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.

Talking Rope and Fittings – It’s what I do

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.

Nathan Edwards showing some LIROS Dyneema
Nathan showing some LIROS Dyneema on the big screen

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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Winter time job lists

Now that the major regattas are over until next season it is time to work out my winter job list and to try to tick it all off before September. Working out where we will be as DeckHardware next season and what events we will attend or sponsor is a priority so Dad aka Phil and I can plan ourselves.

The big thing I have to schedule in this year is Metstrade in November, as I will once again be heading to Europe. This time I am planning a visit to one of our long-term suppliers as well as the trade show. It is not the easiest time of year to escape the Aussie Sailing season but a trip well worth it to see the majority of our suppliers from around the World in Amsterdam over a couple of days.  I have been racking up the Qantas points to book this soon!

The last few weeks have been hectic as we celebrated Mum’s BIG (Shhhh) Birthday! It was great to catch up with a close group of friends and family to celebrate. We headed to Middle Harbour 16’s for a great lunch as you can see in the photo! We ensured it was a lovely but quiet day for a number of reasons especially as her mum has been in the hospital.

Being self-employed I often have to remind myself to stop and have some fun outside of sailing and it was nice to be at the club for a non-sailing reason!

We have also hosted our very first DeckHardware Ambassador workshop! It was great to spend a few hours on a Sunday with a number of our Ambassadors talking all things sailing. It was great to see how many of them are good friends with Nathan rocking up early to get the coffee machine going plus Scott and a few of the others turning up early for a chat. Watching everyone share their knowledge and experience really made being at work on a Sunday worth it. I look forward to supporting them all next season with so many of them now sailing Skiffs. Who knew this would happen as so many of them have come from other classes when we started supporting them years ago. I have no doubt the next time we do it everyone will have a job list for the Splicing hahahaha.

What else is on the Winter Job List? New Orthotics, getting back into the gym now they have settled in, plenty of work to do on the website, a TAFE Course and more!

 

What a great time Spring has been

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.

Nathan Edwards takes over DeckHardware social media
Our cover image during the takeover.

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.

DeckHardware Ambassadors

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.

Confusing weather and a race start

So is anyone else confused with this crazy weather? Yesterday was AMAZING here in Sydney. Today sitting here at my desk it is bucketing rain and cool again… Any thoughts on what I should plant in the garden? Winter or Summer produce haha.

On Saturday I escaped for a few hours heading out on the MHYC Start boat to watch the Sydney Gold Coast race start. So much sunshine and a light breeze that filled in just after the start. What a magic way to spend a few hours, and wave Hi to plenty of people I have not seen in a while.

It has been a busy few weeks with lots of time spent at the Physio playing with orthotics and doing some Pilates rehab work. Which can be interesting as my muscles are so bad at releasing themselves. Winter is all about finding time to get things done before the summer season hits. It almost has felt like I have been busier with extra gym visits, Dentists, Doctors etc. But it is not long now till the sun will be out for longer each day and the warehouse will be boiling instead of freezing 🙂

 

 

Women who Sail

Where did March go? All of a sudden it was April and time to head to the Women Who Sail Australia Gathering on the Bay. After missing out last year this event had been in the Calendar for some time and one I was looking forward to.

Hanging out with 100+ like-minded sailing women is an experience that cannot be described. I think Jackie Parry has summed it up pretty well so I will leave you with her words on that.

Over the weekend I had the opportunity to talk about rope care and choice as part of the talks. Trying to do this in just over 30mins certainly is a mission let alone finding time to mention maintenance tips and tricks on everything else we do! I hope I was able to shed a little light on the topic for those in the room.  With technology constantly changing I find Rope a fascinating topic at the moment.

On the Saturday night I had the pleasure of asking the Panel questions at the Dinner. The panel consisted of Lauren Gallaway, Jackie Parry and Lin Pardey. How fun it was to ask them about superstitions, places they never expected to go and their best tips!

For me the best part was finding out just a little about those in the room. You just never know till you open the cover what you will find!

17757456_10155117782141064_807031635762437531_n.jpg

50 years for the Flying 11

Dolly our MC

On the weekend we celebrated 50 years of the Flying 11. Wondering what exactly that is? Here are the facts. For me personally, it is the class I sailed as a teenager and where I made so many friends. It is a class that has had a huge impact on Australian Sailing.

For a bit of fun and research for the night I looked into who had sailed the Flying 11 that has gone onto International Success, Work in the Industry or are an Official. What an incredible list I was able to hand over to the organisers and MC. Also thanks to Manly Yacht Club who were a last minute venue due to wet weather!

There were a number of past champions present along with special guests Lisa Darmanin, Olivia Price and Josh McKnight who were lead through some questions by MC Dolly.

I also managed to get some quotes from past Flying 11 sailors Nathan Outteridge, Iain Jensen and Malcolm Page to read out on the night.

I have great memories of Sailing a Flying 11 and the friendships from those years are still strong. The best memories though have to be a tight reach in a noreaster on the sound.

The crowd, with plenty more outside.

 

Lisa inspiring the next generation!

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!