With the weather warming up again it was great to hit the water and check out some sailing action on the weekend. It was such a nice reminder of how lucky I am to live so close to Sydney Harbour.
A couple of photos from the weekend.
Normally at this time of year whilst getting ready for all the regattas, I am also getting ready to get on a plane and head to Europe. This year I once again won’t be catching up with suppliers at METS or heading to a country where one of them is based.
With everything changing here in Sydney, NSW and around the Country this is the focus for now. I can not wait however to get on a plane and head to Europe some day soon to catch up with suppliers in person about their future plans.
There is plenty happening here with DeckHardware and our Suppliers working together on some sponsorship this Summer.
For now, I will have to settle with looking back at all the side trips around METS. I can not wait to hear all about it and find out all that is new from afar.
This year has been very different for us but at the same time given time to spend on ourselves a little more. As a small business owner I have always found it hard to focus on me rather than the Business. Especially as there has been so much time, money and energy put into the growth of DeckHardware and that has been very rewarding on a personal level. It was even harder when I was balancing other jobs to fund travel overseas to grow the company. It is nice to take a step back and look at what we have achieved with a lot of hard work.
With no travel it has meant a lot of time at home and time taken to do a big cleanup of sorts. It has also meant pulling out my old keyboards to see if they still work, which they do. The next step will be seeing if my fingers bruise when I play or if they have for some reason in the last few years suddenly become ok with it. Perhaps I should avoid any Ragtime style initially just in case haha always a favourite but the quick pace is likely not going to be popular with my finger joints. I think the bongos will have to stay in the bag a little while to see what happens.
It is incredible how much technology has changed with my old mixer setup compared to one I bought more recently. I may even try to get some of my old songs off the old mixer onto current technology. Why is it when testing the sound still works, I always use a chromatic scale?
Not travelling certainly has been strange. With Lake Macquarie being the furthest I have gone which for me does not count as it has always been a favourite of mine to visit and spend time on the water. On a recent visit during the Flying 11 Nationals I took the RIB down the channel a bit from the boat ramp and had a good look at how it looks at a slow pace. All those trips through on the Adams 10’s I never really had time to think about it or look around whilst trying to stay off the bottom. It was amazing to be able to do this now, such a beautiful place.
Whilst I miss my friends overseas and miss the chance to visit different regions Suppliers are located in around METS in Amsterdam, it is nice to know we have such strong relationships built leading into this strange time.
What I am looking forward to is my next trip to the other side of the world being epic to catch up with everyone in person. Whenever that may be.
Like many I have had to take some time to figure out what this (2020) means and the best way to navigate it. Today is one of those days where I have taken some time out to attempt to plan ahead. I haven’t updated my blog in part because I have just been trying to figure out what it means for my company, those involved as either employees or ambassadors and myself. All of this has come at a time for us where we had taken on some extra help and were looking at our plans for the future and what that means for my parents within the business.
A couple of months ago we started to put into place procedures to manage and cope with what 2020 was throwing at us. The biggest change has been the fact that my father has not been able to be out spending time with our customers, instead he is with us in the warehouse. Normally Winter in particular he gets to travel the country chatting to many in our Industry, now it is on the phone. I guess we had a little heads up as we were speaking to suppliers in other countries and hearing what was happening to them.
Another big change is realising that I most likely will not be heading to Europe as normal to catch up with our suppliers in person, many we consider friends. So instead we make sure to keep in touch via email, phone calls or if possible depending on time differences utilising the camera and a mixer setup for us all to be involved in the chat.
Talking product development and learning as much as possible about the products available to us is possible remotely but not the same. Luckily we have developed such a great partnership with our brands that we are able to do this still, despite being so far away.
So whilst this year is different, many of us are still able to enjoy a moment on the water doing what we love. That first moment back on the water really reminded me why I put so much into DeckHardware, I honestly love seeing more and more people enjoy the sport of sailing and spending time outside on the water and in the sea air.
At this moment I am not sure what the Summer Season will hold for us. If I will get to travel as much to events as last year or if I will be in the warehouse more. The Aussie Skiffs will no doubt play a part and shape who can work when, with the guys looking forward to the season ahead.
Winter fun with the Skiffs and the first time back on the water.
Once again we finished the year on the Start Boat Boxing Day. It is always nice to spend such an intense day on the Harbour with a great team who make it feel smooth.
January 2020, you have kickstarted the new decade in style. With Allen sponsoring a heat at the Aussie Skiffs followed by being Title sponsor of the Flying 11 Nationals with LIROS Ropes also supporting both events.
This meant I am only just back in the office, I started with spending over a week at Soldiers Point. Massive thanks to my amazing host Cherylle who not only helped with somewhere to stay and taking care of me.
Big thanks to Jamie and the crew of Eric’s Storage who helped get the RIB out on the water, ensuring as much coverage as possible for the Skiffs. Whilst also trying to be there as a sponsor. It is a bit of a balance but I think we are getting there. After all content for them is good for us as a sponsor right!
Congratulations also to the crew of Eric’s Storage on the race win!
I think we are starting to settle into having the RIB and working out the best layout and way to do things. It is a work in progress but I certainly am happy with how it is going. Massive thanks to those who came out on the boat at the Skiffs to enable me to get some content of our own and to help with the media aspect especially Maddie, Kate and Jamie. There certainly were times and conditions when it helped to have skiff sailors aboard as second sets of eyes whilst driving.
Special mention also to Team Boatec who checked out the issues I was having with the backseat and check out how we should do the longer road trips. It was also awesome to see so many Allen shirts on back at the club for the Allen Race Sponsorship. Thanks to Eric’s Storage, Adco 16ft Skiff, Taylor and all who put them on. It means a lot.
Next up was to head to RQYS for the F11’s representing Allen which was extremely exciting to be going as the main sponsor. I had actually competed in a F11 Nationals at RQYS so it brought back a lot of memories. Once again I had a former Adams 10m sailor who I had raced against offer to drive the RIB so I could focus on being a sponsor. I can not say thank you enough to Adam Rowlison.
You can check out all the images on our DeckHardware Facebook page. To see our flags flying at the F11’s is something special as was walking into the club house one day and seeing one of my old F11 friends who I had not seen in years! She was there to watch some family racing and we had a long overdue catch up.
Before heading back to the warehouse I had one more very important part of the trip to complete. A visit north to see my 2-handed crew / bow chick Kate who now lives a LONG way north. Not only was it amazing to catch up and spend some time together, it was also pretty special meeting for the first time her Son. Who is super cute and in need of a lifejacket before my next visit! Kate you have been told hahahaha. Luckily it was raining so we didn’t get around to taking him out on the water. I know Kate is itching to get out there and looking at where she is living I can see some attempts at kitesurfing in her future.
What’s next? I have no idea as so much of the last few months has been building up to all this. Bring on the rest of the year though.
The METSTRADE Show is the world’s largest trade exhibition of marine equipment, materials and systems.
After a huge few days at Metstrade, I am back in the warehouse with lots of notes following meetings with a high percentage of our Suppliers. Whilst METS is on during our busiest time of year it is something we try to attend at least every 2 years. With so much happening, we decided we could not skip a year.
A number of our Suppliers have new products on the horizon which is exciting. We hope to announce these soon as we get our heads around the possibilities and pricing.
This trip was the first time I have had a chance to look at the Houdini display as normally they display alternate years whilst attending every year. After visiting their factory a number of years ago it was fantastic to see how they display and promote their range of Hatches and Doors. It is incredible to see the options available via their range.
Most of our Suppliers will be releasing New Catalogues in 2020.
Thanks to all our Suppliers who took the time to catch up during my whirlwind trip. Hopefully, next time will include a visit to one of you whilst in the region. It’s great to catch up in person to discuss what’s happening. Special thanks to the Team at Allen who helped me fight the jet lag on the first day.
I managed to spend a day walking around Amsterdam in some sunshine. It was the first time I have had this chance as usually, it is overcast or raining during METS. So instead of heading to a museum I stayed outside and walked around to get to know the city a little more.
So standby for some product announcements in the coming weeks.
This year certainly is flying past quicker than I would like. From a personal and business perspective there is a LOT happening. Some of which has been very exhausting and some extremely rewarding. I guess you could go with the cliche of Highs and Lows.
With DeckHardware continuing to grow and change shape we are looking at reinvesting some more of our funds into the company. This includes the purchase of a RIB that we will then use for Marketing activities to provide amazing content moving forward. Of course, being a boat owner again will be a fantastic change.
Although admittedly if I was buying a boat for myself the RIB would not be the first choice. I do miss owning Animus, not just the racing side but also the maintenance and social things we used to do. Whilst I have had to step away from being an Umpire and Judge due to work commitments, I am looking forward to this change in direction for me personally and DeckHardware.
It is a big few months ahead with a visit to METSTRADE in just 26 days. A long way to fly for three days of meetings and catchups. It will be well worth it after the big METS I had last year.
Once I get back to Australia it will be full-on with the leadup to the big regatta season coming up and the events and sailors we will be supporting.
A quick update on the Hypermobility side, lifting weights has increased and now to do the same for Cardio. I seriously love being back in the gym lifting weights and not breaking myself! What a mission it has been to find the balance.
We are proud to be sponsoring the upcoming Flying 11 Nationals!
Two years ago I attended the Women Who Sail Gathering, spending the weekend with a fantastic group of Women who wanted to share the knowledge they had learnt from time on the water. I did a short talk and hosted the evening’s panel which was a lot of fun!
This time around with everything going on I was only able to escape for a few hours for a talk on “Knowing your DeckHardware“. A fast pace crash course… Luckily I had fantastic support from Nathan Edwards and Jamie Bulman. Days like these remind me how much of a difference it can make to a business owner when they have the support of those around them.
Nathan and I can talk for hours on this so the bigger issue is keeping us on topic and making sense of what we are saying. It was a great opportunity to share the knowledge we have with those wanting to understand how to look after their boats better and how to know what to look for when purchasing for their boats.
Nathan wrapped up the session with some splicing tips which were shown on the big screen thanks to a camera in front of his hands. With Jamie making sure everyone had what they needed in order to follow what was on screen as well as making sure the Antal Clutches, Allen Blocks and LIROS Rope whips were passed around all the rows. Giving everyone a chance to have a good look rather than just up on the big screen.
It was great to be asked questions and entertaining when Nathan attempted to do a splice in minutes rather than half an hour. Just as a quick example of how to understand the rope construction better.
The journey we are on certainly is incredible when I take a moment to think about it.
It is incredible to think about how much has happened over the last few months. Sometimes things happen that you least expect to change things rapidly.
At METS I mentioned having drinks with suppliers, this often meant being introduced to some of their other Distributors and Friends in the Industry. One of these people I then bumped into at a later stage and they introduced me to someone else…. You get the idea and all the while having great chats about what we all do. A few weeks later and the unexpected happens. We find ourselves with a new brand!
Why am I so excited about this? As a kid I was taught to service winches by the legend Pat Carroll. I can’t remember exactly how old I was but I used to love doing it on his Adams 10m and spending time with him learning how to look after your boat. Pat was also the first person to let me steer the boat into the old marina without a motor and I had to stand up on the side so I could see where I was going I was so little.
Years later when I owned Animus I was doing just that and had someone advise me that it was not the job of a young female. It is a story I often tell as I am proud of the fact that I shook it off and responded that I hoped it was the job of a boat owner. I loved that time working on the boat, listening to music and spending the day chilling out on the boat. It wasn’t all about the one design racing and twilights.
So taking on a brand like Antal not only makes sense for DeckHardware but I am looking forward to what that also means for me and the type of products I get to play with aka work with.
A few weeks after this all happened we were sponsoring the 13 and 16 foot Skiff Nationals. So it was decided after a little encouragement from Nathan, that I head to QLD with the sailors for a bit of a Holiday.
It was awesome to be able to clear my mind, recharge a bit and have some fun on the water. It meant I was able to get photos to use for the coming year in my marketing as well as having fun with the Eric’s Storage and Sheerline crews back where we were staying. No doubt many of you saw the Instagram action…
Whilst in QLD I was able to visit the first boat I ever sailed on when I was apparently just days old. She looks so beautiful but a bit smaller to me now. I am so very happy to see her looking so amazing. My Grandpa would be so very very very happy, I am. Animus was named after Defiance and why I had blue shirts and spinnaker.
Eric’s Storage over the weekend managed a 2nd place in the Summer Bright Lager Australian 16ft Skiff Sprint Championships! It has been fantastic working with the team on their fitout and working closely with Allen on what 16ft skiff uses and how we can develop on this.
Summer has been awesome and whilst I am busier than ever I am excited about the direction everything is heading in.
How did we get to December? I think I skipped Spring! I last mentioned my Winter Jobs list, well that is still a work in progress…
I have already been to METS which also included a visit to the LIROS Ropes factory. It was fantastic to visit having not been to their new factory. The comparison was amazing and this time I managed to get to see the region with blue sky and no snow. Thank you so much to the Team at LIROS for once again making me feel so welcome and for spending time showing me the new setup. There is always more to learn and new lines of LIROS Rope being announced some of which will be perfect for the 13ft and 16ft Skiff Nationals which we are sponsoring over Summer.
Whilst in Europe I managed a little escape to Nuremburg. What a place, I absolutely loved being a tourist for the weekend. I forgot to have a little rest having gone straight to LIROS when I arrived in Germany. Who needs rest right? Just fight through the jetlag and keep moving.
METS in Amsterdam was EPIC as always with so many of our Suppliers coming out with new products and catalogues. I had a fantastic time personally as well, it is so nice to call so many of our suppliers friends and to catch up on not only work but also how they are going over a drink or two at the end of the day.
As always it was tricky to catch up with everyone and there was so much to see. There were plenty of other Aussies that I knew were over there that I did not even see.
So much of what happens at METS I can often not talk about straight away and I know some of my friends are wondering what is to come. Me too! In the meantime enjoy the photos from the weekend in Nuremburg.
What next? there are new products to add to the website, catalogues to review and a Summer of action to come.
I honestly can not believe it is almost Summer! How did that happen?
The last month has been HECTIC! It is our busiest time of year at work plus my car decided it was time to go and had to be replaced. Already my new car has visited sailors at Wangi and Lake Illawarra and clocked up over 1200km which is crazy. Naturally the day after picking it up I had to take it to Wangi, it’ll get to know that journey well.
We also had the Australian Sailing Awards which was a fun night. We decided to give Nathan Edwards access to DeckHardware’s social media in conjunction with coming to the Awards. So all of a sudden even more posts about 16’s and 18’s appeared plus some time studying at Uni hahaha.
Handing over the social media was an interesting exercise. Not only was it worthwhile from a business perspective but it was also a lot of fun. It was an idea we got from following other sports on Social Media and sailing two different types of boats we knew Nath would have some fun with it. Having been a DeckHardware Ambassador for a number of years and someone we have been aware of a lot longer we had an idea of what he may do. Even then we were surprised and grateful for the thought and effort behind the posts.
So big thanks to Nath for taking it on and having some fun with it. The trust involved and letting go was interesting, especially when he was sending hints of what he was thinking of doing next!
It was fantastic to see the Hall of Fame Inductees take place for the first time at the Awards including an old Animus crew member Dick Sargeant. Dick was a part of the very first crew to win Sailing Gold for Australia. When I first bought Animus he joined us for my first Nationals as skipper.
There were so many familiar faces that night from Australia II who were also inducted and our Sailing community.
We often say the DeckHardware Ambassadors are more like a DeckHardware Family. I think these photos from the end of the night with Clare and Finn Alexander, as well as Nathan and myself, say it all.
On the weekend I headed to the 18’s again, this time to support and thank Nina Curtis who filled in for Nath onboard the 18 whilst he was out racing on the 16. It was fantastic to see Nina not only jump at the chance but love it. It was also wonderful to continue our support of her after so many years supporting her Olympic Campaigns. A solid noreaster on Sydney Harbour, what more could you ask for!
With the season well underway it is fantastic to see what our DeckHardware Ambassadors are up to this year! Aimee has stepped up to drive a Nacra 15 which is fantastic and her updates are certainly keeping us entertained. Jody is sailing my old boat! Will is sailing a 13′ skiff, Brad is back sailing 12’s and so much more happening. As well as welcoming some new faces.
As far as the Hypermobility goes this month has proven frustrating. I managed to almost dislocate a kneecap which set me back a bit but also showed me in some ways how far I have come. I started the month walking most mornings at Dawn and spending time at the gym, fingers crossed it won’t take much to get that back this time around. Overall I seem to cope better when I do push the muscles too far as I am stronger than I was a year ago. Still finding my limits and learning how to tell when my muscles are pulling the joints out of place is tricky.