Short trip to Brisbane

Last week I spent a bit of time in Brisbane. It was a combination of a few things happening. First up I attended the Queensland Yachting Association Club conference held over two days at Southbank. This was the first of many put on by Australian Sailing in each state.  As an AS sponsor, it was interesting and will be interesting to see what’s happening in each state. I’ll also be attending the Victorian, West Australian and New South Wales events.

Centenary Rd

Grafton locals

In the middle of all of this was of course the final racing for the Americas Cup. I was able to stay with the QYA President Ken Hurling for a few nights. It was ‘great’ to get up at 0300 and watch what was going on in Bermuda with another sailor. Ken was able to keep up to speed with some of it through his daughter Suellen in Auckland as well, a quick call to her to check on the Kiwi feelings. It’ll certainly be interesting to see the format for the next challenge, will it be the TV spectacle of the foiling multihulls or a return to more traditional match racing on monohulls which most active sailors prefer.

Then there was Queensland Youth Week, an annual regatta at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. This event is rather large with over 200 competitors from Qld, NSW, Vic and even from Western Australia sailing in 10 different classes.  It’s always good to come to these events, even when I’m not volunteering for the on water side of things. Catching up with a range of friends, customers, those I haven’t seen for a while and run into as well as keeping a keen eye on what everyone is using where in terms of rope and other equipment.

I also took in a little drive one afternoon, it took nearly 5 hours in a roundabout route, west of Brisbane to see a non-marine customer of DeckHardware. It’s always interesting to see how a manufacturer utilises marine ropes and fittings in a harsh environment on the land. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours with Matt and his team thinking of different ideas and combinations for his business applications. You think you have one solution sorted and then one word or phrase sparks another option, which it did in a few circumstances. Always good to think outside the square.

Next up is Victoria followed by Perth, a drive then a flight and before we know it the Summer sailing season will be upon us.


The 34th AC and a Blow

I don’t know anyone who follows the sport of sailing, either competing, officiating or just as a sporting enthusiast, who wasn’t taken in by the 34th America’s Cup last week. Even my local mechanic who naturally knows more about cars than boats said he watched the goings on in San Francisco. I’m probably one of only a handful he knows who sail!

I was astounded by the feats of the sailors in handling these beasts at speeds of 40+ knots. These speeds were unheard of until only recently and here we were watching two boats battling it out daily, going to windward at 30? In 20knots of wind, just incredible.

It will be more than interesting to see the coming 12 months of discussions for the 35th event. What type of boat, will it have solid wings or will they go back to soft sails as a cost cut? Monohull or Multihull? We will just have to wait.

Last Saturdays race on Sydney Harbour was a blow out for several clubs. When I took out the little MHYC start boat Sandpiper, it was a lovely 10knots even though the forecast was for much more. By the time we set the start line and re set the pin end, it was blowing in to the 30s. The anchor winch couldn’t hold the chain, so it was racing abandoned for the day. There was only one complaint that i heard of, everyone else was happy to be back in the bar, or was it because the AFL Grand Final was on?

From this weekend, I’m off to South Australia and Victoria on a two week DeckHardware trip seeing customers old and new. First stop is Port Lincoln, then I’ll work back around the southern coastline of Australia.

So Season 2013 has started

Well the sailing season on Sydney Harbour is now under way for the summer. Last week we had a small but quality fleet racing at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. We were able to get them away on the SouthEast course with about 10-12knots and a clear sky, just nice. In the Open Division it was a battle between the two DK46s Nine Dragons and Exile with the Farr40 Transfusion leading around all the marks and until the last couple of hundred metres, these three finished with in a minute.  I was told afterwards that Nine Dragons changed headsails for the beat to the finish and that was the difference. Not too far behind them was the Beneteau40  Just a Dash pipping the X 45 ToyBox2 to the line. Good racing, however these leaders were beaten on handicap on the day by the Sydney36 Stormaway.

At this stage the Americas Cup is anyone’s, the New Zealanders haven’t won a race in 6 days and only need one to take the Americas Cup back Downunder. Team USA skippered by Aussie James Spithill has a breath of fresh air and could easily take the next three races and retain the Cup in San Francisco. The racing has been far better than I thought in the final. The teamwork to sail these 72′ wingsailed cats around the course is incredible, my congratulations go to both teams for the great sailing. Of course it’s fantastic to have the on board vision and audio. I do miss the insights of Nathan Outteridge in the last few days, his perspective after each race was fantastic. I can only think of what it takes to sail one of these beasts and I look forward to catching up with those Aussies who have sailed one on their return to Australia.

Nathan and his 49er crew Iain Jensen are now at the 49er Worlds. Having won the last couple and the Gold medal last year, they are the team to beat, however they haven’t competed since London 2012 due to their Americas Cup and Team Artemis comitments. We wish them all the best.

In the meantime, I’m getting organised for my next interstate trip, this time to Adelaide and country South Australia then on to Victoria and everyone there. Two weeks on the road, a full on DeckHardware road trip on October.