Bit on at this time of year.

At this time of year there’s always a bit on. Saturday before last was round two of the State Kiteboarding championships that I’ve been running, this coming Saturday will see round three at Botany Bay. As of last week ISAF have decided against an earlier decision to instate the Kites for Rio 2016 instead of Sailboards. They have now reversed this decision and the Kites are out. It will be interesting to see how many continue racing in the long term.

The next day saw a little trip up to the Central Coast for the BIA Try Sailing day. I visited Gosford Sailing Club, Budgewoi Sailing Club, South Lake Macquarie Sailing club at Sunshine and Mannering Park Sailing Club. It was good to see the volunteers helping out and assisting those who would like to take up the sport of Sailing – well done. At Sunshine they had over 60 turn up, only a couple had pre registered so well done to all there. The photo shows an 11m One design taking those out at Gosford.

Thursday was another one of my little drives down to the South Coast of NSW. I stopped and saw customers at Lake Illawarra, Nowra, Wollamia, Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. A long day on the road and 625 kms driven.

The photo shows an IOR Robber 1/4 tonner at Wollamia. This yard is full of owner builder/repairers, where they can pull their boats and take their time updating.

Back in the 70s, my late father had the plans to build one and engaged Ken Beashel to price it up. Unfortunately it never went ahead. They were a quick boat in their day in Europe, although none of the Australian built boats had any success that I know of.

Saturday saw me back at MHYC for the first time in several weeks running the club races. With 20knots at the start there was plenty of action on the water.

Yesterday was a rare day away from the water. We have several friends who are due to have babies in the coming weeks, so there was a bit of a get together and a catchup. Very enjoyable day cathing up with old friends.

Next Saturday sees me back at Botany Bay for round three of the Kiteboards and Sunday a trip up to the lake for the first day of racing in the Australian Multihull Championships. This is a look/see, as I’m not involved in the race management.

The following weekend is the MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championships, Saturday is a race up to Lion Island at Broken Bay. Sunday sees two short races offshore. Depending on the forecast, I’ll either send them North to the Manly Circle or south to Bondi.

Following that, I’m off to Melbourne where I’ll be involved in running Sail Melbourne. This is the first time I’ll be involved in Sail Melbourne, but an interesting look at how others run their events none the less. With the amount of yacht race management I do, it’ll be interesting doing dinghies.

Suddenly Christmas is upon us and it’s time for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start, where I’m the RO for the Southern line. This will be the sixth year and it never gets any easier. Each time I go to anchor in the designated spot there’s a hole making holding fast difficult, some how we do it. Last year we had a couple of OCS starters which meant no going out to watch them turn south. Hopefully this year they’ll all behave.
Thats’ the weekends booked till the New Year, like I said a bit on. January?  Off to Tasmania with the DeckHardware van on the ferry. Mels going down with it for a couple of weeks, I’ll bring it back.

Yep, bit on.

Queensland this week

This week I’m up in Queensland seeing DeckHardware customers, old and new.

I have had the opportunity to stay with my Aunt and Uncle on the Gold Coast. Geoff is the owner of a Ross780 which he keeps in the canal at the rear of his house. At low tide as you can see the boat only just stays afloat. Normally it’s up on the floating pontoon, the ease of launching and retreiving surprised me.

Doing the rounds of the Gold Coast marine businesses is surprising. There’s those who seem to be doing OK, others who seem to be  lowering their stock levels. Then there are those businesses who have shut up shop all together. I saw one builder yesterday, who once he finishes his own boat in the next 12 months, will be looking to close down. I don’t know how those looking to start out in boat building will get a start, unlike I did back in the early 70s, with no builders left.

The fleet for the Wednesday late afternoon race was an assorted lot, like most clubs. There were an assorted fleet of trailer yachts, including Geoff in his Ross780, a large number of Etchells and even a couple of old IOR Quarter tonners.

The interesting thing here is that they sail the same course each week due to the confines of the Broadwater and the tide flows such that the smaller boats seemed to struggle against it.

Saturday I hope to drop by the World Laser Masters championships at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in Brisbane and catchup with a few old foes.

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.

Heading for Perth this weekend

This Sunday I am off to Perth for a week of visiting Chandleries, Boat Builders, Sail makers, Riggers and Marinas.  For those who wish to see our new products who live over that way send me an email phil@deckhardware.com.au or give is a call in the office on 02 9905 9400.

I can’t wait to show off all the new brands in particular Sanol, TBS and Drainman!  I will be travelling between Bunbury and Yanchep seeing as many people as possible in that time.

I will also be catching up with friends whilst over there.  A big thanks to Paul Eldrid for putting up with me yet again.

The fun part is trying to pack the suitcase and fit in everything I want to bring over to show.  I have already sent a box of catalogues and discs ahead of me with the couriers.

 

See you all in Perth!