Robyn's Story

Author: Robyn Yeomans   Date Posted:1 December 2016 

Growing up my father (John Dibble) had a big influence on both my Sport and work ethics.

Living near Manly Beach (NSW) it became a struggle between the surf or sailing.  Sailing soon became a way of life especially once I left school.  Working my hours around sailing Wednesday, Twilights, Saturday and Sunday. 

My father was very hands on with the maintenance sharing his knowledge including servicing the winches, crank starting the engine and then the mess one can make in the lounge room doing a rope to wire splice.  Poor Mum she really did put up with a lot with sails through the house drying when they couldn’t go outside.  As kids we used to ice-skate on the sails when Dad would clean them in the backyard, trying to get the rust marks out from the old Headsail hanks. 

My early days of sailing were mainly cruising which was initially on borrowed boats then Dad bought a very low wooded sloop called Tehani, followed by some fairly heavy cruiser/racers.  The first a Compass 28 built here in NSW and launched at the old flying boat ramp next to Woollahra Sailing Club.    This was followed by another Compass 30 which introduced us to Offshore sailing. 

By the late 70's the bug had truly taken hold and these were replaced by a Half Tonner called Defiance.  Defiance was the timber plug for the S&S 30 production yacht.  She had an incredible tumblehome which made her a challenge downwind,  in 1980 Philip and I competed in the Australian JOG Championships followed by our wedding.  Our Honeymoon was basically the JOG's leading up to the wedding. 

Recently we found out Defiance has been saved from being bulldozed and is undergoing some TLC before she moves down to Tasmania to enjoy the Summer Twilights.  Hopefully we will get some photos we can share with you of her cleanup and new life in Tassie.

In the early 80's the family was growing and my father upsized to Farr Out, a Farr 1104 racing in the One Ton fleet.   This was followed by several different cruising and racing yachts including the occasional Powerboat when Dad thought he was too old to own a racing yacht.  He always went back to a yacht with his last yacht Dragonfly a Lyons 30. 

I had met Phil and made many friends taking part in the Royal Sydney Yacht Squadron Cruise.  The cruise was a great way to meet other teenagers that enjoyed sailing with around 100 yachts and powerboats.  Taking one of the families boats on a layday and setting up a flying fox to Pulbah Island stands out still to this day.  When you look back at the boats that took part in the Cruise it was not all about cruising.  Ruthless, Meltemi, Shogun, Caprice of Huon, Morag Bheag, Erica J, Lollipop and many more which if you were sailing in the 70's you would remember.

As Phil mentioned in his Blog we were joined by Marita Wilmot and competed in the Trailer Yachts winning the Travellers Trophy and other events.  There were a couple of interruptions during this with the birth of Marita's first child Nathan and our eldest daughter Mel.  Phil and I went to New Zealand to compete in their Trailer Yacht championships which was held out of Napier.  First trip overseas, you arrive in a country and are given a map and told we have to get here.  Here was Lake Taupo, what an incredible place to sail. We found out quickly that their trailers didn’t have brakes on them, that could have been another story but luckily we made it in one piece.

In 1983 our second daughter Jillian was born during the America's Cup.  Champagne celebrations in the Hospital listening to Janine Treharne on the radio brought us to tears.  My father was also involved through Tip Top Bakeries and their sponsorship of the 1987AC defence in Fremantle.  Great memories.

Our weekends over summer as a family would see us compete on the family yacht on Saturday then going to Sugarloaf (upper Middle Harbour) with the girls to stay the night.  As they got older this would include Manly Juniors and a Sailing Dinghy built by their Grandfathers in our garage which doubled as our dinghy.  We would then return to Middle Harbour Yacht Club for the girls to compete in the Centreboard Division on Sundays. 

Whilst the girls were growing up I worked from home and did some part-time work with Tip Top.  Once they were old enough I worked for David Bray at his yacht brokerage on Pittwater.  In 1997 I joined the Harken/DeckHardware team with Carl Crafoord.  In 2006 the company ownership changed and I continued with Carl at Lewmar.  In December 2006 we purchased DeckHardware from Carl and I continued with Lewmar until early 2008 when joined DeckHardware fulltime.

In 2014 I joined forces with my daughter Mel to bring about the first Sydney Sailboat Expo in Manly NSW.  This is something I'm very proud of, showcasing Sailing not just as a sport but a Lifestyle which is evident in my story.


Pa, Lorli and Robyn