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.

It’s all on, the season has started.

Last Saturday was the Annual Sailpast at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, a tradition that stems back some decades. As the Principal race officer, it was again the opportunity to lead the club fleet in the start boat past the marina to take the salute from the ‘Flags’. The there was a club house start for the opening race of the 2014/15 sailing season. However I had other things to do later that day, packing my bags for a work trip to Western Australia.

As in past trips, I’ve been able to stay with good friends interstate, first up it was Colin and Katie Spence and their young son Connor. Colin over the years has been a purchaser of the Liros rope and whilst he’s no longer doing the amount of rig work, he’s still quite active sailing his Moth. Colin is looking forward to the upcoming Worlds to be held in Sorrento and his Moth is constantly being up graded. It was wonderful to catch up with them again, although Connor at three years of age referred to me as being one of his Dads ‘boyfriends’. That caused a few laughs, one that we’ll probably remind him as he grows older.

Later in the week in Perth, I again had the occasion to stay with Paul Eldrid of One Sails Perth. Paul is the co-owner [with Scott Disley] of the General Lee, a rather quick offshore racer in WA. This season however he’s running a new 47’er that’s currently in transit to Sydney for this years Rolex Sydney Hobart Race. The Indian team have made the decision to sail out of Sydney for the qualifying races, so I’ll see a bit more of Paul and Scott in the lead up to Boxing Day. Looking forward to it.

As is the case, I had a fair bit on and quite a few to see and show some of the new DeckHardware  products. Again I had a bit of driving and whilst I didn’t get to either Albany or Geraldton, I still covered quite a bit south, north and around Perth and Fremantle, just under 1000kms. With a list of chandleries,  sailmakers and other users of the DeckHardware range some may think it repetitive, however with 18 suppliers and over 10,000 items, there’s always something that someone hasn’t seen and wants to look at. In this case it was the recent JDC product Windoo, an addition to the mobile phone for checking wind speed and other information.

Needless to say, showing this meant I had to go to a few of the clubs WA, something that’s pretty easy to do when one likes looking at boats. Finding the Farr727 on the slips brought back memories from the mid 1970’s, seeing the C&C99 ‘In the Red’ which had just been sold from MHYC to WA was also a surprise. Of course watching the build progress of many boats is always interesting. With the range we carry, there’s always something to suggest to the builder, Marelon plumbing by Forespar and Non Skid by TBS France being just a few. The Australian Women’s match racing was on at Royal Perth Yacht Club whilst I was there, always good to see the looks on some sailors faces when they see me in odd places. In this case is was eventual winner Katie Spithill Pellew and her brother/coach Tom. Also sailing was DeckHardware Ambassador and NSW 420 skipper Lauren Gallaway getting more time and experience on the water, good to see.

As in the past, there’s always something coming up. In this case I’m off to Queensland shortly followed by Victoria. Just a few more ‘clicks’ on the odometer.

 

Victoria October 2013

Following on from the week in South Australia, I spent the Saturday driving to Warrnambool in Victoria in order to start the week there on Monday. I hadn’t driven this particular road before and whilst i have driven past many vineyards and wineries in the country, this day opened up yet more of those comments..’Ohh that’s where that comes from’. Many of the names are common place in the Aussie vernacular and I was able to put the name to the place with a grin as I drove past each sign.

On Monday morning I started off in Warrnambool where on previous visits I’d made contact with a boat builder, Pete Trewartha. Pete’s shed when I first went there had a multitude of yachts, some over 50′. At the moment there is a few yachts, sport boats and a large power boat. Once again I spent several hours going through all of the DeckHardware range of products, one of the reasons why driving and showing the range works. It was then on to Geelong another 3 hour drive and the start of the week in Melbourne and the outer suburbs.

Once again it was a full week of showing the DeckHardware range with new products from Allen Brothers England, Forespar, Liros Ropes and PROtect Tapes. On this trip I was now aware that in the past I was able to do the rounds and see quite a few customers both old and new. With a greater range of new products, it was now taking longer to do the rounds.

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On the last Saturday morning I stayed in Sandringham to catch up with some of the sailors competing in Sail Sandringham, this event had over 150 entries from Optis, Cadets, 420s and 29ers up to SB20s. One of those I ran in to was Ian Brown who was there to race his SB20. Our relationship goes back several decades when he built the first sail for Melissa’s first dinghy in the early 80s. Ian is a multiple champion at state, national and world level with a Bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics. He’d been in to DeckHardware earlier this year with Malcolm Page one day to re fit his boat with a range of Liros Ropes.

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The these two photos show early one morning at Sandringham. These were taken within minutes of each other. First the Moon setting and then the Sun rising, quite spectacular at the time.

 

 

 

 

The shipping photos were taken Monday evening at Port Phillip Heads at the look out over ‘the Rip’. The entrance to the bay is quite small and smaller boats have to time their entry and exit. yacht races are known to start at odd hours to ensure they all get out safely.

Then it was home, total distance covered 5854kms over the previous 15 days. A quite enjoyable trip weather wise apart from the flies and mozzies in Port Lincoln. Whilst I didn’t see as many as I had in the past, those I saw were quite pleased to see the new DeckHardware products.

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South Australia 2013

Last weekend I drove the 1900kms from Sydney to Port Lincoln in South Australia as the beginning of a 2 week DeckHardware sales trip. Over the years I’ve found it best to start at the farthest point and work my way back towards Sydney rather than as I had in my first trips of starting close and ending up furthest.

Port Lincoln is known for being the Tuna fishing capital of Australia and over the years there have been many competitive sailors from the region. It’s also the finish of the annual Adelaide to Port Lincoln yacht race, South Australia’s premier ocean race.

Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to visit some 26 outlets, shipwrights, marina managers and others in the marine industry. By taking a vehicle carrying a range of DeckHardware products, it gives me the opportunity to show off a range of products especially those new from our suppliers such as Liros Rope, Forespar and PROtect tapes.

Unfortunately due to an electrical fault with the Van and a day off the road, I didn’t have the chance to catch up with as many of those as I had hoped. It was however great to catch up with those I have met over the years and it’s great to see many of them again. For those who I speak to when back in the office, it’s good to hear a familiar voice on the end of the line. I’ve found that it takes some time to show off the product range and I thank those who take the time to come to the DeckHardware van to run through it all. It’s certainly easier than taking the bins inside a retail outlet.

Photo one shows the van at Port Lincoln Yacht Club last Monday, where there was a fleet of Lasers, Optimists, Cadets and a 420 having a mini-regatta and some coaching. I look forward to following their progress in the coming years. Photo two is the one road sign I’m yet to drive past. Over the years, I’ve covered the east coast from the far far North to the Southern extremity of the mainland and following the coastline west to Coffin Bay, Tasmania and up to Darwin. In the west, I’ve covered the area from Albany to Geraldton. The one road I’m yet to drive is across the Nullabor to Perth, one day. I said that the last time I saw this sign post too! Photo three shows one of the boats I haven’t seen for several decades. ‘East of the Lizard’ was a regular competitor at my home club in Middle Harbour all those years ago. She’s was spotted in Port Vincent, it’s great to see some of these old boats still around. Last Monday was a public holiday, so whilst the dinghies were out on the water at Port Lincoln. I took the chance to drive to Coffin Bay, home of some of Australia’s best oysters. At least so I’m told, next time I may take the opportunity to sample some of the seafood delights of this region. Some how I’m yet to have a Scallop Pie in when in Hobart or Tuna in Port Lincoln. Mmnn.

This week I’ll be in Victoria, hopefully it will be as good a trip as the first week on the road.

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Season 2013/4 ready to roll

There’s been a bit on over the last few weeks.

A few weeks back I flew over to Perth for 4 days of seeing DeckHardware customers.  Flying out of Sydney, I finally remembered my camera, so took a couple of quick shots, I’m always looking at the differing conditions as well as the view.

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Driving some 800 kms and seeing 37 different outlets both old and new was pretty much nonstop during the day. I saw many outlets from Perth to Bunbury on this trip, with some stops relatively short and others spending what seemed a couple of hours going through many of our product range. With so many now, by the time I get through some of the new products and remind them of the others, it’s easy to see how the time flies. One thing for sure is that I’ll need a fifth day, as I didn’t have the chance to go to Geraldton or Albany as I have had on previous trips. A deal of the time is spent making sure that those on the database we have are still operating, some had closed and some have moved. Even if it’s just down the road, it’s surprising many don’t forward the new information. There are those who had moved and it was a bit of a pattern change seeing them in new premises. It’s surprising that as a sales representative how things fall in to a pattern, driving around many suburbs only to find the person or company is around the corner from someone you already know. The catamaran as shown in the photo is being fitted with a variety of DeckHardware products, including a range of Forespar Marelon plumbing. It’s always good to see progress of some of these new builds.

It was good to catch up with a few old friends, once again I was lucky to be hosted by Rachel Cox in Fremantle. We shared a few good meals and caught up with a bit of good old gossip. It was also great to meet up with Colin and Katie Spence for dinner on one night. I last saw them in Sydney when Katie was several months pregnant with their now 2 year old son Connor. Hopefully it won’t be as long till the next time we catch up. The other side of things is that while going around all of these boatbuilders, riggers, sailmakers and retail outlets, is that some are also at the various clubs around the country. Therefore I have the chance occasionally to have a quick look around and see new and differing ideas used on some of the boats I don’t see on a regular basis.

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With the Sydney sailing season just about on us, I spent a day along with two of the Volunteer MHYC start boat team Steve and Toby, going over the clubs start boat Hugh S George in preparation for the season. It was a day of typical boat owner type things, cleaning and throwing out unwanted rubbish, re-marking the anchor chain each 10m, vacuuming etc. Nothing special, just a spot of housekeeping. As a prelude to the season opening the race officials from around Sydney Harbour had a meeting at Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron. Here we had a briefing with the NSW Yachting Association chief David Edwards and had a presentation by a RMS boating officer. He had various videos from both shipping and ferries on the dangers of passing their bows too close and why they have strict regulations as to how close yachties can get. It’s pretty unbelievable what some will do. Luckily none of those shown were from our club. With help once again from Melissa and a few of the parents, I ran a small regatta for Optimists and 420s. Somehow, every event lately for them has been held in light or drifting conditions. It would be nice to have a pleasant day with good wind just once if someone can assist?111

Saturday was the start of the 2013/4 sailing season at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. The club volunteers enjoyed a buffet breakfast, the Juniors put on a few fun races in the Optimist dinghies and once again we had the pleasure of leading the fleet in the annual sailpast. Then many of the fleet took part on the annual Commodores Cup.  Next week is the start of the racing season and there’s plenty eager to get out there again. Hopefully we’ll see some great racing and lots of good weather.

Sunday was the start of the America’s Cup with the New Zealand challenger taking out both opening races. Finally we saw some great racing with the lead in the first race changing several times. With races 3 and 4 now sailed, we have a boat race. I know the races are a lot shorter in a sprint fashion, but it’s great watching match racing at these never seen before speeds. One bad tack, gybe or even a nose dive will hurt. I for one can’t wait to watch the remainder of the 34th America’s Cup. Another positive is the feedback and information coming off the boats. As an active sailor and race official, listening to the afterguard discussing what to do next is fantastic. We also have the expert opinions from the likes of Nathan Outteridge the skipper of Artemis AC72 giving his impressions. Great stuff.

Now for a few more races from San Francisco and from Saturday the regular Sydney season starts.

Power point

Yesterday morning I recieved a phone call from the Cruising Division at Middle Harbour Yacht Club, their guest speaker for last nights meeting had dropped out. Could I fill in and do a talk?

Sure.

Melissa spent most of the morning putting together a modified version of the Power Point presentation that she and Ben did for the Sydney International Boat show a couple of weeks ago [well it seems like that].

The cruising division at the club is quite active and they usually have around 40 members turn up, cook a BBQ and then have their meeting followed by a guest, in this case me. As the clubs principal race officer, I know a few of them , but it was great to meet up with some of the rest of the division. They even have one fellow who keeps up to track with any new developments in the news, magazines or on the net. In this case he mentioned the rash of European built boats coming in with sub standard skin fittings. well, did I come on a good night!

The presentation started on Liros ropes, the care, upkeep, choices and a host of other issues when owning a yacht. I had a few rope whip samples which were passed around. Some of those there still had wire halyards! I then opened up the bin I had of Forespar including a few of the Marelon skin fittings. This raised an eye with many there as it was surprising how many didn’t look after or regularly maintain their seacocks and valves, I think a few may when they next go aboard.

I spoke for over 1/2hr and then with questions and there were plenty, I was talking for over an hour, followed by those who came up afterwards. I think I managed to open a few eyes with the DeckHardware product range, many had picked up one of our discs at the show but were still to have a look. After last night a few will.

Come this Saturday at the club, I’m sure there will be a few asking some more questions. Hopefully I can help them out.

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.

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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!