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.

 

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.

Western Australia last week

  I flew in to Perth Western Australia last Sunday morning and after a bit of getting organised, drove up to Geraldton some 5 hours north of Perth. Gero as it is known to the locals is home to a large cray fishing fleet, hence my trip up there to see those in the marine industry. Unfortunately there are now heavy restrictions on them via quotas and the fleet is reducing rapidly. Monday was spent seeing all the chandleries and retailers before driving back to Perth.

Tuesday saw a shorter drive north up to Yanchep and the Two Rocks Marina where Alan Bond started his Americas Cup campaign in the early 1970s before working my way south in the northern suburbs of Perth itself. All of the streets in the area are named after the various Americas Cup contenders.

Wednesday was spent in Fremantle and Perth city seeing all the chandleries and sailmakers that DeckHardware supplies. Each trip interstate I carry a range of both the new lines and some of the more popular existing lines to ‘jog’ their memories on some of our range. At 1800 the Cunard cruise liner Queen Mary2 left the port of Fremantle and I was one of several hundred to watch her leave. As you can see see, the QM2 is rather large, especially on the confined waters of the port, where the World Womens match racing was held last December.

Thursday was spent seeing those south in Bunbury, several hours drive south of Perth with Friday finishing off with those in Mandurah and Henderson.

In the course of the week and just over 2000kms on the road I saw some forty new and existing DeckHardware customers, next week will see me driving once more to Brisbane and the Gold Coast, usually on these trips and those south to Victoria [ coming up at the end of the month] I see around 100 customers in the week.

Hopefully the deluge that the East Coast of Australia in recent weeks will have receded somewhat and allow me to get through without any issues.