What a week and a bit.

Sunday before last I flew over to Perth to do the WA rounds seeing the DeckHardware customers over there.  It was a big couple of days, up to Hillarys, down to Bunbury and Mandurah, around Fremantle, back up to Hillarys and more in between, some 675kms. There’s always plenty going on, new roads and buildings, things change my bearings, where am I again? Turn on the GPS.. Unfortunately there were several who I didn’t get to see for a variety of reasons, next time eh Rachel and Colin?

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Once again I was hosted by Paul and Sarah who make these trips west possible. As it’s nice to come ‘home’ at the end of the day to a smile and ‘how was your day’ rather than an empty motel room. One evening we enjoyed the fireworks held for WA Day down at Fremantle Boat Harbour, a pleasant clear sky too.

I had a quick turnaround and was back in Sydney for literally only a couple of hours before heading off in a packed DeckHardware van. This time it was to the 50th Annual Keepit Kool Regatta halfway between Gunnedah and Tamworth, some 450kms north west from Sydney. DeckHardware has supported the Lake Keepit Sailing Club and this event for a few years now and as always it’s great to see ‘old but familiar faces again.  It was an easy drive there and I had dinner waiting for me courtesy of Marita Wilmot this time. Coming home? Well that was a different matter. There was the now usual holdup on the F3 from Morisset to Wyong due to road works, however this time there was also a 3 car pileup blocking two lanes near the exit at Hornsby. It was a crawl from before Mt White to the exit which added another two hours to the trip.

It was however a great weekend in that it wasn’t the chill of previous. Once the morning fog lifted it was a pleasant 17-18c around midday and less blankets and no portable heater at night. There were the two firepits outside the clubhouse where you could stand and rotate the body appropriately which was nice in the early evening. As well as providing a fully stocked canteen for breakfast, lunch and dinner, Saturday night was the Crustacean Challenge where Yabbies are ‘sold’ off and the winners collect, at which children and adults both enjoy the atmosphere. Sunday night they held a trivia competition for the keen ones. There really is something about the hospitality of the country clubs that keeps the sailors coming back.

On the water, I wasn’t involved this year but they had about 70 entries spread across 4 divisions, the largest for some time. Keepit Kool is known for being a generally light air event with the odd hour here and there lost in a drift-a-thon. This year there was enough breeze to get in 5 races on Saturday and Sunday, the last race on Monday was abandoned, then the breeze came in not long after. However everyone had started packing up and results were being tabulated. Water level was down around 13% from last years nearly70% but there was still enough and there’s plenty of rigging space too. Everyone has space, there’s no barging for a ramp, you just pick your spot at the waters edge.

Over the 50 years there’s been plenty who’ve been to Keepit, make a point in your diary for 2019 and if it’s been a while, you never know who you’ll run into. There were plenty of world and national champion sailors competing and enjoying the event for what it is, fun.

 

 

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.