New experiences and journeys

July has been HUGE.  I had the opportunity to drive to Goolwa South Australia for the Australian Schools Team Racing Championship where DeckHardware was a sponsor and I was an umpire.  I had never driven to South Australia before so it was a bit of an adventurous two days!

I could not believe after hearing so much about the Sturt Highway it was raining for a fair percentage of my drive.  Water everywhere and some green fields! So this is outback Australia? It was fantastic to see them getting some rain even though it did make the drive a little more stressful.  I stopped overnight in Hay but unfortunately only had a limited amount of daylight to wander around. What an experience to be able to see so much of Australia, even if only from the view of the Van.

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Heading to Goolwa in Winter meant ensuring I had my fair share of Thermals packed. Staying warm in a RIB can be tricky as you don’t move around a great deal.  The event was fantastic and if you are interested check out the Down Under Sail Facebook page where you will find some video of the on water action.  To see 24 teams from around the Country participating in some brilliant racing was fantastic.Lucky enough I did not have to drive back, Phil aka Dad took over in South Australia with the van to see some of our DeckHardware customers.  Flying back was certainly much faster!

Just a little rain when I arrived in Goolwa!

The next month is a busy one as an Aussie Sailing Fan. I would like to wish everyone on the Team a MASSIVE Good Luck. I can see increased coffee consumption in my future.

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Good days and the not so good days

The past year has not been the greatest for me. Since being diagnosed with Hypermobility it has been a bit of hit and miss action to figure out how to move forward. For the past year I have been on a muscle relaxant to try to counteract the tight muscles so that I could spend more time at the gym and just doing things in general.  Unfortunately this lead to other issues along with some trouble from when I fractured my foot a few years ago.  My muscles often transfer the tight spots, which means the treatment moves week by week.

The irony now being that I actually ended up doing less at the gym whilst I tried to get my muscles activating as they should to even walk let alone up and down stairs. I basically lost all strength in my left leg as it transferred the issue between the glute, knee, ankle and foot.  Taping up the foot and knee weekly with acupuncture has been a massive help to re-train it all.

So the decision to come off the muscle relaxants has been a tough one. With so many pros and cons. It has now been almost two months off them and even though some days have been hard I have been able to retrain muscle groups with the help of Physio, Pilates and Weights.

I must admit I am now trialling on the bad days a more healthy option of Turmeric. I do like the idea of not permanently being on something so fingers crossed.

Unfortunately the timing has not been great on this road to health and fitness as I head off to Goolwa in South Australia next week for some umpiring.  I just hope the work I have done in the last two months means I hold together.  I feel at the moment my core strength is almost the best it has been despite the lack of overall fitness.  Which hopefully means I can work on that when I get back.  In the last two weeks I have managed to jump on the bike and do some interval and resistance training which has been AMAZING! Last time I tried that over a year ago I ended up barely able to stand up straight as my Hip Flexors just reacted so badly.

Enough about the journey of trying to manage HMS. Bring on the road trip and driving to Goolwa! Two days on the road followed by umpiring some great sailing at the 2016 DeckHardware Australian Secondary Schools Team Sailing Nationals.

Inspiration is an energiser

Sunset at the SpitGetting back into the swing of things has taken a little time after the Sydney Sailboat Expo and working out what is priority along with DeckHardware over winter. I have been back at the gym where my new favourite class is Drums Alive! Such a great way to start a Saturday with a bunch of energy and friends.

I managed to catch up with Liesl Tesch and Erica Kirby before Liesl headed to Europe to compete. A catch up in the park whilst talking sailing rules and pretending to be boats on land. I am sure anyone driving past the Spit that afternoon looking at the Sunset must have been amused and wondered what on earth we were doing. What better way to spend an afternoon in Autumn! Spending time with Liesl is always inspiring and a great deal of fun.

Sunset at the SpitLiesl is now with other members of the Australian Sailing Team in Medimblik about to take part in the Para Worlds which start Tuesday! Good Luck team! Check out the Aussie Sailors Rock group on Facebook where we cheer on Aussie sailors competing overseas.

It has been a big few months for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as the planning for Bart’s Bash is now in full swing.  Here in Australia there are a number of clubs already signed up and more that have confirmed verbally.  Here is a link to the latest news on this year’s Bart’s Bash.  Last week whilst in QLD I caught up with the team at Southport Yacht Club where Aussie Ambassador Joel Turner will be supporting this year’s Bart’s Bash. It is great to hear that plans are underway with Ambassadors involved!

I have a few plans for here in Sydney for this year’s Bart’s Bash so stay tuned! So far there are clubs in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA! In 2016 Bart’s Bash will be raising awareness and funds to support grassroots disabled sailing globally. The 2016 edition of Bart’s Bash is scheduled for 17-18 September which is on at the same time as the 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. The timing is incredible considering everything that is going on, with this being the last chance for Para Athletes to compete in Sailing for now.

Whilst in QLD on Thursday I dropped by the Gold Coast International Marine Expo and Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. It was great to catch up with so many from within the sailing industry for a chat. We have seen some big changes in the last few years and working together we can certainly be stronger for it. I finished the day catching up with Alistair Murray from Ronstan talking rules, sailing, friends, industry, women in sailing and more. There is always so much to talk about when it comes to our sport and industry. If you work in the Aussie Sailing Industry check out our Facebook Group and you ever want to catch up just send me a message.

Recovery and Reflection

It has now been a week since the 2016 Sydney Sailboat Expo wrapped up. I almost don’t know what to write, there is so much to say.

Firstly to my friends and DeckHardware Ambassadors – I am so proud of you as Ambassadors and so grateful to call you friends. You helped me get through the weekend with your support and willingness to do whatever was needed. Ensuring I ate and drank water especially on Saturday when we were stretched for volunteers. The Sydney Sailboat Expo would not have existed if it weren’t for you being our volunteers. To deliver such an event with just a small team shows the effort you all put in.

Thank you to Jordan Spencer who the week of the Expo stepped in to be the voice of the Expo doing Videos, announcements and more. Thank you to Melissa Williams-Brown Photography for the amazing photos you have taken so we can remember what can be done.

I saw online a number of posts where people asked why this didn’t happen in other states.  I guess the reason is my family decided it was needed after discussing it with a number of people in the sport and industry. We dedicated I would hate to think how many hours to ensuring it happened. Sydney as a location gives us access to so much of the Sailing Industry. We are just a family who love the sport of sailing and work in the Industry. All the posters you saw at clubs leading up to the event and the signs around the expo for instance, were all laminated by my Dad (Phil). We dedicated our time and money to the promotion of our sport and would like to thank in particular our DeckHardware competitors who supported what we were doing.

A huge thank you also to the high profile sailors who came to the Expo or shared that the Expo was on despite being overseas competing. Special thanks to Liesl Tesch and Tom Burton who took hours out of their weekend to come to the Sydney Sailboat Expo and were more than happy to talk to everyone.

The last week for us has been about unpacking, sorting out the DeckHardware Warehouse and getting back to normal work. I’ve looked back and wondered how we achieved it and wonder where we found the time and energy to do what needed doing. I am the first to admit the Sydney Sailboat Expo could be so much more than what it has been the first two years. Having said that I am proud of the fact that we have been able to bring so much of the industry together to work together in promoting and supporting sailing. The range of Associations this year was truly something I was excited and proud of.

As I recover I will do some thinking about where we go now. The effort involved was massive for this year and doing it within our little office whilst still running DeckHardware is difficult I will not lie.  I am exhausted but at the same time can see what the Sydney Sailboat Expo could be if we could continue to grow and for the entire community to get behind it. I look to the shows overseas and I have to admit I would love to achieve so much more.

To those who thanked me for the hours my Mum (Robyn) and I put in, Thank you. I was honestly shocked to receive the thank you gifts from a couple of the exhibitors. I received some wonderful messages of what some of our visitors experienced at the Expo, thank you. Hearing that we were mentioned on two commercial radio stations honestly was fantastic. An Expo about sailing got mentioned! Who would have thought sailing would be on the radio let alone this.

In a few weeks once I have given it some thought I will have a meeting with a few of the exhibitors to discuss what happens now.  The Sydney Sailboat Expo, all it was a few years ago was a dream concept of showcasing sailing after the success we had in London. To show that we are an accessible sport for everyone! I have dedicated so much of my time and energy to this project and still believe it could be so much more. To do it again in 2017 is a big ask of not only myself and my family but my amazing volunteers. So for now, I will rest, reflect and get back to work.

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Time has flown by

I can not believe how long it has been since I wrote a blog post! That is what happens when you are busy. You don’t realise just how fast time is moving.

Work has been extremely busy especially the last few weeks as I prepare for the upcoming Sydney Sailboat Expo.  It is on next weekend! I can not believe the second SSE is almost here. What a journey and I am so lucky to have such amazing support around me. Especially as we juggle the job that is already a full time one DeckHardware. DeckHardware itself has seen a busy summer which has kept us on our toes!

I have managed to spend a little time on the water however for the first time in years have missed the NSW Schools Teams Racing which was on this weekend! So strange to not be there and instead be sitting here working away on the laptop finishing maps, competitions, press releases and the never ending list.

If you have followed my blog for a while you will know I spend a fair amount of time at the Physio thanks to being Hyper Mobile.  I am extremely excited about the upcoming Expo and special guest speaker that is coming.

Donna White from Total Physiotherapy will be hosting a talk on “How to make your body go faster / perform better” at the Sydney Sailboat Expo on the 9th April 2016 at 1pm.

Don’t miss this opportunity to hear from the Australian Sailing Team’s Physiotherapist. When it comes to Sailing and your body Donna and the team at Total Physiotherapy have a wealth of knowledge and experience.” Find out more: www.sydneysailboatexpo.com.au/how-to-make-your-body-go-faster-perform-better 

There is so much hard work going on to make this event a reality so to be able to announce a talk by someone like Donna is wonderful. So if you are a sailor especially a dinghy sailor make sure you don’t miss it!

The Sydney Sailboat Expo is the place to go to find out how to get yourself or your kids involved in the sport of sailing! So if you love the great outdoors of Sydney come along and find out more about sailing and the many options available.

The Sydney Sailboat Expo will be held on the 9-10 April 2016 10am – 4pm at the International College of Management, Sydney (ICMS) in Manly!

10 years with DeckHardware

Nathan Outteridge Sailing Team
Nathan Outteridge Sailing Team on the front of the van

Today I was going to sit down and write about the regatta’s I have been volunteering at to kick start 2016.  The Opti Nationals and Australian Youths, however LinkedIn had other ideas.

It has now been over 10 years that I have worked for DeckHardware.  I had done the marketing for the company for several years prior to coming onboard full time in 2006.  In the early days before my family purchased the business we shared a warehouse with the owner’s other business and my friends at Musto.  My road rep for a while there was Nathan Outteridge with the special DeckHardware van with logos and his name on the front hahaha.

Those were the days when we had four brands to distribute. We could see the potential as the four brands were great brands to work with. In December 2006 with both my Mum (Robyn who has been with the company even longer) and I knowing the company inside out we purchased DeckHardware and Dad (Phil) came to work for the company. I think we might have to do something in December to celebrate that!

Loved that kite!
Loved that kite!

There certainly has been some huge changes during that time both at DeckHardware and for the Australian Marine Industry. What a journey it has been for us.

We are extremely proud of the hard work we have put in and to be able to say we are the distributors of:

Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware, Billy Bung, Blue Performance, CC Marine, Forespar, Houdini, JDC, Liros Rope, Man Ship Marine, Peter G’s, PROtect Tapes, Sanol, Schaefer Marine, SpliceRight, Splicing Nut, TBS by Passage and Walder.

During this time I have been on an incredible journey.  I have worked strange hours, multiple other casual jobs at one point at the same time to help fund the growth. I had to sell my beautiful yacht Animus for the extra funds and because there was just not the time to sail her enough let alone 5 days a week like I had been.

Germany in Winter
Germany in Winter

I have travelled around Australia to the different Boat Shows as an exhibitor and a visitor, to the Annapolis Boat Show, Dusseldorf Boat Show, London Boat Show, Auckland Boat Show and of course METSTRADE several times in Amsterdam to grow the business. For a while there I felt like I lived at boat shows hahaha. I have spent time in Los Angeles working in the Forespar office, I have experienced the Liros Factory in Germany in the snow. What an incredible experience this has been and one that led me to creating the Sydney Sailboat Expo.

It has not been an easy journey and certainly been a challenge learning so many new skills along the way. Who would have thought studying music I would end up here? At least the course for musicians taught what you needed to know to run your own business and the basics of HTML, Poster design etc etc.

Amsterdam is beautiful
Amsterdam is beautiful

I am grateful to my friends and family who have stuck by me through the long odd hours.

To our DeckHardware suppliers thank you so much for all your support and friendship over the years. I am looking forward to November when I will once again be travelling to Europe to visit suppliers and METSTRADE. Of course one of the best things about heading to Europe is seeing two of my old crew Marty, Marlene and their family who now live in Frankfurt. After all, Sailing is what got me here.

What will the next 10 years bring!

The METSTRADE IBI article where I was featured.
The METSTRADE IBI article where I was featured

 

Sydney Sailing features and so it should!

The last few weeks have been amazing and at the same time it feels like months haha.  The first Olympic Sailing Team Members were announced for Rio with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen announced as our 49er Team. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan on the 470 and Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse on the Nacra. It is an exciting time to be involved with the team as a sponsor as well as seeing people like Nath and Goobs who I have known for so long get the call up to another Olympics.

The Extreme Sailing Series hit my home waters of Sydney Harbour and old friends Katie Spithill and Stacey Jackson were in the thick of it competing onboard 33 South Racing. I should say that they are not old, we have just known each other longer than we probably would care to admit. As a result I offered myself as a mini cheer squad, Social media advisor and whatever else I could help with. For many reasons I was more than happy to help, including the fact that we are old friends and crewmates as well as how well they represent sailing and female sailors especially.

What an experience it was. An amazing opportunity for Katie in particular to show she can mix it with the more experienced Extreme Sailing Series skippers. It didn’t all go to plan thanks to a Port and Starboard setting back the weekend however I think the determination and attitude the crew showed to come out the other side proved their was a lot of promise and competitive nature backed with skill.  To say the crew were itching to get back out on the water would be an understatement whilst waiting for the repairs.

A year earlier I had been cheering on Nath Wilmot and crew on GAC Pindar and this time around it was another crew from our youth. I think I have mentioned before that Aussie Sailors Rock!  There is something special about where we have come from that has created a really inspirational group of sailors on and off the water.  I am so proud to be connected with so many friends from the past and doing what I can via both the Sydney Sailboat Expo and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to promote Sailing.  I hope the next generation of young sailors can be just as lucky to create great friends and memories.

Speaking of the next generation, Sail Sydney was on over the past weekend with a brilliant turnout! As one of the MANY volunteers it was wonderful to see so many course areas and classes competing on the Harbour. There were also some amazing photos of the Super Maxi’s out training sailing past the Sail Sydney Competitors.

Now comes Christmas but there is no slowing down! Boxing Day is a pretty big day in Sydney Sailing and there is no need to guess where I will be! On Sydney Harbour of course! Once again volunteering on the second line Start Boat.  Being able to do so is something special for all of us and a reward for all the hours of volunteering we do throughout the year and the effort we go to as volunteers to ensure we have the skills to back it up.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart brings many Aussie Sailors Home. Yesterday morning it meant catching up with Nocka (Anthony Nossiter) for a long breakfast, it has been a big year.  So it was nice to sit down and chat about all sorts of topics including of course plans moving forward for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and how we felt about how the year had unfolded.  It has been quite the journey.

In the end it is all about friendships. Nocka’s friendship with Bart, Nocka and My friendship, My friendship with Katie and Stacey. I think you get it, sailing isn’t just something we do competitively. We do it because we love it and that is why I hope to introduce many more to this great sport and will continue to put up my hand to support friends should the opportunity be there.

See you on the water!

 

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I am a volunteer

Over the last two weeks I have done 3 events, 10 days out of 11 on the water volunteering.  It often surprises me how many people ask if I get paid for what I do. I am not sure if this is asked because I work in the Sailing industry or because of the number of events I volunteer at which means being out of the office.  Lunches are usually supplied and sometimes breakfast for the early starts. Depending on the event you may get a regatta shirt or a small thank you gift. The three events I just volunteered at were two Match Racing Events at RPAYC and CYCA and the third was Fleet Racing being umpired at RMYC.

Many of the events I do I see the same volunteers, whether it be RO’s, Umpires, Judges or the onshore team. Many of the faces have now become good friends as a result of how much time we do spend with each other.

So I guess the question we should be asked is why we do it. We love our sport, we love talking tactics and rules.  We get to spend huge amounts of time on our beautiful waterways that people pay to spend time on.  But most of all we love our sport and seeing people enjoying it too.  So next time you see the same familiar faces on a start boat or RIB make sure you say hi. If you have ever thought about getting more involved do talk to us as it can be great fun. Of course it can sometimes be hard work and very long hours on the water or back in the protest room.

It comes down to loving the sport, the friends and the time on the water.  The next time you go sailing have a look at how many people it takes to run that racing. Do you see those faces on a regular basis?

I am a volunteer and this is why:

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Perfect evening for a Twilight Sail

Nights like last night remind me why I work so hard to show others how amazing Sailing can be.  A Thursday night sail on Sydney Harbour = magic. A couple of friends, a nice breeze and a great boat. It does not get much better than that!

I am lucky to be in the position that I can borrow a friends boat to go for a sail.  I know I am biased but the Adams 10 class really is something special. Easy to sail, enjoyable to drive and perfect for a twilight.  Since selling my Adams 10 whenever I have wanted to get out sailing I have been able to borrow Sirius and I am very thankful for that. Sirius beat me overall the year we tied for the Gunboat Trophy so it is nice to sail a boat that is quick and set up a little different to how Animus was.  Even if the pole setup did confuse my bow for a moment haha.

Enjoy the photos and remember how lucky we are to be able to go Twilight sailing on Sydney Harbour.  If you haven’t done it I recommend you do! It is easy as all you need to do is head down to a Yacht Club on their twilight racing night and put your name down for a sail.  MHYC where I sailed last night often have Phil C manning the whiteboard hooking people up with a boat to sail on.  Why not head down and give it a try one Thursday night during the Summer Season?

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Sailing Season has taken over

The 2015 Sailing Season has certainly taken over my world.  With Match Racing and Youth Events taking over my weekends and some weekdays! It certainly is all keeping me extremely busy as well as meaning I get to enjoy the great outdoors that we have to offer here in Sydney. I just worked on my Calendar up to Christmas and realized at one point I am doing three events back to back! That is not even at the peak Regatta time over Christmas!

Last weekend was the Australian Women’s Match Racing Championships and this weekend the NSW Youth Champs just as an example of how busy it is.  Then throw in the fact there has been a big announcement in my life –  Global sailing charity establishes new committee in Australia! The Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation now has a committee and ambassadors set up in Australia.

The Australian Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation Team: I will chair the committee alongside Anthony Nossiter, Freddy Blencke, Marita Wilmot and Beau Outteridge. Ambassadors are Olympic Gold Medalists, Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen, Tom Slingsby and Nathan Wilmot and Sailors Lisa Darmanin, Luke Parkinson, Haylee Outteridge, Joel Turner, Dave Gimour, Laura Baldwin and writer Blue Robinson. With more names yet to be added.

Those who have followed my blog for some time will note that Anthony Nossiter a good friend of Bart’s is on the committee with me and that I have mentioned that surname before when talking about my sailing and sailing on Sirius the Adams 10m. I have often said Sailing is one big family and a lifestyle we live. Putting together the team for Australia certainly showed this. Besides the fact that there are two families with more than one person involved, many of us have known each other for 20+ years and have a strong connection with Bart who was from another country that is a Long – Haul flight away. Sailing can be pretty special at times and being involved in something like this reminds me how much so.

I might be busy but it certainly is an enjoyable busy.  Here are some photos from Bart’s Bash that happened a few weeks ago around the world. I spent the day at Woollahra Sailing Club having a fantastic time with great people.

Harry Price attempting a tack in an Opti
Briefing underway with special guest Lisa Darmanin from the Australian Sailing Team
The bigger Opti Sailors at WSC for Bart’s Bash