Following two very successful weeks of the Easter school holidays – during which new managers Julie and Craig Hackett literally hit the ground running! – and the return of the Club’s “Music by the Bay” (MBTB) program for 2016, the team at the One Mile has been able to pause and take stock.
“It’s been a very busy time for us indeed,” LSC Commodore Roger McDowall told us, “thanks in no small part to the fresh energy and vigour which Julie and Craig have brought to the Club. Many of our Members and visitors have remarked on the positive ‘vibe’ they have experienced and that’s been reflected on the business side of our operations. Early figures show that, year-on-year, our Easter week trading was up by more than 90%, and Easter Saturday alone by around 25% on 2015.”
Part of this success, said manager Julie Hackett, can be attributed to the return of the Club’s regular MBTB performances. “The ‘Champagne Strings’ trio made a fabulous impression on Easter Saturday afternoon, and many patrons commented on how lovely it was to sit and enjoy ‘our’ sunset with the sounds of classical music drifting across the lawns,” Julie said. “We’ve had many requests for a return visit by Sarah, Anna and Chris, and we’re going to try to arrange a couple more gigs from them as part of our very diverse musical program during the year.”
Vocal duo ‘Ali and Khai’ were also a big hit the following weekend, performing both Saturday evening and Sunday lunchtime: “Their Sunday gig was a real treat for our guests and, again, many people asked if we could schedule some live music for Sundays as well,” said Julie. “That and so much more great, positive feedback we’re taking on board and incorporating into our forward planning.”
Little Ship Club is gaining renown with the ‘smaller’ boating fraternity too, offering a warm welcome to visiting jetskiers from the mainland, who are glad of a cold beverage and a hot snack after their high-speed ride. “We had a group of 18 pre-book their recent Sunday visit with us,” said Roger McDowall, “and Julie and Craig were able to reserve our side pontoon for their flotilla. By all accounts they had a terrific day out with us.”
A wide range of other initiatives are also proving popular, according to the Commodore, including a resumption of the Club’s courtesy bus services, accessibility changes and clarification of the Club’s pets policy.
“For the benefit of our customers and visitors,” Roger said, “we are now able to offer co-ordinated pickups and drop-offs both around Dunwich and, by prior arrangement, around the island. So whether it’s folks from larger vessels landing at Deanbilla Bay or a group wanting to come down from Amity for dinner, Craig will be able to plan some helpful transport options with a bit of notice.”
The Club’s side gate, adjacent to the Gold Flyer water taxi terminal and bus stop, is now also open for easier access, and many a hungry stomach has followed its nose through the gate in pursuit of the legendary prawn curry pies – now back on the menu by popular demand – or fresh Straddie prawns and seafood sourced from local trawlers and suppliers.
“And the side gate access has been a boon for pet owners too,” said Craig Hackett, “with the policy clarification that four-legged friends are allowed in provided they’re on a leash and under control, and their owners pick up after them. As owners of a couple of smoochable pooches ourselves, Julie and I appreciate how much our furry friends mean in our lives. It’s been great to see so many tails wagging happily around the Club!”
• Champagne-Strings group of Sarah and Ryan, visitors Anna and Jack with Chris and Patrick.