Where has this year gone

How did we get to December? I think I skipped Spring! I last mentioned my Winter Jobs list, well that is still a work in progress…

I have already been to METS which also included a visit to the LIROS Ropes factory. It was fantastic to visit having not been to their new factory. The comparison was amazing and this time I managed to get to see the region with blue sky and no snow. Thank you so much to the Team at LIROS for once again making me feel so welcome and for spending time showing me the new setup. There is always more to learn and new lines of LIROS Rope being announced some of which will be perfect for the 13ft and 16ft Skiff Nationals which we are sponsoring over Summer.

Whilst in Europe I managed a little escape to Nuremburg. What a place, I absolutely loved being a tourist for the weekend. I forgot to have a little rest having gone straight to LIROS when I arrived in Germany. Who needs rest right? Just fight through the jetlag and keep moving.

METS in Amsterdam was EPIC as always with so many of our Suppliers coming out with new products and catalogues. I had a fantastic time personally as well, it is so nice to call so many of our suppliers friends and to catch up on not only work but also how they are going over a drink or two at the end of the day.

As always it was tricky to catch up with everyone and there was so much to see. There were plenty of other Aussies that I knew were over there that I did not even see.

So much of what happens at METS I can often not talk about straight away and I know some of my friends are wondering what is to come. Me too! In the meantime enjoy the photos from the weekend in Nuremburg.

What next? there are new products to add to the website, catalogues to review and a Summer of action to come.

Putting in the hours and seeing the reward

The last few months I have been pretty quiet for a number of reasons.  Actually, it is really since November last year when we launched the new DeckHardware website.  We always knew this was going to be a lot of work but it seems the further we get the more we realise we can do and there is still to do!

As a distributor, it is important for us to get up as many of the products as possible with as much technical data as possible.  This takes time and research and I would like to take a moment to thank those who have visited the new website and understood it a work in progress.

I am loving the new look and hope you are all finding it easy to navigate. Trust me when I say there are plenty more features to come! It is actually pretty exciting what we will be able to do in the future. We have also installed a new Chat program which means all three of us can access it to talk to customers and share links or Tech Sheets which is fantastic.

On top of this, we have re-signed our contract as an Official Supplier of Australian Sailing with the support of LIROS in Germany.  We have worked with LIROS longer than we have owned DeckHardware and it is exciting to continue this partnership.

Whilst working hard I have switched up my Gym routine which has been very exciting! I have moved away from the Aqua classes and whilst still focusing on Pilates Reformer I am now able to do some weights and get back on the bike and even a rower! This has been a big step in managing the Hyper Mobility. It is still a lot of guessing as to how far I can push but it is nice to be able to change it up.

The last few weeks have involved just a few 3am wake-ups to watch the America’s Cup. Congratulations Emirates Team New Zealand. Firstly I am so excited that I won’t have to wake up at 3am.  It is going to be really interesting to follow what they do as no doubt there will be a few changes especially given where the boats will be sailing next time around. Waking up to watch so many Aussie’s participating was amazing. There were some incredible moments and some great racing in particular between Artemis and Team NZ.

It was so nice this morning to not have to wake up so early! What is next for Aussie Sailing Fans?

 

 

Excited about 2017

2016 was an interesting year for me both personally and professionally. DeckHardware celebrated 10 years of our family owning the Business which was a big milestone. We also organised the 2nd Sydney Sailboat Expo which had an incredible number of sailing boats on display. 2016 was once again a great time for our Aussie Sailors in Rio. Then there was the new Website for DeckHardware and a trip to METSTRADE followed by adding DrSails to our range of brands! Phew what a year!

It was certainly a testing one with a quiet winter followed up by a pretty epic start to summer, more so than normal.

We witnessed some of the young sailors we have supported for a number of years head to the Youth Worlds with Finn bringing home a Gold and John a Bronze. It is so nice to watch these youngs sailors grow up and continue to not only love our sport but also see the results. As a family and via our company we do love to support sailing as much as we can and it can be so rewarding personally.

To finish off 2016 we were once again on the MHYC Start Boat for Boxing Day on the middle line. Helicopter numbers seemed down on previous years but the spectator fleet certainly turned up with the good weather! Watching the boats in pre-start is always enjoyable.

From a personal perspective, my Hypermobility became my main priority. I have learnt over the past two years about the pain management side of things and trying to get my muscles to relax where required and stay strong where needed at the same time. This has not been easy and taken its toll, but it is nice to have tested the waters (hahaha) and now I have a better idea of how to move forward.

As a result, I feel stronger than I have in years. I am booked in at the gym to do some weights classes to gradually get the joints used to those movements again. In 2016 I was able to get back on a bike and not create major issues which was a HUGE breakthrough for me. Pilates Reformer will remain for the rest of my life something that I have to ensure I do as often as possible. The difference it has made has been fantastic even though sometimes it has felt like I was going backwards overall I was moving forwards.

2017, I am looking forward to you.

The one day holiday

It is extremely hard to get away from DeckHardware at this time of year. As we come into our busy season we have been busy behind the scenes at the same time. This week we have launched a new website which was something we had been working hard on. Then to top it off I have travelled to Europe for METSTRADE!

I landed in England and spent the day at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Convincing myself to stay awake and adjust to the Timezone was tough especially leaving Sydney on such a hot day and arriving to the rain and cold of London.  I had not been to the V&A before and it was something I had been looking forward too! I headed to the “You say you want a Revolution?” Exhibition which was absolutely fantastic.  

In some ways there is almost too much to see at a place like this. Everywhere you turn there is something more to look at. Plus the fact that there is so much kept from centuries ago.  

As I was staying just the one day and needed to ensure I got a good nights sleep I did a little research on where to stay.  I could not believe it when I booked into a hotel that mum and I stayed at years ago.  The Rubens at the Palace is such a lovely hotel with great staff and wonderful meals that are fresh and tasty.  To be honest though it is the friendly nature that makes the place. Like this morning at breakfast chatting to the Chef whilst he cooked my eggs.  So friendly and welcoming which when jet lagged makes such a big difference. A good chat helps wake you up!

So after the one day and night of Holiday I was on the train to Wickford to be picked up and taken to the Allen Factory.  We have distributed the Allen range of products for a number of years now however my dad Phil is the only one who has made it to the factory to see how they do things.  

This trip is going to be over before I know it as next I will be heading to Frankfurt for the weekend with friends before Amsterdam for METSTRADE. 

Thanks for the memories

The time has come to return to normal sleeping patterns. What an incredible result with Two Gold and a Silver it has been for our Paralympian’s in Rio. Not only incredible results but the way they handled the pressure and the way they spoke about Sailing not being in the 2020 Paralympics. Congratulations Dan, Liesl, Colin, Jonathan, Russell and Matt.

Dan and Liesl what an amazing scorecard. You both are incredible role models for the sport of sailing not just Paralympic sailing. The way you spoke of the course area and the respect you showed it and your competitors speaks volumes. Back to back Gold had never been done in Paralympic Sailing, what an achievement. Let’s face it you are all fantastic role models and I hope we hear more of you in the coming years.

To your Coaches and support crew congratulations also! Following you all on Social Media you could see the passion and energy that went into making this event something to remember as well as being a success for the team.

I would like to thank the Australian Sailing Team and World Sailing for their Twitter feeds, it certainly helped to understand what was happening on the race course. It made the early mornings easier!

The team has now headed home after arriving back in Australia yesterday. Australian Sailing hosted a function at the CYCA to welcome them home that was full of emotion celebrating the success that for some time will not be beaten.

On a personal note it was wonderful to catch up with the team yesterday. Being Official Suppliers to the team means we have got to know the sailors over the years, especially with Rope choice being such a personalised decision.

We often say that we are more than just a sponsor and I do hope the sailors feel that way also. Over the years it has been fantastic to get involved in more than just rope selection.

Thank you for the amazing journey we have all been on with you. As much as we love the Titles you now hold, I hope you don’t hold them forever. Leaving the CYCA yesterday with Liesl and Mark (her partner who I sailed with years ago) was something that will stay with me forever. The car all loaded up and a couple of blokes recognise her, so Liesl jumps out of the car and asks if they want a photo with Goldie. I wish I was fast enough with my phone to film the reaction. What a nice reminder of how special it is.

If you get the opportunity to hear one of our Paralympians or Olympians speak it is well worth taking the time to do so. I hope you all get to hear their stories.

Thank you to the Daily Telegraph for this article. The welcome home was wonderful for our Sailors.

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Aussie Sailors Rock

I often joke that my life is all about sailing. Working in the industry, going to boat shows, umpiring or just trying to find time to actually go sailing. The past few weeks it stepped up a gear with the Aussie Sailors competing in Rio. Waking each morning to follow the tracker, whatever course area was live on the 7app or more importantly the AST Twitter feed. I wasn’t alone with many other sailors online in the early hours of the morning.

With two of our DeckHardware brands Official Suppliers there is the obvious business connection for supporting the sailors. To be honest though we support them most importantly because of friendships. I like to think we are more than a sponsor as for many we were friends first. The support we give the team is a lot more than Product and that is something we are proud of.

The Aussie Sailing community is such a tight group with so many of us knowing each other thanks to regatta’s across the country. This showed up especially during the medal races with RPAYC, Manly 16’s and Wangi RSL opening their doors for supporters to cheer on the Aussie’s together.

I can not thank enough the amazing people who woke up early despite no racing to be at MHYC for the Sunrise Weather cross.  Pulling together with just a few hours notice we managed to not only find a crowd for 0530 but also a Laser to take Sam Mac out on. A big thanks to Lauren for remembering her sailing gear! With Olivia there as the special guest sailing commentator, we managed to pull it off.

Heading to Manly 16’s one of the clubs I spent my junior years to watch the Laser and Nacra Medal races will stay with me a long time. If you have never had the chance to watch a medal race in a room full of sailors make sure you clear the diary for 4 years time! It is something that stays with you. I still tell stories of watching Nath Wilmot and Mal Page at MHYC all those years ago.  Now I feel old!

Finishing off the games at Wangi was fitting. Being part of #TeamWangi and supporting Nath and Goobs, I wouldn’t have been anywhere else. To Jody and everyone at Wangi who went above and beyond you are amazing! The main street was decorated, the RSL had a road sign out the front wishing them luck! The RSL was not only decorated but had lights outside to match all the green and gold. I think the live crosses with Sunrise Weather will be talked about for a long time. As will the special cross to Nath and Goobs!

Yesterday the team arrived home and the first two I saw as I walked up the stairs were Nath and Goobs. I couldn’t be prouder of these two, of supporting them as a friend and sponsor. After all they are the reason we became a sponsor! Getting to see these two come home with another medal was worth the lack of sleep and more. Especially as they are home for such a limited time before heading back to the America’s Cup and Artemis.

It is fantastic to see the Aussie Sailors come home with a Gold and three Silvers. Once again Sailing has been in the media which is so good for our sport! I hope every club out there is able to take advantage of this to help grow this fantastic sport! Let’s make sure we as a sport make the most of the increased interest.

A huge thanks to the entire team who took the time to sign the Bart’s Bash flag. Now the focus shifts to promoting this great event and the Paralympic Sailors who are so deserving of our support and a place at future Paralympics.

Head over to the DeckHardware Facebook to read our business post.

New experiences and journeys

July has been HUGE.  I had the opportunity to drive to Goolwa South Australia for the Australian Schools Team Racing Championship where DeckHardware was a sponsor and I was an umpire.  I had never driven to South Australia before so it was a bit of an adventurous two days!

I could not believe after hearing so much about the Sturt Highway it was raining for a fair percentage of my drive.  Water everywhere and some green fields! So this is outback Australia? It was fantastic to see them getting some rain even though it did make the drive a little more stressful.  I stopped overnight in Hay but unfortunately only had a limited amount of daylight to wander around. What an experience to be able to see so much of Australia, even if only from the view of the Van.

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Heading to Goolwa in Winter meant ensuring I had my fair share of Thermals packed. Staying warm in a RIB can be tricky as you don’t move around a great deal.  The event was fantastic and if you are interested check out the Down Under Sail Facebook page where you will find some video of the on water action.  To see 24 teams from around the Country participating in some brilliant racing was fantastic.Lucky enough I did not have to drive back, Phil aka Dad took over in South Australia with the van to see some of our DeckHardware customers.  Flying back was certainly much faster!

Just a little rain when I arrived in Goolwa!

The next month is a busy one as an Aussie Sailing Fan. I would like to wish everyone on the Team a MASSIVE Good Luck. I can see increased coffee consumption in my future.

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Good days and the not so good days

The past year has not been the greatest for me. Since being diagnosed with Hypermobility it has been a bit of hit and miss action to figure out how to move forward. For the past year I have been on a muscle relaxant to try to counteract the tight muscles so that I could spend more time at the gym and just doing things in general.  Unfortunately this lead to other issues along with some trouble from when I fractured my foot a few years ago.  My muscles often transfer the tight spots, which means the treatment moves week by week.

The irony now being that I actually ended up doing less at the gym whilst I tried to get my muscles activating as they should to even walk let alone up and down stairs. I basically lost all strength in my left leg as it transferred the issue between the glute, knee, ankle and foot.  Taping up the foot and knee weekly with acupuncture has been a massive help to re-train it all.

So the decision to come off the muscle relaxants has been a tough one. With so many pros and cons. It has now been almost two months off them and even though some days have been hard I have been able to retrain muscle groups with the help of Physio, Pilates and Weights.

I must admit I am now trialling on the bad days a more healthy option of Turmeric. I do like the idea of not permanently being on something so fingers crossed.

Unfortunately the timing has not been great on this road to health and fitness as I head off to Goolwa in South Australia next week for some umpiring.  I just hope the work I have done in the last two months means I hold together.  I feel at the moment my core strength is almost the best it has been despite the lack of overall fitness.  Which hopefully means I can work on that when I get back.  In the last two weeks I have managed to jump on the bike and do some interval and resistance training which has been AMAZING! Last time I tried that over a year ago I ended up barely able to stand up straight as my Hip Flexors just reacted so badly.

Enough about the journey of trying to manage HMS. Bring on the road trip and driving to Goolwa! Two days on the road followed by umpiring some great sailing at the 2016 DeckHardware Australian Secondary Schools Team Sailing Nationals.

Inspiration is an energiser

Sunset at the SpitGetting back into the swing of things has taken a little time after the Sydney Sailboat Expo and working out what is priority along with DeckHardware over winter. I have been back at the gym where my new favourite class is Drums Alive! Such a great way to start a Saturday with a bunch of energy and friends.

I managed to catch up with Liesl Tesch and Erica Kirby before Liesl headed to Europe to compete. A catch up in the park whilst talking sailing rules and pretending to be boats on land. I am sure anyone driving past the Spit that afternoon looking at the Sunset must have been amused and wondered what on earth we were doing. What better way to spend an afternoon in Autumn! Spending time with Liesl is always inspiring and a great deal of fun.

Sunset at the SpitLiesl is now with other members of the Australian Sailing Team in Medimblik about to take part in the Para Worlds which start Tuesday! Good Luck team! Check out the Aussie Sailors Rock group on Facebook where we cheer on Aussie sailors competing overseas.

It has been a big few months for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation as the planning for Bart’s Bash is now in full swing.  Here in Australia there are a number of clubs already signed up and more that have confirmed verbally.  Here is a link to the latest news on this year’s Bart’s Bash.  Last week whilst in QLD I caught up with the team at Southport Yacht Club where Aussie Ambassador Joel Turner will be supporting this year’s Bart’s Bash. It is great to hear that plans are underway with Ambassadors involved!

I have a few plans for here in Sydney for this year’s Bart’s Bash so stay tuned! So far there are clubs in VIC, NSW, QLD and WA! In 2016 Bart’s Bash will be raising awareness and funds to support grassroots disabled sailing globally. The 2016 edition of Bart’s Bash is scheduled for 17-18 September which is on at the same time as the 2016 Paralympic Sailing Competition. The timing is incredible considering everything that is going on, with this being the last chance for Para Athletes to compete in Sailing for now.

Whilst in QLD on Thursday I dropped by the Gold Coast International Marine Expo and Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show. It was great to catch up with so many from within the sailing industry for a chat. We have seen some big changes in the last few years and working together we can certainly be stronger for it. I finished the day catching up with Alistair Murray from Ronstan talking rules, sailing, friends, industry, women in sailing and more. There is always so much to talk about when it comes to our sport and industry. If you work in the Aussie Sailing Industry check out our Facebook Group and you ever want to catch up just send me a message.

Recovery and Reflection

It has now been a week since the 2016 Sydney Sailboat Expo wrapped up. I almost don’t know what to write, there is so much to say.

Firstly to my friends and DeckHardware Ambassadors – I am so proud of you as Ambassadors and so grateful to call you friends. You helped me get through the weekend with your support and willingness to do whatever was needed. Ensuring I ate and drank water especially on Saturday when we were stretched for volunteers. The Sydney Sailboat Expo would not have existed if it weren’t for you being our volunteers. To deliver such an event with just a small team shows the effort you all put in.

Thank you to Jordan Spencer who the week of the Expo stepped in to be the voice of the Expo doing Videos, announcements and more. Thank you to Melissa Williams-Brown Photography for the amazing photos you have taken so we can remember what can be done.

I saw online a number of posts where people asked why this didn’t happen in other states.  I guess the reason is my family decided it was needed after discussing it with a number of people in the sport and industry. We dedicated I would hate to think how many hours to ensuring it happened. Sydney as a location gives us access to so much of the Sailing Industry. We are just a family who love the sport of sailing and work in the Industry. All the posters you saw at clubs leading up to the event and the signs around the expo for instance, were all laminated by my Dad (Phil). We dedicated our time and money to the promotion of our sport and would like to thank in particular our DeckHardware competitors who supported what we were doing.

A huge thank you also to the high profile sailors who came to the Expo or shared that the Expo was on despite being overseas competing. Special thanks to Liesl Tesch and Tom Burton who took hours out of their weekend to come to the Sydney Sailboat Expo and were more than happy to talk to everyone.

The last week for us has been about unpacking, sorting out the DeckHardware Warehouse and getting back to normal work. I’ve looked back and wondered how we achieved it and wonder where we found the time and energy to do what needed doing. I am the first to admit the Sydney Sailboat Expo could be so much more than what it has been the first two years. Having said that I am proud of the fact that we have been able to bring so much of the industry together to work together in promoting and supporting sailing. The range of Associations this year was truly something I was excited and proud of.

As I recover I will do some thinking about where we go now. The effort involved was massive for this year and doing it within our little office whilst still running DeckHardware is difficult I will not lie.  I am exhausted but at the same time can see what the Sydney Sailboat Expo could be if we could continue to grow and for the entire community to get behind it. I look to the shows overseas and I have to admit I would love to achieve so much more.

To those who thanked me for the hours my Mum (Robyn) and I put in, Thank you. I was honestly shocked to receive the thank you gifts from a couple of the exhibitors. I received some wonderful messages of what some of our visitors experienced at the Expo, thank you. Hearing that we were mentioned on two commercial radio stations honestly was fantastic. An Expo about sailing got mentioned! Who would have thought sailing would be on the radio let alone this.

In a few weeks once I have given it some thought I will have a meeting with a few of the exhibitors to discuss what happens now.  The Sydney Sailboat Expo, all it was a few years ago was a dream concept of showcasing sailing after the success we had in London. To show that we are an accessible sport for everyone! I have dedicated so much of my time and energy to this project and still believe it could be so much more. To do it again in 2017 is a big ask of not only myself and my family but my amazing volunteers. So for now, I will rest, reflect and get back to work.

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