Trying to keep up

With all the recent sailing that’s been happening, it’s just a little hard trying to keep up with all the regattas and then we have the unbelievable race 8 in New Zealand for the Americas Cup  .

Rigging at Port Kembla Sailing Club on Lake Illawarra

A couple of weeks ago, I went down to Lake Illawarra for the  second round of the Flying Eleven states. On behalf of Allen Brothers England and LIROS Ropes Germany, DeckHardware has been supporting the junior classes, so we took the DeckHardware RIB down for the weekend.  Mel took over a thousand photos on the Saturday and then spent Sunday at home doing  a lot of editing.  Conditions wise, it couldn’t be further from the first round on Pittwater.  Pittwater turned on a good southerly so there was plenty of standing on the centreboards, Lake Illawarra was  the opposite with the winds struggling to get above 8knots over the weekend.  The race team did a good job to get in the races that they did.   Our DeckHardware ambassadors Aimee and Bella led after Pittwater and to finish up second overall and first all girls is a credit to their teamwork and their parental support both off and on the water.   From what I saw over the weekend, all the sailors enjoyed the event, it was pretty close results wise and there was  plenty of speculation  as to the placings until they were published. 

Just after a Flying Eleven start, some go left and some go right

Following the  Elevens, it was back to the Farr40s for more of the same. Unfortunately only 6 boats sailed this event, but the closeness showed just how keenly fought the racing was. First and second tied on point as did third and fourth.  Watching just how close the racing was is why I enjoy being a race official.  Make a small mistake and you lose a boat length or two and you are out the back door. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone claw their way back after say, an OCS. It’s just too close speed wise with plenty of pressure on the tacticians.

Always good racing and great to watch

The third weekend in a row out on the water, strange given the current global situation was to watch the Sydney Harbour Regatta. For something a little different DeckHardware provided Middle Harbour Yacht Club the use of the RIB as a photography boat.  Marg Fraser -Martin has been taking photos both inshore and offshore at MHYC for a few years now and we have a great rapport between us.  We spent the weekend going from course to course [there were seven] and from top mark to gate rounding’s trying to capture some of the action.  Marg took well over two thousand photos over the weekend from sports boats to sports yachts and harbour racers. Then throw in the 18’ers on the harbour and there was plenty of action afloat.

Just a little soft spot for these boats

Here’s a couple of Marg Fraser Martins photos below

Always plenty on , on Sydney Harbour

Karen Gojnich and her J70 crew
Lachlan Steel, one of several DeckHardware ambassadors
Lachlan Steel on Lazarus Partners 18′ skiff
These guys have too much fun

And then one gets a call from a prominent Medalist sailor, “I’ve run out of fuel can I get a tow home?’

And at the end of the weekend, it’s under the Spit Bridge and heading for the boat ramp queue.

There has been of course a sailing event over the Ditch in Auckland, well done to the Kiwis with a little help from an Aussie or two. They certainly had the faster boat towards the end. Lets see what happens in the coming months as to the next one.

That’s nearly it for the summer Downunder season for me , although we still have the  Allen/Liros/DeckHardware sponsored Flying Eleven and 16’Skiff Nationals on  in the coming weeks. Then the Annual Batemans Bay Regatta over  the ANZAC weekend  with everything from Sportsboats, multihull, monos and Sailability. Always a great weekend on the water down south.                                                                                                                                                                                       

2014 eh?

What happened to 2013? That year went pretty quick, as we arranged each trip, some months in advance they quickly caught up. The month of December even more so. My trip to Sail Melbourne at Sandringham Victoria, followed immediately by a trip north to Yamba and Grafton. Then Sail Middle Harbour where I ran part of the regatta for 420s and Finns. Then of course the Rolex Sydney Hobart race, finishing off the year with DeckHardware’s support of the 50th Sabot national titles.

Sail Middle Harbour was the result of Sail Sydney not being run and our club Middle Harbour Yacht Club in conjunction with Middle Harbour 16′ Skiff Club combined to give some of the classes an event. We had a good fleet of 420’s and it was great to have the Finns for the first time, especially with some of those who had been at Sail Melbourne turning up. With good conditions, it was out to the Sound for both fleets as Middle Harbour 16′ Skiff Club had the 29ers inshore from us. Once again I was supported by a great team of volunteers from the club helping make the running of the regatta a little easier.

The annual Rolex Sydney Hobart Race is always a sight to see. With 5 100’ers, a couple of 80’ers, 3  Volvo70s and the Clipper Round the World race fleet, it was always going to be hectic. For this year the CYCA decided to run a third line to split the fleet up a little. The CYCA with Dennis Thompson ran the big boats on the front line, I had the middle with our MHYC team and the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron had the back line. We decided to add to our normal startboat team with additional helpers, I try to mix it up each year. We have many requests to come out and this year it was the turn of some of Melissa’s match racing people. As we have two teams, one upstairs and one down, it was great to have the back up of Jeremey Atkinson who is also a highly credited race official and rules expert. We try to have a clear start as no one is called for 5 minutes if they are over. This year we had a couple starting early, one who came back almost straight away and another who waited till they were called. When this happens we have to wait till all are clear before we can follow the fleet out the heads. Once again it was quite a spectacle and this coming years will be just as big being the 70th.

A couple of days later through DeckHardware’s sponsorship of the 50th Sabot National Championships, I spent some time at Drummoyne Sailing Club with the van. Once again it was fantastic to watch some of the up and coming junior sailors and with over 130 competitors trying to remember some of their names was a little hard. It’s always interesting to watch those who are actively involved in their boat preparation and rigging.  Including new DeckHardware Ambassador from Lake Macquarie sailor Jed Fatches. Wangi Wangi Moth sailor Jody Shiels tipped us off on Jeds ability and enthusiasm and it was great to meet and follow Jed and his family. What was interesting was that each state had a team song. This was sung at the opening and closing ceremonies but also each day prior to hitting the water! It was great listening to the teams trying to out sing each other after their coaches pep talk. Sam King from Launceston in Tasmania was the 50th winner of the overall trophy which included names such as Nathan Wilmot and Nathan Outteridge. Tasmania also cleaned up in the teams event, quite a successful trip for them.

As soon as the Sabots finished at Drummoyne it was the turn of the 16′ Skiffs. Both the club and a couple of the sailors had asked if we’d be there with the van. So it was a continuing daily trip over several bridges to be there for the beginning of the 16’s. Lee Knapton and his crew of Brydens won each of the 7 races, something that long time skiffies had not seen for several decades. This was a new boat and as it was fitted with a couple of DeckHardware products Liros and TBS, we were more that interested in the event. DeckHardware ambassador Fire Stopping were also amongst the front runners and it was great to see them also without boat issues at the end of each day.

This past weekend I drove up to Port Stephens for the  Flying Eleven National Championships, as it turned out it was also their 50th birthday with the first boats built by Mariner Craft back in 1964. Having more than a passing interest in the class after Melissa’s involvement in the 90s and some of our friends who now have their children in the class, it was great to watch. Funnily it was a familiar name at the top after the first day of racing – Jed Fatches. Jed had teamed up with fellow Sabot sailor Tom Stivano for this event and they went out and won the first two races! Talk about grins when they came to see me at the van at the end of the day, great to see.

An old mate Graeme Ferguson was there with his family as youngest daughter Jordy was skippering for the first time, the number of girls who are now sailing is fantastic and they certainly give the boys a run. I also caught up with Trevor Barnabas and Hugh Cooke from Manly. Both of these long time skiff sailors were up there with their grandsons, watching and listening to the parting of pre race advise was fantastic, even I learnt something each day. Melissa had gone to school with Christine Barnabas, Zac and Jakes mum, so this was another pairing we were looking out for. Zac had only just won the Manly Junior Nationals on at the same time as the Sabots and this was their first Flying Eleven event in a borrowed boat. It only took them 4 races to win their first! Something to be said for this generation of sailors.

This coming weekend I’m off to Victoria. I’ll be spending a few days doing the rounds of the DeckHardware customers and then I’m off to Geelong. At this time of year for the last 3 decades, I’ve pretty much done or run the Adams10 Championships so I’ve not had the chance to go to Geelong’s Festival of Sail, one of Australia’s  largest regattas. I’m involved in the on water running of the regatta, as I’ve not been before, it’ll be interesting to say the least. This event also includes the Melges24 World Championship, held for the first time in Australia. With 8 nations competing, I hope to have the opportunity to see a little of the racing.