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.

Europe and METSTRADE 2016

I barely know where to start. I am back in the DeckHardware Warehouse already and cannot believe how fast it went. This will be a little longer than usual as I try to recall so much of what happened whilst away.

It was fantastic to be able to spend just over 24hrs with the team at Allen Brothers. Thanks to those who came out to dinner and made me feel welcome.  An extra special thanks to Liz and Graham who made me feel so welcome. When we represent suppliers in Australia the relationship between companies is so important. As well as of course knowing how they do things and knowing a little more about the behind the scenes of the company.  Allen celebrated a massive milestone at METSTRADE so it was great to hear more about their story.

The latest Allen Catalogue is now online and it is great to see new product being released.  The Allen range has been a wonderful edition and it is nice to work with another Family Business who are working hard to continue to develop and adapt to the changing sailing scene.

After the quick visit to Allen I headed to Frankfurt for the weekend not being able to spend too long away everything was super short. It is so nice to have a “home base” in Europe. Once again my trip coincided with Thom’s Birthday this time he turned 9! He was well aware that next time he will be double figures. It has gone too fast! Marty and Marlene were such a big part of the Animus days and it is always so special to spend some time with the two of them, their three fantastic kids and Marlene’s Parents.

Jake showed he is definitely part Aussie having multiple vegemite toasts in one sitting hahaha.  It is also nice now the kids are getting older that they remember me each trip. It is a number of years since they came out to AUS as a family and we caught up on the Lake. So it is nice to be able to catch up and just hang out.

The Weekend was over and before I knew it I was at the Train station with Marty who was heading off to work away for the week. In the car on the way there it said -2.5°c. Seriously… No offence Marty although it was great to catch up my happier memories with you involve shorts and a t-shirt sailing hahaha.

This time in Amsterdam I was staying somewhere different to previous trips, on the Tram line rather than walking distance or Train to the RAI.  Somewhere in between suppliers to make it easier! Day one at METS was seriously one of the busiest I have seen. I managed to catch up with a number of suppliers and checked out what else was on show. It was one of those days that I didn’t even have time to stop for lunch although when I was on the Forespar stand they did offer me some that I didn’t get around to eating oops. Before I knew it the time was 7:30pm and the email to back home was getting lengthy about the days news and I was getting more than a little hungry.

The best part about METS is catching up with our suppliers especially the ones we have worked with now for over a decade. Bill from Forespar is one who has made it out to AUS and seen where we are and what we do. He has been a big part of our journey and it is always great to catch up. Along with Bill I managed to catch up with Dayl also from Forespar and Will and Fred from Schaefer for dinner. It was great to see the friendships between these two companies and shows why we enjoy working with them.

METS is a chance to find out what is new, what is yet to be announced and industry news. Fitting all this into just three days is always epic and of course a good reason for a coffee catch up, meal or a drink. This year was no exception!

It was so good to see Mal Page there who was in town for some meetings and his very first METS. It was great to catch up in person! You can imagine the number of topics we tried to cover in this short time. That is the problem with being friends for so long and both involved in the sport and industry.

This time I decided to fly out of Amsterdam in the evening rather than lunch time Friday to just give myself a little more time to make sure I had made notes on everything before flying haze sets in… With time to kill I then headed to their Maritime Museum. This is seriously one of the best ideas yet! As someone who loves the history of our sport I was in awe of the range of Sextants, Maps etc on display. Seriously incredible and worth doing for any sailor who has a few hours in Amsterdam.

As I sit here back at my desk I look at the pile of catalogues I have brought back that still need sorting through!  A few of them have now been loaded to the DeckHardware website.  With new ones from Allen, LIROS, Blue Performance online.

The next two weeks are going to be big as we celebrate 10 years of my family owning DeckHardware. Dad has been writing some blog posts lately on his sailing history as a way of showing how we ended up here. Stay tuned for a little history from Mum and I also!

Time to get back to it. There is so much new product to make sure is on our website and plenty coming soon that I got a sneak peak of at METS.

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The countdown to METSTRADE 2016

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The welcome sign at METS in 2014

METSTRADE is just weeks away and the Dame Award Nominees have been announced! No doubt many of you are wondering what METSTRADE is or the Dame Awards.

METSTRADE Show is the world’s largest marine equipment trade show, which has been bringing the marine industry together for decades. Over 22,000 professionals from 112 countries around the world gather in Amsterdam. The next edition of the show will take place on November 15 – 17, 2016.

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Amsterdam is such a beautiful spot, even if I only get to see it on the way to and from the Hotel to the RAI.

The DAME Design Award is the most prestigious international design competition for new marine equipment and accessories. Over the  past 25 years, independently appointed judges examined thousands of products in specific marine categories. The DAME Design Award has come to set the pace for new concepts and designs in the worldwide leisure marine industry. Participation in DAME Awards is exclusively reserved to METSTRADE exhibitors.

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Amsterdam in November

You can imagine what it would be like, a trade show full of marine equipment.  Taking a day to walk around let alone stop and talk to people or check out new products. It is also a great chance to catch up with industry friends and discuss the current climate and direction of our sport.

This year I will be attending METSTRADE for the 4th time in the almost 10 years (in December) my family has owned DeckHardware. It is always such a quick visit due to it being our sailing season, one day I hope to be a tourist in Amsterdam. As a Trade only show it is a fantastic experience and one that is a MUST for us every couple of years. Touching base with many of our suppliers and finding out what is new as well as plenty of sailing and industry chat.

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Blue sky as I headed home in 2014

Have a look at the floorplan and you will see what I mean by the size, it is incredible.
http://www.metstrade.com/mets/exhibitors/floorplan/

There is Sun in London!The Nominees are always interesting to check out to see what is happening in the way of development.
http://www.metstrade.com/mets/innovation/dame-nominees/

Even though it is a super short trip and not even two weeks including flying time I will be stopping via England to head to the Allen Brothers Factory for a visit. This is something I am looking forward to having been to see LIROS Ropes and Forespar in the past. Flying all that way it is good to be able to tie in a visit at the same time. I can not wait to get on the Qantas A380 once again. This time I even managed to use Qantas points for the Accommodation in Amsterdam! I am staying somewhere new which is exciting.

DSC_0932After just a short time in England, I will head to Frankfurt to spend the weekend with two of my old Animus crew and their family. Before catching the train to Amsterdam for the big few days of catch up and talk all about products and the industry.

Then it is back to Australia to celebrate 10 years of my family owning DeckHardware! As well as the summer sailing season.

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Marlene steering Animus with Marty sitting back enjoying a twilight sail

Plenty of thinking time on a road trip north

IMG_1255I recently spent some time at Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron for the Australian Schools Teams Racing Championships and Queensland Youth Week. I decided after looking at Flight Options and talking to the DeckHardware customers that I would drive up instead of flying. No packing restrictions and I could take extra product should it be needed. Of course there is also the fact that I enjoy a road trip and had not done the Journey to Brisbane and back for some time. Talk about some road work changes particularly south of Coffs!

I must say one of the biggest debates I had was where to stop along the way. I love stopping by some of the smaller towns and even saw a poster for the Nabiac Caravan, Boat and Fishing Show. I think that might have to be something we check out some time. It is great to see some of the smaller regions supporting the outdoor lifestyle and putting on a community event.

IMG_1269Two of us were talking on one of the days at RQYS about how successful these events were and how great it was to see so many types of boats heading out in decent numbers at Youth Week!

We started talking about how perhaps the sport is changing to be more focused on events rather than club racing? Are you seeing this in your area? If people are more focused on events where does that leave our clubs and how do the youth in particular learn and improve and get the social side to play a big part in the sailing culture they grow up with?

IMG_1264Is it because a days sailing literally does take up the majority of the day compared with other sports?

It feels like Teams Racing in Schools is growing in Sydney as well, school sailing in general which is fantastic especially with what Yachting Australia has been able to be involved in. Passed around at the presentation night for the Teams Racing was a flyer for School Match Racing! What a great idea! It is fantastic to watch the boat handling and skills in these formats of sailing as well as the knowledge of our sport these young sailors have.

There certainly is a lot happening in our sport at the moment. Let’s hope we can keep up the momentum and continue to receive growing media coverage for the success of Australian Sailing. With this will come increased interest and participation in our sport. It is up to all of us to help spread the word about how good sailing is!  After all, what better way to spend a day than out on the water.

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Umpiring and a day in Hobart

It has been an extremely busy time. Two weekends ago I had the opportunity to Umpire at RPAYC for the David Lukins Match Racing Regatta. It is always great to find some time to dust of the cobwebs and do some umpiring to kick start the year. If I thought I was dusting off cobwebs after a few months off there were competitors back for the event in memory of David Lukins who had not match raced since the previous year. Great effort guys and so good to see you out there enjoying the sport pushing the younger generation who have the opportunity to do so many more events.

There need to be more events for the “retired” match racers out there! Just because they have aged out of the youth events doesn’t mean it should be time to stop. They all did a great job despite starting the weekend a little out of practice.

After a busy week of work I then headed down to Hobart for a day on the weekend. I wanted to check out the MyState Wooden Boat Festival for the first time. I have heard so much about this show and one of our Customers Brierley had a great range of DeckHardware product on show. I was so impressed! I honestly feel this is one of the best shows in the world. For atmosphere, number of great boats to check out, variety you name it. I thoroughly enjoyed my day and could have spent the weekend checking out all the boats. Next time for sure.

Of course one of the highlights was the food stalls! Amazing food! This of course comes as no surprise when in Tasmania. I definitely will be putting it in the calendar as a must attend for next time.

Flying in and out the same day certainly made it a long day. Especially with a slight delay on the flight home. I was so glad to finally sit and stop after a very full and exhausting day. There was just so much to see and look at. Check out this album of just a few of the shots I took. “Classics” “Stunners” there really was so much to see.

It is all about Friends

Just under two weeks ago I got on a plane to Europe to attend the International Sailing Summit and METS. For this reason I have a couple of blogs to write as too much happened to squeeze it all into one!

To get over the jet lag I was lucky enough to spend a few days with some friends of mine Marlene and Marty. I am lucky to have such good friends on the other side of the world.

When I arrived in Frankfurt I was greeted by Marlene and their eldest Thom who had recently been to Australia with Marty. I am pretty sure Thom just wanted to be there to see what goodies I had brought with me hahahaha! When he was in Australia and heard I was coming to Europe for work in November he asked me to make sure I was there in time for his 7th birthday! Now that was an experience! A 7th birthday in Germany was great fun even if I could not understand what the boys were saying I could certainly see the fun they were having.

I found myself helping some of the boys with their crafts, it didn’t matter that I could not speak to Thom’s friends who didn’t speak English. It is something I would like to do but find it hard, learn another language. I have done a course but without people to speak to on a regular basis it is tough. I certainly pick up a few words each time I visit.

The first day I got there I had no time to think about jet lag. I had time for a shower to wake up in the mid afternoon to head to a Lantern lighting ceremony! It is a tradition to celebrate St Martin’s Day. There is no better way to get over jet lag than to walk the streets with the local children and their parents singing songs in the cold night air. My friends youngest two Jake and Emilia are in Kindergarten so were taking part in all the activities! I was so impressed with the locals on the route who set up candles in their windows or came outside to join in.

My time in Frankfurt was all about spending time with friends. Dinners, birthdays and celebrations. With a family dinner to celebrate Thom’s Birthday with his extended family, his birthday party with his friends and more happening it was a great few days! If only I got to see them all more often! The three kids are growing up so fast.

It is also interesting to see the difference in German schooling to Australia. Earlier starts and shorter days but they seem to be more education focused in the earlier years hence the shorter days. Fairly different to Australia. Each morning the local kids would walk past and Thom would be waiting outside ready to join his friends on the walk to school! Another big difference to where I grew up.

Marlene did spoil me with the food and one lunch was very special. She knows I have a love for cheese and it is pretty good stuff in Europe. Some flavoured Brie type cheese heated in the oven to dip fresh vegies in! YUM!

It is nice to be able to visit my friends every couple of years due to work.  I am very lucky to be able to stay with them and have time catching up.  It wasn’t for long and heading to Amsterdam I knew I had a massive few days ahead.  Thanks to Marty, Marlene and their family for the hospitality and catch up!  Next up will be the International Sailing Summit in Amsterdam.

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Two more sleeps

Just a little excited as I have two more sleeps before I head to Europe as it has been a HECTIC month.  We have not made the trip to METS for a couple of years due to the cost and time of year being the busiest time for DeckHardware.  It is pretty hard to get away when the sailing season is in full swing.  Sadly I will actually miss a Grade 3 Match Racing event too.  It is always great to catch up though with all our suppliers and see what is happening in the industry.

Amsterdam at Night
Amsterdam at Night

METS as it is known is the trade show for the marine industry. It really is an incredible few days and a very busy few days.  If you have not heard of it before here is a little more detail:

The world’s largest marine equipment trade show

METS, 18-19-20 November 2014 in Amsterdam RAI, is the only international B2B exhibition for the marine leisure industry. It’s the perfect place to forge profitable relationships and it showcases new product launches by 1,345 exhibitors from over 40 countries. Far more than just an exhibition, METS combines new products, seminars and unrivalled networking opportunities for visitors to connect across countries, technologies and industry sectors.

This year the International Sailing Summit is also happening in Amsterdam the day before METS! I am extremely excited to be able to attend this as it is something I have wanted to do for some time.  The program looks great for this years event!  Since deciding to put together the Sydney Sailboat Expo attending has become even more important.  I have always volunteered a lot of my time to supporting and promoting the sport of sailing.  It is something I feel very strongly about as I feel extremely lucky to have been brought up in the sailing community.

Speaking of community, you are probably wondering why I am flying a week early to Europe at our busiest time of year.  Before I head to Amsterdam I am flying into Frankfurt to see some very special people.  Two of my old crew from when I owned Animus!!!!  Marty and Marlene now live in Germany with their three children.  Whilst I am there we are celebrating their eldest’s 7th birthday.  I can not wait to see them and spend some time with them.  I have been told we have a big few days of German traditions ahead and no doubt Marlene and I will spend hours talking and catching up.  I was lucky enough to have a visit from Marty and their eldest earlier in the year when they visited Australia.  It has been several years now since I last saw Marlene and I can not wait to see her and catch up!

It is a very busy three weeks ahead.  I will try and do a few extra blog posts to keep you all up to date!  When I get back from Europe I have two days to get over some jet lag before I get out on the water to do some umpiring once again.

Marlene steering Animus not long before Thom was born.  Now we celebrate his 7th birthday!
Marlene steering Animus not long before Thom was born on a nice Twilight with Marty. Now we celebrate his 7th birthday!

YNSW Youth Championships

On the long weekend I volunteered at the NSW Youth Sailing Championships.  Our start team was Dad, Dave, Rhys and I.  With almost we think 60 starts due to the number of recalls I was simply exhausted at the end of it and did not want to do any more maths for a while.

I can’t say enough about the team we worked with on Course Area B.  Our Finish Team, our Mark Layers and our on shore contact Donna.  Donna gave us the chance to breathe knowing we had someone on shore should one of the girls we were supporting need us.  Emma Harris, Georgia Llewellyn and Jaime Swavley had a full support team out on the start boat but not on shore.  So thank you Donna!!!

Because of who we had on the start boat it was great to have someone on shore to call when young Emma Harris had to go in to fix her bung.  At least I had someone to call and make sure she was ok and to let her know she was going to make the next race in time.  I also had good friend and on water judge Ian Humphries make sure she made it in safely whilst we were in postponement.

It was a big step for Emma jumping into a Laser Radial.  To see her mixing it with the fleet on the last day was AWESOME!

It was great to watch the J and G team in the 420 Wings.  The girls are growing into the boat and continue to boost not only confidence but skill as well.  Having seen them out training it was great to be able to watch them compete in the 420 fleet.

What a fantastic three days with some fantastic people.  I hope the competitors and their parents and coaches appreciate the hard effort we put in to ensure all the racing happened.  It was not the easiest of weather conditions and at times was very frustrating as we waited for the breeze to work with us not against.

To Dave our Driver!  You are awesome!  Thanks for being a part of a great weekend and providing the wildlife sanctuary to keep us entertained during the postponements.

I could write so many pages on the event there are just so many stories.  So check out the photos I managed to take in between being super busy on the water.

check out www.facebook.com/deckhardware for a few photos I took during the event.

Celebrations for Good Luck

I am lucky to not just sponsor members of the Australian Sailing Team with our Liros Rope but to call some of them friends.   Last night was the Good Luck Farewell for Nath and Goobs or awesome 49er duo.  Yes it meant heading up to Wangi for the night but it was well worth it.  Nath and I for a while before we bought the business were the sole employees.  Goobs and his big brother and I sailed against each other when we were like 12.  Which is how Matt introduced me to people last night haha.

It truly is something special to be able to support friends in the way I am able.  Nath and Goobs also put together the PROtect Tape kit for 49ers for us.

They were no doubt surprised we made the effort but it was well worth it as they are only here for a few days before heading off to compete at London 2012.

Last night the boys were celebrated in style with a poem, some heckling and just a lot of proud friends and family.  Many of their family in fact are already over in Europe getting ready to support them over there.  Due to the Sydney International Boat Show I will be in Sydney and cheering as loudly as possible. I know I won’t be alone in this.

Two guys I have known for a long time.  Two great down to earth blokes.

Go you good things!  And yes Nath – #AussieSailorsRock

Staying the night in Wangi I got to wake up to this view…  Awesome.   No wonder these guys love our sport so much!  Look at their home ground!

The Poem:

Last nights version was slightly modified to suit Nath and Goobs. It was well read. Here is the original:

Green and Gold Malaria
by Rupert McCall

The day would soon arrive when I could not ignore the rash.
I was obviously ill and so I called on Doctor Nash.
This standard consultation would adjudicate my fate.
I walked into his surgery and gave it to him straight:
`Doc, I wonder if you might explain this allergy of mine,
I get these pins and needles running up and down my spine.
From there, across my body, I will suddenly extend –
My neck will feel a shiver and the hairs will stand on end.
And then there is the symptom that only a man can fear –
A choking in the throat, and the crying of a tear.’
Well, the Doctor scratched his melon with a rather worried look.
His furrowed brow suggested that the news to come was crook.
`What is it Doc?’ I motioned. `Have I got a rare disease?
I’m man enough to cop it sweet, so give it to me, please.’
`I’m not too sure,’ he answered, in a puzzled kind of way.
`You’ve got some kind of fever, but it’s hard for me to say.
When is it that you feel this most peculiar condition?’
I thought for just a moment, then I gave him my position:
`I get it when I’m standing in an Anzac Day parade,
And I get it when the anthem of our native land is played,
And I get it when Meninga makes a Kiwi-crunching run,
And when Border grits his teeth to score a really gutsy ton.
I got it back in ’91 when Farr-Jones held the Cup,
And I got it when Japan was stormed by Better Loosen Up.
I get it when Banjo takes me down the Snowy River,
And Matilda sends me waltzing with a billy-boiling shiver.
It hit me hard when Sydney was awarded the Games,
And I get it when I see our farmers fighting for their names.
It flattened me when Bertrand raised the boxing kangaroo,
And when Perkins smashed the record, well, the rashes were true blue.
So tell me, Doc,’ I questioned. `Am I really gonna die?’
He broke into a smile before he looked me in the eye.
As he fumbled with his stethoscope and pushed it out of reach,
He wiped away a tear and then he gave me this stirring speech:
`From the beaches here in Queensland to the sweeping shores of Broome,
On the Harbour banks of Sydney where the waratah’s in bloom.
From Uluru at sunset to the Mighty Tasman Sea,
In the Adelaide cathedrals, at the roaring MCG.
From the Great Australian Blight up to the Gulf of Carpentaria,
The medical profession call it “green and gold malaria”.
But forget about the text books, son, the truth I shouldn’t hide.
The rash that you’ve contracted here is “good old Aussie pride”.
I’m afraid that you were born with it and one thing is for sure –
You’ll die with it, young man, because there isn’t and cure.’