Short trip to Brisbane

Last week I spent a bit of time in Brisbane. It was a combination of a few things happening. First up I attended the Queensland Yachting Association Club conference held over two days at Southbank. This was the first of many put on by Australian Sailing in each state.  As an AS sponsor, it was interesting and will be interesting to see what’s happening in each state. I’ll also be attending the Victorian, West Australian and New South Wales events.

Centenary Rd

Grafton locals

In the middle of all of this was of course the final racing for the Americas Cup. I was able to stay with the QYA President Ken Hurling for a few nights. It was ‘great’ to get up at 0300 and watch what was going on in Bermuda with another sailor. Ken was able to keep up to speed with some of it through his daughter Suellen in Auckland as well, a quick call to her to check on the Kiwi feelings. It’ll certainly be interesting to see the format for the next challenge, will it be the TV spectacle of the foiling multihulls or a return to more traditional match racing on monohulls which most active sailors prefer.

Then there was Queensland Youth Week, an annual regatta at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron. This event is rather large with over 200 competitors from Qld, NSW, Vic and even from Western Australia sailing in 10 different classes.  It’s always good to come to these events, even when I’m not volunteering for the on water side of things. Catching up with a range of friends, customers, those I haven’t seen for a while and run into as well as keeping a keen eye on what everyone is using where in terms of rope and other equipment.

I also took in a little drive one afternoon, it took nearly 5 hours in a roundabout route, west of Brisbane to see a non-marine customer of DeckHardware. It’s always interesting to see how a manufacturer utilises marine ropes and fittings in a harsh environment on the land. I spent an enjoyable couple of hours with Matt and his team thinking of different ideas and combinations for his business applications. You think you have one solution sorted and then one word or phrase sparks another option, which it did in a few circumstances. Always good to think outside the square.

Next up is Victoria followed by Perth, a drive then a flight and before we know it the Summer sailing season will be upon us.

 

Time for a little reminiscing

I’ve been told that my first time sailing was being put in a 505 spinnaker bag whilst still in nappies. Dad [Peter Yeomans] was a lifelong sailor having grown up at Vaucluse and sailing VJs at the local yacht club. He then continued sailing 14’skiffs whilst studying in the USA where he met my Canadian born mother.

Upon returning to Sydney, they settled at Newport and Dad was sailing at ‘The Alfreds’ with George and Tim Clarke in a Dragon, KA44. In the early Sixties he started building his first yacht on the front lawn and at the same time building me my first Manly Junior Pipsqueak. Needless to say I learnt heaps about building boats whilst helping Dad, be it painting and varnishing, the other end of a copper Rib rivet or steaming the ribs in an old 44. I sailed as much as I was allowed as a kid growing up and this continued when we moved to the waterfront at Bayview.  Dad sailed Temeraire in many JOG events both out of Pittwater and Sydney Harbour where I often joined him as a crew. I can remember on one occasion, Dad dropping me and a couple of school mates off at Lavender Bay to sail her back to Pittwater, we would have been 16 at the time.

 

I sailed two MJs, updating Pipsqueak to Leucothea when the Mk2 design came in. From there I crewed on many yachts at RPAYC, midweek and Saturdays whilst sailing F11s at RPAYC, then Fireballs and 505s at BYRA. Upon leaving school I started work at Performance Sailcraft Australia building Lasers. Initially we unpacked containers of boats from Canada before the moulds arrived from New Zealand which had started production before us. Naturally sailing Lasers was a must and over the next 7-8 years I competed in many events in Adelaide, Melbourne, Brisbane and Yeppoon also including many NSW country regattas like at Wallis Lake near Forster. My first Aussie built boat was 14127 and the last of many, 70000. These were great years and many of my opposition have become lifelong friends.

I delivered new Lasers up and down the east coast, although one trip was made to Darwin. PSA had two specially built trailers, one held 6 boats and the other 10. With another employee Les,  we towed the larger of these to Darwin in mid ’75, six months after Cyclone Tracy demolished the city on Christmas Day. It was one of those eye openers, I hadn’t been there before, nor had I really experienced or seen the power of nature. Les and I arrived around Midday and the locals wanted to go sailing, so we did. Unpacked the car and trailer and went sailing. We had written on the outside packing before leaving – Instant fleet just need water. Tick.

I spent a year working in Brisbane in the mid-70s and continued sailing Lasers and whilst there bought one of the first Windsurfers to Queensland. Upon returning to PSA in Sydney and then working at Sydney Sailboat Centre, I met Robyn and as they say, the rest is history.

I moved from RPAYC to MHYC and commenced sailing both inshore and offshore on a variety of yachts. Robyn and I started campaigning a Farr6000 which SSC imported from NZ. We had a lot of fun over a couple of years with our third crew Marita Wilmot.  Soon a change of occupation gave me added days on the water and I rarely missed a Wednesday for 20 years.

 

 

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.