North again, then North West

With the close of the Summer sailing season and a slowdown in the on water volunteering, it’s back on the road. The last couple of weeks, I’ve been up in southern Queensland doing the rounds of the marine industry showing off new products.

I spent a few days on the Gold Coast first up doing the rounds, taking in a boat show and attending the opening of an Australian Sailing Team base at Southport. With the range that DeckHardware distributes, there’s always something new and this trip was all about getting the word out there.

Thursday afternoon saw me at Southport Yacht Clubs base at Hollywell, where Mat Belcher has set up a base for the Australian 470 squad. Middle Harbour Yacht Club is the home base for the Australian Sailing Team, however this is a first for a class to have its own home. Southport will give a variety of options with the local tidal flow and the ability to go offshore for race training without the Sydney Harbour ferries impeding. I guess that it will also free up a bit more space on the MHYC deck for the other classes as Tokyo2020 nears. When finished, they will have the ability to house under cover several fully rigged 470s.

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Over the next third of the trip it was up to Brisbane and what seems to be a regular visit to Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron to have a look at the rebuild of Defiance. Craig is doing a wonderful job and along the lines of do it once and do it properly. His only time span is to have it ready for summer.   Since I last looked, it would appear to be minimal change, but to the keen eye, one can see the differences. His next step is to remove the engine and V Drive and replace with an updated model, this will make heaps of difference. Robyn and I can only grin when we think of the days of sailing in and out of the old MHYC marina. One thing that did strike me this trip was just how small she is. How did we manage to fit everyone in for a week aboard for the likes of the RSYS annual cruise? Then there are the memories of the Two Handed racing in the early 80s, it was easy because she is small and the gear easy to grab.

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The final third of this trip was up to the Sunshine Coast, not really a bad thought in a Sydney winter. The only difference was waking up to the early morning fog, it did clear up pretty quick though to a few brilliant days. Once again it was nice to catch up with everyone and for those who I didn’t see this time, I’ll be back north again soon.

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This coming weekend is another road trip, this time North West for the 49th annual Keepit Kool regatta at Lake Keepit near Gunnedah.  On previous occasions I’ve been there’s been little water, less than 15%, so with the current level of over 60% it’s hoped that everyone who has been before will return and those who haven’t make the most of the opportunity. Fresh water sailing at a country club on a Lake that is 2/3rds the size of Sydney Harbour in volume. The photo below shows the water in 2014 way down there. At over 60% there’s certainly a lot more room and I’m glad I’m not laying and pulling up the marks as it’ll be a lot deeper!

I’m looking forward again to the clubs hospitality and the evenings yabby racing. Who else is coming?


Road trip time

This time last week I was finishing up a week of seeing everyone in Southern Queensland. The previous trip at the end of May had a few issues and therefore the trip was a few days shorter, hence a return was required.

I left home on Sunday morning and first stop was the Nabiac Caravan Camping & Boat Show. Just about the middle of the NSW coast but it was a reasonable sized event, certainly plenty of locals. There were plenty of vans with a scattering of everything else around the town exhibition grounds. Monday Morning after a night in Coffs, it was Yamba seeing a few DeckHardware customers there, then Ballina followed by a drive up to the Sunshine Coast. When will the road works be finished on the north coast of NSW? Who knows, but it’ll be great when it is, especially the Ballina north section. It’s pretty peace meal at the moment starting at Nambucca Heads.

I spent a couple of days on the Sunshine Coast seeing everyone and looking at various boats under construction, it’s good to see Aussie boat builders working on new boats. The Schionning Catamaran shown is fitted with Forespar Marelon plumbing. Wednesday and Thursday morning around Brisbane, again showing a range of DeckHardware products. Now that we are distributing all of the Schaefer Marine range, I have to make sure all the riggers and sailmakers are aware of the Tuff Luff range.

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Thursday afternoon and in to Friday, it was down to the Gold Coast with more of the same, doing the rounds and making sure all of the outlets are fully aware of what products DeckHardware has to offer. It’s especially good to have some place orders as well, both for stock in the van as well as from the warehouse.

After nearly a week of non stop drizzle, it was good to head south again. Saturday was the start of the Sydney Gold Coast Race and whilst not involved this year, I took out the MHYC startboat with a couple of others to watch the event. Once again it was a drift out the heads. All except for the 100’er Perpetual Loyal. They got a westerly gust at South Head and just took off, those only boat lengths behind could only watch and listen to the groans as the carbon super maxi took off. Everyone else had breeze from all points, Hero to Zero in these conditions, some doing well and others not so. For those looking up Loyals mast, yes that’s a crew member. His role in not only finding the wind, was to kick the main sail battens across in each gybe, so light were the conditions. On one gybe it too 6 attempts to pop them.

Next up is my long drive down to Port Lincoln in South Australia. From there, I’ll work back anti -clockwise around the coast in to Melbourne. This trip takes two weeks, plenty of road time but plenty to see.

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.






SE Queensland part 2

Yet another trip north covering 3015 kms this trip. After dropping by those from Hervey Bay to Bribie Island last time, this trip was to coincide with the annual Sanctuary Cove International Boatshow, then following up with those in Brisbane and on the Gold Coast.


I spent day one driving north with a detour to Tea Gardens, one of those little out of the way places that you mean to get to sometime.  This time I did, great little spot that would be full of life in Summer. However as has been the case lately, I took the rain with me. I’ll make a note to drop by when it’s warmer. The following day was meant to be spent seeing all those in the Port Macquarie area, however after 155mm of rain overnight, I decided to continue on to Coffs Harbour. Yep more rain, this time only 147mm. 300mm in 48 hours was enough! Time to keep going north.

This time with more luck, the Sanctuary Cove International Boatshow weekend was dry, I must have left it all down south. Spending the weekend wandering around the show talking to others in the marine industry was a little different. The marina was probably half the size of previous years however the main hall/tent area seemed to be  full as usual. It was a great opportunity to spend some time talking to others when they had the chance.


One of the things about visiting this area is that I get to stay with my Fathers sister Cynthia and her husband Geoff at Hollywell.Waking up to this view is fantastic [when it’s not raining] until the jetskiers start up. Having them banned from Sydney Harbour means I don’t see too much of them, but it was like the neighbours starting up the lawn mower at 0600, you didn’t need an alarm clock.

I had planned to spend the next 5 days with two in Brisbane and the rest on the Gold Coast, visiting clubs, chandleries, builders and others in the marine industry. I was able to visit some great people. One of these was a fellow who was on the phone to Melissa in the office asking about product – ‘Do you have anyone in the area?’ With a little drive down to the Tweed River Sailing Club, I was able to show the range of DeckHardware products and give Bill a chance to touch and feel. He came away with a lot more knowledge on ropes, blocks and some of the other products we offer.

Then it was up to Brisbane, this time to catch up with those at Manly, firstly at Muir Marine, then at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron [RQ]. With a range of people, I was there the entire morning. Yes, it rained! Sitting in the back of the van with Adrian Finglas the RQ coach showing rope and fittings wasn’t the easiest, but at least we were dry. I thought I’d escape back up to the the Sunshine Coast away from the wet and see a couple of others including builder Jon Sayer, it rained.

Thursday was clear – nearly but enough to not need umbrellas or a jacket. I was able to see a few more, not all on the list but it was good to meet up with those who had started ordering from us in person. Always good to put a name to a face and then show some new and exciting products.

Then the rain came..Friday morning waking up to rain, I’d had enough, time to go home. Yep, it rained Saturday afternoon and Sunday in Sydney. Pool’s full, Dams full and the Wakehurst Parkway is flooded. Anyone need rain, just invite me to stay.

It’s been a full on month or so

It’s been a full on month or so for Robyn, Melissa, me and all the helpers at Deckhardware. First up we had the farewell at Wangi Wangi for the Australian champion 49er team of Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen and their coach Emmett Lazich prior to London 2012. It was so rewarding as friends and sponsors of these guys that they came home with the Gold medal, knowing the work that has been put in to their effort, it was great to see the smiles on the dias.

We look forward to catching up with the guys later in the year.

The following weekend was the Sydney International Boatshow, with a great team again including Goughy, Georgia, Brad and making his first appearance for us in Sydney, Ben. Several others made the show easier, in setups, during and the breakdown. They included Nicole, Shane and Michael along with Greg and Emma Harris. It was a huge show for DeckHardware and we couldn’t do it without the support of these guys. Thanks.

First full week back to ‘normal’

After the few weeks leading up to Sanctuary Cove 2012 and the associated planning, setting up and returning to Sydney, today see’s the first week of a near normal week. After spending yesterday setting up the stands again in the warehouse as a prelude to th Sydney International Boat Show where DeckHardware will have a larger and improved stand on Sydney 2011.

Sanctuary Cove was an improvement on last years show with many if not most of the visitors to our stand knowing what they were looking for. As in every year, Man Ship Marine’s range of hatches and ports was the most requested product, it was surprising to see a larger number than usual of owner builders requesting information. They ranged from those who had plans, one fellow was on to his second hull in his catamaran build to a fellow from Victoria who had just turned over his Van DeStadt to start on the interior and deck. Now with an increasing range of products, DeckHardware can supply product information across a range of enquiries, from the Forespar Marelon plumbing products to the TBS non skid for their decks.


Saturday was the first day back on the Middle Harbour startboat in some time. This was race 5 of the Winter series and I had missed the last race of the summer pointscore whilst Melissa and I attended a YANSW course. The photo shows Division 2 with 10 seconds to go, not showing is the one boat who was OCS, in Winter I try to lay a line that makes the fleet start down the line, but they still start on the boat and give away too many boatlengths. And the rain in the distance over South Head? Yes, we got wet!

This time it’s Victoria

It seeems like only yesterday that I was over in Western Australia checking out the boating scene including the continuing build of this catamaran south of Fremantle. In this case the supply and fitting of the Forespar Marelon plumbing

Two weeks ago I was up in Southern Queensland , now I’m down in Victoria and about to kick off the week down here. This will be the end of the long trips till after the Sanctuary Cove and Sydney Boat Shows as there’s plenty to do locally as well.

Who knows what I’ll find, either way it’ll be a busy one showing off all the new products.

It may be the end of the sailing  season down here and they all talk AFL, but I have plenty to show too. What I’ve found after Queensland, is that I’m spending far longer at each stop. Being able to show off more keeps us out there.

I’m looking forward to it. Each trip usually brings something new.