Where has this year gone

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.

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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. 

The countdown to METSTRADE 2016

DSC_0945
The welcome sign at METS in 2014

METSTRADE is just weeks away and the Dame Award Nominees have been announced! No doubt many of you are wondering what METSTRADE is or the Dame Awards.

METSTRADE Show is the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, which has been bringing the marine industry together for decades. Over 22,000 professionals from 112 countries around the world gather in Amsterdam. The next edition of the show will take place on November 15 – 17, 2016.

DSC_0983
Amsterdam is such a beautiful spot, even if I only get to see it on the way to and from the Hotel to the RAI.

The DAME Design Award is the most prestigious international design competition for new marine equipment and accessories. Over the  past 25 years, independently appointed judges examined thousands of products in specific marine categories. The DAME Design Award has come to set the pace for new concepts and designs in the worldwide leisure marine industry. Participation in DAME Awards is exclusively reserved to METSTRADE exhibitors.

DSC_0963
Amsterdam in November

You can imagine what it would be like, a trade show full of marine equipment.  Taking a day to walk around let alone stop and talk to people or check out new products. It is also a great chance to catch up with industry friends and discuss the current climate and direction of our sport.

This year I will be attending METSTRADE for the 4th time in the almost 10 years (in December) my family has owned DeckHardware. It is always such a quick visit due to it being our sailing season, one day I hope to be a tourist in Amsterdam. As a Trade only show it is a fantastic experience and one that is a MUST for us every couple of years. Touching base with many of our suppliers and finding out what is new as well as plenty of sailing and industry chat.

DSC_0993
Blue sky as I headed home in 2014

Have a look at the floorplan and you will see what I mean by the size, it is incredible.
http://www.metstrade.com/mets/exhibitors/floorplan/

There is Sun in London!The Nominees are always interesting to check out to see what is happening in the way of development.
http://www.metstrade.com/mets/innovation/dame-nominees/

Even though it is a super short trip and not even two weeks including flying time I will be stopping via England to head to the Allen Brothers Factory for a visit. This is something I am looking forward to having been to see LIROS Ropes and Forespar in the past. Flying all that way it is good to be able to tie in a visit at the same time. I can not wait to get on the Qantas A380 once again. This time I even managed to use Qantas points for the Accommodation in Amsterdam! I am staying somewhere new which is exciting.

DSC_0932After just a short time in England, I will head to Frankfurt to spend the weekend with two of my old Animus crew and their family. Before catching the train to Amsterdam for the big few days of catch up and talk all about products and the industry.

Then it is back to Australia to celebrate 10 years of my family owning DeckHardware! As well as the summer sailing season.

1928339_20664434808_3843_n
Marlene steering Animus with Marty sitting back enjoying a twilight sail

METS 2014 was fantastic!

Sitting here at the CYCA before the last day starts of the MUSTO International Youth Match Racing event I am trying to remember back to just over a week ago when I was in Europe for METSTrade. METS this year was EPIC! It had been a few years since I had attended and this year Visitors and Exhibitor numbers were cracking some magic numbers which is fantastic for the industry.

METS this year had extended trading hours which I thought I would not need till I found myself still there on the last day almost at close. For people who have not heard of METS it is the Marine Equipment Trade Show. This is an industry event and all about the product and technology in the marine industry. This is simply an incredible event for those in the industry. For those who aren’t I have also had the opportunity to attend a few of the best boat shows in the world. Annapolis, London, Auckland and Dusseldorf which I call the best in the world. I hear Paris is pretty amazing but it is just at the wrong time of the year for me to attempt attending. I often tell people if you ever get the chance check out the Dusseldorf Boat Show. AMAZING!

Back to METS. Before the start of the show I had pre booked meetings with all my suppliers. This was to try to ensure we caught up on as much as possible during the three days and that I did not miss out on seeing anyone.

Day one I managed to get to see a few of our suppliers and get around a couple of the halls.  I didn’t even make it to the hall with the Aussies in it on the first day!  Yes this is how big METS is.  I finished the day with a few drinks at the Allen stand with their team.  It was great to catch up with those I have met and meet a few more of the team at Allen.  They had a few new products on display including one that was nominated for a DAME Award and got a special mention.

On Day two I went to see Forespar and they were so busy we decided we would meet on Day three! To see one of our longest standing suppliers so busy with new customers was fantastic. Art and Bill are two of the loveliest people I have had the pleasure to work with. Both have been with Forespar for over 30 years.

We have also worked with Liros Rope from the beginning and Like Forespar Sven and Uwe have been fantastic to work with and have a long history with their companies.  I also had meetings with PROtect Tapes, Schaefer Marine, Blue Performance, Passage SAS and JDC.  If I were to go through all the new products I got to see and each day at METS it would take me hours hence the shorter version! I will be updating the DeckHardware website with new product details over the next few weeks.

METS has introduced a new Youth Club which is fantastic news! I remember the first time I attended METS as a young female, it certainly was a big step to take.  So to see there is now a group to support the younger generation is fantastic.  It was good to have a place to go and talk to people about the busy days.   The industry needs some youth with new ideas and it is great to see this being recognized. The industry is changing that is something we are all well aware of and METS is certainly adapting to suit the changing marketplace and way of marketing and connecting!  Thank you to the team at METS for the hard work and research you must be doing.  Thank you also for featuring me in the Tuesday Newsletter as a Young Professional.  METS was certainly EPIC this year more than ever.  I have been three times now and each year I seem to be more exhausted.  I don’t know if that is age or just showing how much DeckHardware is growing and how big an effect METS has on us.

This time around I didn’t stay near the RAI.  I wanted to enjoy a short walk each day in the centre of Amsterdam so that it would feel like a holiday even though the days were filled with work.  Enjoying the view on the walk to and from the train station was worth it, even with blisters from so much walking!  It certainly didn’t feel like home hahahaha which was entirely the point.  They say a little change is as good as a holiday right? I was lucky enough to get a deal on an amazing place called the Grand Hotel Amrath Amsterdam.  The Employees were fantastic and it was so nice to be able to have some good food aka fuel to get me through and keep me going.  I certainly would look at staying there again next time!

Thanks to all the DeckHardware Suppliers for the catch-ups.  It was great to see you and discuss what comes next for us all!  Amsterdam once again you were AMAZING and I promise to one day make time to be a tourist in your city instead of flying out the very next day.  Beautiful you were as I was leaving with the sun shining!

Don’t forget: Keep an eye on www.deckhardware.com.au for new products coming soon!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

It is all about Friends

Just under two weeks ago I got on a plane to Europe to attend the International Sailing Summit and METS. For this reason I have a couple of blogs to write as too much happened to squeeze it all into one!

To get over the jet lag I was lucky enough to spend a few days with some friends of mine Marlene and Marty. I am lucky to have such good friends on the other side of the world.

When I arrived in Frankfurt I was greeted by Marlene and their eldest Thom who had recently been to Australia with Marty. I am pretty sure Thom just wanted to be there to see what goodies I had brought with me hahahaha! When he was in Australia and heard I was coming to Europe for work in November he asked me to make sure I was there in time for his 7th birthday! Now that was an experience! A 7th birthday in Germany was great fun even if I could not understand what the boys were saying I could certainly see the fun they were having.

I found myself helping some of the boys with their crafts, it didn’t matter that I could not speak to Thom’s friends who didn’t speak English. It is something I would like to do but find it hard, learn another language. I have done a course but without people to speak to on a regular basis it is tough. I certainly pick up a few words each time I visit.

The first day I got there I had no time to think about jet lag. I had time for a shower to wake up in the mid afternoon to head to a Lantern lighting ceremony! It is a tradition to celebrate St Martin’s Day. There is no better way to get over jet lag than to walk the streets with the local children and their parents singing songs in the cold night air. My friends youngest two Jake and Emilia are in Kindergarten so were taking part in all the activities! I was so impressed with the locals on the route who set up candles in their windows or came outside to join in.

My time in Frankfurt was all about spending time with friends. Dinners, birthdays and celebrations. With a family dinner to celebrate Thom’s Birthday with his extended family, his birthday party with his friends and more happening it was a great few days! If only I got to see them all more often! The three kids are growing up so fast.

It is also interesting to see the difference in German schooling to Australia. Earlier starts and shorter days but they seem to be more education focused in the earlier years hence the shorter days. Fairly different to Australia. Each morning the local kids would walk past and Thom would be waiting outside ready to join his friends on the walk to school! Another big difference to where I grew up.

Marlene did spoil me with the food and one lunch was very special. She knows I have a love for cheese and it is pretty good stuff in Europe. Some flavoured Brie type cheese heated in the oven to dip fresh vegies in! YUM!

It is nice to be able to visit my friends every couple of years due to work.  I am very lucky to be able to stay with them and have time catching up.  It wasn’t for long and heading to Amsterdam I knew I had a massive few days ahead.  Thanks to Marty, Marlene and their family for the hospitality and catch up!  Next up will be the International Sailing Summit in Amsterdam.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Two more sleeps

Just a little excited as I have two more sleeps before I head to Europe as it has been a HECTIC month.  We have not made the trip to METS for a couple of years due to the cost and time of year being the busiest time for DeckHardware.  It is pretty hard to get away when the sailing season is in full swing.  Sadly I will actually miss a Grade 3 Match Racing event too.  It is always great to catch up though with all our suppliers and see what is happening in the industry.

Amsterdam at Night
Amsterdam at Night

METS as it is known is the trade show for the marine industry. It really is an incredible few days and a very busy few days.  If you have not heard of it before here is a little more detail:

The world’s largest marine equipment trade show

METS, 18-19-20 November 2014 in Amsterdam RAI, is the only international B2B exhibition for the marine leisure industry. It’s the perfect place to forge profitable relationships and it showcases new product launches by 1,345 exhibitors from over 40 countries. Far more than just an exhibition, METS combines new products, seminars and unrivalled networking opportunities for visitors to connect across countries, technologies and industry sectors.

This year the International Sailing Summit is also happening in Amsterdam the day before METS! I am extremely excited to be able to attend this as it is something I have wanted to do for some time.  The program looks great for this years event!  Since deciding to put together the Sydney Sailboat Expo attending has become even more important.  I have always volunteered a lot of my time to supporting and promoting the sport of sailing.  It is something I feel very strongly about as I feel extremely lucky to have been brought up in the sailing community.

Speaking of community, you are probably wondering why I am flying a week early to Europe at our busiest time of year.  Before I head to Amsterdam I am flying into Frankfurt to see some very special people.  Two of my old crew from when I owned Animus!!!!  Marty and Marlene now live in Germany with their three children.  Whilst I am there we are celebrating their eldest’s 7th birthday.  I can not wait to see them and spend some time with them.  I have been told we have a big few days of German traditions ahead and no doubt Marlene and I will spend hours talking and catching up.  I was lucky enough to have a visit from Marty and their eldest earlier in the year when they visited Australia.  It has been several years now since I last saw Marlene and I can not wait to see her and catch up!

It is a very busy three weeks ahead.  I will try and do a few extra blog posts to keep you all up to date!  When I get back from Europe I have two days to get over some jet lag before I get out on the water to do some umpiring once again.

Marlene steering Animus not long before Thom was born.  Now we celebrate his 7th birthday!
Marlene steering Animus not long before Thom was born on a nice Twilight with Marty. Now we celebrate his 7th birthday!

Funny how life changes

So a few years ago I was happy working two jobs and sailing 3 -4 days a week in Summer and 2 days a week in winter.  Then everything changed.  I got a call that changed my world and went to work for DeckHardware full-time.   It was not long after this that my family made the decision that we would like to purchase DeckHardware and that would change my life for ever.   I would end up working even more jobs to help grow the company and doing more hours and unfortunately have to sell my beautiful Animus so that we could buy more stock and bring in new brands.

As much as I miss the girl she has gone to a flat water home that she deserves after 30 years of hard racing out of Middle Harbour Yacht Club on the sound.  In an easterly she was unbeatable as one of the softer and oldest hulls still racing.   I was so lucky to be the third owner of such an awesome boat and it truly was a privilege to be allowed to drive such a fantastic yacht. It was also a sad day when she left our extended family as back in 2002 with good friends, my father and uncle aboard we had won the Adams 10m Nationals.   It was not long after that I bought her from family friends the Whites.

Owning DeckHardware has changed my life completely.  I have had the chance to travel to Europe multiple times visiting Ireland twice, London three times, Germany twice, Amsterdam Twice and Paris.  I have also had the chance to go to America several times visiting California as well as Washington DC and Annapolis.   I found myself until last year pretty much working 24/7.  Which is how I have found myself sitting here on a beautiful Saturday working away on the laptop instead of being out on the water. Seeing DeckHardware grow and change has been worth it even if it has been one hell of a ride and continues to be.  Along with all the experiences and friends I have made as a result.

I now make sure I do spend time on the water which has reminded me why we bought DeckHardware in the first place and why I love being a part of the Sailing community.

My parents tell me as a kid my personality would change as we approached my grandfathers yacht.  I was lucky growing up as one grandfather had the ocean racer and the other the 1920’s ketch with bowsprit and all which we restored.  The 1920’s yacht Thistle was kept on a mooring and apparently when I would step from the carpark to the grass to row out to the boat I would change completely in personality.  I even worked out how to go Wednesday Sailing for School sport with Adams 10 legend Pat Carroll during my teenage years acting as my coach.

For me I am at home on and near the water.

So sitting here with my laptop looking out at the ocean I better get back to work so I can enjoy it tomorrow…  Enough reminiscing and reminding myself why I push myself and work two jobs.   As my crew who are still in my life always say to me when they help out at Boat Shows and in the warehouse: one day you will own a boat again for us all to go sailing on.

In the meantime I have a pretty awesome company that I believe in and love to work for that needs all my attention to keep growing and I am proud of that.

Home for now

What an amazing trip. Visiting the rope factory was good for work and getting to see snow was fantastic.

Unfortunately I got sick on the way home thanks to people who were sick on the plane. Very typical really and not a great surprise.

Lots of work to do now to catch up and pay for this holiday. There are plenty of more places in the world I would like to see. I would also like to get back to Ireland as I really only got to see a small piece of a very beautiful country.

Liros Rope

Well I have arrived here in Germany and spent the day wandering around the Liros factory watching how they make all our rope. There really is a lot that goes into it!

The most exciting part though is the amount of snow and fog. It is also fairly cold but a nice cold unlike Paris which was just windy and very cold.

My last day in Paris was fairly typical of the tourist.. As you will see in the photo.