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.

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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.

How can you tell a busy Summer?

I didn’t do a single blog post! Well, that is not like me at all…

So what has been happening, Boxing Day was once again spent on the second line start boat with a great group of people who knew when to have fun and when to switch to work mode. It was pretty funny in the 10 minutes to go when I filmed us on Instagram in silence.

Up next was the 16 and 13 ft Skiff Nationals which we were supporting as DeckHardware. I spent each day at MH16’s with the van setup. On one of the days our DeckHardware Ambassadors, Harry and Nathan went above and beyond assisting Dante with his boat setup.

Almost 5 hours later and we were hearing that Nathan wasn’t done yet! It was great to see that the knowledge and experience they have from sailing in a larger fleet at MH was being shared with the Guys from Illawarra.

Next up was the Flying 11 Nationals at Manly where we setup up on a few of the days and were there if needed on others.

As always I tend to spend a bit of my time at the Lake and this year was no different with a visit with the 18′ Skiffs and not long after the 16’s had their sprint series up there.

I caught up with my old boat when it visited MHYC for the Adams 10m Nationals! 

Then once again was out of the office for the JJ Giltinan Championships for the 18′ Skiffs. Supporting our Ambassadors and those who use our products. What an incredible event from big breeze to the Kiwi’s coming 1st and 2nd. It is worth checking out all their social media to watch some of the racing and check out the great action photos.

What is next? Who knows! There is plenty on and lots to do in the office.

I might leave it up to our DeckHardware Ambassadors to decide where I go next hahaha.

Some photos from the last few months.

 

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!

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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!

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.

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!