If I am honest The Crick Festival isn't an event I rush attend. Great if you want to look at boats but not really my cup of tea as just an attendee.
Our first visit was about seven years ago when we zipped in and out for an afternoon. OK but not great.
The second visit was two years ago when we attended as exhibitors in the early days of Wild Side. That visit involved three very long days of hard work and we decided that there are more fun ways to undertake our business.
Messrs Denney and Cowling
This year was our third visit and one where our tickets were complimentary, care of Waterways World in return for participating in two days seminar on Floating Businesses. As a bonus we shared the platform with Sandra Walsh, Barry Teutenberg and Sarah Henshaw, all close friends whose company was reward enough in itself.
Offering two one hour slots to talk about something I am passionate about is no hardship and it also left lots of time to socialise, catching up with lots of friends and acquaintances. Given our participation in the event we ended up meeting pretty much all the Waterways World team which was a bonus, putting faces to names and e-mail addresses. And then there were all the boating friends, John and Jan Halford , Adam and Adrain, The Herbies, the BCF crowd, The Balmers from Waterways Routes, the Lichfield and Hatherton crowd and many more. All very sociable and lots of fun underpinned by a stay with Sandra and Barry on Areandare.
I have to say that our 2015 experience of Crick was by far the most enjoyable the our two days on site passed in a blur.
But we did make some time for the serious side of Crick. We are planning our kitchen / saloon refit on Wand'ring Bark which will happen this winter so we took the opportunity to view six or seven boats looking for ideas and inspiration. There are certainly some lovely boats out there and we came away with a good ruck of ideas. We did also make one impulse purchase which kicks the project off - a stainless steel water purifier which was expensive but will help no end with the on board jam production.
Of all the boats we saw, two stood out for very different reasons.
For me the boat of the show was a day boat produced by MGM. Not large or up market but a great base for a couple for up to a weeks travel. I particularly liked the huge front well deck which looked like an inspection launch plus the engine - a Beta 42 which in its unregulated form can get the boat up onto a plane! If you gave me this boat for a day I doubt you would see me back at sundown.
The other boat was Braidbar's latest offering. Their boats are unquestionably great but its not the craft which amaze me - its the near fanatical enthusiasm of the owners club. I stand in awe at any business which can command such customer loyalty that the will give up their weekend to sell the brand to new potential customers. But its a commitment which works and if I were to pace an order for a Braidbar boat I would be lucky to see it afloat for two years. Not bad in the current boating economy.