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.



Victoria October 2013

Following on from the week in South Australia, I spent the Saturday driving to Warrnambool in Victoria in order to start the week there on Monday. I hadn’t driven this particular road before and whilst i have driven past many vineyards and wineries in the country, this day opened up yet more of those comments..’Ohh that’s where that comes from’. Many of the names are common place in the Aussie vernacular and I was able to put the name to the place with a grin as I drove past each sign.

On Monday morning I started off in Warrnambool where on previous visits I’d made contact with a boat builder, Pete Trewartha. Pete’s shed when I first went there had a multitude of yachts, some over 50′. At the moment there is a few yachts, sport boats and a large power boat. Once again I spent several hours going through all of the DeckHardware range of products, one of the reasons why driving and showing the range works. It was then on to Geelong another 3 hour drive and the start of the week in Melbourne and the outer suburbs.

Once again it was a full week of showing the DeckHardware range with new products from Allen Brothers England, Forespar, Liros Ropes and PROtect Tapes. On this trip I was now aware that in the past I was able to do the rounds and see quite a few customers both old and new. With a greater range of new products, it was now taking longer to do the rounds.


On the last Saturday morning I stayed in Sandringham to catch up with some of the sailors competing in Sail Sandringham, this event had over 150 entries from Optis, Cadets, 420s and 29ers up to SB20s. One of those I ran in to was Ian Brown who was there to race his SB20. Our relationship goes back several decades when he built the first sail for Melissa’s first dinghy in the early 80s. Ian is a multiple champion at state, national and world level with a Bronze medal at the 1976 Olympics. He’d been in to DeckHardware earlier this year with Malcolm Page one day to re fit his boat with a range of Liros Ropes.



The these two photos show early one morning at Sandringham. These were taken within minutes of each other. First the Moon setting and then the Sun rising, quite spectacular at the time.





The shipping photos were taken Monday evening at Port Phillip Heads at the look out over ‘the Rip’. The entrance to the bay is quite small and smaller boats have to time their entry and exit. yacht races are known to start at odd hours to ensure they all get out safely.

Then it was home, total distance covered 5854kms over the previous 15 days. A quite enjoyable trip weather wise apart from the flies and mozzies in Port Lincoln. Whilst I didn’t see as many as I had in the past, those I saw were quite pleased to see the new DeckHardware products.



South Australia 2013

Last weekend I drove the 1900kms from Sydney to Port Lincoln in South Australia as the beginning of a 2 week DeckHardware sales trip. Over the years I’ve found it best to start at the farthest point and work my way back towards Sydney rather than as I had in my first trips of starting close and ending up furthest.

Port Lincoln is known for being the Tuna fishing capital of Australia and over the years there have been many competitive sailors from the region. It’s also the finish of the annual Adelaide to Port Lincoln yacht race, South Australia’s premier ocean race.

Over the past week I’ve had the opportunity to visit some 26 outlets, shipwrights, marina managers and others in the marine industry. By taking a vehicle carrying a range of DeckHardware products, it gives me the opportunity to show off a range of products especially those new from our suppliers such as Liros Rope, Forespar and PROtect tapes.

Unfortunately due to an electrical fault with the Van and a day off the road, I didn’t have the chance to catch up with as many of those as I had hoped. It was however great to catch up with those I have met over the years and it’s great to see many of them again. For those who I speak to when back in the office, it’s good to hear a familiar voice on the end of the line. I’ve found that it takes some time to show off the product range and I thank those who take the time to come to the DeckHardware van to run through it all. It’s certainly easier than taking the bins inside a retail outlet.

Photo one shows the van at Port Lincoln Yacht Club last Monday, where there was a fleet of Lasers, Optimists, Cadets and a 420 having a mini-regatta and some coaching. I look forward to following their progress in the coming years. Photo two is the one road sign I’m yet to drive past. Over the years, I’ve covered the east coast from the far far North to the Southern extremity of the mainland and following the coastline west to Coffin Bay, Tasmania and up to Darwin. In the west, I’ve covered the area from Albany to Geraldton. The one road I’m yet to drive is across the Nullabor to Perth, one day. I said that the last time I saw this sign post too! Photo three shows one of the boats I haven’t seen for several decades. ‘East of the Lizard’ was a regular competitor at my home club in Middle Harbour all those years ago. She’s was spotted in Port Vincent, it’s great to see some of these old boats still around. Last Monday was a public holiday, so whilst the dinghies were out on the water at Port Lincoln. I took the chance to drive to Coffin Bay, home of some of Australia’s best oysters. At least so I’m told, next time I may take the opportunity to sample some of the seafood delights of this region. Some how I’m yet to have a Scallop Pie in when in Hobart or Tuna in Port Lincoln. Mmnn.

This week I’ll be in Victoria, hopefully it will be as good a trip as the first week on the road.


Another interstate trip

Last week I made a late trip down to Melbourne, I had hoped to spend the week seeing a majority of customers that I don’t see on my regular trips. Unfortunately due to the ill health of Robyn I could only get away for a couple of days. So instead of driving down Sunday, I left late thursday afternoon and could only spend Friday seeing a few people.


Saturday was spent attending a Yachting Australia Racing Rules and race officers meeting at Royal Brighton Yacht Club, before the return 10 hour drive home on Sunday. Why drive? Too often I’m asked do you have this to show me, I haven’t seen that before. having a van full of products enables me to show a range of the nearly 10,000 items in our price list.



I had the chance to visit the Melbourne Wooden Boat Centre at Docklands. This is a Co-operative of owner builders building a nd repairing a quite differing range of craft. Luke Evans is one of those building his first little sailing dinghy, a 16’er as seen in the front right of the photo. Luke is after a classic style in his finish and Liros do a range of ropes that will hopefully fit his final look. I was able to show him a variety of the DeckHardware range, including the Allen fittings and PROtect Tape. Some of the other boats ranged from a Minnow up to a Dragon class yacht, there were rowing sculls and Dragon paddling canoes, quite a range.


Saturday at Brighton was a first also. As my clubs Principal race officer, I try to keep up to date on what’s going on, especially with the new ISAF rules coming in to effect in January. Each state had a nominated person to vote but there were several of us sitting in and able to to comment where neccessary. It will be interesting to see the new rules of Sailing come in to effect as I had not been involved before.