Another great weekend on the water

I’ve just spent a classic Sydney weekend out on Sydney Harbour, two days with clear skies and a classic NorEaster to boot. Two days and four races run each day for the Australian Farr40 fleet in Sydney. Whilst it was a small fleet, they were as competitive as ever, one mistake/ bad tack or gybe and you lost fleet position.

Former Farr40 World Champion Team Transfusion were the most consistent across the eight races with Kindergarten and Exile taking up the minor placings. With five different heat winners across the eight races, nothing was certain till the finish and there were some close finishes too. The gate roundings were also keenly contested and I witnessed a few luffing matches downhill. I hope that the photos give some idea of how close the racing was. The start sequence with Transfusion and Kindergarten hitting the line at speed and then taking alternate gates at the bottom. The last photo was taken showing downwind from the startboat at anchor and just what great conditions we had.

I’m off to Perth next  weekend to do the rounds showing off some more of the new DeckHardware range. Then it’s another weekend of closely watching the Farr40s again on the harbour. Hopefully it’s another great weekend weather wise too!

Weekend on Lake Macquarie

I have just spent an enjoyable couple of days at Toronto with the NSW Sabot State titles. With just on 50 competitors, some just starting out, it was great to see these young sailors out on the water. The breeze co-operated too with pleasant southerlies on both days of around 10-12 knots, perfect conditions for the younger ones.

The village of Toronto was also holding its annual fair so there was plenty of buzz around, with rides and food stalls as well to keep everyone entertained on the Saturday. The sailing started out with a ‘Dash for Cash’ event up the foreshore showcasing the class and the enthusiasm of the junior sailors. Plenty jumped the gun, as I couldn’t see the other end of the line at the start! All in fun though and having some fun is what it’s about out on the water.

With two races each day, a triangle followed by a windward return, Jed Fatches from nearby Wangi lead the leader board with 2,2,1,and 1. We’ve been following Jeds sailing for a couple of years now and we look forward to seeing more of this young sailor. I’m sure there’ll be plenty more to catch our eye as well in the following rounds.

The support from the association and the members of Toronto Amateur Sailing Club was fantastic and I commend them on the success of the event.

Just a few more clicks

Another Road trip to South Australia and then on to Victoria getting out on the road to see the DeckHardware Customers. This trip started on Friday afternoon and Sunday late I was in Coffin Bay west of Port Lincoln.  I nearly didn’t make it after receiving a call on Saturday to say the sewer had blocked at home.  Nothing I could do if I returned home so the girls called in the plumber and dealt with the cleanup!

I had debated going the high road through Broken Hill or the regular road through Hay.  After some input from friends I decided to go my normal route maybe next time I will go through Broken Hill. There’s only an hours difference in the drive time according to the GPS, not much when you consider the drive is 2 1/2 days.

It’s always good to see DeckHardware customers and the responses to the new products available from the various suppliers and this trip was no exception.

Once through the hills east of Adelaide,  I headed north and around the Gulf it is a really nice drive, all 100kph and plenty of laybys to have a short break.   I use a website Freecamping Australia  and an App called Toiletmap to help find out of the way places to stop.   One thing that I’ve found myself doing on these longer stretches is estimating the length of the straight ahead. Looking at the odometer at the start and again at the end. There are the 20km ones just east of the SA/NSW border, but there’s a few long ones heading to Port Lincoln too. The difference being that the NSW straights are just that, pretty flat too. The SA straights are up and down and you can see the road way ahead by the cutting in the vegetation. Something a little different to think about I know, but it wiles away the time.

I know I get to see a great deal of the Australian Outback on these roads trips and some of the changes I’ve seen are for the better, especially the roadworks.  It’s always interesting to see the changes in towns in between trips as none of the outlets I visit move premises, I know how to get to the greater majority by memory. The Mornington peninsula is a great example. The new Freeway south from Melbourne CBD to Sorrento and the roads that have sprung out from it are an example. Melbourne is going to be huge in the decades ahead. Rather like the Gold Coast creeping closer to Brisbane. Sydney is bounded by the mountains to the west and national parks to the north and south so land here is at a premium.

Like all of the trips I do, there’s always something new to check out. It’s amazing the places that boats pop up in, one’s that have seemingly disappeared. Recently I mentioned finding Defiance the Yacht in northern Brisbane, this time it’s an old 9m winged sportboat that David Lambourne and then Peter Sorrenson sailed sometime back – Margaret L. A boat builder in Victoria has picked it up for himself after the previous owner broke the mast. Pete will have fun with this one I’m sure.

Bit of time to be spent in Sydney and then off to Perth later in the year.  The Sailing Season is here with my home club’s Open Day this Saturday where I will be onboard the Hugh George leading the way for the Sail Past.

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.

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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A weekend on the water, for a change.

This last weekend, before I’m heading north, I spent once again out on MHYCs start boat running a few races. Saturday was race two of the Winter series and the weather was just nice for the small but competitive fleet. We had a nice WSW breeze of about 15 knots maximum. All the boats managed to sail the whole course without shortening, as is the case some weeks when the breeze drops off, but that’s winter in Sydney with the prevailing Westerlies. Nothing too exciting apart from the dolphins herding fish in to Balmoral where we were anchored for the finish, too far away for any photos.005003

Saturday night was the annual Summer season prize giving where all the divisions, Saturdays, Wednesday afternoons and Thursday night fleets are acknowledged and trophies are handed out to those who excelled. Always a good night where everyone catches up. Unfortunately, Ben Nossiter who has regularly featured on the wall for the Adams10s for over 20 years wasn’t able to attend due to ill health and everyone wished him all the best. Jim Nixon, his long time mainsheet hand accepted and spoke on behalf of the crew.

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Sunday and back out on the water for the Annual Waitangi Cup. This is a teams event the Adams10s hold between New South Wales and Victoria, unfortunately this year the Victorians could only field two crews, so it was 2 on 2. Easy for race management and scoring purposes! Again with the Westerly slowly shifting right all day and gusting from 9-20knots, all four boats had to be on the game with headsail choices varying between #2 and #3s. NSW however in the first two races finished with a 1, 2, so the third race was a bit of a dead rubber. It’s always interesting this event, as to make it a little more even, there is a boat draw the day before. No one is allowed to sail their own boat and there’s always plenty who can’t find the halyard or control line where they are used to it. NSW retained the Cup, 11 points to 19. Bring on next year, the Victorians are planning on taking to Cup back, they’ll be holding it down at Blairgowrie on the same waters as the recent Moth Worlds. Shallow water and tidal conditions will make it interesting.

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Next weekend I’m on the road north for a couple of weeks in the DeckHardware van ‘doing the rounds’.

Adams10s

I’ve been involved in the Adams10s for over three decades now, as crew, as owner with Melissa and as the Principal Race officer at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The class is one that’s close to my heart, having sailed on 12 of them over the years. You can sail short handed, do No Extras like Wednesday and Thursdays or race fully crewed on weekends and in various regattas. They are an all round boat. Those that sail them agree.

This past Australia Day weekend saw the class back at MHYC for their annual championships. Unfortunately there were no outsiders, either from Lake Macquarie, Pittwater, up the harbour or interstate. The clubs fleet of ten competitive boats had 7 races to battle it out again. Saturday saw a lovely Noreaster up to 18knots, so I managed to get in 4 races for them. Sundays forecast was for light and variable and that’s what we had. I held them ashore for a while and just as we set the course the breeze changed 40 degrees – typical. So we only had the time to get one race away. Monday brought Southerly winds and a little drizzle for the final two races. As it was Australia Day there was also the added bonus of having to avoid the other fleets racing.

The finish of the first race saw the first four boats all overlapped and the start team all thought, ‘What are we in for?’. As it turned out that was the closest finish for first place. Other races saw individual duals with several competitors asking, ‘Who beat who?’. Pre regatta favourite Another Dilemma sailed a very good event, winning four races, adding a second and a third to the score. Helmsman Tim Gallego, who flies in each year from his new base in England had only one indiscretion – a Black Flag Disqualification in race three. But he was one of three BFD!

Second in the event was Rob Clarke on Kick and Chase, Rob’s a newcomer to the class, having owned several types of yachts at Middle Harbour over the years. He was ecstatic of course with the end result, going in to the event trimmer Shane Guanaria said they would be happy with third or fourth. Class stalwart Ben Nossiter has suffered a few health issues lately and wasn’t as competitive as he has been in the past. Ben and his crew were however happy to have finished third.

As usual, it’s a team effort when running an event, having the assistance of Toby Gurzanscky on the clock and Lindsay Rose laying the marks, made it look good. Those from the various boats who made up the rest of the volunteers to assist, also enjoyed their time on the start boat or mark laying boat. For some it was their first time to see how it was done. Some should make the effort more often going by some of the questions they asked, as they were a little surprised as to the amount of work required to run an event. They are of course more than welcome each Saturday. It was also good to see Matt Carroll, the new CEO of Yachting Australia. Melissa and I sailed for many years with his father Patrick on his Adams10s, The Carpenter. Matt was invited to make the presentations, great to catch up with both he and his brother Terry back at Middle Harbour.

 

Next up for me is a trip to Tasmania next week. Aside from packing the DeckHardware van full of stock for the visits to the various outlets, I’m also going to spend a little time around the Australian Wooden Boat Festival in Hobart. This is a Bi-Annual event that brings the Marine Industry together with those who love the feel, texture and smell of the old days. Shaved wood for example, a smell I can’t forget from my youth helping my father build the various boats – his and mine There will be a range of boats on display as well as distributors and retail outlets. I’ll be there with my old mate, Ben King and Brierley Marine. Ben has helped out DeckHardware over the years and this time it’s my turn. He will however be back to assist us with the Sydney Sailboat Expo in a couple of months time though, more catching up.

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.

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. http://www.sydneysailboatexpo.com

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.

 

 

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Headed North

Last Thursday I left Sydney and headed north, this trip was a combination of a few things. I run a course for Yachting New South Wales teaching country clubs the art of being a race official and on this occasion I was at Kingscliff with members of the Tweed Valley Sailing Club. Like many of the country clubs, their fleet is a broad range of classes and abilities, what doesn’t change is the enthusiasm for the sport of sailing. It was good to catch up again with Commodore Bill who I had met on a previous trip. Also with a former customer Michael, now retired to the Gold Coast and sailing an Impulse dinghy. Amongst the experienced members was one fellow just back from a world cruise, he certainly had some stories. There is also some practical and it was good to see those who don’t usually use compasses and GPSs experimenting.

The following day I attended the Sanctuary Cove Boatshow to see what’s new and a general catch up with those there. For the first time in too many years, their was absolutely no rain. Usually the shows have had a shower and even heavy downpours to put a dampener on things. Those outside rejoiced as it was clear skies, although the clothing companies would ague otherwise. Rain for them brings the customers. It was nice to spend the day wandering around without the need for jackets and umbrellas.

Whilst these were the two primary reasons for the trip, I also had the chance to stop and see a few of DeckHardware’s customers both old and new. It’s always good to see them and show a range of products, especially the builders who stop and think ‘where can I use that?’. One I saw is building a carbon 20′ foiling catamaran, taking the rig off his Tornado to have some fun. I look forward to seeing how the country clubs where he sails handicap him. Spending a couple of hours going through the Allen, Liros, PROtect and TBS range opens a few eyes, especially when they are able to place a few blocks and cleats here and there. Another builder I have to take some parts to show when I next drive past in a couple of weeks time, he’s building a one off carbon race boat and every little weight loss helps the speed gains.

Next trip is to Lake Keepit for the Keepit Kool Regatta in June, one I’ve not been to even though it’s been going for several decades now.First up however, I’m attending a race management course for my own accreditation. As the ISAF rules change each four years, so does one have to re sit and re visit the courses to maintain currency. This is a two day event, the ones I hold go for 4-4.5hours. Hopefully I’ll pass without too many issues.

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