Near the end of 2012

As we approach the end of 2012, yes I’m off again interstate. This time putting the DeckHardware van on the ferry to Tasmania.

But first; yesterday was the start of the 68th annual Rolex Sydney Hobart race. For the sixth consecutive year, I was the Race Officer on the southern line. Due to the nature of the start in Sydney Harbour, the line has for many years been split in two. The larger boats on the front and the smaller and PHS fleet on the second. As a result I end up with boats such as the 80′ Brindabella and the three Volvo 60s, down to boats such as the Sydney 38s and 36s. A wide variety.

The day started off with dropping Melissa off at Tania Park overlooking the harbour at Balgowlah. The Sailing Chix [] had received council permission to broadcast the start live on Northern Beaches Radio from this prime viewing spot. They had lined themselves up with a full five hours of on air time and interviews with all the leading contenders. I returned at 0900 to collect Mel as she was also to help me out on the startboat. Unfortunately due to the internet going down, many will have missed the last couple of hours. They have assured me that the repeat will go online shortly for those wanting to catchup with all the gossip.

Back out on the harbour and after calling two boats over the line last year and broadcasting for the leading 30minutes that I wanted a clean start, it was fantastic to see the fleet get away under reaching headsails and spinnakers in the 18-20knot southeaster. Unfortunately there was one boat OCS on the front line and there has been plenty of media coverage about it, so I won’t go in to the nuts and bolts as it didn’t concern my team. Our team did a great job on the water and all enjoyed the chance to get up close, those who were there for the first time especially excited. Photos have been placed on the DeckHardware page on Facebook.

With a day in the office to pack the DeckHardware van, I’m off in the morning driving to Melbourne to make tomorrow nights ferry to Devonport. There’s a fair bit on down south in the next couple of weeks. The International Cadets have their World Championships, the Laser Class have the Nationals, the Australian Youth Championships are on and the Farr40 class have a regatta organised. Not to mention the finish of the Hobart race!

As I’m not officiating for a change, I hope to keep everyone up to date with all the happennings, watch this space.

It’s been a big week

I’ve been down in Sandringham Victoria helping officiate at the ISAF World Cup of Sailing at Sandringham Yacht Club. In order to keep up my accreditation as a National Race Official, I volunteered my time to help out on the water. I was the RO in charge of laying the marks on Alpha Course with the able assistance of Dennis and John from Black Rock Yacht Club, who also have many years of experience. We looked after the 470s, 420s, Finns and later in the week the OKs. On the final day we also had the Libertys, Skuds, Laser 4.7s and 29ers.

The conditions early in the week were quite rough on Port Phillip Bay with strong southerlies, later in the week we had 5-7knots for a couple of days and on the final day a gusty Northerly to 25knots. All courses bar the Kiteboarding lost Tuesday and the 49ers and 29ers also lost Wednesday.016

I hung around Tuesday till 1500, then took the decision to say nothing will happen and dropped down the Sport Phillip Marine at Mornington one of many chandleries I wanted to see whilst in Melbourne.

As a result the sailing instructions were changed from 2 races per day to 3 on most courses in order to catch up. Most classes were able to sail the full complement with our race track finishing off those who didn’t.


It was also a great challenge to those employed at Sandringham having to work around the 300 odd competitors. The slipway wotrkers and delivery drivers all had challenges in going about their jobs, it was a credit to all that it seemed to all work seemlessly.

Daily we had several meeting prior to going out on the water, a RO meeting and then just before leaving, a meeting of all those on Alpha with the plans for the day. Whilst at times it seemed to be a bit of overkill, it is a neccessary evil, covering all bases as event organisers. None of this was new, but rather an insight in to the way others work.

I did however have some time early each day to look after the requirements of the competitors by opening the DeckHardware van with those products I brought down. Requests for Liros rope being the prime and others from shackles up, I was able to help all except one competitor who wanted his Laser vang spliced as well. That I didn’t have time for as I was running late for the boat.

It was a great week and I hope that all the competitors we looked after were happy with the decisions we made out on the water. I certainly enjoyed the time working with the guys from Black Rock as daily we agreed on our thoughts on the course as distinct from those made by the startboat. If I have the chance I’d like to work with them again, Dennis and John [who flew down from the Gold Coast] were a joy to spend over 8 hours a day with. We also had Tracey over from Adelaide, Sylvia from Brisbane and Robyn how had last helped me at the NSW Youth Champs helping the locals.

As for the sailing? The fleets were down in size being the first event after the London 2012 Olympics bar the Kiteboards who had the biggest fleet. It was good to see the Sydney guys whose races i have been running, all come down. It was also good to see many others who I catch up with from time to time, some unfortunately, a fleeting quick chat and then off to the next briefing or de-brief.

Next up is the Southern Line for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Boxing Day, it’ll be good to be back with my own Middle Harbour Yacht Club team again and on a larger and dryer boat!


Summer in Melbourne

Yeah right, try telling that to the 400 odd competitors at Sail Melbourne.020 The temperature when I arrived at Sandringham was 14c! Summer?

Yesterday all but the Kiteboarders were cancelled due to the adverse conditions. At this mornings de-brief even some of the more exerienced Kiters said it was at the top end of what they could sail at.

Today all sailed bar the Libertys, Skuds, 49ers and the 49er FX as again the conditions were not too good. Whilst I’m out on Alpha course I don’t get to see to much if any of the others sailing, but what we had would have been pretty much the same across all fleets. The breeze was in the 20s for the majority of the 3 races held today, one gust we saw 26knots on our JDC Eole. You know it’s windy when you see a 470 going to windward sailing up a wave and going totally airborne. One of those classic shots, that you wish you took rather than watching happen. All I could think of was the landing, but these guys are amongst the best and handled it with ease.

In the first photo it looks pretty good, but…as you can see from the second click, there’s no mark! The seas on Port Phillip Bay are all wind driven and after 48hours they were around the 2m mark. Not really the best for a small runabout carrying the marks for the day. Mind you coming back in was a good ride. 022


It’s been a hard few days for us on the mark boat. Monday we had a few issues with water in the fuel and alarms going off. We ended up returning to Sandringham and having the mechanic have a quick look, then heading out again. Tuesday was a hurry up and wait, nothing happenned till the PRO pulled the pin after 1500.


Today, it all happenned pretty quick, the start boat went out and checked the conditions and returned to the club. I literally had time to go back to the van, get changed, grab my RO gear and head out. The RO signaled a windward return, hooray, only one mark to lay and retrieve out of the mud. Denis Finn from Black Rock is our driver and did an excellent job trying to keep us dry. Mind you the fore hatch needs some Gaffa tape!


Tomorrow? Who knows, but knowing our luck it’ll be left over seas and no wind.


Final preparation day

Today was the final preparation day before ISAF World Cup of Sailing at Sail Melbourne both for the officials and for those competing,

I had an early start, down to Sandringham before 0800 in order to get a good parking spot for the DeckHardware van. Hopefully I can jig the same spot each day. The routine for today was  – set up shop, attend briefing, set up shop, attend briefing, set up shop and final briefing. The first meeting was introducing the teams on each course, as this is my first Sail Melbourne aside from the PRO, I know no one. The second meeting was out on the marina seeing the boat I’m on and the equipment provided. The third meeting was the officials welcome drinks with the local mayor followed by the competitors official briefing.

There are plenty of officials with experience from the Olympics down, on each boat I think the minimum is a state race official. the are plenty of nationals like myself just helping out. The guys I’m partnered with from Black Rock have over a decade each in running races on Port Phillip Bay.

I think I’m in good hands, just need the weather to co-operate.

South of the border

003 I’m now south of the border in Melbourne. I’m here to help officiate at Sail Melbourne an ISAF World Cup event and the first after the London 2012 Olympics. The photo shows the van pretty full and this was without my gear!

After an early start and an 11hr drive [with stops], first stop was to Anchor marine a long time chandlery here in Melbourne to drop off more stock.  I then spent the afternoon at Sandringham Yacht Club, the host club for a lot of sailing events here in Victoria.

After unloading Krystal Weir’s Laser and her sailing gear, I caught up with Jason Waterhouse and Lisa Darmanin who recently visited DeckHardware and purchased some of the TBS Speedgrip non skid. We made a few changes to the setup and hopefully it will all suit their Viper Catamaran. I’ll be able to have a look after each days sail, on the spot reporting!


The club has a range of services including a chandlery run by Ian Marr -The Yacht Shop. I was able to assist Ian in answering a few questions on the DeckHardware range of products that he hadn’t seen, so that some of the 300 odd competitors who visit his shop will hopefully get the right answers and of course buy some DeckHardware. I also caught up with another chandlery owner, Gavin Reitman from OTB Marine who is sailing with his daughter in the Viper catamaran class and was able to remind him of the products available.

As I was about to leave, I saw our Olympic Gold medalist Mat Belcher and his new crew Will Ryan and coach Victor, good to see some familiar faces. In the coming months, I’ll also be involved in further regattas for the 470 class.

Final stop for the day, was to my hosts for the week, Leonie and Peter Coleman. As with a lot of the interstate trips that I do, we have to thank those who host me and in the New Year, Melissa when she goes to Tasmania. The support given is greatly appreciated by Robyn, Mel and I.

I’ll have photos tomorrow as most of those I saw today were working on boat preparation, hopefully also a trip out along the marina to have a look at what’s new.