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 markĀ  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!