Barclays Jersey Boat Show 2013

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Wow, what a Show.  It's not every day that you get to open a boat show and it is certainly not everyday that you get to lead a convoy of naval ships, royal marine gun ships, lifeboats, pilot boats and a cross channel ferry through a huge water arch.  Oh, I forgot to mention the RN Lynx helicopter thrown in for good measure. Huge honour and one we will remember for a long time.
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This was Wetwheels' second visit to Jersey.  Such was the excitement caused by our visit in 2012, within days of our departure, a working group had been formed by Jersey based charity Le Tournoi to investigate the possibility of buying their own. Within months, funds had been raised, Wetwheels Jersey ordered and she is due for arrival this summer.
To raise awareness of the iminent arrival of their own boat, to showcase to disability groups on the island what will soon be theirs and to demonstrate to funding bodies exactly what their money is funding, Wetwheels Solent was invited back to Jersey for the Barclays Jersey Boat Show - and what a weekend it was.  The sun shone, more than 30,000 visitors attended and we took just over 90 disabled kids from Jersey (including a brief trip to Guernsey) out on the water.
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I think it is safe to say everyone in Jersey is now itching for their boat to arrive. We could only offer brief, 45 minutes experiences around St Aubin's Bay or a quick whizz down to Corbiere lighthouse but it was enough to light the excitement fuse of all of those, disabled and able-bodied, who joined us.
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(Two HMS Iron Duke sailors having a "run ashore" in The Minkies with Wetwheels anchored in the bay behind).
Of the many great moments, the highlight was possibly our trip down to Les Minquieres (The Minkies), a land mass bigger than Jersey but only accessible at low water when the rocks are exposed - it was like a lunar landscape set in the Caribbean. Eerily quiet and tranquil, but what an experience.
Sincere thanks to Andy le Seelleur (and his team from le Tournoi) for their  vision and enthusiasm without whom Wetwheels Jersey would have never happened, to Lieutenant Governor Sir John McColl for his ongoing support and enthusiasm, the Royal Navy, to Barclays, to the wonderful Myra Shackley from Jersey Boat Show who allowed us to be a part of the Show, to Howard le Cornu (because he knows everyone and made all the ideas a reality), to Suzuki for their sponsorship and to everyone who made us so welcome.  If we have one worry, it is not being asked back next year once Jersey have their own boat.
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Apart from the obvious benefits of time away in beautiful Jersey, skipper Paul and I took the opportunity to get our fishing rods out (it would have been rude not to) and the Channel Islands kindly yielded 6 of her finest turbot - very nice indeed. We will be back, invited or not.

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