More of the same, sort of

It was back out on the water at Middle Harbour Yacht Club with the State titles for both the 420s and the Cadets on the same track. This time I did something a little different with the courses.

Both classes like a triangle with the windward and return, so rather than put the Start boat in the middle of the course for the windward returns [as is the norm], I kept the bottom gate above the start line with the wing/gybe outside on the extension of the start line. The last mark was to leeward of the start finish line. This gave the boats some short laps with a couple of ‘hoon’ reaches with a work to the finish. The thing is the sailors enjoyed it too, nothing better than keeping the customers happy. They had almost a couple of sprints to start off with before stretching their legs. I was also able to keep track of all of them easily.

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Crossover at the bottom

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Clear Start

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Where else would you be?

Next up was the Sydney Sailboat Expo held at the ICMS grounds at Manly’s North Head. Spectacular location, the home of the Great Gatsby in the most recent movie. Built in the 1880s and standing proud on the hillside, all the visitors commented on the historical building. The Expo showed of a range of businesses in the marine industry including of course DeckHardware. As part of this we also sponsored the Liros rope splicing with two of the best showing the skills required. Cameron and Ben for the second year had people viewing and learning the art of rope work. I was told after closing that one of our Rio2016 Olympians spent quite some time there without being recognised. Good stuff.

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Kids big and small

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Early morning looking over Manly

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The weather also behaved for the two days, with glorious sunshine and nice seabreezes on both days treating the over 50 exhibitors kindly.

With that, that’s about it for the 2015/6 Sydney sailing season, there’s only a couple of weeks to go and then the Winter series starts in early May. I’ll be back on the road seeing DeckHardware customers again showing some of our range.


Another summer over

Yes, that’s another Australian Summer over and with it another season of sailing and race management for me. In the last nine months or so I’ve been to every state either as a race management volunteer or driving the DeckHardware van to regattas for support or to visit the various outlets Australia wide.  I’ve seen some great racing, from Dinghies and Multihulls through to the start of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race and the spectacle of the five 100’ers on Sydney Harbour.

I’m often asked which are the good events to attend by some of the off the beach sailors we see. There’s a couple that I keep going back to. These are the smaller volunteer run/family run events like the Big River Sailing Club regatta at Harwood in northern New South Wales and the Snowy Mountains Regatta at Jindabyne. Both of these attract a range of entries,monos, multis and trailerables. The conditions for both are completely different to most other venues around the country. At Harwood everyone camps next to the club and their boats, even the locals to save the drive home. Competitors come down from Queensland and up from as far south as Lake Macquarie to sail on the river with all it’s tidal issues.

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On the other hand is the open expanse of the freshwater Lake Jindabyne in the Snowy Mountains of southern New South Wales. Here we sail on a lake almost the size of Lake Macquarie, no need to take bottled water out with you. Just lean over the side and gulp, that’s where the town water comes from too. Again the camaraderie between those down from Sydney, Canberra and the locals is fantastic. Each time I’ve been to both clubs, I keep running in to sailors I haven’t seen in a couple of decades and as you could imagine the stories get broader. If you have the chance to go to either next season, I hope to see you there.

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I also had the opportunity to see the Bi-Annual Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. Hobart really knows how to put it on for the visitors, those who are at Constitution Dock for the end of the Rolex Sydney Hobart race will know what I mean. This was no different with all the boats, market places and entertainment. Again, if you have the chance..On the ferry to Devonport from Melbourne I kept running in to all sorts of people heading to the event.

Recently we had the Sydney Sailboat Expo at North Head / Manly. This inaugural  two day event organised by my daughter Melissa with assistance from my wife Robyn was fantastic. The weather co-operated on both days with clear skies for the over 50 exhibitors. There was a range of boating products, not only from DeckHardware, but also names like Harken, Ronstan, Musto and sailmakers Norths and Doyles to compliment the classes on display. I know of one builder who took a deposit for a new boat and there were plenty of other sales as well. There were classes / tutorials also on a range of topics like splicing, tuning, first aid and even media for clubs and I noticed some of the visitors to the Expo from as far as Geelong and Brisbane. Many there said they’ll be back and bringing their friends as well, so hopefully we’ll see it grow even bigger for 2016. As you will see in the photos, the range of boats from the Etchells down and even the all conquering 18′ skiff Gotta Love It 7 , there was something for everyone in the small boat market place.

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The next couple of months will see me heading north to Queensland [I prefer palm trees over snow],  doing the rounds showing off yet more new products available from DeckHardware, before heading west to South Australia and then back east through Victoria. I’ll also be getting out and about locally as well. Then there’s more races to run and more race officer courses as well, hopefully bringing more volunteers to the administration side of the sport of Sailing.

If you want to have the DeckHardware van at your event as support for the sailors or if you need help in running an event, drop me a line. I’m sure there’s more to see and do in the Australian Sailing Scene and if we can assist let us know.


A busy month, nearly over for the year.

As the Australian sailing season winds down, I’ve spent four weekends in a row out on the water both days running events.

The first event was the Snowy Mountains Regatta down at Jindabyne, around 6 hours drive south of Sydney. This was the second year at Jindabyne and again the locals looked after me. We had a mixed fleet of dinghies, catamarans and trailer yachts including a good fleet of  19 Lasers, some of whom had driven down from Canberra for the weekend.014 017

Friday evenings twilight race was held in a nice 5-8 North Wester around the laid club marks and everyone finished which was nice after last years evening storm. Saturday we had a good Easterly and ran several races, good stuff. Sunday had the forecast 18-20knots Easterly and brought with it a short sharp chop on the fresh water Lake Jindabyne which made laying marks and holding anchor on the start boat difficult. The lake was made last century for the Snowy Hydro power scheme, drowning the original town so there’s a few no go areas as far as sailing and putting marks go. You may hook something harder than mud.

As the last competitors were finishing the last last, there was one young girl sailing a Laser on the last leg. She’d capsized multiple times and the last set was just short of the finish line. The rescue boat was off attending to a sinking Hobie16, so I asked the markboat to stand by her. Once the time limit expired, we came alongside to assist, she’d had enough and was starting to get cold, so we got her aboard. The only option was to jump in the water and right the Laser myself. The last time I’d sailed a Laser was a looooong time ago. After working out the vang and mainsheet were cleated off and releasing them, I had a pleasant 3 km sail back to the club. at least it was all one leg and no tacking! That’s one thing ticked off for a while, at least the water was fresh!

The next week end was the annual MHYC Sydney Harbour Regatta, so back to home base and running the Adams10m and the NSW State titles for the J70 Class. Saturday brought clear skies and finally a pleasant seabreeze of around 10knots. The main issue however was the runout tide, it was a big one. With the start boat laying across the tide and beam on the the breeze, it was a nasty day out rolling around all day.  014 015 036 054We had all sorts of issues trying to get a square start line. Sunday was far far better, the SouEaster of around 15knots was fantastic, still with a bit of tide but hey the startboat team were comfortable at least! Adams10s had their usual close racing and the J70s were shown around by my old Laser sparring mate Tony [Sir Arthur] Barnes. Sir Arthur was having his first hitout in the class on the demo boat and certainly hasn’t lost his touch on the helm.

The next Friday was the Annual Property Industry Sailing Event, this huge fund raiser attracted over 90 entries in 6 divisions. With a solid 20knots and drizzle at the start, I sent the boats off on the longer of the two options. Ragamuffin100 sailed around the harbour course in under 2 hours! Unfortunately with the last boats needing to sail from Middle head to Shark Island and back the the finish in 90mins, the wind dropped out completely, nothing, nada, zip. We ended up with only half the fleet finishing, which no one could have predicted. Those I spoke to after, were also surprised at the conditions collapsing. The non sailors however enjoyed the day and that’s one of the main things.

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The following day was a joint club race with the RSYS big boats coming around to MHYC for the day. Whilst it was a nice day weather wise, the only option wind wise was to set a windward leeward course. The smaller boats had it easy, however David Kellett aboard Sydney60 much preferred the longer legs than sprints. We got in two races in a nice seabreeze and I think most were happy with the day. Those who sailed the day before at least had a chance to dry out.038 058

Last of the full on weekends was running the NSW States for the 420s and 470s. With numbers well down due to clashes with other events both locally and overseas, the planned trapezoid courses were substituted for basic windward returns, which made it a lot easier on the volunteer [420 parents] mark laying teams. We got in all the races with time to spare, some made the comment that the races could have been a bit longer, but with only a handfull of each class, they were closer on the shorter courses. Spreading them out on longer courses would have seen a few of them sailing on their own most of the time.

Last Saturday was the last club race for me this 2014/2015 Summer Season at MHYC. With the Combined High Schools sailing at Belmont16s after Easter and then the inaugural Sydney Sailboat Expo following, that’s it for the summer. I’ll be back on the road taking the DeckHardware van to Queensland, South Australia then Victoria in the coming months showing off an ever increasing range of products.

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.

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.