It is all about one yacht race

Sailing is my sport.  Yesterday reminded me that I am truly very lucky to be so involved in such a great sport.   In my fathers role as MHYC PRO we each year head out on Boxing Day to volunteer our time on a Start boat for the biggest yacht race of the year.   The Sydney to Hobart is such an iconic event and yesterday it reminded us why.  We have done this for a number of years now with my Father in charge and a few friends supporting.   This year we got to see off the middle line with all the Clipper boats which are known for sailing around the world!

Onboard the start boat were a number of close friends, many of them regular volunteers known around the Harbour and beyond for donating their time to our sport.   They included well known race official / judge / umpire Jeremey Atkinson and Umpire / Judge Erica Kirby.  It is a little way that we see we can thank them for what they do for our sport.  Yes we are there to start a race and as normal that is fairly time consuming.  However the atmosphere of the Sydney to Hobart is such an enjoyable experience and one to share.   Onboard to help add to the atmosphere was good friend Liesl Tesch well known for winning a few Paralympic medals over the years as well as being the most enthusiastic person we know.  Liesl has done the race in the past and loved having the chance to see what else happens to make the race possible.

We couldn’t do it without a great team onboard and it is nice to know that everyone also enjoyed it.  With Erica bringing yummy cup cakes and Liesl purchasing some bubbles to drink afterwards.  The team all came back to our place for a BBQ and to watch the TV version of the coverage to see what we missed!   I am sure many people probably think we have it easy and a prime location but many of us didn’t get to see the start due to flag duties, penciling etc etc. Then there was the fact that many of us didn’t really have much of a chance to eat the sandwiches we had brought onboard either!  You have to love the Christmas Day leftovers!!!

This years race was always going to be epic.  With so many Maxi Boats entered I called it early that helicopters would reach double figures and they did!   Standing on top of the MHYC Start Boat with Liesl the two of us had massive grins and remembered why we are so proud to be sailors.  The Harbour was packed and looked fantastic with a spectator fleet out in full force thanks to the rain clearing early in the day.  The yachts looked fantastic as they lined up at our pin end boat to check in and show they were ready to race with their storm gear up!  The race was always going to be big this year despite next year being an anniversary year.   As I type this there are some AWESOME battles going on in the fleet both up the front for line honors and further back as well.  It is great to see such good close racing!

I didn’t get to take too many photos but some are on   you can also listen to the Chix coverage of the event .

Aussie Sailors Rock, we are so lucky to have such a great country to sail in.  Boxing Day, I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else but Sydney Harbour!


One word is ‘Epic’

I really can only think of one word to describe last weekend. Epic. What was I thinking when I planned on being at Middle Harbour Yacht Club’s 75th Opening Day followed by Manly Relay for Life. Thankfully Nix had no intention of doing over 18 hours on air this year and all that goes with it! She also had decided to luckily rule out all costume changes which makes life easier as I did not have to chase after her making sure she was wearing shoes etc!  Instead we were able to enjoy the event that is Manly Relay for Life, to sit back and take it all in.

Talking on Air
Nix and I Talking on Air

I started the day at the Yacht Clubs Volunteer Breakfast which was fantastic with a good friend of mine Jen who is back in the country for a while. This was followed by some fun events on the water and the beach! What a great effort by those at the club to create a fun atmosphere to celebrate the day. It was great to see the Sail Past in action once again with the club’s Start Boat leading the way which Dad was of course onboard! Nix joined me at the Club Open day along with Producer so the rest of the day could be planned, well as much as you can plan something like Relay for Life! With all our day jobs we had not had the time to make much of a plan beyond knowing that we were starting the day at the Yacht Club and Finishing the day at Manly Relay for Life. Who knew what the day would bring!

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I managed to take around an hour of video and am gradually reducing it down to something a little fun. There were a few highlights of the morning as friends jumped in the Simulator early in the day followed by Youth Sailing Manager Locky being thrown in the water as you can see in the photo. Not a bad day to be thrown in the water and I must say that Jen and I were more than a little jealous as we drove off to Manly for the Afternoon.

Locky after Swimming
Locky after Swimming

After MHYC it was then time for Jen and I to head to Manly to join up with Radio Northern Beaches where once again Nix was highly involved and we were broadcasting on air.  It was so hard to leave the fun activities at the Yacht Club behind and as we drove to Manly we heard Nix start broadcasting saying others would be joining her soon.  We were almost there and just trying to find a park!  As I said earlier the day was much better suited to swimming and when we got to Manly we found ourselves almost melting in the heat. There is something about Manly Relay for life and the atmosphere of the occasion that makes it such a great event to be involved in.  As you can see Nix didn’t manage to stay out of costumes all together!  Some of the Manly Relay for Life organisers talked her into just the one change on air so there was no escaping it!  It was a big night to be on air as you also had the Australian Election and some Rugby on as well but we tried to avoid that with the score.

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I had an amazing day and took all of Sunday to recover which was much better than last year hahaha!  It was great to be able to spend the Day with Jen doing some very different things to just a normal Saturday whilst she is home.   I am very lucky to have such great and fun friends!

Keep on going

You know you have had a hectic month when you have to look at the Calendar to work out what you have actually been doing!  Crazy!  Either that or I have fried my brain with all the study I have done lately.  Last night I sat for the National Judge Exam just another step forward since becoming an umpire.  Yes I passed so all the study of non match racing rules was worth it.   I would not have been able to do this without the support of my umpire/judge friends who have been amazing since I started umpiring!

The last month has been wrapped up in a lot of sessions at the Gym:  Pilates with the Awesome Michelle at Virgin Active Frenches Forest, Zumba with Claudine and her Aqua Zumba which I am certain is more of a workout for her than those of us in the pool, weights and the usual Bike, Treadmill etc.  I can see that I am on the road to recovery which is such a nice feeling.  My core really has been giving me so much trouble and as I can’t afford to go to the Physio as much as I would like it is taking longer to get stronger.   I can’t wait to go sailing this season.  Yes I said it.  I don’t think I can wait much longer to be honest but don’t want to go too soon and set myself back again.   I might have to test myself on a no-extras day or something and see how I go first.

Many of my mornings were also spent watching the Kiwis take out the Louis Vuitton which will see them in September go up against Oracle USA for the America’s Cup.  We have been talking about it a lot on Sailing Chix with Nix especially as Nic D has been over there!  On Monday Morning the Red Bull Youth AC starts which will see some very early rises at 4am for the Aussies wanting to cheer on Team Objective!  We also had Liesl Tesch fill in whilst Nic was away as a guest Co-Host!  SO much fun to have her in studio talking about her quiet year, which in everyone else’s words is hectic.  Liesl was also let loose in the Warehouse getting new Liros Rope for the Skud.  For those who don’t know much about her google her!  She is an inspiration and I am lucky to call her a friend as she inspires me all the time.

Playing with new Liros Rope for the Skud
Liesl Tesch Playing with new Liros Rope for the Skud at DeckHardware

I also got the chance to head out and watch the Sound Regatta at MHYC.  When I was growing up sailing there we had one of the biggest events that kicked off the Sailing Season and it was great to see this happening once more.

Photos of the Sound Regatta

The next few weeks are just as crazy with a visit to Wangi due this weekend to see some friends, MHYC 75th Opening Day, Manly Relay for Life, The Youth AC and the big one the America’s Cup 30 years since the team on Australia II showed the world how good Aussie Sailors Are!  I can not wait to watch these events and wish I could make it there.

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…

An Aussie Weekend

What a weekend!  Saturday Morning as always started with the Sailing Chix on air.   It was a big show full of AC talk and lots of Match Racing, TP52’s as well as the up coming JJ’s for the 18’s.   There is plenty happening in the world of sailing this year that is for sure!


Sunday was pretty big.   My first umpiring event for the year was the Marinassess Women’s Match Racing Regatta, won by Kathleen Stroinovsky and her crew of Lucinda Whitty, Samantha Boyd and Kate Brown, representing the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron.  It was a very tricky day with the Southerly hitting early on and causing the breeze to be very shifty as well as changing strengths with the shifts.   Women’s Sailing has come a long way in the last few years and we can thank the Olympics for including Match Racing at the London Games.    It was great to see Lucinda Whitty one of our Silver Medal winners out there yesterday as that helps increase the skill of the competitors.   It is also great as the atmosphere at the event was such a friendly one as well as being competitive.  This goes for everyone including Competitors, Organizers, Race Committee and Umpires.   It really felt like everyone was there to grow and improve as well as having a great time out on our awesome Harbour.

Leaving the CYCA I managed to get home to watch the last 1.5hrs of the Bathurst 12hour.  The race could be watched online via the website which was AWESOME! The commentary was great to listen too as well. The weather was teasing so much with rain all around the Mountain making it extremely difficult to choose what car setup to go for.  I can’t wait for the V8’s to start up with the new teams mixing it up a bit!  Check out some of the video here.  Apparently I missed an incredible amount of Safety Cars in the morning part of the race as well as some of the crazy rain that had them doing 40K around the track on the wrong tyres.  I will definitely be checking out the highlight footage.  Great effort by those who put together the coverage and did the Commentary.  Loved it.

Now for another big week at DeckHardware followed by a full weekend of umpiring at the Pittwater High Schools Teams Racing this weekend up at RPAYC.  Summer truly is awesome.

Sponsorship feels good

How good is it to be in the position to support sailors who are off on adventure and love the sport of Sailing.  Since sponsoring the Australian Youth Championships we have announced a number of new sailors to join the DeckHardware Ambassador Team.  Currently it stands at:  Nic DouglassTom Freeman,David GilmourLachy GilmourBrad GreenrodBen & Scott KingAlec Milligan, Michael Pfeffer, Dante Olivieri & Alex Marzano, Carrie Smith & Ella Clark and the Fire Stopping 16ft skiff team

We will be adding more names to this list over the coming days which is truly exciting!  At the moment the Fire Stopping Team are competing in their National Championships and we wish them the best of luck!  When looking for our Ambassadors we don’t just look at results, we look at their goals, personalities, love for the sport, sportsmanship and much more.

On another good note, last week I got the chance along with the Sailing Chix to head up to Wangi to watch the Moth Nationals.   Or was it the Worlds?  Talk about an incredible field!  We had the chance to interview Nath Outteridge,  Tom Slingsby and Iain Jensen.  A huge thanks to the guys for taking the time before a nationals race to talk to us along with a couple of others who we interviewed (Beau interviewed us).  I have been involved with their Olympic Campaigns as a sponsor and friend and it is great to see them jumping in a class they love and out on the water.   Head over to the Sailing Chix website where we will be loading the interviews for you to listen too.  The interview with Tom in particular who we had more time to talk to is fantastic.  Thanks Tom!  You really did sum up what sailing is all about and it was great to hear.  Congrats to Scott Babbage for taking out the Aus Title and Pete Burling the Overall Win.

The guys now leave Australia and head to San Francisco for the America’s Cup.  What an exciting year ahead for them.  Jumping straight out of Olympic campaigns which lead to Gold into campaigns in the oldest competition in sport the America’s Cup.  I can not wait to follow their journeys.

The Sailing Chix and I finally sat down last week to have a very long and overdue meeting.  Talk about big plans for the year ahead, do you think we can fit it all in?  Have you tuned in yet to listen to our show?  Stay tuned for big updates!  We are extremely excited to be on this adventure together.

Goodbye 2012!

It is the end of the year and we have certainly had an interesting one to say the least as it started great but that only lasted a short time.  It won’t be hard for 2013 to be better than 2012, bring on 2013!

Boxing Day once again I was on the Southern Line with my father.  I also had the Sailing Chix doing our live coverage.  We had a great day on the start boat and our next door neighbour joined us who is a non sailor and had a ball!  Lots of photos and video from the day are on the DeckHardware Facebook page.  Dad is now down in Tassie taking my place as I had planned to go spread the DeckHardware word and catch up with my Tassie based friends.   He is having fun getting friends to call me from his phone to guess who they are.  Liesl you sound NOTHING like Dad hahahaha.

With all the troubles of this year I have also been very lucky to have some amazing friends support me.   I am especially grateful to Nix, Nic and Lindsay who I started an amazing adventure with this year that has kept me going.  Our radio show.   It has been so much fun to get out there and promote our amazing sport with friends who love it as much as I do.  It certainly has taken up a fair amount of our time but the rewards have been well worth it.  Sailing Chix Rock!!!  I can not wait to see what adventures 2013 take us on.   Nix is already down at Dee Why now setting up for an outside broadcast to bring in the New Year!

The second highlight of the year was definitely all those late nights during London 2012 cheering on the Aussie Sailors!  You are all awesome and I am so glad I get to call so many of you friends and support your journey.   Bring on Rio!!!

Thanks so much to those who have stood by me the last two years. It has been a rollercoaster and I have learnt a lot about me and others. Bring on 2013, as I have had more than my share of bad luck and I am ready for the good!

Happy New Year everyone! 2013 has so many big plans already!  Lots of Sailing Chix with Nix, A trip to METS in Amsterdam for DeckHardware, More Umpiring and so much more.

Boxing Day is almost here!

Yeah ok we have Christmas first.  But Boxing Day is going to be just so exciting this year it is hard to not get excited.   We at Sailing Chix with Nix will be doing a live coverage of the Rolex Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race start on Boxing Day.   Once again my Dad will be the starter on the second line as well.  So it is a big day for us!

Sailing Chix with Nix will be LIVE on Boxing Day covering the Start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race!

Sailing Chix

Sailing Chix with Nix will be live on location for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race based at Tania Park above Grotto Point on the Northern Beaches in Sydney! The Chix can’t wait to bring you five hours of interviews from yachts, specialists, weather gurus, the community and more to really bring the Hobart to life! We will kick off from 9AM and take you right through until 2PM as the boats leave the heads and start the journey South!

Want to know more about Sailing Chix with Nix head over to our website

You can listen live via radio, streaming online or via the Tune In app – details below!

Radio: 88.7 or 90.3 in Sydney

Apps: Tune In

Tunein website

Have a very Merry Christmas everyone!

Bring on Boxing Day!

Sail Sydney takes over

I am sitting here trying to figure out what to say.  Massive.  Huge.  Epic.  Is pretty much all I can come up with.  I spent 4 days at Sail Sydney on the Start / Finish boat for Course area B and I am exhausted.   We had all sorts of classes including: 470, 420, 49er and FX, Windsurfers, Access Classes, 2.4, 29er, Moths etc.  At times finishing boats of such varying speeds was a little interesting.   It was great to work with some other start teams to see how they do things.

It was great to see Tom Slingsby and Iain Jensen get out on their Moths and have some fun away from their Olympic Classes.  Starting and finishing the Moths was certainly interesting.  Although we did have some very light air on the last day which meant low ride starts for the Moths.  Old School!  Thanks to those who put some DeckHardware stickers on their boats.

Sail Sydney was a huge event with over 460 competitors.  Amazing turnout!

Saturday was a pretty big effort.  I did the Radio show in the morning then rushed to MHYC to jump on the start boat so Dad could take me around to get on the WSC start boat.  I jumped into a RIB to transfer in between.  Literally going from one side of the RIB to the other as it was easier than transferring between the bigger boats.   Thanks to Dad for the delivery!

sailing chixSailing Chix with Nix is going amazingly well and appeared on the front page of Sailing Anarchy last week as a show to listen too.  We are being received so well in the wider community and had the chance to talk to Mark Richards and Carl Crafoord on Saturday about their Hobart experiences.  We are looking forward to Boxing Day and talking to them before the race start along with many others.

Listen to our live show this Boxing Day from 9am for the start of the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race!

You can listen live via radio, streaming online or via the Tune In app – details below!

Radio: 88.7 or 90.3 in Sydney

Stream: Northern Beaches Radio (streaming)

Apps: Tune In is one of the best ways for those to listen outside of Sydney!

You can also catch our past shows, or keep up to date on news during the week via our social media!

Past shows