews and quayside helpers were ready to go, and Julie on the booking desk was soon busy. There were regular tannoy announcements about the trip boats operation and visitors to the show were urged to book early if they wanted to guarantee a trip. They also announced LNBP Community Boating were running the free trips but donations would be welcomed by the charity. Likewise they mentioned our face painters and also mentioned donations appreciated.

With the boats running to schedule with one leaving every 10 minutes from 10.10am until 5.20pm on Saturday and Sunday and until 4.20pm on Monday  there were 126 trips in all and take up was 100% except for 3 people didn’t utilise their tickets on the Saturday.
We can therefore be very proud of accommodating 1257 passengers with an additional 50 dogs over the 3 days and we do know that records indicate that at least 117 people were verbally advised all tickets gone, though many would have seen our “full” sign and not enquired. Julie and her helpers did good job in controlling and recording the ticket issue, and records indicate all daily tickets were handed out by shortly after 2.00pm daily. To be accurate utilisation was 99.76%.
The skippers and quayside team were ensuring every thing was now running like clockwork and in addition to those already mentioned we now had Peter, Wayne, Emma, Graham, Mike, Ingrid, Nigel, Denise, Fiona and John T making their valued contributions.
In the meantime Karen and Nick’s face painting team were getting a steady turnover in our quayside marquee and the crew of Dave, Derek, Brian and Nigel on Guinevere had a fairly constant stream of visitors, many being redirected to us by the trip boat crews and face painters. We had some constructive enquiries from potential hirers. Brian will arrange for the names to be added to our e-Newsletter list and advise Nigel of those who made enquires for bookings.
Our daily sandwich run was much appreciated by all, and our thanks are due to the sandwich team led by Margaret and Liz, working hard every morning on the campsite. On Saturday evening we retired to the campsite for the AGM followed by a BBQ kindly put together by Paul and Wayne, Boz not being available until Sunday, when he and Andrea made a special trip up to help out generally and prepare a Boz special for the Sunday BBQ.
Weather was generally good during the opening hours which is mainly what we want, but rain overnight and the mother of all storms on the Sunday evening during and after the BBQ. Very lucky to be under cover at the time.
All in all a successful show and the organisers have once again recognised our input and are keen to carry on working with us as their Show Partners. With up to 30 LNBP attired personnel on site each day in the quayside area which included the booking and face painting marquee and adjacent Guinevere, we were quite prominent.
Crick remains our major marketing exercise of the year and with everyone’s support towards it should be continued.

LNBP are now taking bookings for 2019 from community groups and organisations for weekend, short breaks and longer holidays to experience the sights, sounds and beauty of the inland waterways of central England.
Why not get in touch to find out what more about us and what we can offer, and check out dates and our current availability.
Please contact Nigel Smith, our Bookings Officer, on 07967 406 875 or via email: bookings@lnbp.co.uk.