Away again

Those that follow my movements will know that recently I was away in Southern Queensland. Every thing was planned and going well, I filled up with fuel just off the Gateway Motorway in Brisbane on the Sunday afternoon following a nice drive up from Sydney. As I waited to turn right back on to the motorway, no gears. Bugger! 1400 on a Sunday afternoon too. So I called for a tow truck and also let Robyn know what had happened. I was able to get the van to a VW dealer and lock it up in order to return first thing Monday morning. Next call was to an old mate who has helped out now and again with DeckHardware – Mark Grey. Mark’s moved up from Surfers to Brisbane in order to be closer to his business building campers and trailers. I was able to stay with Mark whilst the van was off the road for two days. As it turned out, the drive shaft had worn and needed replacement, so two days were lost doing the rounds. I did however spend some time helping out at Aussie Campers & Trailers, always something new to learn, in this case servicing wheel bearings. Thanks again to Mark and Jules for the hospitality. To add to the bad day, I also found out that Ben Nossiter had just passed away. Ben has been an Adams10 sailor for many decades and no one at Middle Harbour Yacht Club has come near his record of 18 club championships. I had visited him the previous Thursday in Hospital and we agreed to have a rum at the club upon my return. Unfortunately this was not to be and Ben will be missed greatly. Following discussions with Robyn, it was decided that I return for the funeral, therefore cutting the trip short. With all of these issues, another trip is planned back in a few weeks time to see those I missed out on. I did however get to see a few customers and whilst at Scarborough, I came across a yacht I thought I’d never see again. This particular yacht was owned by Robyn’s father John Dibble when we first started dating and was sold after our wedding to step up to a Farr 1104. Defiance is the original IOR MK3 S&S Half Tonner, built by Doug Brooker and was the plug for the mould that Savages in Williamstown ended up making how many versions of. Many adventures were had aboard Defiance, MHYC Club racing, Offshore’s, Two Handers, RSYS cruises to Lake Macquarie. Broke the boom on one cruise and as the ladies race was the following day, a replacement had to be made ASAP, Done. Plenty of memories. I hope that the current owner will look after her and have as much fun as we did.

For something different, last Saturday I took the DeckHardware van up to Wangi. At this time of year they have a regatta for a variety of classes and once again I was able to help keep the sailors out on the water. Wangi is the home of many top sailors and with the expanses of Lake Macquarie, it’s pretty easy to see why many overseas teams like Oracle come to train there. And it’s close enough for a day trip. It was a great Winters day, however the conditions weren’t too nice on the Race Committee and the sailors, as most got a tow home due to lack of any breeze. One of the rare occasions, I’m glad not to be out there, frustrating to say the least.

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So that was 2014

As we came to the end of 2014, my job at this time of the year is to be a Race Officer for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Race a role I’ve done since my last race in 2005. This year there were three lines once again. This had only happened twice before, last year with the addition of the Clipper Round the World fleet and in the 50th anniversary race. Whilst there was a modest increase of 20 boats on last year, with five 100’ers on the line, they had to have room to manoeuvre pre start. We had a great team again on board, a couple of International ROs, a National RO, a couple of Club ROs and two National judges. No mistakes were going to be made! What was better was that there were no OCSs, everyone was well behaved. just how we like it.

There’s been plenty in the media about the race, so I’ll leave it at that. Bring on the next one later this year, it’s certainly one of the better days out on Sydney Harbour.

The following day the Manly Junior Nationals started at Middle Harbour 16′ Skiff Club. DeckHardware are a sponsor of the class this season, so I was there for the duration with the van and replacement fittings. What was great to see, a couple of the skippers working and changing layouts on their own boats, something we try to encourage. If you sail the boat you should know how to look after it. I had one junior skipper asking all sorts of questions whilst rigging his boat and I was more than happy to assist.

This past weekend I went up to Lake Macquarie to the 16′ Skiff and Mosquito Catamaran titles at Belmont and Speers Point. Many of the 16s have always been good friends, especially with Melissa growing up with them in their junior days. Needless to say there’s always someone after something. “Phil, have you got the van here? I need a ….”. Simple answer was yes. With many of the 16s using DeckHardware products such as Liros rope, Allen fittings and TBS Speed Grip non-skid, it’s good to see how and why they are using what where. Congratulations go to Lee, Peter and Ricky on Brydens for the win.This team have been the front runner for the last couple of seasons and this year was no exception. It wasn’t the runaway many expected, the races I saw were both very close in the front pack. Fire Stopping and Sutech from Manly also giving them a nudge as well as a couple of the local Belmont boats.

I also went around the corner to have a look at the Mosquitos. This is one class I’m not familiar with, so it was an interesting hour or so talking to the competitors about their boats. Once again there are some ideas that translate from class to class. One skipper had made a modification to an Allen block, so a photo was taken and forwarded to Allen Brothers in England to have a look at. Always a work in progress, fitting out a new boat.

Next up on the start line is the Adams10m titles, a class close to my heart having sailed them for many decades. Will it be the Ben and Tim show again or will someone else throw a blinder?

Where to next? After 2014 where I drove to Victoria 3 times, Queensland twice and Perth by air, not to mention the 10 or so trips around New South Wales, I’m off to Tasmania in February. I haven’t been down there for a couple of years, so it’ll be interesting to see the changes.

Quick drive north

I headed north last weekend to Harwood, the home of the Big River Sailing Club in northern New South Wales. It’s a 7 1/2 hr drive each way and 1300kms return. I left late Friday afternoon and arriving in the wee hours of Saturday morning set up my tent and had a few hours down time. With the sunrise , it was time to get up and set up the DeckHardware marquee, tables and product display.

I had had a few phone calls from one of the regulars up north, Mark Patterson, hoping that I was coming so that he could make sure of finishing his new boat. Some may remember a photo I took of a 20′ Carbon catamaran being built earlier this year. It’s now sailing for only the second time and Mark was making continual improvements to the setup of the boat Saturday before and after Sailing and again on Sunday morning. New Allen blocks and Liros lines solved many issues that Mark had. Whilst the boat isn’t foiling just yet, that’s to come, Mark is pretty happy with how it’s all come together. It’ll certainly be something to watch out for after he settles down with it.

Like many of these away events I take the DeckHardware van to, I had one fellow come up and say ‘I should have bought … last time you were here. Have you got the following?” ” Yes Sir, how many would you like?” This was pretty common for the weekend and needless to say I was quite happy to help the locals out.

There was around 60 competitors this time in three divisions. Multihull, trailerable and dinghy, all competitive on the startline that’s for sure. With a range of mutihulls from a Corsair tri down to an Arrow cat, there was a large spread although the NACRAs appeared to have the numbers. In the trailerables again the Spider550s made up the bulk with an Elliot7 to keep them honest. The HartleyTS16 too was well set up though for racing, I should have taken a couple of pics, but they were in the middle of rigging when I stuck my head in the cockpit. In the monos/dinghy, you had everything from a 49er down. The spread of classes is what makes these country events, everyone has their pride and joy and gets out on the water. That’s what it’s all about. Competitors came from the Gold Coast, Tweed River , Ballina, Grafton and Tamworth, a good spread.

Saturday morning was interesting, waking up to a few of the locals having a look at what was going on before bounding away. Saturday was a great day, good seabreeze. Sunday however started with the AP being hoisted for 30mins or so before the breeze finally settled in for a couple of short course races.

As I had another long drive I headed home once they were on the water Sunday, so the results are here.

I again enjoyed the hospitality shown by Commodore Hariet Woodrow and her team and look forward to returning in the future. If you haven’t experienced a Harwood weekend with the Sticky Date Pudding, please do and I look forward to seeing you there.

Harwood locals 001 006 008 012 026 034 043 Sunday early drifter


The other week I ventured north to Southern Queensland, doing the rounds of the Gold Coast, Brisbane and Sunshine Coast seeing DeckHardware customers, again both old and new.

Where does the ‘Bugger’ come in to it? I was parked in a service road nearby a retail outlet talking to Robyn on the phone prior to going inside. A fellow pulled up behind me with a trailer to drop off a couple of things to another shop. As he drove off he neglected to shut the gate on the trailer adequately and it hit the real tail light and corner panel above, causing the gate to fall off the trailer as well. After speaking with the shop employees, I held on to the gate and left them my card if he wanted the gate back. he rang later in the day and we met up at the spot, swapping his details for the gate concerned. Just the hassle of it all, the local Police couldn’t do anything as there were no injuries or damage to public property. Like I said just a ‘bugger’.

Doing the rounds of the various outlets is always good, many of these have become friends over the years, those you see out on the water as well. Like Tony Hannan, who I’ve known for over 35 years and sailed with and against at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. Tony until recently ran his sail loft at Brookvale near us and decided on a ‘Sea Change’. He’s moved everything up to Redcliffe in the north of Brisbane. It was good to catch up with him again, spending a little time going through the DeckHardware new products and reminiscing as well. It was good to see him place an order shortly after – thanks Tony.

I had the chance to catch up with several friends who had moved north. One who I caught up with was Mark Grey at Surfers Paradise, good timing as he and Jules have made the decision to move north to Brisbane’s southern suburbs and be closer to work avoiding the driving time.  The house they’ve found has plenty of room, so hopefully next time I’m in Brisbane there’s a bed too. Another was Katie Evans a lovely American girl who I first came across on Sailing Anarchy. She ended up marrying another Aussie anarchist Simon Evans, who unfortunately passed away due to illness last year. Katie was offered a job on the Sunshine Coast recently and she’s loving the change, ‘the weather is  like Florida’ she said. She’s another who I’ll keep in touch with when up on the Sunshine Coast. I do apologise to those who I didn’t have the chance to catch up time. Another I had the chance to catch up with late one afternoon was Bev Yeomans. Bev’s husband’s father was a brother to my grandfather, if that makes sense. I’ve tried to stay in touch since my father passed away several years ago. They grew up nearby each other in Vaucluse and I can remember growing up with her daughters in our younger years. Like many she has a collection of my fathers maritime art works and I took the opportunity to take photos of them. Dad ‘paid’ his way in later years by giving many friends and relatives original art works when visiting and staying away from home. Bev is just one of many like Robyn and I who like his art works.

Whilst at Noosa Yacht and Rowing Club, Paul Blundell the clubs sailing manager mentioned that the local TV station [Win] was coming shortly to interview him on his sailing program for school children from country Queensland. It was fantastic to see a group of kids learning to sail, surf and fish on the coast and taking those life experiences home to the bush. Many of them only took a couple of hours to pick it up, Paul and his team do a fantastic job here – well done PB. I too was interviewed, however my piece didn’t make that evenings news.

Coming home for the October long weekend, it was the first time for as long as I can remember that I wasn’t involved in either competing in an event or running one. So instead I spent Saturday morning and Monday afternoon at the NSW Youth Sailing Championships on Botany Bay. Monday afternoon becoming the traffic cop directing traffic as the competitors came out of the water and crossed the road to the rigging area.

Needless to say, I wasn’t home for too long. Next up, Victoria.003 004 008 031


Headed North West

Last weekend I headed inland to Lake Keepit for the first time. The lake is around halfway between Gunnedah and Tamworth and when full is larger than I expected, however on this occasion was around 17%. The Keepit Kool Regatta has been going for several decades and is one of those that should be on most lists for dinghies, multis, sportsboats and trailerable yachts. So I went.

I wasn’t involved in the running of the event, instead I filled the DeckHardware van with a range of products, more than usual and pitched the marquee to show some of the lines we distribute. As is the case with many of these regional areas, there’s those who haven’t heard of DeckHardware, so it’s a good time to show the wares.

With  a division each for monos, multihulls, sportsboats and trailerables there was a spread in the types out on the water. There was the usual fleet of Lasers, however the second biggest  fleet were the Hartley16s. Competitors came to Lake Keepit State Park from many areas, Sydney and Lake Macquarie included. There were Viper sportsboats and a JS30 from Lake Macquarie amongst the faster trailerables and in the dinghies a 16′ skiff, a 49er lead the pack. In the multihulls, a Nacra lead their fleet from an A Class. As seen by the photos, the conditions were generally light, the best breeze on the Sunday was around 6-7 knots, perfect for those modified boats like the 29er with a larger square topped rig. Certainly a spread of types for the handicapper to keep a track of.

Accommodation in the park was in vans, both permanent or BYO or Tent. Many chose the latter option, including myself. The major issue here was that unlike most regattas where you camp next to the club, the accommodation area was about a kilometre away. The facilities however are excellent and certainly well frequented by those with caravans with nice hot showers and a laundry. There is also a huge covered BBQ area for those larger groups.

If you haven’t been, I suggest you go and find out why it’s called the Keepit Kool regatta, I did.

Adams 10m Titles

Ben Nossiter skippering Sirius shook off the Hoodoo of recent times and claimed his second title in over 20 years of sailing Adams 10s. For as long as some can remember Ben has been the top boat in the Middle Harbour Yacht Club fleet, however each time the championship came around  success eluded him. This year however, with 4 wins and a second in 7 races, Ben showed the fleet his transom.

SiriusWith close racing at the front end the minor placings were fought to the end with Dr Paul Saunders’ Let Loose helmed on this occasion by Chris Mathews coming out ahead of former multiple winner Another Dilemma. Each year Tim Gallego makes the round trip from his new home in England to steer Jim Curtis’ Another Dilemma on this occasion duelling with Let Loose for the minor placings.

Winner of the last three championships, Eat My Shorts [Peter Johnson] was relegated to fifth behind Mitch Miller on Rock Solid. Winner of the Pat Carroll Memorial trophy for the older timber seated boats was Coconut Telegraph helmed on this occasion by Adam Rowlinson.

Middle Harbour Yacht Club principal race officer Phil Yeomans was given a hard task setting courses on Friday and Saturday due to the large run out tide against the prevailing Easterly winds. The second race start of Saturday was delayed several times in an effort to give the competitors a fair start. The conditions were testing on Friday with several crew members falling off boats in the choppy conditions. On Sunday they were liking the typical Summer Northeaster that Sydney Harbour offers with the race officials setting a course out of the tide.

The racing on Friday was marred by the sinking of Brian Lees’ Contentious in a start line incident with Let Loose. Brian was able to sail the stricken yacht around to the sandy bottom inside Grotto Point, where all the crew were taken off by the Middle Harbour tenders. Contentious was recovered the following day with many of the crews watching on as they finished racing, Brian watching the recovery from a surf ski safely from a distance.

With entries from Middle Harbour, Gosford, Lake Macquarie and Victoria, the Adams 10s continue to show good fleet racing. The 2013 Adams 10 Championship  venue is yet to be finalised.

Photo Album One

Photo Album Two

Photo Album Three


Contentious on the bottom