« Reply #12 on: May 13, 2022, 8:59 am »
I am with you on this aspect
 I also do not have spare cash to proceed with my build.  If I were to attempt Loch Fyne then route and travel time are similar for me in west wales.
As I have already said we need a more central focus facility and other local events for promotion of the cause.
 regards windcol

« Reply #11 on: May 13, 2022, 8:57 am »
Thanks Ross and Gaz - plenty of things to digest there.

Living in the Midlands I have a drive to cruise anywhere  ;)  but I've made it down to Cornwall and to Ross's events at Weston (including taking part in that RNLI training day which was great!) amongst several others over the years.
I suggest we leave the thread running for quite a while to see what other suggestions may or may not be forthcoming and then look at what could be done...

Thanks again for input so far guys 8)

« Reply #10 on: May 13, 2022, 12:53 am »

Second attempt - reformatted as a .txt file and pasted :

A few comments and suggestions in no particular order:

The Club is a very useful resource that was started in response to a lack of support for cruising hovercraft, or to be precise, for operators who didn’t want to be involved in competition. It was very active and campaigned for our rights at Weston and Langstone.   There were regular hover-ins that were actively promoted and involved advice, help and training. These were a great place for people to get together and form local friendship groups, leading to further activity.

However local activity seems to have reduced and we have lost the initial enthusiasm and drive.  I would go as far as to ask if we have lost our way and are more a group of isolated individuals who correspond electronically and operate home built long distance cruising craft. The web based side is excellent but we seem to have contracted into a few local areas with a smaller number of more experienced operators while the less dedicated enthusiasts have fallen away. This is a normal part of the growth cycle of a club, but post Covid do we need to rekindle the occasional users interest in our hobby as that is where most members sit ?   The old 80/20 rule.

Cruising isn’t just about long distance trips. The origin of the club was that it was for people who didn’t want to race. Are we putting operators off by promoting a type of activity that many don’t want to undertake or feel confident about?  My idea of a cruise is an hour up the coast, a cuppa and a potter home again in time for tea and sticky buns, not a 50 mile endurance test. Some people are happy with a 100 mile run but many want a shorter and less intense form of operation – just going out with others for a short trip and a chat on the beach.

It would be good to see more promotion of local meets. I tried to run events in the Bristol Area but there has been no take up and it seems that the Severn/Bristol Channel area has gone under the club radar.  It may be there are no hovercraft about these days but we used to get a good response to events promoted by the club - remember the regular Sharpness event – that was brilliant – I organised the Avon run that was rammed with craft and the Run to the Wrecks. We also pioneered the Permit Launching Scheme at Weston. There is just one craft registered now. Where have they all gone? Is this the way the club has developed or are hovercraft no longer the attraction they once were? Are we neglecting a major aspect of our sport?

For many members attendance at an event means long distance travel and then accommodation. Aside from the cost of fuel, that isn’t practical unless you have a motor home or a secure place to park the craft and local accommodation. Camping isn’t for everyone, especially as you get older, so perhaps regional events are a way forward.

For some of us, a major but hidden disincentive of going to a new event in an unknown location is the potential hassle of finding somewhere to park a big trailer and tow car with the parking restrictions that seem to exist in any waterside location.
It is supposed to be a hobby and wondering if you will get a parking ticket and unload/load safely spoils it for me. I appreciate that it is difficult to find suitable places but I have noticed that when good parking, storage and launching is part of the event and clearly detailed, more craft seem to take part.

I would like to see club resources and promotion of new events outside the current core areas, promotion of the sport and charity activities to raise the profile. This will promote interest in the craft and get people involved. Raising money for a charity usually gets publicity and seems to make people more inclined to join in. It also opens doors for launching, hospitality and even escort boats – and benefits the chosen organisation !

Are we offering any training these days ?  We used to hold the occasional day near Bristol and it brought people together and was great fun. It also promoted safer operation, we had the RNLI man in to give advice and we then did a training run to qualify new pilots at Sharpness. There was little interest last time it was suggested but if the idea was promoted by the Club as a formal event and some added activities included, it might be different ?

A few suggestions:

Active promotion and organisation of local cruising events – encourage, advise and support members who attempt something in their area.

Training days.  We had a superb training programme run by Ian.

Attendance at local shows ( static or demonstration ).

Involvement in water safety events.

Publicity activities, charity runs etc.

High profile charity events – how about a round Britain relay … possibly suicidal but it would be a first !

New stickers and promotional stuff as part of the membership package.

BUT … you can’t expect individual members to arrange events without encouragement and enthusiasm from the top. Creating an event is a daunting and complicated job and must be a top down process with active support and encouragement, even if local members do much of the work. Support from a national organisation greatly helps and opens doors otherwise closed to individuals.   I am sure that if members are encouraged to suggest and help arrange local events with advice and assistance provided by the club, then activity will increase.

« Reply #9 on: May 12, 2022, 10:43 pm »
That's a major issue for me in the Bristol area too - only one active craft at Weston - mine.  Going on your own isn't much fun and in the BC is potentially dangerous so I don't go out.

« Reply #8 on: May 12, 2022, 8:28 pm »
My non attendance at most meetings is down to 3 simple things; distance, time & money  :-[ , I don't have much of the last 2 at present but I am working on a solution.

Living in Cornwall means that if towing it takes me about 2 1/2 hours just to get past the M4 at Bristol. Loch Fyne would take around 12 hours towing & that's without traffic.

If I lived closer I would love to attend everything going.
National Sarcasm Society - like we need your support

« Reply #7 on: May 12, 2022, 7:02 pm »
Just to echo Nick's comments. We are very keen to find out what would encourage members to attend Club events so please do take a moment to reply via this thread (just a couple of bullet points is fine if you aren't inclined to write a lot) or indeed, PM any one of us on the Committee if you'd rather not post in public.
Thanks to those who have responded so far - much appreciated 8)

« Reply #6 on: May 12, 2022, 9:51 am »
Please keep them coming guys. most interesting hearing views from different angles.
Memories are BETTER than Dreams---"Capn" FLINT

« Reply #5 on: May 11, 2022, 7:49 pm »
Not sure if my thoughts on this are of relevance, in my younger years I was heavily involved in first the Air Training Corps as an instructor, then later with both a flying club and a major gliding club. The ATC, of courses had access to equipment of their own and from military sources. The group I was with did build a rather ambitious hovercraft using a pair of light aircraft engines, I was not heavily involved with this as it was a project of one of the other instructors, and i was doing a lot of caving and assisting D of E training . When I moved on to the aero club and gliding club they both had "Club Machines" which were used for instruction but could also be hired for periods for improvers to gain more experience before commiting to their own machines. I wonder if this is a way forward for The HCC. Not sure where you would base the machines or who would maintain them but guess it would need to be close to one of the major centres of population. I know there are outfits that offer "experience days" but these always seem a bit of a gimmick in the way they are marketed and I guess that puts people off. Perhaps some kind of club/commercial partnership is needed.
Any way for what it's worth that's my ramble!       

« Reply #4 on: May 11, 2022, 6:45 pm »
I am quite new to the hoverclub and my views may not be correct. Nevertheless, my take on this is that there is no sufficient publicity for this club.  Can there be free or heavily subsidized public hovercraft flying training organized at different locations by hovercraft owners supported by this club? Training video clips can be placed on youtube as a means to reaching out to the public with lots of information on how to build and fly one.

I noticed that certain specific hovercraft plans are always recommended for first time builders who may want something not regular. Secondly, young people have a lot of things to spend their money and time on and may not be interested in owing or building another hovercraft as they get experience. If they must spend their money to build or own hovercraft, then the hovercraft must be very outstanding, unconventional, innovative, durable, reliable and exciting to attract public interest.

i feel a breath of fresh hovering concept and experience is needed.

I hope I am making sense with the gibberish I have written

« Reply #3 on: May 11, 2022, 6:11 pm »
Pretty much hit the nail on the head there Ronnie.  The scout groups and such like that taking an interest in building and flying hovercraft is a good way of attracting young blood in to the hobby/club.  I tried a few years ago to start a youth group in my part of the world that would be focused on initially building a hovercraft and then flying the hovercraft, but the amount of hoops I was having to jump through was ridiculous, so eventually I gave up on the idea.  Only losers were the youngsters that were interested in building a hovercraft.

As you already know, hovercraft are people magnets and everyone that ever takes a trip out on a hover for the first time come back with a big ear  to ear grin on their face, but for some reason getting people to get involved or own a hover doesn't seem to materialise. 

The one thing I have noticed about the hovercraft community is that a lot of people don't want to spend any significant amounts of money when it comes to buying a hovercraft and either buy a craft that is not suitable for what they want the craft for or one that is unreliable putting people off.

I have found this club very useful over the years in gaining knowledge & help with all sorts of stuff that is hover related.

The biggest issue for me now is my balance, but also no one local to me that go out flying a hover.   I always feel it's safer to go out with at least two hovers, so if their is an issue with one, then help is at hand.  That is as long as the hovers are not already approaching their floatation limits.  Also it's more fun when there are other people and more likely to go to places that you probably wouldn't go to if on your own.

« Reply #2 on: May 10, 2022, 2:32 pm »
The difficulty with a club such as this, is that it isn’t really anything tangible.
We can’t all meet easily because we are so spread out.
But there is the forum where we all chat, and get info and ideas, which is a very useful tool and is a brilliant asset.
We are a very minority sport.
The place where we….. I meet you, the others with the same type of craft is nearly 300 miles from home.
There is a more local group to my area that I really should take part in more.
It’s a really tricky one.

Well that was a complete load of woffle with no ideas, but I don’t think there is an answer.

« Reply #1 on: May 10, 2022, 1:25 pm »
The committee ask for all feed back for what is wanted, / not wanted and or how we can attract more attendees to hovercraft events?

What makes you LIKELY or less likely to attend or carry on membership?

How can the club more accurately cater for the memberships preferences either on this forum OR at meetings?

Any (all) inputs will be of interest so that we are best placed to grow the club.
Memories are BETTER than Dreams---"Capn" FLINT