The day was hosted by Manchester Community Games, a division of Manchester City Council responsible for providing sport and physical activity sessions across Manchester.
March 25 was chosen as it coincided with England's World Cup qualifiers and meant nobody would be watching Premier League football: a big factor in visitor numbers from past experience, given the popularity of the cities two famous football teams.
In a week that had began with the Manchester skies resembling soggy towels, the inclement weather gave way to glorious sunshine that sparkled off the glassy water and set the scene for a fabulous day of fun on it. Staff and volunteers were on-site early getting everything ready and towing the boats out to moorings.
Debdale ran 2 hour morning and afternoon sessions where visitors could choose sailing or kayaking, or both, either side of lunch. The 100 places soon went with the male/female split being 56% in favour of the boys.
There was a wide range of able and disabled young people from 7 up to 17 with an average age of just under 11. With these figures, the RYA and the DAOC club can really nail its colours to the mast as regards inclusivity and accessibility.
The day was of two halves, the morning sessions were only short of a puff of wind as the boats struggled to find enough to fill a sail.
While families opened out blankets on the shore to picnic, staff darted about in the safety boats, with others serving drinks and food to hungry parents shoreside.
In the club classroom, Gary Shepherd ran a workshop 'Save a Baby's Life' which offered guidance on how to administer infant life support should a child stop breathing due to choking or drowning as part of the RLSS 'Save a life' initiative.
A welcome breeze arrived for the afternoon session and really got the boats moving. At one point, there were 44 craft on the water, made up of Wayfarers, Kayaks, Laser Pico's, Oppie's, the club's RYA 'Sailabiity' lugger Carol B, the 'Paddlers For Life' Dragonboat and of course the safety boats.
This was the biggest Open Day at the Centre so far, attracting record numbers and early indications show many more will join Saturday morning sessions. One man who has four children signed all four up on the day!