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Old 24 April 2005, 18:19   #1
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Some rambling thoughts about RIB cruises . . .

Clubs like BIBOA and the Pathfinder Powerboat Club, along with the likes of the RYA, Motor Boats Monthly and RIB International, organise official events with nominated organisers -- some regularly, some not so regularly. Some have volunteer organisers, some are paid. Some have liability insurence for the event organisers in case it all goes wrong. Most charge in some way for the privilege of taking part.

RIBnet is a bit different. RIBnet doesn't organise cruises. In fact RIBnet doesn't organise anything. However anyone who posts on RIBnet may suggest an itinerary, or publicise their plans, and declare it a RIBnet event!


Grand events

Over the last couple of years a number of people have put in a load of time and effort to organise big RIBnet events which have been great successes. This has been hugely appreciated by many people.

This year we have already had an amazing turn out for the "Solent Spin" in March, and the forthcoming Littlehampton Cruise looks like being quite a production too. There will probably be some more later in the year (who knows!), but there is much more to RIB cruising than just large set-piece events. Big gatherings are great, and it's always good to see twenty or thirty RIBs rafted up together somewhere, but by their nature they can be rather limiting in their scope.

A big group will inevitably have a wide range of abilities, and an equally wide variation in timekeeping. This tends to result in predictable (possibly familiar and unchallenging) destinations, and lots of hanging around trying to keep the group together.

In a large group people may feel as if they are peripheral to the main event, just following the crowd, and unless there is some serious organising and planning it is all to easy for someone to be left behind. In fact this happens all too often even on supposedly "official" events. Along with this (for some reason) there seems to come a tendency is to simply blast from pub to pub as fast as possible, missing out on loads on the way!


Small groups

Cruising in smaller groups opens up many more opportunities:
  • Each skipper and crew can be involved in the decision making
  • An experienced crew can easily look after a few less experienced crews
  • There's no need to find moorings, accommodation and food for a large group
  • The participants have more opportunity to get to know each other
  • It's easier to keep to a schedule
  • There's less likelihood of anyone being forgotten or left out
  • It's easier to reach a concensus on any decision
  • The experience gained is more useful
  • There's more flexibility to alter plans to suit conditions
  • It encourages individual responsibility for navigation and safety
  • No one is lumbered with masses of work
I started out cruising some years ago with Alan Priddy and the extent of his event organisation was to say "Next Saturday I'm going to Alderney. If you want to come along, I'll be leaving Sparkes Marina at 8.30". We duly arrived a couple of minutes late to find him casting off about to leave, and as we caught up he passed me a slip of paper with a waypoint for the approach to Braye Harbour scrawled on it. We didn't see a lot of him on the crossing, other than as a splash on the horizon, as his 7.5 metre RIB was comfortable going a bit faster than out 5.8 metre RIB, but he stopped every hour or so for us to catch up while he had a coffee. We had a fantastic time and learnt a lot, but it could never have worked with a big group.

Another example of brilliant small group cruising is the RIB Expedition Club (the original RIBEX) run by Chris Kaye. This meets once a year at the Cafe du Port in St Vaast and Chris basicly announces the date and invites people to join him for dinner. He normally passes on a bit of information about when the tidal gates to the harbour will be open, and may give his proposed waypoints for the journey from Poole, but other than that it's pretty much up to each person to make their own arrangements. Some join him en route, others make up their own small groups, and occasionally everyone converges a few miles from St Vaast as if by magic!


Informal cruises

Some people are already doing it, but it would be great to see more people suggesting dates and venues in the "RIB cruises" section. You don't need any special experience to do this, and you don't need any special insurance either. You don't need to organise moorings, accommodation or food -- although any pointers or local knowledge is always going to be appreciated. Do try to have some idea of what you want to do, or where you want to go though as someone has to get the ball rolling!

There are already plans for a couple of trips to Scilly and a cruise to St Malo, as well as a few more local trips. Even if you're not planning on taking part it may be useful to have a read through these threads to see how these trips are being planned.


Guided cruises

Something else that would be interesting to try is for some experienced skippers to offer their services as guides, taking groups of maybe half a dozen RIBs on cruises to interesting places. It may even be something that people would be prepared to pay for. A couple of days like this being shown round a cruising area would very quickly give even novice crews the experience and knowledge to get a load more out of their RIBs.

It could work both ways too, as leading people round your "home patch" will have you seeing it from a different perspective and would also be the perfect opportunity to revisit some of the areas that you normally whizz past on the way to other more distant places!


Any thoughts?

What do you reckon? What sort of cruising do you want to do? Bear in mind that if you say "I wish there were more events in XXXXXX", then the answer will be "Well organise one then" (see "Informal cruises" above!)

Any volunteer guides? Any would-be paid guides?

John
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Old 24 April 2005, 18:37   #2
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Wow! That's quite a post!

As you and many others are aware, Richard B and I are always happy to lend a hand or to cruise in company with others but after the lengthy discussion regarding public liability prior to last September's Treasure Hunt we would be reluctant to act in any official capacity unless we were able to charge a fee (not for profit as this is our hobby but purely to cover insurance against any incident). I'm not sure fee-charging would be workable though for 'one-off- cruises?

Like you, I've come to the conclusion that whilst large cruises make for impressive rafts they don't necessarily make for the 'best' experience! BIBOA (British Inflatable Boat Owners Association) cruises seem to (accidentally?) end up with a nice number of participants (enough to feel secure and have plenty of people to chat with but not so many as to become unwieldy). Another benefit of BIBOA cruising is the opportunities it presents of learning from some very experienced RIBsters.
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Old 25 April 2005, 01:42   #3
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Sounds good to me John.

Our 'Round Britain by RIB' cruise with 2 RIBs would heve been very difficult with any more boats.

After I'm settled in Scotland (we are leaving tomorrow 26/04/05) I'll post a few suggestions for some exploring around the north west Highlands.

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Old 25 April 2005, 03:14   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Louise
Wow! That's quite a post!
It took a while and a couple of re-writes, but I hope it came across OK! I just think that we could easily end up concentrating on the big events and forgetting about all the stuff you can do in small groups.
Quote:
we would be reluctant to act in any official capacity unless we were able to charge a fee (not for profit as this is our hobby but purely to cover insurance against any incident).
As far as I'm concerned, the informal RIBnet route potentially avoids any liability issues. If you announce "On X day we will be going to Y and it would be great to see you there" you're not organising an event.

On the other hand if there was an incident on an "official", "organised" event then all the insurance in the world isn't going to make it go away. The more "official" and "organised" an event is, the higher the expectations are likely to be and the greater the duty of care because the organisers have to accept at least a certain amount of responsibility for everyone's safety. You're then in the realm of detailed risk assessments, emergency procedures, contingency planning and everything else that goes along with it.

As the work load increases, so do the costs, and unless an event is heavily sponsored the charges have to go up. People are generally unaware of the work that potentially goes into an "organised", "official" event and feel that they should get something tangible for their money so expect more things to be included. When you include moorings, food and accommodation the workload goes up again, and you enter the world where people are complaining about their rooms not being of the required standard. Then you go mad and jump off the nearest breakwater . . .

There may, in fact, be quite a market for this sort of event but I think it's something that needs to be done professionally. Whilst many people here may be appalled at the idea of paying to go on a RIB cruise, others might like the reassurance that could be offered in a full package if anyone wants to start a specialist tour operation.

I don't see this as something that is a strength of RIBnet though.

John
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Old 25 April 2005, 03:21   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett
I just think that we could easily end up concentrating on the big events and forgetting about all the stuff you can do in small groups.
I totally agree.

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As far as I'm concerned, the informal RIBnet route potentially avoids any liability issues.
This is where there could be a problem, IMHO. As you say, the informal route potentially avoids liability issues and the informal legal advice we took prior to the Treasure Hunt concurred with this. But having now spoken to other experienced RIBsters who are knowledgeable regarding a legal action that was taken against a RIB skipper, I don't feel so confident!

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If you announce "On X day we will be going to Y and it would be great to see you there" you're not organising an event.
I think this is the safest option but some 'RIBnet' cruises are not as 'unorganised' as this: meeting times and places are arranged, rendezvous with other groups arranged en route, meals arranged, etc. Where does this type of cruise stand?
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Old 25 April 2005, 03:26   #6
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Originally Posted by Louise
But having now spoken to other experienced RIBsters who are knowledgeable regarding a legal action that was taken against a RIB skipper, I don't feel so confident!
Can you tell us more about this? After all, anyone can take legal action against anyone, for anything if they want to and have the resources -- whether they will get a result is another matter.

I believe that there have been several cases of guests on private boats suing the owner (their friend) when they have hurt themselves, in the knowledge that there is insurance in place that will probably pay out . . .

John
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Old 25 April 2005, 03:33   #7
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Can you tell us more about this?
Sorry no - it's not my place to (and anyway I don't know all the details). But suffice to say, the people involved in the discussion where this was raised were of the opinion that any of the skippers that were part of a cruise could potentially have been held liable for any accident during the cruise and any awards made by the court could financially cripple the defendant. In their opinion it's just not worth the risk (even if the risk of litigation may be judged to be small).

Obviously this is just people's own opinions and I don't know enough about the law to know whether they are right or not but personally I don't want to put myself at risk of being sued (or having to live with my conscience) if something happened to someone as a result of a cruise I had 'organised'. But this is the difficulty (and it's the same difficulty that we encountered with the Treasure Hunt) - at what point does an 'informal cruise' become an 'organised cruise'?
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Old 25 April 2005, 03:40   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett
If you announce "On X day we will be going to Y and it would be great to see you there" you're not organising an event.
Tends to be our favourite way to go. But if things snowball and new peeps etc. show up we try to help as much as possible because we are recent newbies ourselves. We're always conscious that someone might be out there who would love to try a trip but may need company first time there. Others haven't access to a boat at the moment and have managed to get out because of reading about a cruise. Sadly no way of predicting whether or not someone will turn on you after. We try to operate on trust.

Quote:
On the other hand if there was an incident on an "official", "organised" event then all the insurance in the world isn't going to make it go away. The more "official" and "organised" an event is, the higher the expectations are likely to be and the greater the duty of care because the organisers have to accept at least a certain amount of responsibility for everyone's safety. You're then in the realm of detailed risk assessments, emergency procedures, contingency planning and everything else that goes along with it.
Agree that if we pay for something our expectations are raised. Especially if say children are involved. Safety in such cases is paramount. I have to say planning such events has become a right nightmare (having come across this at work).

Quote:
People are generally unaware of the work that potentially goes into an "organised", "official" event
Quite lot of work can go into the 'Let's meet up and go for spin' casual cruises also. Especially if lots join in. !!! You can be more than recompensed though (if reward is needed) by the pleasure on peeps' faces if they're out for the first time that year or say they're trying out a new boat Or they enjoy a favourite stop as much as you. We are always grateful to peeps who did this for us.
Quote:
Then you go mad and jump off the nearest breakwater . . .
Hahahaha JK don't do it at low tide.

A balance is good. Some long distance, more organised stuff and some 'anyone for Cowes/ Bangor/ Jersey on Sun' type stuff. A range of organisations are doing the official ones from BIBOA to RSYC. It's nice to have a choice. We like both ! But you're right....there's nothing like being out with a few trustworthy peeps just pootling along to a favourite spot and chilling.

In fact, JK, I think your posts and RIBnet get the balance spot on!

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Old 25 April 2005, 03:57   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by John Kennett

There may, in fact, be quite a market for this sort of event but I think it's something that needs to be done professionally. Whilst many people here may be appalled at the idea of paying to go on a RIB cruise, others might like the reassurance that could be offered in a full package if anyone wants to start a specialist tour operation.

I don't see this as something that is a strength of RIBnet though.

John
SCM aka Lynx Charters is organising something like this , he had some positive feed back from the RYA and rib manufacturers ,re paying for an organised day on the water he also had some negative comments from this forum . It depends on what the public want and expect for their money interesting and well thought out thread.I shall keep my eye on this one as am keen to see how it develops.
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Old 25 April 2005, 04:04   #10
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Originally Posted by John Kennett
I believe that there have been several cases of guests on private boats suing the owner (their friend) when they have hurt themselves, in the knowledge that there is insurance in place that will probably pay out . . .
Yes but what concerns me is whether our personal boat insurance would cover us if say two boats collided (and neither boat was ours) and I was the person who had nominally 'suggested/organised' the cruise and the skipper or skippers of the damaged boat(s) decided to sue me? I suspect not!

Tim - my personal feeling regarding SCM's thread was that 30ish (IIRC) is a lot of money to pay for a single day's events, especially given that SCM was a little sketchy (IMHO) regarding what would be on offer. BIBOA membership is a bargain by comparison!
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