Home' Afloat : AFLOAT August 2017 Contents 26 AFLOAT.com.au August 2017
REGATTA SAILING –
fast, friendly solutions to your
boating problems Australia-
wide and beyond.
We help with the good,
the bad and the ugly.
Industry Experience since 1990.
Call Jonathan Frearson on 0419 290 800
Respond to: Flexiteek Australia
PO Box 1684 OXENFORD QLD 4210 or
Flexiteek, the European market leader
of synthetic marine decking is back in
Australia with its next generation 2G
decking designs. Flexiteek is cooler than
We want people in the marine industry
with hands-on experience to help re-
establish Flexiteek around Australia.
Opportunities exist for agents in all
mainland states to sell, measure and
install Flexiteek decks that will be
expertly made in Queensland by the
authorised Australian distributor.
Hervey Garrett Smith. Mr. Garrett Smith was the grandson of
an American sailing ship captain, and his beautifully illustrated
articles had formed the basis of a long-running and avidly read
series in Rudder Magazine back in the early 1960s.
Through those pages and other books, Mick taught himself
the ancient arts of the marlinspike sailor.
As he sat in his backyard fiddling with rope, friends dropped
by and admired his work. They bought everything he made, which
made him think that maybe he might be able to take a few things
down to the local craft fair. He made rope mats and grommets
and lanyards and fancy bell ropes but none of the arty-crafty
types at the fair seemed to be interested.
But then, along came a man on a skateboard. He skidded to
a halt and walked toward Mick’s stall with a big grin on his face.
He took one look at all the fancy rope work and said: “I ’m about
to make your day!”
He bought everything Mick had, lock, stock and barrel. He
was decorating a nautically-themed bar and all Mick’s marlinspike
stuff was just the ticket.
Thus Mick Corker realised that he had not retired at all but
was just starting out on a most unusual and potentially quite
profitable business enterprise. He called it Jack Tar’s Locker.
Looking back on his experience, I wondered how he has been
able to not only stay afloat but prosper in the teeth of the world-
wide tsunami of cheap Asian-made knock-offs. Mick explained
by telling he how he had “just for fun” made a very fancy knotted
and spliced rope lead for his dog.
“I was having coffee in an outdoor café one Saturday morning,”
he said, “ when a bloke comes up, whips out his iPhone and starts
taking pictures of my dog and its lead.
“He asked me: ‘d ’ya mind? ’ ‘Nah mate,’ I said, ‘go ahead.’”
It turns out he had a pet products business in which all his
stuff was Made in China. He sent the photos to China and asked
them to copy and mass produce the lead. They came back to
him quick smart.
“No can do, mate! Too much time. Hand work, too expensive.
Can’t be machine made.”
Thus, Mick Corker finds himself in the enviable and perhaps
even unique position of being an Australian manufacturer who
is not in the least bit concerned about being ripped off by the
Shanghai-based copy cats.
Now, although his order books are bulging with new business,
his reputation is such that he was recently sought out to help
create an aura of authenticity in rigging the ships used in the
making of the latest Pirates of the Caribbean movie: Dead Men
Tell No Tales.
That job, 50 hours a week for eight months, saw him as part
of a team of experts, setting up the rope rigging on the eight
hydraulically-operated ship-shape sets used in the film. The
$300 million film, by far the most expensive movie ever made in
Australia, is about to be released in cinemas throughout the world.
When I go along to the Empire Cinema, I shall pay particular
attention as the credits roll up at the end. When I spot the name
Mick Corker: Jack Tar’s Locker, I shall squint and croak like Cap’n
Geoffrey Rush: “aha, me hearties, now there be a real marlinspike
sailor, if ever there be one.”
I’m sure everyone will say “Aye, aye” to that. h
Traditional rope handles fashioned from three-strand Manila and
embellished with Turk’s Head lashing. These handles have eye
splices at either end to accommodate stainless pad-eyes and are
suitable for doors, barns, gates and cupboards.
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