How many clubs can I visit?

It has been an action packed time for me.  I have spent time at RPAYC, BSC, SFS plus my home clubs MHYC and M16’SSC.  Most of this has been for Seminars, Meetings or Umpire dinners etc.   It has been a busy month and I think my head may have exploded a few times there trying to take it all in and learn even more.

Last weekend was the Start of the Sydney to Gold Coast Yacht Race.  What a slow start!  The video will give you a great idea of what the conditions were like for the race, given how long it took to get out of Sydney Harbour and head offshore.


I only took a few photos of the event.  Yeah ok more than a few but it wasn’t my normal effort as I was also trying to post on Instagram at the same time as well as video too!  Here they are.

This weekend I am back in Umpire mode as we have the Club Marine NSW Youth Match Racing Championships on both days at the CYCA.  They will be long days on the water and hopefully the weather will play nice as it is our first event with the new boats!

Who would have thought this is winter?  I have been so busy!  What on earth will spring be like with all the Australian Match Racing Championships happening at the CYCA.  Plus over the next few weeks the America’s Cup will be a good reason to wake up early to watch all the racing online as it ramps up into semi final mode for the LVC.   Good Luck to the boys on Artemis!

420 and 470 State Titles

Over the weekend I was assisting at the 420 and 470 NSW State Titles out of MHYC.  What a huge weekend with BIG WAVES and BIG BREEZE!  On Saturday we actually set the course inside Middle Harbour!  Not something we would normally do but even there it was gusting 24 knots with swells rolling in every now and then.  Creating some great surfing opportunities for those competing.

On Sunday we headed into the Sound with a smaller start team on a smaller start boat!  Not ideal in a big seaway but certainly interesting.   Unfortunatly I had no chance of taking photos on the Sunday.   The breeze held steady at 15-17 knots and the swell was less than Saturday but still had some big moments.

470 Results

420 Results

A little video I took on Saturday when I had the time.

Photos from Saturday

This weekend is another HUGE weekend at Middle Harbour Yacht Club with the Sydney Harbour Regatta on.  Saturday morning sees the Sailing Chix Live on location kick starting things.  Let’s hope for beautiful sunshine and a Nor’easter!  They have been lacking lately…

Where is our club heading?

Where do you want to see our club in 5, 10 15 years time?  I would like to see Middle Harbour Yacht Club as the destination for Sailors who love our sport and wish to compete against the highest level of sailors run by professional race committee that is the envy of other clubs.   Our location is and we know that.

I believe we need to inspire the next generation to stay in sailing and hopefully at our club.  So that they too then inspire the next generation to love our sport of Sailing.

My family was a part of the highly successful era in MHYC Centreboard and Offshore Sailing scenes.  Lately MHYC has told the world how strong we were and the sailors our club produced through its fantastic Centreboard Division.

Centreboard Division

  • Create a family environment
  • Get parents involved
    • Show them how to get involved
  • Run a power boat handling operators course
  • Look at classes offered and the direction of these classes offered at the club
    • Have a pathway and options along the path for our sailors.  When I was a teenager I asked and my mum fought to head down the same path as RPAYC, CYCA and RSYS and their training centres.

Junior Division

  • Optimist

Intermediate Division

  • 420

This is currently where our club is placed.   Ideally we should have an all inclusive Centreboard Division as it was when it was the strongest club in Sydney.

I would like to call on all those who believe in Middle Harbour Yacht Club to stand up and assist our club in finding its “Mojo”.  Many of you may have young kids and be wondering what path to lead them.  Whether they will be as lucky as you were growing up in a fantastic sailing environment.

I believe Middle Harbour Yacht Club has an opportunity right now as they did back then.  Perhaps instead of telling the teenagers what they will sail next they could hold an open event for all dinghy classes.  Then advise these classes that MHYC would love to have them race on a regular basis.  The place to start would be the 505’s which were such a strong class once at MHYC.  Let’s make the event a fantastic event and show everyone what a great place it is to sail and how amazing the people are.  How much we all love the sport of sailing.  We have the facilities to run the most professional event possible.  We also have the personnel in not only staff but a fantastic volunteer base that have run many great regattas over the years.

There are many questions people have asked me over the years.  Why was I the youngest skipper by such a margin? Why was I the only racing female skipper?  Where did those you grew up with go?  Where is your age group? Why did the Centreboard Division fold all those years ago?  Why are there so few females?  How did you manage to run so many women’s events and crews?

I have over the years said I have some but not all the answers should anyone wish to listen to someone so young.  I am a little older now and would love to talk to those who want to listen to my thoughts.   Perhaps we could hold an open forum and invite the members of the past?

So I ask: Where do you see Middle Harbour Yacht Club in 5, 10, 15 years time?

My week so far

I have just spent the last three days doing the instructors course at Middle Harbour Yacht Club.  It was nice to finally tick that off the list as it is something I have been meaning to do for a long time but just not had the chance.  Having already done the Powerboat Handling and First Aid this was the next thing on my list.  Great to be able to say after over 20yrs I now can call myself an Instructor.   The course was certainly beneficial especially for someone like me who does not remember learning how to sail.   So trying to put myself in a learners shoes is not something I can easily relate to.  So to have the guidelines to go by will certainly make it a whole lot easier for me to help out those new to our sport!

I must admit that yesterday I was pretty lucky to be on the water.  Great blue sky and even better was the fact that it was a Nor’easter!  


Now to pack the van for Belmont and the Yachting NSW Youth Championships, unpack a Liros Shipment this afternoon, go to the rules night at the club tonight for a refresh, pack myself for Belmont. Then head up to the youth states on Friday.

At this stage there are 196 competitors for the NSW Youth Champs.  That is amazing!  Dad is the RO for Course Area B and at this stage I am on the Pin boat.  We have the Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Flying 11, 420 and 29’er fleets!

29er 15

420 13

Bic Techno 293 3

Flying 11 43

Flying Ant 4

Laser 4.7 17

Laser Radial 20

Open BIC 8

Optimist 45

Optimist – Silver Fleet 5

Sabot 23


Bit on….

Check out the Youth Champs Website.

A weekend on the water

I truly am a lucky sailing chix.   Over the weekend I got to spend the entire two days on the water at two pretty awesome clubs.

The first one being Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Saturday.  Dad asked me to come out on the Start boat.  Not only to learn a little more watching him as the club PRO but also to take a million photos on a perfect blue sky day.  The Harbour really put on a show.  In Middle Harbour you could see the bottom as it was crystal clear water on a perfect 15 knot day.  I was so very lucky to be able to spend the day taking photos on a day like this.  Plus I got to see the first race of the season and where everyone was at.

Images from Saturday

I then got the chance to drive Hugh George again and learn how to pick up the marks after the race.   This was something new to me on such a large start boat.  It was great to have the clubs two RO’s onboard to help me learn this skill and how the boat likes to operate.  So big thanks to Dad and Steve for that one.

On the way back in the crew were letting me know to slow down as they had seen a windsurfer in a little distress.  I let Dad take the helm for this one as we got the poor shaking guy and his board onboard and delivered him back to Balmoral. Poor guy really was in a state and I am glad we saw him before he ended up in the main harbour.  He was already near Middle Head and heading his way out there.  When we got back to the club the preso was done and people were already heading home.   What a long day on the water!

Sunday I had to deliver some parts to friends of mine at Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club.  When I got there for their first Learn To Sail morning session there were kids EVERYWHERE!  I mean EVERYWHERE!  It could have been the amazing weather, the impact of the Olympics or the family atmosphere at that club.   It was an amazing day as the kids from the club took out a new kid each to give them a go and Rhys, Greg, Ian, Ian and I manned the Rescue boats also towing them out with out sails up to learn how to balance in a boat and steer.  What an amazing effort by everyone!   Pam and Andy could be seen taking people out in Herons at the same time!  EVERYONE from the club was busy and helping out somewhere.   Things then changed back to a bit of normal as we headed out for the junior sailing session.   Gee joined me in the RIB to do some coaching as Greg jumped in the start boat.  She did a fantastic job in particular coaching her little Junior States Crew around the course when the breeze kicked in a little.

In the afternoon I was leaning towards heading home to do some work on the website.  My friends informed me I could not go to work as I was in the RIB for that afternoon.  I must say I was not really going to say no on such a beautiful day.

Thank you Huey!

Yesterday I spent the day on the MHYC start boat with a fantastic team including my Dad at the MHYC Sound Championships.   The breeze however made it for one of my more interesting days on the water.    Talk about shifts!  We all know that Westerlies in Middle Habour make for interesting sailing and testing conditions.  The shifts really are affected by the hill and can swing over 50 degrees on a regular basis.  So setting course is difficult and really hurts the brain.

Then throw in the fact that half way through the day the breeze decided to do a 180 and come in from the EAST!!!   Thankfully Dad finished the boats whilst I liaised with RIBS to arrange a new course so we could do it as fast as possible to get enough races in to have a series result.   There was not much time to rest for the 5 of us on the start boat.  Let alone get in some lunch!

With 5 short races and a fleet of Optimists and 420’s it was great to have a good team to work with on the start boat who knew what they were doing.  There really were no breaks between the starts and finishes!  Especially as the 420’s needed a couple of General Recalls.

Photos when I had the opportunity

to take them are here

I was very impressed with the majority of the fleet.  It is fantastic to see so many young sailors thank the start team as they finished the last race.  Some even thanking us in between races.   There needs to be more of this to encourage more volunteers like us to spend their day on the water supporting our next generation of Aussie Sailors.
Right now I could not be more proud of Australian Sailing.  Olympics, America’s Cup, Melges 24, Moths and much more are showing how good and how strong and varied Australian Talent is right now.

It is true.  Aussie Sailors Rock!


In 2009 members of the Australian Sailing Team approached us to see if we would be interested in supplying Liros Rope.  Being a small family business this would be a big commitment but how could we say no to such talented sailors and friends. Many of the team members we had known when they were sailing at club and state regattas back in their junior days.  Mal Page has been a part of our extended sailing family for many years from the days of Flying Elevens along with the entire Jensen family. Nathan Outteridge has also been a part of our sailing family not only from his junior days but in particular his time at DeckHardware with Mel as her on road sales rep when he was starting out on his campaigns.

Early in 2010, Liros Rope Australia formed an Official Supplier relationship with the Australian Sailing Team. We are so proud of all of the sailors and look forward to meeting up with them when they return to Australia.

Since 2010 we have introduced PROtect Tape to our range of products working with Pietro Parmegggiani.  During this time Pietro worked with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen to put together a kit for use on the 49er which is now available around the world with their photo and signatures on the cover.

We have enjoyed watching the London 2012 Olympics knowing we have been a small part in helping the sailors achieve their dreams.  We look forward to following all of the sailors in their choice of future events.  Thank you for all of the late nights and sharing the journey with all your fans.  You are an inspiration to all young sailors and wonderful ambassadors for our sport.   Let’s spread the word that sailing is one of the greatest sports and everyone can get on the water and enjoy just like we all do.

Huge weekend on and near the Harbour

Friday started off with a First Aid course run at Middle Harbour Yacht Club run by Splint-All.  Fantastic course with references to sailing throughout.   So good to do and I recommend it to everyone as it was very hands on and not all theory.   With real fake blood and needles sticking it of people in mock scenarios and more!  This is something I have been meaning to do for a long time and I am glad to have finally ticked it off my list.

Saturday saw me heading out on the water for the first day of  The Captain John Piper Match Racing Regatta out of the CYCA.  This time I had my own whistle!  In the morning there were three of us onboard so for the first time I got to hear Umpires talking to each other which was extremely helpful.  In the afternoon it was just Erica Kirby and I which was fantastic as I got to step into the role properly and have a great time doing so.  The sunshine and awesome Sydney Harbour Winter weather certainly helped make it such an awesome day out there.
Sunday I ended up at my favourite club, Middle Harbour Yacht Club.  Phil Clinton the club Vice Commodore, Phil Yeomans aka Dad the club PRO and myself took out the club start boat Hugh George.   Dad was giving us lessons on how to drive the boat so that we will be able to in future.   It meant we got to head our of Middle Harbour and down the Main Harbour round Shark Island and back.   We ducked into Rose Bay to watch one of the sailors we sponsor Nic Douglass who was out training with her Dad in the Taser as their Nationals get close.

Sydney Harbour certainly put on a show for us.  What a perfect winters day!   Awesome clear blue sky, crystal clear water and a greats breeze.  How lucky were all those out there today!!!

The CYCA fleet was out in force and looked fantastic packing the Harbour and looking amazing.   They gave me so many chances to take photos as we headed down the Harbour towards the CYCA start boat to say Hi.

As we packed up the boat to head home one of our other Ambassadors Georgia was heading out in the 420 with her skipper for a spot of training as well!   You are all awesome!

A busy week is in my sights as we get into boat show preparation mode for the big Sydney International Boat Show which is sneaking up on us.   Plus I will be heading out again next Saturday to learn even more about umpiring!

Check out the photos and videos from today at the DeckHardware Fan Page on Facebook.

I also took some video of Nic and her Dad Rob out on the Taser heading out for their training session.

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.

The Estate Master Womens Sailing Team entry in Womens Challenge

This is our story, we would love to hear the other crews stories. Whether it is in Division 1 or Division 9. Every crew has a tale to tell.

The Estate Master Womens Sailing Team came out in force for the Manly Yacht Club Musto / Sturrocks Womens Challenge last Sunday, 22nd of March. The initial challenge was to assemble a team of talented women to get the Grand Prix Farr 40 around the race course. In doing this I am very lucky to have the support of Martin and Lisa Hill who have allowed me to steer their boat for several years.

This year I stepped aside from the helm to enable Sarah Hill to be our skipper for the day, which broadens the skill set of the Estate Master team, but I was to call tactics so not much of a move! Sarah has sailed on Estate Master over the years and has a background in top class rowing and we were both excited about the new approach to this years Women’s Day challenge.

Several of the crew for this year have sailed together on Animus (my Adams 10m) for several years and a few have been onboard Estate Master but not all together as a crew. A Farr 40 is an entirely different beast to control! This did not make them a novice crew, far from it but it was a team who had never sailed a Farr 40 or anything like it together before. Bearing this in mind we allowed for over an hour of training before the race which is generally enough to iron out the major kinks, to help the crew to gel and for Sarah and I to find a rhythm. To complete the triumvirate of brains trust at the back of the boat we had Estate Master newcomer Kristen Short on mainsheet, someone who I have sailed with for over 5 years and trust implicitly.

Rounding out the crew were from front to back, on the pointy end we had Katrina Ham who was a first timer on a Farr 40, previously a stranger but now a friend to us all who impressed us greatly at the tricky end. On the mast was Rosi Winn someone who has a great reputation from the Adams 10m fleet and she backed it up here. In the middle of the boat pulling the strings we had two ladies who need no introduction but for kicks we’ll do it anyway! Lisa Hill and her partner in crime Sam Phillis. No kite went up, no headsail came down without their say so. They combined wonderfully as usual and made life easy for the rest of us. Running the engine room we had three very talented trimmers, Cate Barry, Katie Cooke and Liz Gazzard. They shared the duties of trimming, as it should be on any good boat, and they powered the boat upwind and downwind and communicated beautifully with Sarah and I. This made the job of steering Estate Master to the double of line honours and handicap a joy for us both. Sarah Hill did an amazing job steering this complicated beauty for the first time and I might have picked a shift or two but then again boat speed makes you a wonderful tactician eh? Might I add it was a pleasure to sail with all these awesome women.

The Musto / Sturrocks Manly Yacht Club Womens Challenge is a fantastic event co-ordinated by Ivana McAlpine and the team at MYC. There are over 50 boats sailing across nine divisions in both all womens and mixed crews. In all womens sailing finding enough women who can sail is easy; finding enough to fill every position is the hard part. This is one of the reasons for us to compete in such events, the chance to try out a crew slot you might not otherwise get and to improve the skills and experience of women in sailing. As a skipper and boat owner it is important to me to increase the numbers competing in our sport and if an all womens event introduces new people then it can be only seen as a positive thing.

Firstly the Estate Master Womens Team would like to thank Middle Harbour Yacht Club for allowing us to use their start boat, Hugh George, as our support boat for the day to entertain our sponsors, friends, partners and family. Onboard were such luminaries as Martin Hill, Commodore of MHYC and owner of Estate Master, Chris Williams reknowned Sydney Harbour sportsboat sailor and all round top bloke. Phil Yeomans from DeckHardware and regular MHYC RO and Duncan Curnow from Musto Australia. During the course of the day they combined their talents to assist race entry Zen (a mixed crew Sydney 38) from the tricky spot they found themselves on the rocks in Taylor’s Bay. They also provided the love, support, affection and a little bit of pre-start coaching that we needed.

Thanks go to Manly Yacht Club for hosting a wonderful event and their excellent race committee. The sponsors of the event Musto (employer of our own beloved Sam Phillis!) wonderful manufacturers of wet weather gear. Sturrocks, equally wonderful supplier of wet weather gear and all your other sailing wear needs, a big thank you.

Finally a massive thanks to Martin and Lisa Hill for providing the continuing platform for the Estate Master Womens Sailing Team to perform on.