Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron hosted the 2016 Sabre class Victorian state championships on 27 and 28 February with 82 boats taking part including 23 from BYS. Competitors came from all mainland states to take part in the championships, and the event was won by Adelaide sailor Ben Knoop. Racing took place over five races in shifty light breezes that tested Race Officer Phil Beattie as much as it did competitors - and resulted in the top sailors displaying some really great sailing. Start lines were not for the faint hearted with an out-going tide relentlessly pushing boats over the line, causing interesting situations including use of the U and the black flags The old adage that ‘we never normally get this sort of weather’ was repeated frequently over the weekend.
The top 10 places were shared around club participants, including second place to Murray O’Brien from McCrae, five boats from the strong Black Rock Yacht Club headed by Nick Mouat’s new boat in third place and the top woman competitor, Barbara Lees from BYS in 8th place overall. Barbara only bought a Sabre a few months ago - having not sailed in the previous 10 years!
An innovation was the use of a drone to film racing on Saturday afternoon. This was supported by a professional drone crew from company DR1. Blairgowrie’s Russell Bates provided his boat to be the moving base for the operations and his Sabre experience allowed him to be an excellent filming director. Russell also took his usual excellent sailing photos which can be viewed and purchased on the website www.russellbatesphotography.com.au. The drone footage can be seen on the Sabre website as well as on our Facebook page.
Sabre have been sailed at BYS for almost 4 decades now - and continue to be the club’s strongest adult dinghy class with some 30 boats having raced this year. The new club house and facilities were ideal for the regatta and the racing was well conducted by Phil Beattie and his big team of volunteers on the water and to Chris Wilson who headed up the on-water jury and protest committee.
Many of our 80 participants came almost ‘out of the woodwork’ from many of the 25 clubs sailing Sabres in Victoria.
The state championships have provided an excellent and enthusiastic starting point for Victorian Sabres hosting of the nationals at Black Rock Yacht Club 28 December 2016 to 3 January 2017. Will we once again reach the 130 starters that competed at Blairgowrie Nationals some four years ago? Time will tell.