Back in Sydney and back on the water already

10389418_392947390860425_92243335414990299_nAfter just one day back in the office I was on the water Umpiring! Having only been back in Sydney for two days and with lots of work to do this was a little crazy but an event I really wanted to do.  The Jet Lag certainly was a struggle unlike when I got to Europe.  I think it was the heat when I got home as it was so humid and hot making it hard to adjust!

For the next four days I was Umpiring at the MUSTO International Youth Match Racing Championships.  I have now done this event a couple of times and the level of racing this year was fantastic! It makes it very enjoyable to umpire when the racing is so good.  The Umpire and RC Teams were fantastic as is the case each MUSTO.  The weather this year behaved with the round robins completed in a nice time which was very kind of huey!

NZ did manage once again to take the Win with Harry Price and his crew coming Second.  Great racing by both teams, a special mention has to go to Caitlin Tames on Mainsheet for Harry.  She well and truly was the shorty of the team as seen in this photo and did a fantastic job on mainsheet.

As you can imagine with being so busy and trying to get all the DeckHardware and Sydney Sailboat Expo work done there is a pretty long to do list in my head at the moment.  Yep it is in my head as I have not even sat down to write it down yet!  There is so much to do after METS and so many new products to put up on the website etc!

10428475_392590107562820_2385613362224578398_nTomorrow I am finally back at the Gym to do some Pilates and make sure my health continues to move forward in the way that is has.  A few months ago I honestly did not know if I would be able to handle the last few weeks physically, however it looks like I finally found a way to get the Hyper Mobility back under control.  Now to keep the forward progress happening so that I can keep up with this workload I have taken on!

New Zealander George Brasell was crowned Champion of the 2014 Musto International Youth Match Racing Championship, after defeating local Harry Price in a four-match thriller this afternoon.

Winter turns on the blues and it is stunning

The winter blue of Sydney really is something special.  Clear air and blue sky with beautiful clouds showing off.   During the week I managed to escape the office for a few hours to go for a walk around Long Reef.  Well worth it for the view, fresh air and exercise!  So good!  It was fantastic to see so many other people with the idea.  Despite it being winter and meant to be a cold day, out of the breeze it was a perfect day causing many of us to feel way over dressed for the walk!  I might just have to try to find a little more time to escape for a few hours when the view looks like this.


Yesterday I was back out on the water.  This time watching the start of the Sydney To Gold Coast Yacht Race.  It was an extremely slow start for the fleet taking them well over an hour to get out of Sydney Harbour.   Here are a some of the photos I took from on the water and a couple from the Northern Beaches as the fleet made their way up the coast!

Images from the start

I really am very lucky to live in Sydney.  So many beautiful spots to visit and views to enjoy.

The Sydney Sailboat Expo

I did it!  I have started up my own company all about the promotion of sailing.  The new company is called Animus Productions Pty Ltd which is named after my Adams 10m “Animus”.   I have been asked often about the meaning to me behind the name Animus.  My grandfather was an amazing person living a simply HUGE life both at work and at play.  Those who knew him will laugh when I mention the at play because boy did he!  He was The Big Boss at Tip Top Australia when I was growing up and I spend a great deal of time running around his office, the board room and the factory.   He had the best work ethic I have seen and it is clearly something members of my family have inherited including my Mum and I.  He also played hard and when I was born owned a fantastic Ocean Racer called Defiance.  Defiance was the Original S&S 30, yes THE Original.  With a blue hull and fantastic looking spinnaker design she was a, hmmm well many in the family had different names for her hahaha.  Many of you may remember in the 80’s the Tip Top Australia Ads featuring Sailing the sport he loved.  Like my family now he did what he could to promote and support the sport of sailing, even having a secret bread made for those doing the Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race made for the offshore conditions.

When the opportunity came for me to purchase a yacht at the age of 22 my grandfather gave me his full support and in return I decided to name my new boat as a reflection of this.  Animus was born after a lengthy search in thesaurus’ to find another word for Defiance.  In fact the meaning we found was Strength, Will and Defiance which we figured was a great fit being such a young female skipper in a class like the Adams 10m.  Now many years later I find myself once again stepping out of my comfort zone and doing what I believe in.  Promoting the sport of Sailing that I love.  The love I inherited from my family, I was lucky to be born into Sailing.

After well over a year of discussions with those who dropped by the DeckHardware warehouse it was decided to hold a meeting about putting together something like the RYA Dinghy Show.  A couple of meetings later and some lengthy research and discussions have taken place that have led me here.  Along with my Mum and good friend Locky Pryor we have launched the Sydney Sailboat Expo.

The Sydney Sailboat Expo will be held for the first time in 2015. Venue and Dates (2-3 May 2015) to be confirmed in the near future.

The Sydney Sailboat Expo is a meeting place for Sailors, those interested in becoming Sailors and the Sailing Trade Industry catch up with each other and learn more about the sport of sailing.

To be held over a weekend in 2015 showcasing the very best in Sailing. With the Latest Products for sailors on show, a wide range of classes on display and workshops on topics such as Splicing, Boat Maintenance, Sailing Fitness and more.

What an exciting time as well as being busy the next few months will be!


Thanks to the Tip Top Facebook Page for this great shot! We have this on the wall at home and it is a great reminder of what I believe in.

I love Sydney Harbour

Today I had the opportunity to duck out of the DeckHardware Warehouse and play with a new product.  The Windoo.  Breeze was on the forecast which was perfect to play with this new wind speed device that plugs into a phone or iPad etc.  Being a westerly I quickly grabbed my camera knowing that Sydney Harbour would be likely showing off.  I don’t claim to be a photographer by any means but I do love taking photos and am trying to learn more about it.  Sadly today I didn’t have the time I would have liked to play with the camera settings on such a BLUE day.  After all I was there to play with a new product and get some readings to show up online!  Mission accomplished and just a few quick photos at the same time.  How good does a Sydney Winters Day look!

When I headed to Clontarf to take the last readings and feel the force of the westerly it certainly was cold.  Well worth getting sand blasted to record 30+knots though!  Check out how the new Windoo logs the breeze here with one of the posts I logged on twitter!  What a great looking day to escape the warehouse for a little while to play with something new.

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Rules, rules and more rules

The last few weeks have been very much about the Racing Rules of Sailing.  I have started having monthly dinners with my good friend Liesl Tesch to talk rules.  So far we have got together twice at different locations with our little boats to play with whilst having dinner.  With both of us busy it is great to make the time for a catch up and to play with different scenarios.   With both of us doing different events we always have plenty of scenarios to share and discuss.

I have also had the chance to do a few more events recently as a Judge and an Umpire.  WIth the Opti States and the NSW Schools Teams Racing both on the last two weekends.  It has now been a few weeks without a day off and it is certainly showing!  Both events were great fun and I learnt a great deal.   This past weekend with the Teams Racing it became obvious that winter was fast approaching.  Many of the umpires were wearing multiple layers for the first time this year.  It is one thing when you are out sailing but when umpiring you aren’t doing a great deal to keep warm!!!  Big thanks to my fellow umpires who take care of me with my joint troubles.

It is a busy week this week as we prepare for the Combined High Schools Regatta that we (DeckHardware) sponsor.  It is an event I loved competing in so being able to support it and watch it continue to be a strong event that people love is fantastic.   It is amazing how many adults I speak to who would love to do it again….  If only it wasn’t just for High School Students.

Opti States - when it is a day like this I realise how lucky I am to be on the water.
Opti States – when it is a day like this I realise how lucky I am to be on the water.
The Changeover boat was a busy place over the weekend.
The Changeover boat was a busy place over the weekend.
Teams Racing
Teams Racing

Out on the water again

On Sunday I competed in Manly Yacht Club’s Helly Hansen Women’s Challenge.   It’s been a few years since I have steered an Adams 10m and Ben Nossiter was extremely generous to allow me to borrow his boat. With some of my old Animus crew onboard it made it even better and a great deal of fun. I’m extremely lucky to be able to borrow Sirius and that Ben says yes before I ever can ask the whole question.  I am extremely grateful to be in such a position.

I didn’t know how I was going to feel having spent so much time off the water to focus on getting my hypermobility under control.   With the help of a great massage on Friday I can now say two days later I am feeling ok!  YAY!  This is a huge relief and makes all the effort, cost and time worth it.  I am so glad I have a physio who has been able to help manage how I move forward.  I just wish I could afford to visit more often for treatment to speed along the process!

There is still a long road ahead with this morning having more tests done but at least I can now hopefully get out on the water racing a little more than I have the last few years.  The first lap saw a fair few cobwebs and with two fairly new crew onboard we eventually found our rhythm and had the boat going nicely.  Sydney Harbour helped too as it was a stunning day to be out on the water racing.  We managed a third place in our division which was great considering new crew and sailing only 5-up.  To be honest we weren’t really focused on a result we just wanted to have an amazing time.   For me it was all about having the chance to go for a sail again in the hope that I could do so.

Massive thanks to Ben for the boat, Damo, Brad, Tais and Lucy for a great day on the water!  It is always a great event to do and so much fun thanks to Manly Yacht Club especially Ivana and the organising committee for talking me into entering after a few years away.

This weekend once again I will be around the water volunteering at an event.

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Supporting friends and sponsored sailors at the JJ’s

I have spent almost all of the past week and a bit out on the water taking photos, helping rig and more at the 18′ Skiff JJ Giltinan Championships.  Another JJ’s is over with 7 taking the win. We were there every day to support the teams we Sponsor and those who use our products. With our suppliers Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware along with Liros Ropes also sponsoring several boats from the UK and Europe there were plenty of teams we were following. What a tough series in some tricky conditions, well done to those who made the podium.

We are very proud to support the 18’s where we can and it is always funny when asked on the ferry which boat am I following.  Such a tricky answer that always ends in a few laughs.  Of course the main one we follow is our good friends onboard The Kitchen Maker.  Having known Mal Page for longer than I would like to let on, as well as Cam McDonald who is a friend and customer it is great to be able to support them and cheer them on.  This time around Darren stepped aside with a bad back and they got Will Philips a member of the Australian Sailing Squad to steer the boat.  Will is someone I have known of for a while through work and sponsorship commitments so it was great to be able to get to know Will better over the week.

Between friends and boats sponsored by DeckHardware and our suppliers we couldn’t count on one hand the boats that we were following and hoping would do well. Always good for the heart rate! With the UK boys on Haier finishing in 10th place which was a fantastic achievement after moving to Sydney for several months.  The Kitchen Maker had their moments during the regatta with their best result a 2nd place finishing just behind Haier, a brilliant result for a team who had not sailed together.  Thanks to Kim Wilmot for joining me on the back of the ferry to celebrate that 2nd place which was so close to a race win.  A definite highlight of the week!

There are plenty of photos if you head over to the DeckHardware facebook page.

Now to spend the week in the office before heading out on the water once more this weekend to do some umpiring.

The Kitchen Maker


New Ambassadors and more

We have two new Ambassadors! Zac and Jake Barnabas who have jumped into a Flying 11 for the very first time! They just competed in their very first Flying 11 Nationals with some great results in the lighter winds. Still a few years to grow into the stronger winds yet but a great first time result for a small team.

This is extremely exciting for us as Phil and Robyn know their Grandad very well from years gone by and Mel went to school with their Mum Christine along with knowing their Dad Trent as kids at the 18’s park. I guess you could say we were always going to sponsor Zac and Jake. The best part is they love Sailing and that is a big part of how we choose ambassadors, their attitude! It is in their blood after all.

It really is nice to be able to support some young sailors who love the sport that’s in their blood.

Zac and Jake
Zac and Jake

Last Friday and Saturday I headed to Gosford Sailing Club to support Sam Ellis who put together the very first Gosford Match Racing Event! Sam deserves massive praise for putting together the event. As do all the top competitors who attended using the event as a training session which was so very smart. Ash Rooklyn took out the event and made a great speech encouraging everyone to support the smaller and startup events. Nice one Ash. When you consider the skippers were Ash, Jay Griffin, Sam Ellis, Milly Bennett and David Witt it was quite an event with some great racing! Even better was the effort from Harry Price and Louie Collins who were the Race Officials! It really was a fantastic event out together by the young match racers to help promote and grow the sport.

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!


So busy time flys past me

It has been an insane few weeks!  Two of them were spent out of the office at Match Racing Events on the water of Sydney Harbour and Pittwater.    This was followed with coming back to the office as Phil headed down to Sail Melbourne!  Which coincided with the busiest month of the year starting and it was BIG!  Then we get to this week and Monday Night I had the opportunity as a sponsor to attend a special function for the Australian Sailing Team – the “Road to Rio” Begins.  Then Tuesday was the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge and I took the time to head down to the shore and take some photos and videos!  So where do I start…

I truly love this time of year.  Plenty of time on the water at different events as well as a business which is all about the sport of Sailing meaning we get extremely busy at this time of year!   The Match Racing saw some interesting conditions and I do not think I have ever been as wet as I was umpiring on Pittwater and it was not even raining!  The conditions and breeze saw waves breaking over the boat and the umpires!  It was however great fun with a great team.  The conditions at both events truly were all over the place making it really hard and some long exhausting days.   By the end of the 8 days I was looking forward to a bit of rest and that was never to come!

The good news is however that business has certainly hit the peak season.  With DeckHardware keeping us more than busy as we try to keep up with the demand!  A huge thanks to Cam McDonald who turned up just in time to help unpack the big Liros Shipment. Cam is well known in the 18′ skiff fleet in particular for his splicing. Thanks Cam! We all know he wanted first go at the new stock haha

The Road to Rio Launch was a fantastic event to be able to attend.  We have been involved with the team for a number of years now as well as some of the athletes and even some of the support team are friends so it was great to be included.  We were reminded that we are all a part of the journey and have our part to play.  To find out more about the Road to Rio Launch head over to the Australian Sailing Team’s Website.

Australian Sailing Team Embarks On Road To Rio

The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge was the very next day.  For the seventh consecutive year, the CYCA has decided to dedicate the event to raise awareness and funds for its SOLAS Trusts, which were established following the stormy 1998 Sydney Hobart Yacht Race when six lives were lost.  This is something that is extremely important for many of us.

Link to my photos


Up next is the Sail Middle Harbour Regatta which is going for the next three days out of two of my favourite clubs MHYC and MH16’SC. For those who remember my yacht Animus, I had both clubs written on the stern as my crew was often filled with skiffies.

To finish off I have a ThrowBackThursday moment from 2008, I stumbled across this great photo! One American Sailing Anarchist who wanted to see what it was like to sail with a chick crew hahaha.  Yes he flew to Aus!  What a great day! Most of the time I did not seek out an all female crew it just sometimes happened when none of the guys could make it.  Other times as the skipper I would be the only chick onboard.   #TBT

The Animus Crew
The Animus Crew