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.

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.

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!

This time it’s Victoria

It seeems like only yesterday that I was over in Western Australia checking out the boating scene including the continuing build of this catamaran south of Fremantle. In this case the supply and fitting of the Forespar Marelon plumbing

Two weeks ago I was up in Southern Queensland , now I’m down in Victoria and about to kick off the week down here. This will be the end of the long trips till after the Sanctuary Cove and Sydney Boat Shows as there’s plenty to do locally as well.

Who knows what I’ll find, either way it’ll be a busy one showing off all the new products.

It may be the end of the sailing  season down here and they all talk AFL, but I have plenty to show too. What I’ve found after Queensland, is that I’m spending far longer at each stop. Being able to show off more keeps us out there.

I’m looking forward to it. Each trip usually brings something new.