Buy Tickets: Belfast Tall Ships Festival
Tall Ships Cruises, Hospitality, Fireworks
September has brought its benefits during the downturn and good weather is always seriously welcome with a business like ours. Not only did the phones liven up a fair bit and enquiries started to crank up nicely through the websites (www.riversideevents.co.uk and www.topsailevents.co.uk ) but it got me out on the water quite a bit more. I took to being a skipper again on the River Thames on Sailing Barge Will, covering for those who needed a break. This is where I started 20 plus years ago and through a long journey, by way of partnerships (mostly successful); maritime festivals (almost all successful) and new ventures (well, you can’t win ‘em all), I gradually got absorbed into the world of offices and admin: too many projects to manage to actually get back out onto the shop floor…..er.. or deck as we call it for anything more than the odd charter job and spot checks. Actually working on board and being in charge of the ship is really quite different and for the moment very enjoyable.
So that was good, a welcome change and useful too and while I wouldn’t exactly say that we are definitely experiencing a return to normality, there are green shoots starting to appear – unquestionably – back in the office and not just in medialand. So after a fairly tough year reorganising stuff and launching our new catering service www.rfad.co.uk, I needed reminding what it was like to work on board with a Thames dinner cruise or a clay shoot cruise and actually look after the clients needs up close and personal. I am not sure why but I was pleasantly surprised to see how pleased our clients were with the service and operation on board Will. It’s still a buzz to see everybody off your ship and be thanked, often very warmly, by happy customers. It also lets me make a note of things to improve, phase out old ideas that really should have been ditched long ago and forces me to acknowledge that the Ops department had been right about certain things all along despite my thinly concealed disbelief. As much as anything else it gets me out and about in the Port of London which never bores me: the constantly changing riverscape, new buildings, old wharves and docks; shifting light, sunsets reflected on Canary Wharf, sunrises moored just below Tower Bridge; the river traffic and its essential bustle; the business and busy-ness of Thames cruises, working ships, boats and barges. It reminds me that the river is the reason why London exists and I love it.