Happy New Year to all crew, their families and friends.
May you cruise into the next decade full of expectation and anticipation of many seasons of boating.
The last charter was in mid-October, and although charter numbers were slightly lower in 2019, the net receipts from charter and public trips continued to rise, helped by additional donations of over £1200 from skippers who crewed Louise during the autumn. Thank you all for volunteering to crew in sometimes difficult situations. Water levels will no doubt continue to be a problem for a while yet, though the Society is actively looking for ways to overcome this. I guess our problems pale into insignificance compared to those in Australia.
From early November, training, maintenance and booking teams have been working hard.
Training & Booking
Five new crew members were introduced to the JP in October, and spent time familiarising themselves with boat operations and handling. All proved excellent candidates, and we look forward to seeing them out on the water.
We were especially delighted when one of these, Trisha Duckworth, also offered to help the booking team, and she is proving to be a useful addition. She will undertake the email enquiries, whilst the telephone will be manned by others in a rota. The observant ones amongst you will have noticed a change of Booking telephone number as the various references on site, on the web, and in literature are updated. The new number is 0750 686 4411, with a mobile being passed around.
If there is anybody willing to take this for a month, please let us know. You will be trained in handling calls if necessary.
Already we are into double figures for 2020 confirmed charters, which appears to be ahead of previous years. The public and theme trips are published on the web, and the existing WTM booking service is in operation, taking several bookings since Christmas. The new booking service will be available as part of the BCS web re-organisation, but as with all good intentions, it is delayed and not expected for at least a couple of months. However, it will also handle charter booking enquiries which should reduce the frequency of telephone enquiries.
The charter page on the existing website has been updated to include a version of the intended calendars to show our customers dates & times that the boat is available for hire. You can check this by going here. This version is manually populated, but the full version will be interactive.
The maintenance team continue to make internal improvements to satisfy the demand for better presentation and customer friendly services. Work in progress, so you’ll have to wait till Spring to test it!
Our biggest task was rectifying the problem caused by an underwater obstruction on the propulsion gear. The propellor received heavy damage, bending all blades out of shape; one had the tip at right angles to normal!
JP spent a week in dry dock, whilst volunteers primed the upper hull ready for painting in suitable weather, and replaced the propellor shaft and gland. The refurbished ( original) propellor was refitted.
The boat committee has undergone a few member changes. Peter Close stood down as he felt he no longer had the health to participate fully. We were sorry to see him go, as he has been a most useful member, firstly as a skipper, and then in the training of new members. Derek Taylor replaces him, assisted by Cheryl Richards, to do this season’s training. We also welcome Chris Hunter to the committee, as Vice Chairman with succession planning in mind.
We were sorry to hear that ex-skipper Dave Redman is retiring, again through ill-health. We wish him well, and hope he will keep in touch.
We will start thinking about training sessions soon, so watch out for the emails. In the meantime, Happy New Year, and check out the exciting new theme trips you could crew in 2020.