Headed south, far south.

It’s been a while since I last went to Tasmania, last time was for the Australian Youth Sailing Championships. This time however I had the chance to head down to Hobart and take in the Australian Wooden Boat Festival. This is a Bi-Annual event that has grown over the years. In co-operation with Brierley Marine who have outlets in Hobart and Launceston, DeckHardware had a range of products on display in the hall. Teaming up with Ben King who has assisted DeckHardware with a few shows on the mainland and is now at Brierley Launceston, we had a different range on display with a focus on the Wooden Boat market. The show is a massive undertaking and the locals have really put their support behind it. With free entry, there was talk of over 400,000 visitors. many of these were from the mainland, I seemed to be running in to them every couple of minutes! On the ferry over from Melbourne it seemed like everyone was headed that way. The great factor was that the weather was fantastic with clear skies and temperatures in the high 20s each day. Melissa flew down for the Sunday, luckily, as Saturday was the hottest and busiest. A cruise ship arrived early Saturday morning and the comment was – ‘there’s another 5000 visitors!’. The show eclipsed Sydney and certainly Sanctuary Cove, I don’t think I’ve run into so many people that I haven’t seen for a long time. If you have the chance, book accommodation now for the next one in 2017 because I think most will be back and with their friends too. It’s well worth the effort.

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Then I headed north for the last round of the Manly Junior State Titles at Point Wolstoncroft on Lake Macquarie. I think this is just about the only place on the lake I haven’t been to before. Held at the NSW Sport and Recreation Centre, this was a great facility for a kids regatta. Plenty of area to run around ashore, pool, tennis court and cabin and tent accommodation, as well as plenty of rigging area on the foreshore. The sailing area of course being Lake Macquarie is excellent. Having attended three previous Manly Junior events this season as sponsor it was good to catch up with all of them again. It was another great weekend, the Noreaster came in around lunchtime, a little late but consistent when it came. Congratulations to all involved, parents, regatta officials and competitors.

For something different, I’m off again this weekend. South again. I’m running the second edition of the Snowy Mountains Regatta at Jindabyne in southern New South Wales. If it’s like last year with clear skies and 8-10 knot winds we’ll all be happy.

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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Winter’s just about over

It’s nearly that time of year, the Summer sailing season is just about ready to start for me. This Friday evening is the  race briefing where we run through all the plans for the season at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. As the clubs principal race officer, I have a great team of volunteers who help run the club racing and regattas throughout the year. I’m ably assisted by Steve Tucker as the RO when I’m off elsewhere. Along with Steve are Ted and Toby, we tend to just get on with it on a Saturday and where better than being out on Sydney Harbour. As with most race management teams, we are excellent sailors due to the amount of time watching and critiquing the boats out on the water.

I’m currently getting everything together to head to Perth in a couple of weeks time to show off more of the DeckHardware range of products. On previous trips I saw around 35-40 businesses, this time I have a list of 57. Hopefully I’ll have the chance to see the greater majority of the marine industry in Perth and the surrounding areas.

I’ve spent the last few months seeing those in and around Sydney for those who follow my travels. I’ve earmarked interstate business trips North and South over the coming months, in and around the various regattas.

Some may be aware that Sydney Sailboat Expo is coming. DeckHardware are excited to be involved in this event and we look forward to seeing everyone next April, here’s the website for all the details. http://www.sydneysailboatexpo.com

004Now and again we have visitors to the DeckHardware warehouse today was no exception. it was good to catch up with Nathan Outteridge and find out what he’s up to next. What with America’s Cup and the 49er Olympic campaign, he had less than a fortnight sailing the Moth from the previous Championships before winning the recent World title in England. I’ve always said it’s about time on water. Practise, practise, practise.

It’s been a pleasant winter with the temps in the high teens and dry until the last couple of weeks when the rain came. It’s been the wettest August in Sydney for over 15 years. There’s plenty who are hoping to dry out and the sooner the better.

Last weekend was the first mini regatta of the season, a fleet of Optimists and wouldn’t you know it? A break in the weather and a nice 8knot seabreeze – suite. Can we have some more?

It all starts soon, in many ways, I can’t wait.

 

 

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Headed North

Last Thursday I left Sydney and headed north, this trip was a combination of a few things. I run a course for Yachting New South Wales teaching country clubs the art of being a race official and on this occasion I was at Kingscliff with members of the Tweed Valley Sailing Club. Like many of the country clubs, their fleet is a broad range of classes and abilities, what doesn’t change is the enthusiasm for the sport of sailing. It was good to catch up again with Commodore Bill who I had met on a previous trip. Also with a former customer Michael, now retired to the Gold Coast and sailing an Impulse dinghy. Amongst the experienced members was one fellow just back from a world cruise, he certainly had some stories. There is also some practical and it was good to see those who don’t usually use compasses and GPSs experimenting.

The following day I attended the Sanctuary Cove Boatshow to see what’s new and a general catch up with those there. For the first time in too many years, their was absolutely no rain. Usually the shows have had a shower and even heavy downpours to put a dampener on things. Those outside rejoiced as it was clear skies, although the clothing companies would ague otherwise. Rain for them brings the customers. It was nice to spend the day wandering around without the need for jackets and umbrellas.

Whilst these were the two primary reasons for the trip, I also had the chance to stop and see a few of DeckHardware’s customers both old and new. It’s always good to see them and show a range of products, especially the builders who stop and think ‘where can I use that?’. One I saw is building a carbon 20′ foiling catamaran, taking the rig off his Tornado to have some fun. I look forward to seeing how the country clubs where he sails handicap him. Spending a couple of hours going through the Allen, Liros, PROtect and TBS range opens a few eyes, especially when they are able to place a few blocks and cleats here and there. Another builder I have to take some parts to show when I next drive past in a couple of weeks time, he’s building a one off carbon race boat and every little weight loss helps the speed gains.

Next trip is to Lake Keepit for the Keepit Kool Regatta in June, one I’ve not been to even though it’s been going for several decades now.First up however, I’m attending a race management course for my own accreditation. As the ISAF rules change each four years, so does one have to re sit and re visit the courses to maintain currency. This is a two day event, the ones I hold go for 4-4.5hours. Hopefully I’ll pass without too many issues.

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SE Queensland part 2

Yet another trip north covering 3015 kms this trip. After dropping by those from Hervey Bay to Bribie Island last time, this trip was to coincide with the annual Sanctuary Cove International Boatshow, then following up with those in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.

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I spent day one driving north with a detour to Tea Gardens, one of those little out of the way places that you mean to get to sometime.  This time I did, great little spot that would be full of life in Summer. However as has been the case lately, I took the rain with me. I’ll make a note to drop by when it’s warmer. The following day was meant to be spent seeing all those in the Port Macquarie area, however after 155mm of rain overnight, I decided to continue on to Coffs Harbour. Yep more rain, this time only 147mm. 300mm in 48 hours was enough! Time to keep going north.

This time with more luck, the Sanctuary Cove International Boatshow weekend was dry, I must have left it all down south. Spending the weekend wandering around the show talking to others in the marine industry was a little different. The marina was probably half the size of previous years however the main hall/tent area seemed to be  full as usual. It was a great opportunity to spend some time talking to others when they had the chance.

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One of the things about visiting this area is that I get to stay with my Fathers sister Cynthia and her husband Geoff at Hollywell.Waking up to this view is fantastic [when it’s not raining] until the jetskiers start up. Having them banned from Sydney Harbour means I don’t see too much of them, but it was like the neighbours starting up the lawn mower at 0600, you didn’t need an alarm clock.

I had planned to spend the next 5 days with two in Brisbane and the rest on the Gold Coast, visiting clubs, chandleries, builders and others in the marine industry. I was able to visit some great people. One of these was a fellow who was on the phone to Melissa in the office asking about product – ‘Do you have anyone in the area?’ With a little drive down to the Tweed River Sailing Club, I was able to show the range of DeckHardware products and give Bill a chance to touch and feel. He came away with a lot more knowledge on ropes, blocks and some of the other products we offer.

Then it was up to Brisbane, this time to catch up with those at Manly, firstly at Muir Marine, then at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron [RQ]. With a range of people, I was there the entire morning. Yes, it rained! Sitting in the back of the van with Adrian Finglas the RQ coach showing rope and fittings wasn’t the easiest, but at least we were dry. I thought I’d escape back up to the the Sunshine Coast away from the wet and see a couple of others including builder Jon Sayer, it rained.

Thursday was clear – nearly but enough to not need umbrellas or a jacket. I was able to see a few more, not all on the list but it was good to meet up with those who had started ordering from us in person. Always good to put a name to a face and then show some new and exciting products.

Then the rain came..Friday morning waking up to rain, I’d had enough, time to go home. Yep, it rained Saturday afternoon and Sunday in Sydney. Pool’s full, Dams full and the Wakehurst Parkway is flooded. Anyone need rain, just invite me to stay.

South East Queensland Part one

This time it was trip to South East Queenland,  I started at Hervey Bay and worked my way south to Bribie Island just north of Brisbane.

As is the case with many of these trips, its seeing who is still there and who is not. The first photo is from the Mary River Marina at Maryborough. As can be seen by the debris on the downpipe, they have had an issue with floods in the last few years. The area where you can see through used to house the chandlery in pic2. Bill and his team had had enough of the floods and made the move to Urangan at Hervey Bay It’s a sad state at the Marina, but you can understand why he made the choice to leave. Should you have the opportunity to go to Hervey Bay, drop by and see Bill, he’s walking distance from the marina.

Pic3 show’s one of the great Aussie wonders – a Big Thing. I’m yet to work out what relevance Bushranger Ned Kelly has in Maryborough, he did most if not all of his thieving down in Northern Victoria.

Pic4 shows the boat ramp at Tin Can Bay, the Southern end of Fraser Island – Urangan being the Northern tip. As can be seen by the photo, it’s a fair hike out to the moorings at low tide. It would be at least a mile or so, a bit of planning would be needed going to and fro.

It was a full week on the road seeing just over 40 of DeckHardware’s customers, both old and new. It was good to catch up with a few of the builders and retailers and see what everyone was up to. With two new 60′ Multihulls in build near Noosa and a 45′ center cockpit cruiser being built near Mooloolaba, it’s good to see Australian tradesmen hard at it. I had the opportunity to show a range of product, with nearly 10,000 now across 18 suppliers there’s always something that someone hasn’t seen.

In the coming weeks, it’s back up to Queensland to see those in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast. I’ll also drop by Sanctuary Cove and see how the boat show stacks up this year.

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Power point

Yesterday morning I recieved a phone call from the Cruising Division at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, their guest speaker for last nights meeting had dropped out. Could I fill in and do a talk?

Sure.

Melissa spent most of the morning putting together a modified version of the Power Point presentation that she and Ben did for the Sydney International Boat show a couple of weeks ago [well it seems like that].

The cruising division at the club is quite active and they usually have around 40 members turn up, cook a BBQ and then have their meeting followed by a guest, in this case me. As the clubs principal race officer, I know a few of them , but it was great to meet up with some of the rest of the division. They even have one fellow who keeps up to track with any new developments in the news, magazines or on the net. In this case he mentioned the rash of European built boats coming in with sub standard skin fittings. well, did I come on a good night!

The presentation started on Liros ropes, the care, upkeep, choices and a host of other issues when owning a yacht. I had a few rope whip samples which were passed around. Some of those there still had wire halyards! I then opened up the bin I had of Forespar including a few of the Marelon skin fittings. This raised an eye with many there as it was surprising how many didn’t look after or regularly maintain their seacocks and valves, I think a few may when they next go aboard.

I spoke for over 1/2hr and then with questions and there were plenty, I was talking for over an hour, followed by those who came up afterwards. I think I managed to open a few eyes with the DeckHardware product range, many had picked up one of our discs at the show but were still to have a look. After last night a few will.

Come this Saturday at the club, I’m sure there will be a few asking some more questions. Hopefully I can help them out.

First full week back to ‘normal’

After the few weeks leading up to Sanctuary Cove 2012 and the associated planning, setting up and returning to Sydney, today see’s the first week of a near normal week. After spending yesterday setting up the stands again in the warehouse as a prelude to th Sydney International Boat Show where DeckHardware will have a larger and improved stand on Sydney 2011.

Sanctuary Cove was an improvement on last years show with many if not most of the visitors to our stand knowing what they were looking for. As in every year, Man Ship Marine’s range of hatches and ports was the most requested product, it was surprising to see a larger number than usual of owner builders requesting information. They ranged from those who had plans, one fellow was on to his second hull in his catamaran build to a fellow from Victoria who had just turned over his Van DeStadt to start on the interior and deck. Now with an increasing range of products, DeckHardware can supply product information across a range of enquiries, from the Forespar Marelon plumbing products to the TBS non skid for their decks.

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Saturday was the first day back on the Middle Harbour startboat in some time. This was race 5 of the Winter series and I had missed the last race of the summer pointscore whilst Melissa and I attended a YANSW course. The photo shows Division 2 with 10 seconds to go, not showing is the one boat who was OCS, in Winter I try to lay a line that makes the fleet start down the line, but they still start on the boat and give away too many boatlengths. And the rain in the distance over South Head? Yes, we got wet!

It’s been a big couple of weeks and I haven’t been anywhere.

With the Sanctuary Cove Boatshow coming up in a couple of weeks time, I haven’t had a chance to get out on the road. Many of my friends and some of our DeckHardware customers know that I spend quite a bit of time on the road visiting the various chandleries, boatbuilders and riggers around Australia, however there’s been plenty to do with the show season upon us.

Last week I had the chance to go out to test a few of the PeterGs boat cleaning products on an old Laser. The boat had been in storage for some time before being picked up by a couple of friends and occasional DeckHardware helpers James Gough and Liz Gazzard. Goughy and I had a range of the PeterGs to trial cleaning up the boat.

We tried the Marine Wash, an Alcoline product on one side and on the other the KleenAHull and Acidic product to compare the outcome. Whilst we didn’t expect too much from the Marine Wash on the bottom, we had excellent results from the KleenAHull as shown by the photo. You can see the difference from the square we masked off. With a final cleanup of the Port side, Goughy and Liz have a new looking boat, bar the tape mark down the centre line!

Over the weekend, rather than being out on the startboat no the seasons over, I’ve been building new stands for the boatshows. Man Ship Marine and Houdini both have new products and therefore new stands for this year. We’ve also re-arranged many of the other stands to show off differing lines from each manufacturer, Forespar for example have their new range of Tef45 products for anti corrosion use. For those in Australia, you’ll just have to come along and have a look, we’ll be at both Sanctuary Cove and the Sydney boatshows. Everyone else will have to keep an eye on the DeckHardware Facebook page where Melissa will be keeping you updated.

 

Western Australia last week

  I flew in to Perth Western Australia last Sunday morning and after a bit of getting organised, drove up to Geraldton some 5 hours north of Perth. Gero as it is known to the locals is home to a large cray fishing fleet, hence my trip up there to see those in the marine industry. Unfortunately there are now heavy restrictions on them via quotas and the fleet is reducing rapidly. Monday was spent seeing all the chandleries and retailers before driving back to Perth.

Tuesday saw a shorter drive north up to Yanchep and the Two Rocks Marina where Alan Bond started his Americas Cup campaign in the early 1970s before working my way south in the northern suburbs of Perth itself. All of the streets in the area are named after the various Americas Cup contenders.

Wednesday was spent in Fremantle and Perth city seeing all the chandleries and sailmakers that DeckHardware supplies. Each trip interstate I carry a range of both the new lines and some of the more popular existing lines to ‘jog’ their memories on some of our range. At 1800 the Cunard cruise liner Queen Mary2 left the port of Fremantle and I was one of several hundred to watch her leave. As you can see see, the QM2 is rather large, especially on the confined waters of the port, where the World Womens match racing was held last December.

Thursday was spent seeing those south in Bunbury, several hours drive south of Perth with Friday finishing off with those in Mandurah and Henderson.

In the course of the week and just over 2000kms on the road I saw some forty new and existing DeckHardware customers, next week will see me driving once more to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, usually on these trips and those south to Victoria [ coming up at the end of the month] I see around 100 customers in the week.

Hopefully the deluge that the East Coast of Australia in recent weeks will have receded somewhat and allow me to get through without any issues.