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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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 for a few photos I took during the event.

Marketing that catches the eye!

The Bus StopSitting in the passenger seat of a car it is easy to sometimes drift off and watch the world go by.  Today as we stopped at the set of lights I was caught by surprise as I looked at the top of the bus stop!

I could not believe my eyes!  What a fantastic marketing idea!  Talk about grabbing all my attention.   Well done NT and Virgin Australia.  At first you notice the billboards then you realise that the seat looks like rocks!  What an effort you have gone to.

As some one who is always trying to think up things for my business I am loving this idea.   The bus stop certainly made me smile, stop and talk about it and even take a photo.  Nicely done!

CHS Sailing Regatta is over for another year

The 46th Combined High Schools Sailing Championships (CHS) in conjunction with 34th Australian Secondary Schools Sailing Championship and 37th NSW Secondary Schools Sailing Championships.   An event that tested all those in attendance, competitors and race officers alike.  What was with that weather!   Breeze, No Breeze, pouring rain and boiling hot!   From Freezing in the rain to crews going swimming and capsizing on purpose or being capsized by other competitors during the postponement!

Watching the sky above Lake Macquarie proved a tricky read for Race Officers and competitors resulting in several postponement’s and a day abandoned.    Wouldn’t it have been nice to have a Noreaster!

Watching the skill levels of some of the sailors out on the water was fantastic.  It was great to see so many different classes being sailed so well.  In particular the leading Flying Eleven sailors who I enjoyed watching sail extremely well.   Along with watching people sailing something new to them or giving a regatta a go.   I hope you all enjoyed the new experiences.

With the inclusion of Allen, TBS and PROtect Tape to our range of Liros Rope we are now in a position of being able to supply a support van to local Regattas.  Our first trial of this was the CHS at Belmont.  I could not have done it without the assistance of Rhys and Georgia Llewellyn, Goughy, Liz Gazzard, Greg and Emma Harris.   Thanks so much for your help in keeping the van company!  Special thanks to Rhys who helped re rig a couple of boats along with Georgia, Kate and Emma who took time to write and draw on my whiteboard to be displayed in the van.   I learnt a lot about how to manage the van at regatta’s in the future.   It was a fantastic experience and we will be doing it in future.   So keep an eye out for the newly stickered DeckHardware van!  Thanks Rhys for putting the stickers on.
Special Congrats go to Georgia for coming Third in the Laser Radial  plus Emma and Susie Milton coming Third in the Aust Girls Division. The Narrabeen Lakes Sailing Club was represented by 6 fantastic young women who did so well!

Congratulations to all competitors and especially to the Division winners.  Year 6 and all High School Students make sure you put this in the Calendar for next year!   It is a great event to meet sailors from other classes and perhaps sail something you would not normally compete in.

Here are the links to all the photo albums on our facebook fan page.  I hope you enjoy all the photos.   There is video yet to come.  A huge thanks to our DeckHardware supporters / assistants Liz Gazzard and Rhys Llewellyn who assisted in getting so many photos from different locations during the regatta.

Race Results

Image Links:

CHS last Race from a second RIB   

Last Race of the CHS from the RIB

CHS Race 3 from Shore and Finish Boat

CHS Race 3 from RIB

CHS Race 2 from Shore

CHS Race 2 from the RIB

CHS Race 1 from shore

CHS Race 1 from the RIB

Crew’s Red Hot Regatta

After an AP of 3 hours we were able to go out and compete in 3 races with the wind flicking from 155 to 175 to 200, for each start. By now the wind had abated to 15-25 knots in the puffs with rain at times. This was hard sailing in the short chop making upwind conditions difficult. The girls did well to get the weight as far out as possible considering there was no toe rail to keep them onboard.

During the June long weekend MHYC sent a team to compete in the RMYS Women’s Keelboat Regatta.  This was in response to a generous invite from the owner of the Adams 10m Rollercoaster, Ken Simpson. We brought our own Spinnakers (3), Mainsail and #1 Genoa to make sailing on an unfamiliar boat slightly easier.

The three days of the regatta provided a range of testing conditions:

Day 1 The weather today, 5 degrees Celsius (coldest June day for 13 years), wind 2-4 knots and thick, blanketing fog.  Visibility was no more than 1000m at the best of times.  Often no more than 100m with a runabout appearing on the course from Williamstown, which is on the other side of the bay, lost and having no idea where they were.  The breeze was swinging between 40 odd degrees, with no chance of setting a course.  After nearly 4 hours floating around the race officials decided to pull the pin for day.

Day 2 Again the crew were up bright and early, for our 7am briefing with John Hurley.  However the weather was now proving a handful with gusts reaching 40 knots from the south-west forcing a delay in racing.  We went for coffee with one of the Melbourne sailing teams that were competing in the event.  After finding out racing was still delayed we then decided to do the girlie thing and head for the Markets.  Liz, Rosie, Kate and I walked a little further as they decided if they could not go for a sail on Rollercoaster they would go for team bonding at Luna Park on the Rollercoaster.  Unfortunately the Rollercoaster was not operating so back to the Yacht Rollercoaster for hopefully an afternoon of racing. After an AP of 3 hours we were able to go out and compete in 3 races with the wind flicking from 155 to 175 to 200, for each start.  By now the wind had abated to 15-25 knots in the puffs with rain at times. This was hard sailing in the short chop making upwind conditions difficult. The girls did well to get the weight as far out as possible considering there was no toe rail to keep them onboard. The fleet was mixed with the main competition coming from Salamander III (Adams 10m), Horizon Sprint (Radford 10.9), Alien (Lidgard 11m) and Hush (Cavalier 35).  That night we all watched the Wallabies play England in the Motel Lounge Bar and continued our team bonding, with our English members of the crew.

Day 3 Race one saw us use all three spinnakers, starting small and ending up with the big masthead.  It was great to see how fast the crew had become in the Spinnaker hoists as well as being able to read the sailing instructions.  This saw us getting the gun in the first race of the day.  The racing was as close as ever with only seconds separating some of the fleet.  With many headsail changes between the #1 and #3, Kate is now very experienced at headsail changes not having done any prior to the event.   We were able to get three races in, breeze 10-18 knots with the occasional gust of 25.

Following Monday’s racing, the crew enjoyed a sit down dinner presentation with many prizes and a great attendance of approx 200 competitors and friends.   The evening was hosted by the RMYS Commodore who announced during the night that next year’s event would be known as the Australian Women’s Keelboat Regatta.

Congratulations to the overall winner on VYC Hyperactive (J24) Kirsty Harris.  Our overall results were VYC 5th, AMS 2nd, IRC 2nd.  We were also awarded best start trophy for one our starts.  A great result using a borrowed boat sighted for the first time 1.5 hours before the start of the first race.

I would like to take this opportunity to thank John Hurley for his Coaching and support during the regatta, the next thankyou goes to the MHYC members for their very generous support at such short notice. Thanks to all the companies who supported our raffle efforts including the Sydney Swans and DeckHardware Australasia who supplied our major prizes. Special thanks to my parents, Robyn and Phil for driving down with my sails.  A very special thankyou to Nigel Holman for the loan of his inflatable vests making the sailing more comfortable as we were required to wear lifejackets in this event.

Thanks also to the team pulling together with minimal training on Animus – Jen Rezek – Main, Liz Gazzard – Trim 1, Julie Hodder – Trim 2, Rosi Winn – Pit (plus everything else usually done by mainsheet hands in Sydney), Kate Cooper – Bow and Mast.  And to Qantas thankyou for finding Julie Hodder’s sailing gear, her bag had decided it did not like the Melbourne weather and that the regatta should be held in Cairns.

During the Regatta we enjoyed incredibly close racing with Salamander III. It is hoped that they will be able to join us in Sydney for the next MHYC Ladies Day, as we will be able to arrange an Adams 10m for them to sail.  We all had great fun and I encourage all Sydney women to think seriously about taking part next year.  As well as competing in the Women’s events on Sydney Harbour, they are always great fun.