RIBnet gatherings - a few important notes and some suggestions
The RIBnet forums provide a useful and convenient method for like minded people to gather together in groups both small and large. For many people it's one of the best things about RIBnet.
For all gatherings organised via RIBnet, unless specifically stated otherwise, anyone acting as an "organiser" is doing no more than facilitating the event. Anyone who chooses to participate does so on the understanding that they themselves have sole responsibility for their actions and wellbeing.
Events organised by RIBnet members may be referred to as a "RIBnet cruise", "RIBnet Conference", "RIBnet RIB Raid" or whatever, but RIBnet itself does not organise any events and will not be held liable for any consequences whatsoever.
As some of the gatherings are getting bigger and bigger, I would like to make a few suggestions to help ensure that things generally go as smoothly as possible.
You are responsible for your own actions and safety
This is exactly the same as if you are using your boat on your own. In a group there is likely to be support readily available, but ultimately it is up to you to make sure that you are competent and prepared. If you are new to boating then investing in an RYA powerboat course is highly recommended. In a big gathering it's often helpful to make your own arrangements to buddy up with someone else either in a pair or a small group.
Know how to handle your boat, and have pride in doing it well. "Seamanship" may seem like an old fashioned concept, but there's a lot to be said for it. Avoiding looking like a clueless rabble is useful for us as a group! Know where you're going, or if you do decide to follow someone else, be sure that they know where they're going. As well as carrying the normal basic equipment (search the archive or ask if you're not sure what that means!) think about what else you're likely to need. For instance if you know that you'll be rafting up as part of a large group (eg in Yarmouth), then extra long lines to reach the quayside make mooring up easier for everyone.
Large groups of RIBs an make quite an impact in any harbour, and we want to be welcomed back rather than just tolerated. Please follow instructions from harbour authorites and berthing masters - remember they have to juggle the needs of a wide range of different users. Don't try to dodge your mooring fees - these people tend to have remarkable memories and although you might begrude a few quid for a short stay it's not much on the overall costs of the day! Be nice to yachties and give them extra space - when you're blasting along at 30+ knots it's easy enough to alter course to keep well clear. Look back from time to time to check the effect of your wake. If there are a bunch of RIBs using a slipway, don't hog it. Try not to hold other people up (especially locals), maybe even letting them go ahead before it's their turn! Please try to be a good "ambassador" for RIBnet and RIBs generally.
This isn't a comprehensive list of do's and dont's (and believe me I could ramble on almost endlessly, but I'm probably getting preachy enough as it is!), but a few pointers to think about.
Thanks to everyone who has taken the time and trouble to coordinate events so far, and 2007 is looking to be better than ever.