I know I am extremely lucky to be brought up Sailing on Sydney Harbour. For a number of years now I have had the privilege of being part of the second line start team for the Rolex Sydney Hobart Yacht Race. Sydney Harbour is such a special place and Boxing Day sees it at its best each year. I started the day with an early morning drive up to Middle Head to see the Harbour showing off looking spectacular in the morning sun. No sign really of what was to come in the hours ahead.
On board the Middle Harbour Yacht Club Start Boat was a close group of friends who we trust to get the job done. Dad is the RO on the second line so we like to ensure we have plenty of people who know what they are doing that won’t get distracted by the excitement of it all. So not only are we a tight start team but it also is an enjoyable day out with a great group of friends to celebrate the Holiday period. This years start I must say was one of the best we have seen. Not only was the Harbour packed with spectators because of so many big boats taking part but our start line was hectic especially at the boat end! We actually run two start teams, one upstairs and one down just to make sure we can see across the long line towards our pin end boat.
This year we had no boats over early so once those starting on the third line had past us we were able to pick up anchor and follow them all out into the big seaway. Offshore as always at this point is pretty hectic with spectators and competitors heading around South Head.
Each year we have a tradition of once we see the boats leave the Harbour we head back to our place with our team to watch the TV Coverage of the front line and have a big feast of Christmas Day leftovers. Such a great way to finish up the day with good friends.
Boxing Day is just an incredible experience. I recommend to everyone experiencing it from the water at least once as it is something you won’t forget. Sydney Harbour on Boxing day is an iconic event featuring the sport I love on the Harbour I love. It does not get much better than that.
I really am so lucky to be born in Sydney and into a Sailing Family. Last week the Extreme Sailing Series was in Australia taking place on our Beautiful Sydney Harbour. I spent three days on the headland cheering on my oldest friend Nathan Wilmot as he was steering GAC Pindar along with Tom Slingsby who we sponsor onboard Oman Air. I joke that Nath is my oldest friend as in he was born first and we have known each our whole lives. It is not that he is old hahahaha. Although the Saturday of the EXSS was his 35th Birthday which was mentioned regularly by the commentary team.
It was great to sit on the Hill with his Family and in particular his Mum (my mum’s best friend) who was back in Sydney to watch. Who would have thought growing up that we would find ourselves here. Two little kids who loved to sail and would play with little boats to test each other on rules while away on my grandfathers boats. Now Nath is a Gold Medallist and skipper of amazing boats and I am organising a Sailing Expo for our city! Sailing was always going to be a huge part of both our worlds growing up surrounded by sailors and Sydney Harbour. We have it good. Yes of course I have asked Nath to be involved in the Expo and like all those I have spoken to the answer is of course, if I am in Sydney I am there! Thanks guys it means a lot.
I do hope the Extreme Sailing Series comes back to Australia in the future. It was fantastic to watch especially with so many Aussies involved! We really are so strong as a nation when it comes to Sailing. To have such stadium racing in a location that allows for so many spectators is fantastic. We are lucky! Not to mention some pretty cool Sydney Icons in the back ground.
It has been such a busy time at work with the Sailing Season in full swing. Throw in the Sydney Sailboat Expo and all that needs to be done for that and I am certainly busy!
This morning I walked the CYCA dock to check out what was happening and have a look at a couple of the newer boats. Less then a week away from the start and once again I will be part of the Start Team for the second line. This year I expect to be BIG. The SOLAS Big Boat Challenge saw more spectators then ever before with so many Maxi’s Sailing. Boxing Day will no doubt be even bigger then ever and I don’t think the weather will scare away the spectators if it is overcast if the SOLAS Big Boat Challenge was anything to go by.
The big question is how many Helicopters will be above us this year?
We can't wait for Boxing Day! We will be out on the water enjoying it. Where will you be watching this year?… http://t.co/J1tyOXliak
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!
Well today I couldn’t be happier! This week my physio remeasured my core and we saw a great improvement! It has taken a long time and been a long road as I could not afford to go to the physio as much as I would like or been able to do as much reformer Pilates with her as we would like. My main source of improvement has been thanks to Pilates at Virgin Active. Michelle is a great instructor who really mixes up the types of equipment she uses in class which is great fun and often a big challenge. The reason for choosing Virgin Active to try and get better was all the facilities they have available such as the pool, spa, sauna and plunge pool as well as their class time table.
I’m not just happy today because all the hard work and time has seen an improvement. I went SAILING yesterday!!! I wanted to test how I was going on a slightly more relaxed race like a Wednesday Race instead of on the weekend! I went out on Sirius an Adams 10m with Ben Nossiter who has always been a huge mentor of mine. I also had one of my old crew Jen onboard along with of course knowing a couple of Ben’s crew. I wouldn’t have wanted to be on any other boat for my first sail back! It was a typical gusty westerly which is always interesting as the breeze plays games on you. When we realised we had more than a full crew we decided to unhank the #2 headsail and go for the old cutdown #1 as we figured there were enough of us onboard. So much for taking it easy!
I love sailing on an Adams 10 in big breeze and found myself in trim with one of Ben’s longest serving crew who has known me a long time. Needless to say because we knew each other well there was plenty of heckling and a great time had by all onboard. We were fastest 10m around the course which is always nice too but Ben has an incredible record of wins at MHYC in the Adams 10 class. If you are wondering what an Adams 10m is check out the website.
Unfortunatly I won’t get to go sailing again in the near future as I am spending the next two weeks umpiring at a number of Match Racing Events in NSW followed by a Teams Racing Regatta in QLD. It will be a hectic few weeks with just the one day off to be here in the office to get some work done at DeckHardware. I am extremely lucky my work is in the Sailing Industry and allows me the time out to do such events. Bring on the huge weeks ahead! Yes my Physio knows I have a lot happening and expects to see me at the end of it all hopefully for Pilates and not in pain. Lets hope!
Went sailing for the first time in ages thanks to my physio.! Loved it so much! Fastest in our fleet… http://t.co/9Rx37VQCr9
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.
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!
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
Where do you want to see our club in 5, 10 15 years time? I would like to see Middle Harbour Yacht Club as the destination for Sailors who love our sport and wish to compete against the highest level of sailors run by professional race committee that is the envy of other clubs. Our location is and we know that.
I believe we need to inspire the next generation to stay in sailing and hopefully at our club. So that they too then inspire the next generation to love our sport of Sailing.
My family was a part of the highly successful era in MHYC Centreboard and Offshore Sailing scenes. Lately MHYC has told the world how strong we were and the sailors our club produced through its fantastic Centreboard Division.
Create a family environment
Get parents involved
Show them how to get involved
Run a power boat handling operators course
Look at classes offered and the direction of these classes offered at the club
Have a pathway and options along the path for our sailors. When I was a teenager I asked and my mum fought to head down the same path as RPAYC, CYCA and RSYS and their training centres.
This is currently where our club is placed. Ideally we should have an all inclusive Centreboard Division as it was when it was the strongest club in Sydney.
I would like to call on all those who believe in Middle Harbour Yacht Club to stand up and assist our club in finding its “Mojo”. Many of you may have young kids and be wondering what path to lead them. Whether they will be as lucky as you were growing up in a fantastic sailing environment.
I believe Middle Harbour Yacht Club has an opportunity right now as they did back then. Perhaps instead of telling the teenagers what they will sail next they could hold an open event for all dinghy classes. Then advise these classes that MHYC would love to have them race on a regular basis. The place to start would be the 505’s which were such a strong class once at MHYC. Let’s make the event a fantastic event and show everyone what a great place it is to sail and how amazing the people are. How much we all love the sport of sailing. We have the facilities to run the most professional event possible. We also have the personnel in not only staff but a fantastic volunteer base that have run many great regattas over the years.
There are many questions people have asked me over the years. Why was I the youngest skipper by such a margin? Why was I the only racing female skipper? Where did those you grew up with go? Where is your age group? Why did the Centreboard Division fold all those years ago? Why are there so few females? How did you manage to run so many women’s events and crews?
I have over the years said I have some but not all the answers should anyone wish to listen to someone so young. I am a little older now and would love to talk to those who want to listen to my thoughts. Perhaps we could hold an open forum and invite the members of the past?
So I ask: Where do you see Middle Harbour Yacht Club in 5, 10, 15 years time?
I have just spent the last three days doing the instructors course at Middle Harbour Yacht Club. It was nice to finally tick that off the list as it is something I have been meaning to do for a long time but just not had the chance. Having already done the Powerboat Handling and First Aid this was the next thing on my list. Great to be able to say after over 20yrs I now can call myself an Instructor. The course was certainly beneficial especially for someone like me who does not remember learning how to sail. So trying to put myself in a learners shoes is not something I can easily relate to. So to have the guidelines to go by will certainly make it a whole lot easier for me to help out those new to our sport!
I must admit that yesterday I was pretty lucky to be on the water. Great blue sky and even better was the fact that it was a Nor’easter!
BRING ON SUMMER!!!
Now to pack the van for Belmont and the Yachting NSW Youth Championships, unpack a Liros Shipment this afternoon, go to the rules night at the club tonight for a refresh, pack myself for Belmont. Then head up to the youth states on Friday.
At this stage there are 196 competitors for the NSW Youth Champs. That is amazing! Dad is the RO for Course Area B and at this stage I am on the Pin boat. We have the Laser Radial, Laser 4.7, Flying 11, 420 and 29’er fleets!
I truly am a lucky sailing chix. Over the weekend I got to spend the entire two days on the water at two pretty awesome clubs.
The first one being Middle Harbour Yacht Club on Saturday. Dad asked me to come out on the Start boat. Not only to learn a little more watching him as the club PRO but also to take a million photos on a perfect blue sky day. The Harbour really put on a show. In Middle Harbour you could see the bottom as it was crystal clear water on a perfect 15 knot day. I was so very lucky to be able to spend the day taking photos on a day like this. Plus I got to see the first race of the season and where everyone was at.
I then got the chance to drive Hugh George again and learn how to pick up the marks after the race. This was something new to me on such a large start boat. It was great to have the clubs two RO’s onboard to help me learn this skill and how the boat likes to operate. So big thanks to Dad and Steve for that one.
On the way back in the crew were letting me know to slow down as they had seen a windsurfer in a little distress. I let Dad take the helm for this one as we got the poor shaking guy and his board onboard and delivered him back to Balmoral. Poor guy really was in a state and I am glad we saw him before he ended up in the main harbour. He was already near Middle Head and heading his way out there. When we got back to the club the preso was done and people were already heading home. What a long day on the water!
Sunday I had to deliver some parts to friends of mine at Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club. When I got there for their first Learn To Sail morning session there were kids EVERYWHERE! I mean EVERYWHERE! It could have been the amazing weather, the impact of the Olympics or the family atmosphere at that club. It was an amazing day as the kids from the club took out a new kid each to give them a go and Rhys, Greg, Ian, Ian and I manned the Rescue boats also towing them out with out sails up to learn how to balance in a boat and steer. What an amazing effort by everyone! Pam and Andy could be seen taking people out in Herons at the same time! EVERYONE from the club was busy and helping out somewhere. Things then changed back to a bit of normal as we headed out for the junior sailing session. Gee joined me in the RIB to do some coaching as Greg jumped in the start boat. She did a fantastic job in particular coaching her little Junior States Crew around the course when the breeze kicked in a little.
In the afternoon I was leaning towards heading home to do some work on the website. My friends informed me I could not go to work as I was in the RIB for that afternoon. I must say I was not really going to say no on such a beautiful day.