4hr scenic tour

Last Sunday I dropped the DeckHardware RIB Cadence in the water at Bayview.  It’s something I’ve been meaning to do for quite some time now, go for a tour around Pittwater and have a look back in time at the water in which I learnt to sail. The RIB of course was the perfect boat to do it in. I’m lucky that it’s now all set up that it’s easy to launch and retrieve singlehanded.

I started off by going anti-clockwise, first up into the upper reaches of Newport an area that was pretty much mangroves in the 50’s and early 60’s mucking about as a kid.  As time has gone on, all of it is now fully developed with many a home and wharf building out the land and the water.  I can remember picking up my first Manly Junior crew by boat as he lived on the opposite side, it was either that or  a pushbike for him. Continuing around and remembering the old  Newport pub, where our parents would be inside whilst we played on the carousel, that’s now a multi story carpark rather than the drive through to the bottle shop.

Then into Crystal Bay, where again it was all mangroves where kids could run amuck  and we did!  However this time it was stopping to say Hi to a couple of old salts, one on  the end of his jetty and the other in the cockpit of his lovely yacht. It was good to stop and say an all but brief ‘G’day’ to Hugh  Treharne and Ken Beashel, both legends of the sport of Sailing and certainly don’t need any introduction. Royal Prince Alfred Yacht Club has certainly grown and changed with the times, as kids we used to climb the trees where the main clubhouse now is. One boat spotted on the marina was Patsy a Swanson37 that I did my first Mooloolaba race on in ’81. Still in the Yaffe family ownership, Daniel who I sailed with for a number of years was on board with his family and about to head out for the day. It was good to catch up.

The major change to Pittwater over the decades is the sheer number of boats on  moorings, the area that we leant to sail on in the 60s is full.

Heading north past Salt Pan Cove, and on a mooring  was a rather familiar Adams10. Yet more memories although they’ve made many changes to what I thought was the best A10 deck layout.  Then into Clareville and there was the old Swanson42 Tawarri,  as a teenager I did a RSYS Cruise on board with the Lewis family, spending a week aboard racing offshore and up to the lake.

Up to Barrenjoey and across to the western side brought more memories of camping at Resolute Beach with our Manly Juniors and walking up to West Head. Then on into  Coasters Retreat or  the Basin as many know it and more camping  and overnight memories.

Then it was around the corner of Longnose Point and into Towlers Bay. There’s a lovely beach on  the Northern side where we spent a week with the girls on Indulgence after a Coffs Harbour Race one January. We literally had it to ourselves but the other day it was packed , times have changed.  Next up was Lovetts Bay and then Elvina Bay, where there was once  plenty of bush and now there’s houses right round both bays. Still going at 4knots [the speed limit] and heading up McCarrs Creek, for a change [not] the water was full of ‘jelly blubbers’. The constant thud of hitting them with a centreboard, didn’t matter what I was sailing. Another boat that I was surprised to see, was a little Primaat called Tainui. Tainui was built by Bill Burrows, an old sailing foe of my Dads. Many a JOG race was had against her in the 60s. Bill also made the mast for my fathers first yacht  Temeraire, so there’s the connection.

I finished up my tour of Pittwater by going past Church Point and Bayview, looking at where we used to live and how things have changed. Surprisingly the houses are still there, they haven’t been updated. Only the addition of solar panels to Church Point was noticeable, but Bayview is still the same colour some 5 decades later. It was a great day, something I’d been wanting to do for some time.

Next up however, it’s back on the MHYC start boat and running a regatta for the  Sydney Farr40 Fleet this coming weekend.

Back on the water

It’s been quite some time since I’ve been out on the water, all due to the world-wide effects of the Coronavirus. I haven’t been driving any great distance either.  In fact, I think I’ve driven to the  local council tip more than any other place besides going to the office at DeckHardware.

 

It’s been interesting talking to some of our suppliers overseas and how they are coping.  I think we Aussies have had it quite good till the last couple of weeks.  Unfortunately due to the actions of only a few, the rest of the country is in lock down. No one can go interstate with out doing a fortnight in quarantine and Victorians can’t go any further than about 5km  from home, not even to work for many as retail and manufacturing shuts down.

 

I’ve been busy doing all sorts of jobs around the house, including some big clean ups, cutting down  a tree or two and having the odd lazy day of doing almost nothing.

Middle Harbour in Winter

Looking towards the heads

Last weekend however was the first time out on the harbour in several months.  As some may know , DeckHardware has for several seasons been supporting the 16′ Skiff class and  as there was some winter racing/training happening at Middle Harbour and it was a non winters day with a NorEaster, we went out to watch and take some photos. And what a great day it was too,  clear skies and 10knot  ‘summer seabreeze’ in Winter?  As the boat driver for the day and having two photographers taking care of that side, I just had time to watch whilst driving the DeckHardware RIB.

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Spit Bridge east

The only really cold feature was coming back in to the boat ramp to pull Cadence out of the water,  wee bit chilly on the ankles hooking up the retrieving  trailer winch wire.

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As we come into what used to be a busy time heading out on the road seeing customers, life has changed for us all. We just have to accept a different way of life till this virus has cleared up world-wide. Hopefully those of us who enjoy heading out on the water, have the opportunity to do so.

 

I certainly look forward to seeing everyone once we are able to do so. In the meantime, stay safe , stay home and stay Covid19 free.

Welcome to 2020

2019 finished off for me and many others with the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race, for over a decade now I’ve been fortunate to head a MHYC team running the second start line. This time , the 75th running of the race south, we had four lines with the CYCA on the front, MHYC on the second, RPAYC on the third and RSYS on the fourth. Each year, my friends know that I try to bring someone who hasn’t experienced the opportunity, to come along and be part of the team. This year I extended an invitation to Peter Tinworth from Middle Harbour 16s who thoroughly enjoyed the day on Sydney Harbour watching the yachts head south, so much so that as he put it -” I can’t watch the start from anywhere else after this, you’ve spoilt me”. I think that means he wants to come back.

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Boxing Day, spectators and officials alike waiting for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start.

It was great to have all four lines with a clear start as we’ve had a few try to start early recently. Getting the anchor up and clearing the way for the entrants behind is always a priority. Our line is not a mark of the course for them and it doubles up to get going and see everyone heading offshore. It’s certainly interesting for those non competing sailors to follow the weather and the tracker to plot a reasonable course, something you couldn’t do last century.

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Pre-start maneuvers within the exclusion zone

Next up was the 16′ Skiffs at Soldiers Point Port Stephens, where DeckHardware was representing Allen Sailing and LIROS Ropes as sponsors. I was only there for the first weekend, whilst Melissa stayed for the week and took out the media on the RIB each day. It certainly was exciting watching up till the last couple of metres of the last race, with overall being decided on a countback. One mistake and you could easily lose up to ten places very quickly, it was hard work to get them back too. Everyone had their own races right through the fleet.

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DeckHardware van and RIB at Port Stephens

Melissa had a 36hr turnaround and is now up at RQYS in Brisbane where again she is representing DeckHardware on behalf of Allen Sailing as the title sponsor of the Flying Elevens. Whilst she’s done the trip a few times now, this was the first towing the RIB all the way, she made good time too. Following the Flying Elevens, she took a detour home via Noosa to see one of her old crew from Animus days.

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Heavy weather start

This weekend I spent the weekend again with the Farr40s, their prelude event prior to the States in February. Saturday was hard, there’s no other way of putting it. With a 20-25knot Southerly with rain at times and a good southerly swell it made for some good rides and wipe outs as well. We started with 8 of the 10 entries for race one and at the finish of race 3 had 3 1/2 finish. The fourth finished under mainsail only although not that far behind the others. Jeff Carters team Edake won all three races showing some great boat handling.

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Towing in the second gate mark on Saturday

Sundays racing however was a lot better, we got in two races in a nice southerly with a little shift left before the last two in a nice soueaster, both in a nice 8-10knots and flat seas south of Sow & Pigs Reef. Father and Son, Tom and Allan Quicks team Outlaw duelled with Edake for the honours overall. Edake winning by virtue of winning the last race, taking the regatta win. Double Black from Sandringham Yacht Club in Victoria were third for the weekend.

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Good Form from Newcastle nailing the pin end start

This coming weekend will see me out on the water with the Adams10s again at Middle Harbour Yacht Club for the three days of the Australia Day festivities. More of the same as Sunday hopefully, may be a NorEaster?

Farr40 Jan 2020 Clear start

Good Form, right on the pin

A new boat, regattas and more

A new boat, regattas and more

So the 19/20 Summer season started off for me officiating with a Farr40 regatta, since then we’ve had another. I’ve always enjoyed officiating for the Farr40s, they have a group of enthusiastic owners who enjoy their sailing, added to this they are very social as well and their dock parties at MHYC after days sailing reflect this. Their association secretary, Jen Hughes rounds them all up and tries to keep them all sorted both on and off the water taking photos and arranging the pizzas and beers.

Farr40s offshore

Off the beaches of Freshwater and Curl Curl, wind and flat water

My next weekend on the water was down at Lake Burley Griffin in Canberra. Something a little different this time but I had done a few years back, running the ACT Dinghy Championships with some 70 boats across 8 divisions. A mix of Sharpies, Flying Fifteens, Lasers, Sabres with a few solo entries like an Impulse and RS100. Terry Peak ably looked after the Sailability and Optimists on another section of the lake.

Sailing in Canberra

Weather was like this for the two days whilst on the water.

The Wind Gods looked after us and we are able to get in two days of racing on a trapezoid course in 10-15knots of westerly with the odd bullet coming through causing a capsize or three [dozen]. I was assisted by the Canberra start team and one even called me the ‘wind whisperer’ as he hadn’t had such an easy regatta wind wise on the lake before. The wind came in on both days just prior to heading out and cut off not long after the last finisher. We had minimal delays and everyone knows that on LBG it’s not uncommon to have boats working and running on the same leg of the course, the joys of inland waterways.

A the end of the day

It was like this on both days once racing had finished.

In amongst all of this, there’s a new boat in the family. For sometime Melissa has thought about having a RIB enabling her to go to various clubs and regattas to take some photos and support DeckHardware ambassadors. We started looking at second hand 5m and ended up with a brand new 6.5m RIB with all the extras required. I’ll also be able to use it at the various country regattas I attend. In order to tow it around, it’s necessitated two new vehicles, a van for me and a larger car for towing. This has been paid for out of Robyn’s inheritance and the sale of her family home.

On the RIB, on the harbour

I can’t remember a time going under the bridge by powerboat, I’ve always sailed.

Last weekend, I spent some time in the new RIB watching the 16’er States up the harbour, something a little different. They had a great NorEaster for two races on Saturday and a Southerly came through for the single race on Sunday. Good racing for the 40 odd boats in an otherwise very crowded area, although after a leg or so most were spread out, especially with a few capsizes.

Rounding Cockatoo Island

Hazards of racing on the upper harbour, the race 3, 1st mark  leader TED cutting it fine. Eventual winner with Orange spinnaker, IMEI.

16's sailing up the harbour

Some of the 16s fleet on Sunday

Having not had a trailerable boat since the early 80s when Mel was a baby, it’s all about getting in the queue at the ramp both in and out. I’m getting better at organising at home first so it’s not mucking about wasting time prior to launching. The facilities are far better now with floating pontoons to tie up to once launched and whilst the car and trailer are parked. So far so good, the electric winch works a treat too, no winding!

 

Mel’s gone to METS in Amsterdam this week to meet up with many of our suppliers. Around this time of year they release new products and catalogues and it’s the opportunity to meet in person with the people at the other end of an email or phone line. It’s a busy week for her with scheduled meetings over the three days of the show. I know that when I’ve been, almost the best part is the sleep on the plane home!