It’s been a big week

I’ve been down in Sandringham Victoria helping officiate at the ISAF World Cup of Sailing at Sandringham Yacht Club. In order to keep up my accreditation as a National Race Official, I volunteered my time to help out on the water. I was the RO in charge of laying the marks on Alpha Course with the able assistance of Dennis and John from Black Rock Yacht Club, who also have many years of experience. We looked after the 470s, 420s, Finns and later in the week the OKs. On the final day we also had the Libertys, Skuds, Laser 4.7s and 29ers.

The conditions early in the week were quite rough on Port Phillip Bay with strong southerlies, later in the week we had 5-7knots for a couple of days and on the final day a gusty Northerly to 25knots. All courses bar the Kiteboarding lost Tuesday and the 49ers and 29ers also lost Wednesday.016

I hung around Tuesday till 1500, then took the decision to say nothing will happen and dropped down the Sport Phillip Marine at Mornington one of many chandleries I wanted to see whilst in Melbourne.

As a result the sailing instructions were changed from 2 races per day to 3 on most courses in order to catch up. Most classes were able to sail the full complement with our race track finishing off those who didn’t.


It was also a great challenge to those employed at Sandringham having to work around the 300 odd competitors. The slipway wotrkers and delivery drivers all had challenges in going about their jobs, it was a credit to all that it seemed to all work seemlessly.

Daily we had several meeting prior to going out on the water, a RO meeting and then just before leaving, a meeting of all those on Alpha with the plans for the day. Whilst at times it seemed to be a bit of overkill, it is a neccessary evil, covering all bases as event organisers. None of this was new, but rather an insight in to the way others work.

I did however have some time early each day to look after the requirements of the competitors by opening the DeckHardware van with those products I brought down. Requests for Liros rope being the prime and others from shackles up, I was able to help all except one competitor who wanted his Laser vang spliced as well. That I didn’t have time for as I was running late for the boat.

It was a great week and I hope that all the competitors we looked after were happy with the decisions we made out on the water. I certainly enjoyed the time working with the guys from Black Rock as daily we agreed on our thoughts on the course as distinct from those made by the startboat. If I have the chance I’d like to work with them again, Dennis and John [who flew down from the Gold Coast] were a joy to spend over 8 hours a day with. We also had Tracey over from Adelaide, Sylvia from Brisbane and Robyn how had last helped me at the NSW Youth Champs helping the locals.

As for the sailing? The fleets were down in size being the first event after the London 2012 Olympics bar the Kiteboards who had the biggest fleet. It was good to see the Sydney guys whose races i have been running, all come down. It was also good to see many others who I catch up with from time to time, some unfortunately, a fleeting quick chat and then off to the next briefing or de-brief.

Next up is the Southern Line for the Rolex Sydney Hobart race on Boxing Day, it’ll be good to be back with my own Middle Harbour Yacht Club team again and on a larger and dryer boat!


Bit on at this time of year.

At this time of year there’s always a bit on. Saturday before last was round two of the State Kiteboarding championships that I’ve been running, this coming Saturday will see round three at Botany Bay. As of last week ISAF have decided against an earlier decision to instate the Kites for Rio 2016 instead of Sailboards. They have now reversed this decision and the Kites are out. It will be interesting to see how many continue racing in the long term.

The next day saw a little trip up to the Central Coast for the BIA Try Sailing day. I visited Gosford Sailing Club, Budgewoi Sailing Club, South Lake Macquarie Sailing club at Sunshine and Mannering Park Sailing Club. It was good to see the volunteers helping out and assisting those who would like to take up the sport of Sailing – well done. At Sunshine they had over 60 turn up, only a couple had pre registered so well done to all there. The photo shows an 11m One design taking those out at Gosford.

Thursday was another one of my little drives down to the South Coast of NSW. I stopped and saw customers at Lake Illawarra, Nowra, Wollamia, Ulladulla and Batemans Bay. A long day on the road and 625 kms driven.

The photo shows an IOR Robber 1/4 tonner at Wollamia. This yard is full of owner builder/repairers, where they can pull their boats and take their time updating.

Back in the 70s, my late father had the plans to build one and engaged Ken Beashel to price it up. Unfortunately it never went ahead. They were a quick boat in their day in Europe, although none of the Australian built boats had any success that I know of.

Saturday saw me back at MHYC for the first time in several weeks running the club races. With 20knots at the start there was plenty of action on the water.

Yesterday was a rare day away from the water. We have several friends who are due to have babies in the coming weeks, so there was a bit of a get together and a catchup. Very enjoyable day cathing up with old friends.

Next Saturday sees me back at Botany Bay for round three of the Kiteboards and Sunday a trip up to the lake for the first day of racing in the Australian Multihull Championships. This is a look/see, as I’m not involved in the race management.

The following weekend is the MHYC Short Ocean Racing Championships, Saturday is a race up to Lion Island at Broken Bay. Sunday sees two short races offshore. Depending on the forecast, I’ll either send them North to the Manly Circle or south to Bondi.

Following that, I’m off to Melbourne where I’ll be involved in running Sail Melbourne. This is the first time I’ll be involved in Sail Melbourne, but an interesting look at how others run their events none the less. With the amount of yacht race management I do, it’ll be interesting doing dinghies.

Suddenly Christmas is upon us and it’s time for the Rolex Sydney Hobart start, where I’m the RO for the Southern line. This will be the sixth year and it never gets any easier. Each time I go to anchor in the designated spot there’s a hole making holding fast difficult, some how we do it. Last year we had a couple of OCS starters which meant no going out to watch them turn south. Hopefully this year they’ll all behave.
Thats’ the weekends booked till the New Year, like I said a bit on. January?  Off to Tasmania with the DeckHardware van on the ferry. Mels going down with it for a couple of weeks, I’ll bring it back.

Yep, bit on.

Kites are on again

This coming weekend sees me down at Botany Bay for Round 2 of the Kite Boarding racing on Saturday. Given the conditions will be similar to a couple of weeks back, I now know what to expect. Hopefully there’ll be more coming to race now that the word is out.

Sunday is the NSW Boating Industry’s Try Sailing Day. Normally I go down to MHYC, however this time I’m going to do the rounds of the Central Coast clubs. Hopefully I’ll get around to Gosford Sailing Club, Budgewoi Sailing Club, Mannering Park and South Lake Macquarie clubs up on Lake Macquarie, only one I’ve sailed from before.

Should be an interesting weekend.

Kite Boarding

So some time back those at the International SailingFederation [ISAF] decided that the sport of Windsurfing.sailboarding would be dropped from the Olympic games for RIO 2016. In it’s place would be Kiteboarding.


Whilst I know a few who Kiteboard, I’ve had little experience with it. As a teenager, I dropped out of sailing for a while and bought a couple of Windsurfers and competed in a few regattas, went wave jumping on Sydneys Northern beaches and even ventured up to the Central Coast on occasion. There are those who are yet to come to grips with either as a sport relating to Sailing, but as they are all powered by wind, I won’t get in to an arguement on the minor technicalities.


So the other day I was looking at an excellent Australian weather website and noticed that there was a Kite event on at Botany Bay being organised by one of DeckHardware’s  customers, Kite Power. I had a look at the link and realised that whilst they are a new group to racing, what better way as a Yachting Australia Race Official than to get involved, especially with RIO 2016 in mind.
I got in touch with Steve McCormack and offered my services and arranged a meeting. Steve eagerly accepted my offer as an RO, so there I was on Saturday at my first event.

They had over 30 competitors in two divisions, race and off the beach. As a RO setting the course was easy, the hard thing was how do you identify them? Kite Power had arranged numbered T shirts so that was easy, but a little harder than I thought. I was helped out by Evelyn who knew most of the competitors, all I had to do was train her in the art of Race management and we were off. We got in two races in each division in around 18-20 knots of breeze, perfect conditions for the flyers. As we went in to sequence for race 3 in the racers, one competitor Jordan Girdis noted  that the breeze had increased some what. We hoisted the AP [Answering Pennant] and did a spot of checking with the local windstations and the use of my JDC Eole. Yes the breeze had got up somewhat and was more survival that good racing. After a 3/4hr postponement we agreed to pull the pin on the day.

The competitors were a mix of sailors including Jordan who had just competed in the recent Melges24 Worlds in San Francisco and Aiden Menzies a former crewmate of Nathan Outteridge. It was good to see them all mixing and talking about the different equipment. Certainly an eye opener for me with no previous experience with Kite Boarding. These guys were also acceptable to having a national race official coming in from the outside to make things run smoothly. The comradery was excellent with a BBQ running, Getto Blaster sounding out the tunes on the beach, it was all about atmosphere and it helped to set the scene.
I’d like to say thanks to Steve and Evelyn and the rest of the team who helped run the event, none of whom I’d met until that morning. I certainly look forward to the next event and helping out those who are looking to compete at Sail Melbourne later in the year where I have put up my hand to help as an RO. These guys certainly have the enthusiasm for their sport and made for a great day. Next time I hope ‘Hughie’ the wind god plays nice and we get a good NorEaster.