Down South and 3605kms later

Following on from the interstate trips to Western Australia and Southern Queensland, this time I was off down south to Victoria via the ACT. Friday morning was an early start to try and beat the Sydney peak hour and the dreaded M5 to Canberra. Four hours later, not too bad I suppose, Driving in to Canberra Yacht Club to meet up with Matt Owen the CEO. Like many who I ring, Matt took advantage of the DeckHardware van calling through and pre ordered, then came out to see what’s new. Unfortunately time was against him due to another appointment so we didn’t have the chance to spend as much time as we had liked. After dropping off a Sydney Sailboat Expo poster and going through a few items and I was off to Victoria.

Driving through the Snowy Mountains at this time of year suits me, I prefer Palm Trees to snow. Those who haven’t done the trip should as it’s a great alternative to the coast road. I arrived in Paynesville in time to drop off a Flying Eleven mainsail and jib for Stuart Loft to have a twilight launching and sail of his new acquisition. Lofty had arranged with Andrew [Dolly] Divola for me to be the go between/courier, timing. I hung around Paynesville and Metung seeing Aaron Hill who operates outlets in both towns, on Saturday morning. Again Aaron was one of those who took the opportunity to have a carton of DeckHardware products delivered. Like many he also took advantage of the van to purchase more. Saturday was also the Opening Day for the Great Lakes Sailing Club, so I took all of that in too, always interesting to see how other clubs do it. Then off to Sandringham, more K’s.

After dropping off another carton locally, I was off to Warrnambool Sunday, pretty much a days drive again. Pleasant though as the road is more and more familiar with each trip. Coming through Colac for example, how much water do they have? Enough to sail? Almost this time, I’ve seen the water well down in the past but they must have had a bit. I know they had more as it rained for much of the time I was there!

Monday morning and a good start with a couple of local customers showing some of the range out of the van. This trip was looking good from a sales view. Off again for the 3 hour tour back to Geelong and updating more customers. Tuesday morning was another good sale with one customer, nice. After seeing 12 different outlets, I finished the day on the other side of Port Phillip Bay, this time at Sorrento. It’s a good hike around the bay, about 100kms I think, there is the ferry of course but I have to see those on the way. Wednesday I started the day locally and worked my way anti-clockwise this time, another 13 seen, a busy but again a productive day. Showing off the new product range and talking about the upcoming Sydney Sailboat Expo is enjoyable but takes time. Those who I left SSE posters will were all receptive on the idea that Melissa and her team have been working on, some talking about making the trip for the show next April.

Thursday  was not quite as busy number wise, however those I saw were excellent. I spent some time with Andrew McDougall and Andrew Morris at KA Sail discussing the upcoming Moth Worlds at Sorrento. Amac also showed me the new Waszp drawings, I’m lucky to be one of only a handful to see his new design. Amac is hoping to be able to sail one at Sorrento this January, hopefully we’ll have a production Waszp at SSE as they plan on having two boats there. Another who I saw Thursday was Martin Sly, one of the better boatbuilder/repairers in Melbourne. Martin has a rather large shed, full of all types of sail and power requiring his attention. Like others, he also came to the van to shop. Friday was down to Western Port to see those there, followed by coming back to Sandringham at Lunchtime. After a couple of hours at the two chandleries and the club, it was in to the city for the last stop of the week.

In previous trips, I had a good run out of the CBD. This time however it took over an hour to hit the Hume Highway. I only got as far as Tarcutta before stopping for the night. 3605kms, 47 different DeckHardware customers and eight days later, home.

I’ll be back to Sandringham in December to help officiate at ISAF Sailing World Cup/Sail Melbourne. In the lead up to the event, I’ll be attending the ISAF International Race Officers conference, hopefully in the New Year I’ll be an IRO. Studying to come.

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The other week I ventured north to Southern Queensland, doing the rounds of the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast seeing DeckHardware customers, again both old and new.

Where does the ‘Bugger’ come in to it? I was parked in a service road nearby a retail outlet talking to Robyn on the phone prior to going inside. A fellow pulled up behind me with a trailer to drop off a couple of things to another shop. As he drove off he neglected to shut the gate on the trailer adequately and it hit the real tail light and corner panel above, causing the gate to fall off the trailer as well. After speaking with the shop employees, I held on to the gate and left them my card if he wanted the gate back. he rang later in the day and we met up at the spot, swapping his details for the gate concerned. Just the hassle of it all, the local Police couldn’t do anything as there were no injuries or damage to public property. Like I said just a ‘bugger’.

Doing the rounds of the various outlets is always good, many of these have become friends over the years, those you see out on the water as well. Like Tony Hannan, who I’ve known for over 35 years and sailed with and against at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Tony until recently ran his sail loft at Brookvale near us and decided on a ‘Sea Change’. He’s moved everything up to Redcliffe in the north of Brisbane. It was good to catch up with him again, spending a little time going through the DeckHardware new products and reminiscing as well. It was good to see him place an order shortly after – thanks Tony.

I had the chance to catch up with several friends who had moved north. One who I caught up with was Mark Grey at Surfers Paradise, good timing as he and Jules have made the decision to move north to Brisbane’s southern suburbs and be closer to work avoiding the driving time.  The house they’ve found has plenty of room, so hopefully next time I’m in Brisbane there’s a bed too. Another was Katie Evans a lovely American girl who I first came across on Sailing Anarchy. She ended up marrying another Aussie anarchist Simon Evans, who unfortunately passed away due to illness last year. Katie was offered a job on the Sunshine Coast recently and she’s loving the change, ‘the weather is  like Florida’ she said. She’s another who I’ll keep in touch with when up on the Sunshine Coast. I do apologise to those who I didn’t have the chance to catch up time. Another I had the chance to catch up with late one afternoon was Bev Yeomans. Bev’s husband’s father was a brother to my grandfather, if that makes sense. I’ve tried to stay in touch since my father passed away several years ago. They grew up nearby each other in Vaucluse and I can remember growing up with her daughters in our younger years. Like many she has a collection of my fathers maritime art works and I took the opportunity to take photos of them. Dad ‘paid’ his way in later years by giving many friends and relatives original art works when visiting and staying away from home. Bev is just one of many like Robyn and I who like his art works.

Whilst at Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club, Paul Blundell the clubs sailing manager mentioned that the local TV station [Win] was coming shortly to interview him on his sailing program for school children from country Queensland. It was fantastic to see a group of kids learning to sail, surf and fish on the coast and taking those life experiences home to the bush. Many of them only took a couple of hours to pick it up, Paul and his team do a fantastic job here – well done PB. I too was interviewed, however my piece didn’t make that evenings news.

Coming home for the October long weekend, it was the first time for as long as I can remember that I wasn’t involved in either competing in an event or running one. So instead I spent Saturday morning and Monday afternoon at the NSW Youth Sailing Championships on Botany Bay. Monday afternoon becoming the traffic cop directing traffic as the competitors came out of the water and crossed the road to the rigging area.

Needless to say, I wasn’t home for too long. Next up, Victoria.003 004 008 031