Down to the South Coast

I spent the last few days driving down south, seeing DeckHardware customers on the way to running a Club Race Officials course on behalf of Yachting New South Wales at Lake Wallagoot just north of Merimbula. Like many I had no idea of where it was or what they sailed, I came away impressed by the enthusiasm of the members I met.

The lake gives about a kilometre of good race course area with around 5-6m of depth, plenty of room for a dinghy or sportsboat regatta. The club race team headed by Tony Hastings have drawn up a range of triangular courses and plotted them to suit the majority of conditions. With only the one power boat, they drop the marks in pre determined GPS positions and come back to run the race, all very civilised. A range of multi and monohulls race under a local yardstick to give everyone a chance.  Everyone takes a turn to run the racing on the day, your typical little volunteer run club.

Along the way south, I dropped by a few of DeckHardware customers showing off some of the products, there’s always something that someone hasn’t seen. From chandleries to owner builds there’s usually something they have seen in the media or on our website but not held. This was also the case with those at Lake Wallagoot. One of the Wallagoot members is re building a plywood Pacer dinghy, as a retired shipwright, it’s almost a work of art with the timber gunwales sanded back for multiple coats of varnish. I’m sure the local juniors will appreciate the chance to have a club boat to learn to sail on that has been carefully refurbished.

One owner builder I saw is finishing off his custom 50′ yacht. We had previously supplied Man Ship Marine sliding hatches and ports, now Richard is at the fitout stage and we spent a couple of hours looking over the yacht and going through the product range options. As with many of the owner/builders, it’s a labour of love with the prospect of going to sea driving many to finish their projects. It’s always good to spend sometime with someone who knows the boat inside and out and following the progress to completion.

Fortunately the weather held out and with only drizzle late in the day on Saturday to follow me back up the coast on the drive home.

I’ll be back down that way later in the year as next season starts.

 

 

That was February

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February started off with the Adams 10m titles once again at Middle Harbour. The weather over the January Australia Day long weekend brought decent wind out of the Noreast for the first and last day, the Sunday was a writeoff as we only got the one race in.

The series was always going to be hard fought between Tim Gallego steering Jim Curtis’s Another Dilemma [MH26] and Ben Nossiter’s Sirius [MH118]. Tim is a long time Adams 10 sailor and since his move to England some years ago, makes the trip out each January for a sail. Ben has for many years – some say too many, ruled the scratch pointscore at MHYC. On this occasion, Tim was able to just make the break at the starts on most occasions and hold off Ben for the 2013 Title.

Chris Williams aboard Coconut Telegraph was the third placed boat and the winner of the DeckHardware donated Pat Carroll Memorial Trophy for the best placed timber seated version.

I then took off on a small overnight drive down to Canberra and across to Eden on the south coast for a DeckHardware sales trip. These places are just a little too far to do in a day from Sydney but an overnighter makes it easer to see the customers down south. I was able to check on the progress of a yacht being fitted with Man Ship Marine hatches, ports and sliding companionway hatches. They look good, however the owner builder has had some down time due to other issues and the launch is some time off.

Back home and it was back in to race management mode, this time the next heat of the NSW Kiteboarding Association titles.034 Kiteboarding attracted a range of competitors. There were those who sailed and those who surfed, rather like the introduction decades ago of the Windsurfer. On this day we only had a handfull of the 38 entrants turn up as the conditions for this form of sailing are rather specific. Most sailors can sail in anything up to 25-30 knots with out major issues. Kites on the other hand require a minimum of 10 knots just to get out on the water. This raises all sorts of issues when planning ahead for course racing.

It is a good experience however and I look forward to next season and hopefully better weather and more competitors.

The following weeks saw me up at Pittwater helping run the Pittwater High Schools District teams sailing event. This was a new one for me as I hadn’t been involved in any teams racing management before. With Melissa as one of the umpires, I was able to get my head around running 60 odd races in one day. It made for some interesting discussions between us on the radio. I wanted to start a race, however I couldn’t because there were no umpires on the startline. More things to think of other than wind/tide and course construction that I usually watch out for. Again it was an experience watching some of the sailors teams racing and making calls to their team mates on who to cover etc.

We have just had the JJ Giltinan World 18’er Championship on the harbour and amongst the competitors was a staff member of Allen Brothers in England. DeckHardware distributes the Allen product range and this was a great opportunity to spend some time with Tristan Hutt and the crew of Pica who made the trip ‘Downunder’. 032The photo shows the CTech team from NZ making the perfect porthand start. They were able to continue this break and lead the whole way around the track. The bow on port behind CTech is The Kitchen Maker skippered by dual Olympic Gold Medalist Mal Page, unfortunately he had to take the sterns on most of the fleet and wasn’t able to recover, finishing mid fleet.

Melissa was able later in the week on the layday to take the Pica team on a tour of the Northern Beaches taking in some of the sights of Home and Away’s Summer Bay. The TV show is seen by more in England than here, so they were pleased to have the opportunity.

The English sailors were more than happy to spend some time away from the English Winter, we think they will be back.

This coming weekend we have the 420/470 States at MHYC and the following weekend in the Sydney Harbour Regatta featuring the Sydney38 Championships, both events I’ll be running as RO. Hopefully we get some of the nice weather as seen in the 18’er photo, but given the battering that the East Coast of Australia has been having of late, I don’t think so.

With the south east of Queensland and norther New South Wales being affected by floods recently, several of my sales trips have had to be changed, hopefully after Easter I can get up north and show off the new DeckHardware products. Our thoughts go out to those who have suffered losses due to these floods.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

It’s been a big couple of weeks and I haven’t been anywhere.

With the Sanctuary Cove Boatshow coming up in a couple of weeks time, I haven’t had a chance to get out on the road. Many of my friends and some of our DeckHardware customers know that I spend quite a bit of time on the road visiting the various chandleries, boatbuilders and riggers around Australia, however there’s been plenty to do with the show season upon us.

Last week I had the chance to go out to test a few of the PeterGs boat cleaning products on an old Laser. The boat had been in storage for some time before being picked up by a couple of friends and occasional DeckHardware helpers James Gough and Liz Gazzard. Goughy and I had a range of the PeterGs to trial cleaning up the boat.

We tried the Marine Wash, an Alcoline product on one side and on the other the KleenAHull and Acidic product to compare the outcome. Whilst we didn’t expect too much from the Marine Wash on the bottom, we had excellent results from the KleenAHull as shown by the photo. You can see the difference from the square we masked off. With a final cleanup of the Port side, Goughy and Liz have a new looking boat, bar the tape mark down the centre line!

Over the weekend, rather than being out on the startboat no the seasons over, I’ve been building new stands for the boatshows. Man Ship Marine and Houdini both have new products and therefore new stands for this year. We’ve also re-arranged many of the other stands to show off differing lines from each manufacturer, Forespar for example have their new range of Tef45 products for anti corrosion use. For those in Australia, you’ll just have to come along and have a look, we’ll be at both Sanctuary Cove and the Sydney boatshows. Everyone else will have to keep an eye on the DeckHardware Facebook page where Melissa will be keeping you updated.