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.

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.

10 years with DeckHardware

Nathan Outteridge Sailing Team
Nathan Outteridge Sailing Team on the front of the van

Today I was going to sit down and write about the regatta’s I have been volunteering at to kick start 2016.  The Opti Nationals and Australian Youths, however LinkedIn had other ideas.

It has now been over 10 years that I have worked for DeckHardware.  I had done the marketing for the company for several years prior to coming onboard full time in 2006.  In the early days before my family purchased the business we shared a warehouse with the owner’s other business and my friends at Musto.  My road rep for a while there was Nathan Outteridge with the special DeckHardware van with logos and his name on the front hahaha.

Those were the days when we had four brands to distribute. We could see the potential as the four brands were great brands to work with. In December 2006 with both my Mum (Robyn who has been with the company even longer) and I knowing the company inside out we purchased DeckHardware and Dad (Phil) came to work for the company. I think we might have to do something in December to celebrate that!

Loved that kite!
Loved that kite!

There certainly has been some huge changes during that time both at DeckHardware and for the Australian Marine Industry. What a journey it has been for us.

We are extremely proud of the hard work we have put in and to be able to say we are the distributors of:

Allen Sailboat Performance Hardware, Billy Bung, Blue Performance, CC Marine, Forespar, Houdini, JDC, Liros Rope, Man Ship Marine, Peter G’s, PROtect Tapes, Sanol, Schaefer Marine, SpliceRight, Splicing Nut, TBS by Passage and Walder.

During this time I have been on an incredible journey.  I have worked strange hours, multiple other casual jobs at one point at the same time to help fund the growth. I had to sell my beautiful yacht Animus for the extra funds and because there was just not the time to sail her enough let alone 5 days a week like I had been.

Germany in Winter
Germany in Winter

I have travelled around Australia to the different Boat Shows as an exhibitor and a visitor, to the Annapolis Boat Show, Dusseldorf Boat Show, London Boat Show, Auckland Boat Show and of course METSTRADE several times in Amsterdam to grow the business. For a while there I felt like I lived at boat shows hahaha. I have spent time in Los Angeles working in the Forespar office, I have experienced the Liros Factory in Germany in the snow. What an incredible experience this has been and one that led me to creating the Sydney Sailboat Expo.

It has not been an easy journey and certainly been a challenge learning so many new skills along the way. Who would have thought studying music I would end up here? At least the course for musicians taught what you needed to know to run your own business and the basics of HTML, Poster design etc etc.

Amsterdam is beautiful
Amsterdam is beautiful

I am grateful to my friends and family who have stuck by me through the long odd hours.

To our DeckHardware suppliers thank you so much for all your support and friendship over the years. I am looking forward to November when I will once again be travelling to Europe to visit suppliers and METSTRADE. Of course one of the best things about heading to Europe is seeing two of my old crew Marty, Marlene and their family who now live in Frankfurt. After all, Sailing is what got me here.

What will the next 10 years bring!

The METSTRADE IBI article where I was featured.
The METSTRADE IBI article where I was featured

 

Sydney Sailing features and so it should!

The last few weeks have been amazing and at the same time it feels like months haha.  The first Olympic Sailing Team Members were announced for Rio with Nathan Outteridge and Iain Jensen announced as our 49er Team. Mat Belcher and Will Ryan on the 470 and Lisa Darmanin and Jason Waterhouse on the Nacra. It is an exciting time to be involved with the team as a sponsor as well as seeing people like Nath and Goobs who I have known for so long get the call up to another Olympics.

The Extreme Sailing Series hit my home waters of Sydney Harbour and old friends Katie Spithill and Stacey Jackson were in the thick of it competing onboard 33 South Racing. I should say that they are not old, we have just known each other longer than we probably would care to admit. As a result I offered myself as a mini cheer squad, Social media advisor and whatever else I could help with. For many reasons I was more than happy to help, including the fact that we are old friends and crewmates as well as how well they represent sailing and female sailors especially.

What an experience it was. An amazing opportunity for Katie in particular to show she can mix it with the more experienced Extreme Sailing Series skippers. It didn’t all go to plan thanks to a Port and Starboard setting back the weekend however I think the determination and attitude the crew showed to come out the other side proved their was a lot of promise and competitive nature backed with skill.  To say the crew were itching to get back out on the water would be an understatement whilst waiting for the repairs.

A year earlier I had been cheering on Nath Wilmot and crew on GAC Pindar and this time around it was another crew from our youth. I think I have mentioned before that Aussie Sailors Rock!  There is something special about where we have come from that has created a really inspirational group of sailors on and off the water.  I am so proud to be connected with so many friends from the past and doing what I can via both the Sydney Sailboat Expo and the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation to promote Sailing.  I hope the next generation of young sailors can be just as lucky to create great friends and memories.

Speaking of the next generation, Sail Sydney was on over the past weekend with a brilliant turnout! As one of the MANY volunteers it was wonderful to see so many course areas and classes competing on the Harbour. There were also some amazing photos of the Super Maxi’s out training sailing past the Sail Sydney Competitors.

Now comes Christmas but there is no slowing down! Boxing Day is a pretty big day in Sydney Sailing and there is no need to guess where I will be! On Sydney Harbour of course! Once again volunteering on the second line Start Boat.  Being able to do so is something special for all of us and a reward for all the hours of volunteering we do throughout the year and the effort we go to as volunteers to ensure we have the skills to back it up.

The Rolex Sydney Hobart brings many Aussie Sailors Home. Yesterday morning it meant catching up with Nocka (Anthony Nossiter) for a long breakfast, it has been a big year.  So it was nice to sit down and chat about all sorts of topics including of course plans moving forward for the Andrew Simpson Sailing Foundation and how we felt about how the year had unfolded.  It has been quite the journey.

In the end it is all about friendships. Nocka’s friendship with Bart, Nocka and My friendship, My friendship with Katie and Stacey. I think you get it, sailing isn’t just something we do competitively. We do it because we love it and that is why I hope to introduce many more to this great sport and will continue to put up my hand to support friends should the opportunity be there.

See you on the water!

 

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I am a volunteer

Over the last two weeks I have done 3 events, 10 days out of 11 on the water volunteering.  It often surprises me how many people ask if I get paid for what I do. I am not sure if this is asked because I work in the Sailing industry or because of the number of events I volunteer at which means being out of the office.  Lunches are usually supplied and sometimes breakfast for the early starts. Depending on the event you may get a regatta shirt or a small thank you gift. The three events I just volunteered at were two Match Racing Events at RPAYC and CYCA and the third was Fleet Racing being umpired at RMYC.

Many of the events I do I see the same volunteers, whether it be RO’s, Umpires, Judges or the onshore team. Many of the faces have now become good friends as a result of how much time we do spend with each other.

So I guess the question we should be asked is why we do it. We love our sport, we love talking tactics and rules.  We get to spend huge amounts of time on our beautiful waterways that people pay to spend time on.  But most of all we love our sport and seeing people enjoying it too.  So next time you see the same familiar faces on a start boat or RIB make sure you say hi. If you have ever thought about getting more involved do talk to us as it can be great fun. Of course it can sometimes be hard work and very long hours on the water or back in the protest room.

It comes down to loving the sport, the friends and the time on the water.  The next time you go sailing have a look at how many people it takes to run that racing. Do you see those faces on a regular basis?

I am a volunteer and this is why:

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Perfect evening for a Twilight Sail

Nights like last night remind me why I work so hard to show others how amazing Sailing can be.  A Thursday night sail on Sydney Harbour = magic. A couple of friends, a nice breeze and a great boat. It does not get much better than that!

I am lucky to be in the position that I can borrow a friends boat to go for a sail.  I know I am biased but the Adams 10 class really is something special. Easy to sail, enjoyable to drive and perfect for a twilight.  Since selling my Adams 10 whenever I have wanted to get out sailing I have been able to borrow Sirius and I am very thankful for that. Sirius beat me overall the year we tied for the Gunboat Trophy so it is nice to sail a boat that is quick and set up a little different to how Animus was.  Even if the pole setup did confuse my bow for a moment haha.

Enjoy the photos and remember how lucky we are to be able to go Twilight sailing on Sydney Harbour.  If you haven’t done it I recommend you do! It is easy as all you need to do is head down to a Yacht Club on their twilight racing night and put your name down for a sail.  MHYC where I sailed last night often have Phil C manning the whiteboard hooking people up with a boat to sail on.  Why not head down and give it a try one Thursday night during the Summer Season?

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International Women’s Day, let’s celebrate the trailblazers!

I would like to celebrate International Women’s Day by thanking the female trailblazers in the sport of Sailing! The International Sailing Community is now seeing a growing number of women competing and working in the industry. I know because I am one of them and have watched the numbers increase! So thank you to those who went against the trend and stepped onboard boats you weren’t meant to sail or bought a boat that no other female owned. Thank you.

When I first bought Animus at 22 those who knew me weren’t surprised.  At that time I didn’t have a drivers licence and spent all my time on the water.  There were many who were surprised though and some of the comments were entertaining at least.  I remember one day servicing the winches onboard Animus to be told by a passerby that it wasn’t the job for a girl. Luckily I was on my game and quickly responded “well I hope it is the job for the boat owner then!” Then there was the time onboard the Sydney 38 we heard “they’re all girl” and we saw them reach for the throttle to move away in the prestart because we must be dangerous hahahaha later in the same race the photography boat could be heard saying they should stick around for our mark rounding because we were all girl, the reaction when they realised we were looking to do a peel was priceless!  Why should it be any different to normal crew?

When mentoring younger female sailors I have had to put up with being asked what was in it for me. I would think that would be obvious! More women in the sport and better acceptance because of it! No ulterior motive!

I never sailed to sail all female except in the women’s events to show my female friends they could do mainsheet or a new position if they wanted to! They didn’t have to leave it to the men.  My crew were always picked for the best position and attitude which meant sometimes we would be all female and other times we wouldn’t, it was often about who was available also.  Why should gender matter on the boat!  As you can imagine I have so many more stories like this after years in the industry and sport.

Working in the industry I am pleased to see the number of women increasing and the reaction to it improving. I once was asked if I wanted to get my husband before we discussed importing their product hahahahahaha.

The sport and industry is still so heavily male dominated there is no hiding that, especially when I look at the demographics following both the Sydney Sailboat Expo and DeckHardware on Facebook.

There is still plenty of work to be done to even the divide.  Women can sail and they are bloody good at it.  I have been told that I couldn’t sail certain types of boats because I was a girl, luckily I had a good family supporting my sailing so I didn’t listen.  If you love it who cares whether you should or shouldn’t be sailing it!

I hope someday we don’t need a day like today to celebrate women in sailing and women in general breaking the divide.

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Check out the fantastic segments from last years International Sailing Summit!  By Molly Winans from SpinSheet as well as Mrs Salma Al Hashmy and Her Highness Sayyida Ghada Al Said.

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.

Boxing Day on Sydney Harbour is Amazing

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.

Check out the Sydney Sailboat Expo Instagram page for all the action as well as Facebook.

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.

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It is the Sailing Season

Nath on GAC Pindar
Nath on GAC Pindar

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?