Sabres participated for the first time in the Sailing World Cup, Melbourne as an invited class. We chose to have seven races on Port Phillip Bay over a three day period with 28 Sabres entering from three states. In addition to the buzz of competing in a major regatta, the series was an ideal warm up for the Sabre Australian Championships at Black Rock Yacht Club 28 December 2016 to 3 January 2017.
Friday 9 December started with heavy winds and a forecast that they would reduce later in the day. As a result, the planned 3pm start of the first race was postponed until 4pm. In fact it didn’t get away until 5pm due to a series of general recalls of the preceding 420 and various Laser classes. Although the wind had reduced to 20 knots, big, lumpy seas were the order of the day, making for plenty of thrills and spills.
BRYC heavy weather specialist, Tim Van Der Veen, 1948 took out honours in both races with Nick Mouat in his new boat coming second. Murray O’Brien from McCrae YC and Gary McLennan from Black Rock shared the third placings. James McLennan (BRYC) stayed in touch with the leaders in the first day with fourth and sixth placings.
After the day’s racing a long, exhilarating reach to shore saw tired and sore sailors arriving back at St Kilda base about 7pm. A big day!
Three races were scheduled for day 2, Saturday. Fortunately the wind had abated to 10-12 knots and the racing was tight. Again, earlier class starts with several general recalls, meant that Sabres spent considerable and frustrating time waiting for their starts. A long day of sailing but not as strenuous on the body! The lighter conditions suited James McLennan to take out first placing in all three races and assume the lead for the regatta. James was in his first season with Sabres and had been a national champion in other classes. No doubt he had been listening to his Father, Gary who was also has national championship pedigree.
Day three had a scheduled start of 11am but we again started an hour later with the first of two races for the day. The sea breeze was some 12-15 knots, making for a range of conditions for the series. In race 1, James had another win and with a third in the final race, took out first prize for a difficult and testing regatta. Father Gary was second with Nick Mouat (a previous Sabre national champion) , one point behind, third. Murray O’Brien who sailed a consistent series took out fourth position.
A strong contingent of seven female skippers was led home by BRYC’s Susannah Gillam, then Lisa Barrand from McCrae YC and Wendy Wilson from Somers YC.
It was an enjoyable and testing series. The race and series results can be seen here.