Nick Dineen of Doyle Sails Tasmania was drawn to sailing at a young age. Like many native sailors and sailmakers of Tasmania, his sailing experience as a child was forged in the one-design Sabot class in the Tamar river and by first watching and then participating in the world-renowned 630-nautical mile Sydney to Hobart yacht race.
Although the Sydney Hobart is a premier event on the sailing calendar here, as an island state -separated by the Bass Strait and located 240 km (150 mi) away from the Australian mainland - the key to having a successful sail loft is to focus on the sailing communities of Tasmania primarily. Nick says, "we build one design sails, sails for cruising and racing boats and repairs and we do just about everything you have to do in Tassie. You need to be well known for your service and we do take pride in our winning sails.“
A keen competitor, Nick has competed regularly in state, national and International one-design competitions and many keel boat and offshore events including the Sydney to Hobart yacht race. The Sydney Hobart is now considered an icon of Australia's summer sport, ranking in public interest with such national events as the Melbourne Cup, the Australian Open tennis and the Boxing Day cricket test. This year, the race will mark its 75th year and "the Sydney" as it is referred to in Hobart continues to draw participating yachts from around the world who want to win one of the toughest and most famous ocean races in the world.
Nick, who started out as an apprentice at HOOD Australia in Sydney, and now owns and operates the loft along with Brian Moroney has maintained the loft’s international reputation for quality, service and strong relations with the marine industry in Tasmania. Both Dineen and Moroney grew up in the region and are an integral part of their sailing and boating communities here.
The loft is located in the legendary 'Muirs Boatyard' about 200 meters from the finish line of the Sydney Hobart. Peter Johnston originally established the loft in 1964 as “Peter Johnston’s Sailmakers”. That loft eventually joined Fraser Sails, which transitioned into Doyle Sails Tasmania.
“Hobart has a small population of 250,000 and the entire city comes out to watch the finish of the Sydney Hobart,” Nick said. “It is a huge spectacle for a small city and we do have a very proud sailing history and proud pedigree here in Hobart. Our strong sailing and racing heritage goes back 150 years and there is a lot of local pride. This year will mark the 75th year of the running of the Sydney to Hobart so we hope to be back on the starting line. It is such a great race and it is great for Tasmania, too."
Brian spent a lot of time cruising with his parents and developed an appreciation for sailing and all that Tasmania has to offer. He joined Peter Johnston’s and worked in the ship chandlery, managed that area of the business. He then joined Nick in purchasing Doyle Sailmakers where he runs the ship chandlery out of the same building as the loft and installs shade sails for the shade side of the business.
"At our loft, we are a small group but we are an interesting group with a staff of five including two apprentices. We have a strong commitment to training new apprentices, ensuring the future of our company and sailmaking in Tasmania.
Recently, Doyle Tasmania has been working on site with world-renowned sailmaker and designer Andrew Lechte. Andrew Lechte's sail design experience includes Americas Cup, Volvo, Olympic classes and Grand Prix and he was most recently the Technical Advisor for Australia Sailing, collecting performance data on Olympic class yachts and advising on technical projects.
“We have been working on some great new projects together,” Nick said. “It is great to have Andrew in our loft and around our apprentices. This is so great for us to have such a talented person among us."
Further, the Doyle Tasmania team is pursuing its passion for one design sailing, particularly in the International 2.4 and the Sabre dinghy.
“I built a Sabre dinghy about four years ago and race that out of Lindisfarne Sailing Club. The Sabre dinghy is a one-man class of dinghy and I find the one-man class enjoyable as all the decisions made are down to me. I can't have a discussion with anyone else to make a decision on the race course,” Mulroney said. Although the team could not reveal all of the ongoing projects, of note are the plan to release one design sails for the International cadet class, International 2.4 and for Sabre dinghy. "We get the advantage of working with guys like Andrew who is one of the top sail designers in the business and we are also able to build sails for our one design classes which remain a key part of our market."