Showcasing Allen to kickstart the new decade

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!

Aussie Skiff onshore action

Check out a bunch of content on our Facebook Page.

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.

A new Brand, a Holiday and Summer

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.

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Springtime exploring

Let’s face it, I love this time of year. Does it get any better than walking along the beachfront in Manly early in the morning in short sleeves! I am not the only one with this idea as it is busy and I managed to see three people I knew just in a short time this morning.

It is heating up and the Jazz festival is being set up for the long weekend. How did we get to this time of year already? It is nice to see my old High School’s band involved this weekend. I was lucky enough to be a part of the Big Band and Stage Band during my High School years.

Just before the season started I managed a short break with two friends to the Hunter Valley. So dangerous hahaha. But worth it. There was some backburning happening in the area which made for an incredible sunset although hard to capture on the phone.

I attended the recent NSW Sailing Awards where it was great to catch up with a number of our DeckHardware Ambassadors and friends. It is always so nice to catch up with so much to say!

I have also put together something for the METS Online Community. You can read it here.

How good is this time of year.

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!

Is it that time already?

Over the last few days whilst out walking I noticed a little change. I started to see more colours! This was just the kickstart I needed from mother nature to help me get back on track.  With so much going on and a few injuries it has not been the greatest winter for my fitness routine.  What better way to find the motivation to get going again then the signs that Spring is on the way! Although as I type this I hear it is snowing in Canberra so it might be delayed a little haha.

It is still certainly cool in the mornings. The view however makes it all worth while as well as the great feeling a walk gives to clear the mind and start the day fresh.  Seeing the touches of purple and yellow are just a reminder that warmer weather is on its way. My muscles and joints will be far happier!

 

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Taking time to breathe

When times get busy it can sometimes be hard to make time for some stress relief. Especially when there is so much to get done! Yesterday I forced myself to go on one of my walks. I know I have mentioned them before but yesterday truly was magic. I wasn’t feeling great, the joints were a little cranky and it had been a while since I had done the lap of the lake. So at first it was a little bit of slow going to convince myself to keep going. I think the lake must have known, check out what it turned on for me! Not great conditions for sailing but certainly stunning to look at.

Of course I knew I would feel better afterwards and I do. Some magnesium powder when I got home and the muscles now feel a little better but still not happy. Colder weather can certainly be harder on the Hyper Mobility. With everything that has been happening my Pilates routine has slipped down the priority list and it is showing. Time to get back on schedule. Pilates, Aqua, Walking and anything without impact to avoid cranky joints.  Damn you I would love a good boxing session right now!

Next weekend will be spent indoors with an Umpire seminar on. There is always more to learn in our sport!