Confusing weather and a race start

So is anyone else confused with this crazy weather? Yesterday was AMAZING here in Sydney. Today sitting here at my desk it is bucketing rain and cool again… Any thoughts on what I should plant in the garden? Winter or Summer produce haha.

On Saturday I escaped for a few hours heading out on the MHYC Start boat to watch the Sydney Gold Coast race start. So much sunshine and a light breeze that filled in just after the start. What a magic way to spend a few hours, and wave Hi to plenty of people I have not seen in a while.

It has been a busy few weeks with lots of time spent at the Physio playing with orthotics and doing some Pilates rehab work. Which can be interesting as my muscles are so bad at releasing themselves. Winter is all about finding time to get things done before the summer season hits. It almost has felt like I have been busier with extra gym visits, Dentists, Doctors etc. But it is not long now till the sun will be out for longer each day and the warehouse will be boiling instead of freezing 🙂

 

 

Putting in the hours and seeing the reward

The last few months I have been pretty quiet for a number of reasons.  Actually, it is really since November last year when we launched the new DeckHardware website.  We always knew this was going to be a lot of work but it seems the further we get the more we realise we can do and there is still to do!

As a distributor, it is important for us to get up as many of the products as possible with as much technical data as possible.  This takes time and research and I would like to take a moment to thank those who have visited the new website and understood it a work in progress.

I am loving the new look and hope you are all finding it easy to navigate. Trust me when I say there are plenty more features to come! It is actually pretty exciting what we will be able to do in the future. We have also installed a new Chat program which means all three of us can access it to talk to customers and share links or Tech Sheets which is fantastic.

On top of this, we have re-signed our contract as an Official Supplier of Australian Sailing with the support of LIROS in Germany.  We have worked with LIROS longer than we have owned DeckHardware and it is exciting to continue this partnership.

Whilst working hard I have switched up my Gym routine which has been very exciting! I have moved away from the Aqua classes and whilst still focusing on Pilates Reformer I am now able to do some weights and get back on the bike and even a rower! This has been a big step in managing the Hyper Mobility. It is still a lot of guessing as to how far I can push but it is nice to be able to change it up.

The last few weeks have involved just a few 3am wake-ups to watch the America’s Cup. Congratulations Emirates Team New Zealand. Firstly I am so excited that I won’t have to wake up at 3am.  It is going to be really interesting to follow what they do as no doubt there will be a few changes especially given where the boats will be sailing next time around. Waking up to watch so many Aussie’s participating was amazing. There were some incredible moments and some great racing in particular between Artemis and Team NZ.

It was so nice this morning to not have to wake up so early! What is next for Aussie Sailing Fans?

 

 

Following to learn

In a world full of competition for sporting coverage I have to say that Supercars are doing a pretty awesome job when it comes to updates for Fans and Sponsors alike. Supercars themselves with things like Supercars Life which is a great series on Foxtel along with all their social media is great to follow. The drivers are also doing a fantastic job remembering to thank sponsors, do live feeds on social media about their race day, ensuring logos are seen in videos or photos, entertaining posts to keep followers engaged etc.

I think a lot of other sports could learn a thing or two from following other sports like this whether you like car racing or not. I follow a lot of different sports to get ideas (plus I just love to follow sports) and see what is happening and this is seriously impressive at the moment.

Behind the scenes and showing that it is a family affair in many cases is a great idea.

Women who Sail

Where did March go? All of a sudden it was April and time to head to the Women Who Sail Australia Gathering on the Bay. After missing out last year this event had been in the Calendar for some time and one I was looking forward to.

Hanging out with 100+ like-minded sailing women is an experience that cannot be described. I think Jackie Parry has summed it up pretty well so I will leave you with her words on that.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk about rope care and choice as part of the talks. Trying to do this in just over 30mins certainly is a mission let alone finding time to mention maintenance tips and tricks on everything else we do! I hope I was able to shed a little light on the topic for those in the room.  With technology constantly changing I find Rope a fascinating topic at the moment.

On the Saturday night I had the pleasure of asking the Panel questions at the Dinner. The panel consisted of Lauren Gallaway, Jackie Parry and Lin Pardey. How fun it was to ask them about superstitions, places they never expected to go and their best tips!

For me the best part was finding out just a little about those in the room. You just never know till you open the cover what you will find!

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50 years for the Flying 11

Dolly our MC

On the weekend we celebrated 50 years of the Flying 11. Wondering what exactly that is? Here are the facts. For me personally, it is the class I sailed as a teenager and where I made so many friends. It is a class that has had a huge impact on Australian Sailing.

For a bit of fun and research for the night I looked into who had sailed the Flying 11 that has gone onto International Success, Work in the Industry or are an Official. What an incredible list I was able to hand over to the organisers and MC. Also thanks to Manly Yacht Club who were a last minute venue due to wet weather!

There were a number of past champions present along with special guests Lisa Darmanin, Olivia Price and Josh McKnight who were lead through some questions by MC Dolly.

I also managed to get some quotes from past Flying 11 sailors Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Malcolm Page to read out on the night.

I have great memories of Sailing a Flying 11 and the friendships from those years are still strong. The best memories though have to be a tight reach in a noreaster on the sound.

The crowd, with plenty more outside.

 

Lisa inspiring the next generation!

Excited about 2017

2016 was an interesting year for me both personally and professionally. DeckHardware celebrated 10 years of our family owning the Business which was a big milestone. We also organised the 2nd Sydney Sailboat Expo which had an incredible number of sailing boats on display. 2016 was once again a great time for our Aussie Sailors in Rio. Then there was the new Website for DeckHardware and a trip to METSTRADE followed by adding DrSails to our range of brands! Phew what a year!

It was certainly a testing one with a quiet winter followed up by a pretty epic start to summer, more so than normal.

We witnessed some of the young sailors we have supported for a number of years head to the Youth Worlds with Finn bringing home a Gold and John a Bronze. It is so nice to watch these youngs sailors grow up and continue to not only love our sport but also see the results. As a family and via our company we do love to support sailing as much as we can and it can be so rewarding personally.

To finish off 2016 we were once again on the MHYC Start Boat for Boxing Day on the middle line. Helicopter numbers seemed down on previous years but the spectator fleet certainly turned up with the good weather! Watching the boats in pre-start is always enjoyable.

From a personal perspective, my Hypermobility became my main priority. I have learnt over the past two years about the pain management side of things and trying to get my muscles to relax where required and stay strong where needed at the same time. This has not been easy and taken its toll, but it is nice to have tested the waters (hahaha) and now I have a better idea of how to move forward.

As a result, I feel stronger than I have in years. I am booked in at the gym to do some weights classes to gradually get the joints used to those movements again. In 2016 I was able to get back on a bike and not create major issues which was a HUGE breakthrough for me. Pilates Reformer will remain for the rest of my life something that I have to ensure I do as often as possible. The difference it has made has been fantastic even though sometimes it has felt like I was going backwards overall I was moving forwards.

2017, I am looking forward to you.

My Sailing Story

The story is often told of how I was born early so Dad could do an Ocean Race. So just a few days into life I was taken to Middle Harbour Yacht Club to wave Dad off and visit what would be my club growing up.

At the time my grandfather John Dibble [Pa] owned Defiance which was the first boat I got to sail on, strapped to the back of the boat in a car seat. I don’t remember learning to sail. By the time Pa had bought Farr Out I was sitting on the side of the boat calling the breeze and occasionally skirting the headsail when allowed. I remember Dad once having to explain to a guest on board why I was annoyed, I was a few seconds out on the breeze call and not impressed with myself. I gradually moved my way back in the boat and was of course allowed the odd drive sitting on someone’s lap. At 11 I was eventually allowed to do mainsheet during a Botany Bay and back race on Indulgence which was a big milestone.

Pa had a variety of racing yachts as I grew up that I got to sail. While my other grandfather Peter had the Timber sloop from 1923 called Thistle which was perfect to go away on.  As Dad did not work afternoons, during school holidays I got to go Wednesday Sailing, often on The Carpenter with Pat Carroll who taught me how to drive in and out of the old marina at an early age. School Holidays were often family trips away on either the racing or cruising boat with weekends also often spent in Upper Middle Harbour. My 11th Birthday was spent onboard with friends for a weekend away at Sugarloaf.

When I was able to prove I could swim across the pool without needing a breath my parents decided at 5 I was old enough to crew in a Manly Junior for Nathan Wilmot. As his mum had crewed with my parents it was now time for us to sail together.  We started out on Narrabeen Lake before being taken to MHYC for our first few Sundays. However as we were both just 5 and 6 , we were a little small. One race I was pulled out and replaced by James Wilmot, I can remember Nath telling me that even his Dad had to hike as it was “really windy”. We also had one capsize and turtle in the marina where I discovered the cubby hole much to Mum and Marita’s concern. Nath advised them I was chatting through the hull and telling him how cool it was underneath! Needless to say it was eventually decided we were too small and we did not sail an MJ again together for several years instead sailing with others. We teamed up just the one more time in the MJ for the Club Picnic where we set the Tip Top Bread sponsored 420 sized Spinnaker that had been used in the TV Commercials. It was a little big and of course the MJ had no kicker so Nath had to sit on the bow.

My first boat was a timber dinghy designed and built by my Grandfathers it had a VERY colourful sail thanks to Ian Brown. This was followed by an MJ called Bonecrusher 2642 for racing.  I then moved onto the Flying 11 and my parents put together 1167 which was built at the same time as Sarah Wilmot’s 1168.  This was when I learnt how to put together a boat and do gelcoat repairs as I opted for a 50/50 mix of Dove Grey and White. So to do a repair I would have to match the colour as I only had a small jar of the mix. The Flying 11 years made a huge impact on who I am as a person and sailor. I also still have so many friends from this era and it is the reason we ended up being an Official Supplier to the Australian Sailing Team.

In my teenage years I had many opportunities which I am thankful for. For a few years Dad and I sailed with Bruce Ritchie on his Etchells on Saturday’s whilst I sailed Flying 11’s on the Sunday initially at MHYC before moving to Manly 16’s. Bruce would treat the sail home each day as a master class giving me the helm and talking constantly about the days sailing and my helming.  During this time I also did Twilights on the Etchells usually with Dad and good mate Michael Rynan aka Beaver.

I was also lucky enough to have Pat Carroll sign a leave form for my school to allow me to do the Wednesday race instead of school sport. Pat did this for a number of years and what I learnt sailing his Adams 10 would teach me so much about sailing and life. Pat taught me some of the most important skills including how to strip a winch.  I also had the opportunity to meet Rob Reynolds when he came out with us one day.  On a future Wednesday when Pat was not sailing Rob asked me to join him and we sailed the J44 just 5 up. I went on to sail some Saturdays with Rob and eventually did my first long offshore with him. I also met one of my main crew on board Phoenix.

During my teenage years I managed to go sailing with my Uncles’ on 11 Metre’s and 16 foot skiffs along with a number of other types of boats. Sailing was the focus and despite playing Netball as a kid, sailing eventually took over.

Then came the phone call that would change my path. Dad was sailing with the crew of SSV, one of the competitive Adams 10’s when fleets were hitting 30 at Nationals. They were short of crew and I had approx an hour to get to the boat during the Nationals to do pit. This was a huge opportunity and I remember being stunned at being asked as a teenage girl, these guys had sailed together on and off my entire life. I went on to sail with SSV for a number of years and in 2002 we won the Nationals with our regular crew.

At the age of 22 and just over a year after winning the Nationals I bought SSV and renamed her Animus. Which is a name I found thanks to looking up the name of Pa’s boat from when I was born, Defiance. Pa had been a big supporter of my Sailing and at the time I was working for the Disney Store in Australia, who decided to pull out of the country leaving me a payout which was enough to purchase her. I debated other boats but when Ken White found out he said make an offer, and the rest is history.

We went on to sail Animus as often as we could and in the first season I tied for the gunboat trophy with legend Ben Nossiter. Sailing Wednesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays and Sundays in Summer and Wednesday, Saturday and Sunday in Winter.  After purchasing DeckHardware in 2006 the time came to sell Animus, a few years later to focus funds and time on the business. Animus moved to the flatter water of Wangi where she has remained, recently gaining new owners who happen to include a Mate which is great news.  During the Animus years I did a number of 2-handed races with my crew Kate and Kristen. As well as many trips between the Lake and back for the Nationals and the HCW 24hr races. What an amazing time it was and how lucky I was to have such great crew and great boat.

As the female skipper racing at the club I was given the opportunity of instead of putting a female crew together on board the Sydney 38 Estate Master. We had some great fun competing at MHYC, CYCA and Manly over the years with whoever of my friends were around. It was nice to be able to get my old Flying 11 friends like the Wilmot’s, Nicky Souter and Katie Spithill involved as well as my Animus crew. When Martin and Lisa stepped up to the Farr 40 we too did the jump up and I remember the first time we sailed it I looked at Nicky and asked how I was meant to tack this tiller , learning that you had to walk over the top rather than in front. My two-handed crew / bow chick Kate one year did it on Animus with our crew whilst I was on board Estate Master to increase the numbers and have a drive.

In 2006 I took a part of this group of sailors to Melbourne for the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta which was on board an Adams 10 which meant taking down my good gear (thanks mum and dad).  I then did it again with a team from Tassie which was great fun as the Skipper Di had come to Sydney to sail with us on Estate Master. There are so many stories I could tell of these days and I am so grateful for the trust Martin and Lisa placed in us. A big thanks also goes to Morgan White for helping us prep the boat and pack it up each time and often heading out with Martin to watch us.

Since selling Animus I have had the opportunity to borrow Sirius on a number of occasions for Twilights or Ladies days thanks to the support of legend Ben Nossiter. It was nice to keep my hand in the Adams 10 fleet.

It has been an interesting journey and one I did not see coming as a teenager studying music at Uni. Working part time for Harken to help fund Animus and then getting a call asking if I would go full time for DeckHardware as everything was changing. During that time the DeckHardware Sales reps included the Admiral Don Buckley and Nathan Outteridge whilst I was back in the office. It certainly has evolved a lot now needing at least two of us at all times in the office!

Europe and METSTRADE 2016

I barely know where to start. I am back in the DeckHardware Warehouse already and cannot believe how fast it went. This will be a little longer than usual as I try to recall so much of what happened whilst away.

It was fantastic to be able to spend just over 24hrs with the team at Allen Brothers. Thanks to those who came out to dinner and made me feel welcome.  An extra special thanks to Liz and Graham who made me feel so welcome. When we represent suppliers in Australia the relationship between companies is so important. As well as of course knowing how they do things and knowing a little more about the behind the scenes of the company.  Allen celebrated a massive milestone at METSTRADE so it was great to hear more about their story.

The latest Allen Catalogue is now online and it is great to see new product being released.  The Allen range has been a wonderful edition and it is nice to work with another Family Business who are working hard to continue to develop and adapt to the changing sailing scene.

After the quick visit to Allen I headed to Frankfurt for the weekend not being able to spend too long away everything was super short. It is so nice to have a “home base” in Europe. Once again my trip coincided with Thom’s Birthday this time he turned 9! He was well aware that next time he will be double figures. It has gone too fast! Marty and Marlene were such a big part of the Animus days and it is always so special to spend some time with the two of them, their three fantastic kids and Marlene’s Parents.

Jake showed he is definitely part Aussie having multiple vegemite toasts in one sitting hahaha.  It is also nice now the kids are getting older that they remember me each trip. It is a number of years since they came out to AUS as a family and we caught up on the Lake. So it is nice to be able to catch up and just hang out.

The Weekend was over and before I knew it I was at the Train station with Marty who was heading off to work away for the week. In the car on the way there it said -2.5°c. Seriously… No offence Marty although it was great to catch up my happier memories with you involve shorts and a t-shirt sailing hahaha.

This time in Amsterdam I was staying somewhere different to previous trips, on the Tram line rather than walking distance or Train to the RAI.  Somewhere in between suppliers to make it easier! Day one at METS was seriously one of the busiest I have seen. I managed to catch up with a number of suppliers and checked out what else was on show. It was one of those days that I didn’t even have time to stop for lunch although when I was on the Forespar stand they did offer me some that I didn’t get around to eating oops. Before I knew it the time was 7:30pm and the email to back home was getting lengthy about the days news and I was getting more than a little hungry.

The best part about METS is catching up with our suppliers especially the ones we have worked with now for over a decade. Bill from Forespar is one who has made it out to AUS and seen where we are and what we do. He has been a big part of our journey and it is always great to catch up. Along with Bill I managed to catch up with Dayl also from Forespar and Will and Fred from Schaefer for dinner. It was great to see the friendships between these two companies and shows why we enjoy working with them.

METS is a chance to find out what is new, what is yet to be announced and industry news. Fitting all this into just three days is always epic and of course a good reason for a coffee catch up, meal or a drink. This year was no exception!

It was so good to see Mal Page there who was in town for some meetings and his very first METS. It was great to catch up in person! You can imagine the number of topics we tried to cover in this short time. That is the problem with being friends for so long and both involved in the sport and industry.

This time I decided to fly out of Amsterdam in the evening rather than lunch time Friday to just give myself a little more time to make sure I had made notes on everything before flying haze sets in… With time to kill I then headed to their Maritime Museum. This is seriously one of the best ideas yet! As someone who loves the history of our sport I was in awe of the range of Sextants, Maps etc on display. Seriously incredible and worth doing for any sailor who has a few hours in Amsterdam.

As I sit here back at my desk I look at the pile of catalogues I have brought back that still need sorting through!  A few of them have now been loaded to the DeckHardware website.  With new ones from Allen, LIROS, Blue Performance online.

The next two weeks are going to be big as we celebrate 10 years of my family owning DeckHardware. Dad has been writing some blog posts lately on his sailing history as a way of showing how we ended up here. Stay tuned for a little history from Mum and I also!

Time to get back to it. There is so much new product to make sure is on our website and plenty coming soon that I got a sneak peak of at METS.

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The one day holiday

It is extremely hard to get away from DeckHardware at this time of year. As we come into our busy season we have been busy behind the scenes at the same time. This week we have launched a new website which was something we had been working hard on. Then to top it off I have travelled to Europe for METSTRADE!

I landed in England and spent the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Convincing myself to stay awake and adjust to the Timezone was tough especially leaving Sydney on such a hot day and arriving to the rain and cold of London.  I had not been to the V&A before and it was something I had been looking forward too! I headed to the “You say you want a Revolution?” Exhibition which was absolutely fantastic.  

In some ways there is almost too much to see at a place like this. Everywhere you turn there is something more to look at. Plus the fact that there is so much kept from centuries ago.  

As I was staying just the one day and needed to ensure I got a good nights sleep I did a little research on where to stay.  I could not believe it when I booked into a hotel that mum and I stayed at years ago.  The Rubens at the Palace is such a lovely hotel with great staff and wonderful meals that are fresh and tasty.  To be honest though it is the friendly nature that makes the place. Like this morning at breakfast chatting to the Chef whilst he cooked my eggs.  So friendly and welcoming which when jet lagged makes such a big difference. A good chat helps wake you up!

So after the one day and night of Holiday I was on the train to Wickford to be picked up and taken to the Allen Factory.  We have distributed the Allen range of products for a number of years now however my dad Phil is the only one who has made it to the factory to see how they do things.  

This trip is going to be over before I know it as next I will be heading to Frankfurt for the weekend with friends before Amsterdam for METSTRADE. 

Our Aussie Sailing Community

Last night I attended the Australian Sailing Awards. I was able to take our DeckHardware Ambassador Lauren Gallaway as a thank you for all that she does. Lauren not only supports us in return for our support.  During the school holidays in the lead up to the Sydney Sailboat Expo she came into the office to assist in some of the work that needed doing.  Then on the weekend of the Sydney Sailboat Expo she assisted us with taking care of Instagram as well as doing interviews. It was nice to be able to say thank you.

The awards are a wonderful moment of celebrating sailing as well as catching up with friends old and new. It was wonderful to hear that the decision has been made to introduce an Australian Sailing Hall of Fame. I can think of so many names to be included in this list from the racing, cruising and exploring side of sailing.

It was incredible to see Liesl Tesch almost speechless as she received the President’s Award. So well deserved! Liesl is such an inspiration for so many of us. From her Charity work, who she is as a person, her competitive nature, I could go on.

One of the highlights though was seeing Alistair Murray take out the Lifetime achievement award. Alistair organises the International Sailing Summit which is I believe a fantastic chance for our sport and industry to discuss what matters.  Though a competitor in business through his role at Ronstan I am pleased to say we get on very well and I was so pleased to see him recognised for all he has done for Sailing and the Industry.

Male and Female Sailors of the Year Lisa Darmanin and Tom Burton are incredible role models for Sailing. They simply love being on the water no matter the type of boat and talk of how our sport means you can sail with family, friends, girlfriends and our sailing community. Tom’s speech in particular, was a highlight! To see Tom grow in the role of Olympic Gold Medallist and hear him express how he feels is fantastic. Knowing that when he gets the chance he will be able to inspire so many. Now he just has to figure out what he is sailing next!