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Sabre Sailing Dinghy

Australia's most popular one design single handed class. The fun Single hander that is easy to sail but difficult to master.

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Hello Sabre Sailors,

Recap. News Updates emailed to members of the Sabre Family in June (link) and September 2019 (link) mentioned that Sabre Sailing Association of Australia (SSAA) had undertaken a SWOT analysis of the class which resulted in certain actions being taken. One was the appointment of an independent group of three experienced people (The Sail Evaluation Team – SET) to determine whether a new sail design was opportune, if so what it might look like and how it performed. Sailing trials commenced in October 2019 in SA and Vic, initially concentrating on evaluating the current Sabre sail against the Shark sail. The latter had been developed by a group of sailors in WA and had been used by some sailors in SA and Vic. 

The evaluation process would include in - depth discussions with sailmakers who have extensive experience in making Sabre sails, also receiving feedback from sailors.

Evaluation criteria and process were established. Whatever the outcome, we do not intend to materially disadvantage our current Sabre sailors. A tough ask!

A little Sabre history. The Sabre was developed some 50 years ago by a group of dinghy sailors led by Rex Fettell to provide a craft light in weight, capable of being built at relatively low cost and able to sail well in the 15-20 knot breeze and lumpy seas in Port Phillip Bay. Sabre history and why it has become the largest non-Olympic single handed class in Australia is seen on the Sabre website. Initially seen as an intermediate class covering those who had ‘graduated’ from Minnows or Sabots, it also encompasses people who have had considerable success in international classes. All enjoy racing in large fleets and friendly competition through the fleet. Sabres have broad participation in age, weight and experience. 

Although the Sabre hull and rigging has been refined with the advent of new materials and experience, the sail has remained basically the same outline, size and brand identification. 

With such a broad ‘target audience’ one approach might be to establish say two Sabre groups covering different weight and experience ranges, each with different sails. After much discussion, this approach was discarded since it went against the Sabre ethos of inclusion, fellowship and friendship. Reasons why people had moved into Sabres had been explored in a 2017 survey published earlier on the Sabre website.

Where are we up to? 

If we diverge from the current Sabre sail, a new design would need to be:

  • A more efficient sail, catering for the same range of sailor attributes. It should enable a Sabre to perform well with current crew attributes (weight/strength/age) in both flat water and Port Phillip Bay/St Vincent Gulf conditions.
  • A more modern appearance should reflect the same Sabre style. There has been considerable feedback regarding the striking appearance of Sabre fleets. 
  • Durable and no more expensive than the current sail.
  • Capable of being produced with varying fullness and shapes to suit different sailing conditions, crew weights and experience, as is the case with the current Sabre sail.
  • Provide for a smaller sail size if required.
  • A phase in period that minimises any disadvantage to occasional sailors

What are our initial findings?

Since the so called Shark sail has been developed and used in several states it was decided that initial trails would concentrate on its strengths and weaknesses compared to the Sabre sail. Based on recent comparative sailing trials between these sails in differing wind, wave and crew weight conditions on Port Phillip Bay, we see the Shark sail being effective up to about 15kts both up and down wind. In summary, it provides a more lively performance and feel including an enhanced ability to catch and retain waves on reaches and runs. 

Comparative upwind performance falls off as the wind increases. Although it has not been fully tested over 22kts wind strength it does not seem to match the performance of the Sabre sail, particularly for the less experienced and lighter sailors. The Shark sail is inherently less stable due we believe to its large head and full battens. Being translucent, the current Mylar cloth has poor distance visibility, a potential problem when a sailor is having difficulties and requires assistance. 

One of the more unexpected outcomes of the trial is that the Shark sail’s full battens make launch and retrieval more difficult due to the battens tendency to suddenly ‘flick’ resulting in a capsize on the ramp, while launching or holding the boat

We have received mixed reactions from Sabre sailors on the Shark sail’s appearance ranging from: ‘OK, we could get used to it’ through to ‘it’s ugly’. Others have suggested a smaller head would be more appealing. A larger window with improved visibility has been a significant plus.

Future directions.

Trials will continue and the SSAA will support SET to conclude its findings and provide feedback. The Team is also planning to get two new sails developed in Dacron by current Sabre sailmakers. The aim is to develop and test a modern sail plan. 

This is an exciting project; a great opportunity to bring Sabre sailors together, to gain publicity for the class, to contribute to Sabres 45 years of history and to ensure that it continues to move with the times.

A communication strategy is being developed and will be implemented by Down Under Sailing - including exposure in general sailing publications - online, hard copy and video. We aim to encourage Q and A discourse. 

Yours in sailing 

The SSAA Committee         

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Sabre class veteran from the McCrae Yacht Club in Victoria, Alan Riley, has gone back-to-back with two Australian Sabre titles in as many years, after a dominant display at the recent nationals at Wallaroo Sailing Club.

The top five at the event showed their experience in the class, however Riley was the pick of the bunch, winning four of the seven championship heats, along with a 2-3-(6) that saw him come away with a decent buffer on second.

Riley said he had sailed Sabres for many years and won a title in the early 2000s, but has now since returned after stepping away from the class for a few years.

"It's fantastic - I never thought I could do that (win two nationals in a row)," he said.

"I was out of the class for such a long time and to just come back in and pick it up - it's just been amazing.

"I was looking forward to these nationals because last year Craig (McPhee) and Scott (Olsen) didn't come so I was wondering 'how do I really go against them?'

"The competition's always really really good (in the Sabres), it's one of the things that keeps me coming back in the class because there's just so many good sailors."

Riley said the weather wasn't what he was expecting out of Wallaroo, which is traditionally known for consistent and strong southwesterly sea breezes.

"The first days were really cold as well, we set new cold weather records, and then we had a 41-degree day on top of it so the range has just been amazing," he said.

"We had a lot of practice in strong breezes before I came up here - it worked for the first day but after that it's been all over the place."

Riley also paid tribute to the culture of the Sabre class, saying the help everyone provides and the way new sailors are encouraged and helped was really great to see.

"Everyone's open and willing to share - it's hard out on the water but what's out on the water stays on the water and it's really good and friendly on the shore."

Finishing in second place overall was Western Australian Scott Olsen, who was fairly consistent across the board in a borrowed boat after a lot of challenges to get to the event due to affects of the bushfires on the Nullarbor.

He was then followed by Riley's local training partner in Murray O'Brien, who finished third after what was also a very consistent regatta that saw all results inside the top five.

The class now gets set to head to the nation's capital for the 2021 Australian Championships with Canberra Yacht Club set to host the event from 9-16 January next year.

For the final results, please click here.

2013 14 RQYS Nationals

Alan Riley Still

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It’s now time to enter our premier Sabre sailing event in 2019/20. 

The NOR, which includes the on line entry can be found here. In order to focus your attention, the online entry is also here. Act now in case you forget later!

Sabre Nats 1920

During 4 to 11 January 2020, Sabres will be gathering at the beautiful, beachside town of Wallaroo on the pristine waters of Spencer Gulf to compete for the title of National Champion!

Come and join in the fun sailing, great food and drink in a location full of history, scenery and family attractions. Lots of things to do for the whole family.

Led by our Sabre Australia Vice President, Ryan Kelly, the Wallaroo Sailing Club is the social centre for the series. For more information visit www.revolutionise.com.au/wallaroosailing The surrounding Copper Coast is a fantastic region and can be seen at www.coppercoast.sa.gov.au and more widely at www.visityorkpeninsula.com.au

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Next move? Talk to your family and mates and make the decision to come and quickly make a booking for accommodation at this popular holiday location. Booking options are at https://www.sabre.org.au/images/nationals/2020_Accommodation_Booklet.pdf

Sabre

In June, our Sabre National President, Russell Rooney, sent an email to all Sabre sailors and interested people who we have in our system. It discussed a range of topics including our success over the past 45 years, our culture and camaraderie, strategic directions of the class and ongoing development. For those who missed the Newsletter, a copy can be seen HERE.

We were delighted to get an unsolicited email from Rex Fettell, OAM, responding to the above Newsletter. Rex is the father and designer of the Sabre and his email can be seen HERE.

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Congratulations go to all participants, organisers and officials for a very successful series. Congratulations especially to our  new champion, Alan Riley of McCrae Yacht Club, who lead the field home in all accept one race. He showed strong boat skills and speed in the ten to thirteen knot Moreton Bay sea breezes. Alan paid compliments to his fellow McCrae sailor, Murray O'Brien, who with a string of seconds, was overall runner up. Alan and Murray had a very  strong build up by finishing neck and neck in their club races.

Tony Carr represented the WA fleet well in taking  out third place overall by securing a first, two seconds and two thirds. Then came the two VIC Black Rock boats sailed by Steve Douglas in fourth and Bruce Abbott, representing the older sailors in fifth. Both sailed boats professionally built by Steve who also made his own sail.

Ryan Kelly (SA) put his foot on the pedal to come in 6th, ahead of his good friend, Tasmanian Chris Kiel, with Peter Ellis (VIC) next.

There was an interesting shoot out between the two junior (under eighteen years) sailors, Liam O'Brien (ninth) who edged out Lucas Upton (10th), particularly on the last day. Lauren Kiel (SA) showed her sailing skills to take out the Ladies Division.

Our thanks go to competitors, organisers and officials for a great series sailed in the usual hard and fair Sabre manner. Ryan Kelly gave a presentation of what will be a very enjoyable series in January 2020 in the seaside town of Wallaroo, SA and we urge all Sabre sailors to come and join in the fun.

Click here to see the results.

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2018TheWinners

2013 14 RQYS Nationals

The summer sailing season is now over and many hardy Sabre sailors are competing in winter series races - in preparation for the 2018/19 season. A major highlight will be the National Championships to be held at the Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron in January 2019. This was the venue for the very successful 2012 series. RQYS is a great location and venue in the suburb of Manly.

2019 Australian Sabre Championship

5 - 12 JANUARY 2019

Sabre RQYS

We have 9 races scheduled for this Championship between 7 and 12 January. Registration will take place on 5 and 6 January with a Welcome BBQ on the afternoon of 6 January and then our Presentation Function on the evening of 12 January. 

EventTable

Racing Documents & Entry

Notice of Race – click here
Championship Entry – click here
Entry List – click here

Please take time to view click here to see details of the programme, venue, accommodation options etc

Further Sabre Nationals

So you can continue to plan ahead, we are pleased to announce the timing and venue for Sabre Nationals over the next three years..

They are:

2019 Queensland. RQYS Manly 5-12 January. – see above

2020 South Australia. Wallaroo 4-11 January. – for more details click here.  Please note that you should aim to secure accommodation bookings before Xmas 2018 since Wallaroo is a popular holiday location in January. There is plenty to do and see in this delightful seaside town and some of these and nearby attractions are seen here

2021 ACT/NSW. Canberra YC 9-16 January.

You will see that the Sabre Association have been guided by your responses in our 2017 survey of Sabre sailors. Nationals have been moved from our traditional Xmas/New Year timing and to more family friendly locations.

Sabre

The Sabre was designed in 1974 and is one of the most recognized and popular classes in Australia with over 2,100 boats worldwide. Its growth outstrips most locally designed classes and the red-tipped sail with Sabre logo is a key feature of its recognition.

Recently a small group of members at East Fremantle YC in WA started using a non-standard sail which is slightly larger in area than a legal Sabre sail and unrecognizable as a Sabre sail. They in fact are promoting themselves as a new class even though they are using everything Sabre other than the sail (what does that tell you about how great is the Sabre design).

No formal approach has been made to Sabre Sailing Association of Australia Inc (SSAA) in respect to this sail.

Australian Sailing (AS) has advised that this is very disappointing and that the purported ‘class’ has no affiliation or recognition with AS. There are likely insurance ramifications for clubs allowing non-affiliated /illegal ‘classes’ to compete.

SSAA advises that this sail, or for that matter, any other sail that does not meet current Sabre rules of measurement are illegal and not to be used. This means any boat using a non-conforming sail is barred from Sabre racing at national, state and club levels.

SSAA is aware of disenchantment throughout Australia and particularly in WA with the way this group is trying to piggyback the Sabre design and undermine the goodwill of the class built up over the past 44 years. In fact, one major member state association (not WA) has already voted unanimously against adoption/promotion of this illegal sail.

SSAA is conscious that there is a very real possibility that hulls (GRP or timber) may be built to the Sabre design for use with the WA non-conforming sail. Sabre rules require application for a sail/hull number prior to commencing construction and payment of a royalty. A measurement certificate cannot be issued without meeting these requirements, and of course, meeting our rules of measurement.

GRP builders are required to be licensed by SSAA and the first 5 boats are built under a provisional license. After the 5-boat cap is reached and in the absence of a signed license, no Sabre sail/hull number will be issued to that builder or client. The ramifications are that any boat subsequently sold 2nd hand that may be later presented for measurement and with a legal Sabre sail will not have a valid sail number and will not be measured – Buyer Beware.

SSAA emphasises that non-standard Sabre sails are illegal and not condoned in any way.

The effect of this illegal sail on the class is devastating in WA, especially as the class has built significantly from virtually nothing over the past 10 years. SSAA acknowledges this growth and shares the concerns and disappointment of Sabre sailors and reaffirms support for the Sabre concept as it stands.

Click here to download official notice.

Congratulations to Scott Olsen from Fremantle Sailing Club who is the Overall Champion of the 2017/18 Sabre National Championships held at Perth Dinghy Sailing Club. This is the 2nd time Scott has won the Sabre Nationals after wininng in 2013/14. Congrats also to Megan De Lange from Victoria who won the Female Champion.

Other placegetters included. 

  • Grand Masters: Murray O'Brien (VIC)
  • Masters: Scott Olsen (WA)
  • Grand Veterans: Bruce Abbott (VIC)
  • Veterans: Pete Coop (WA)
  • Senior Dave Meehan (WA)
  • Youth: Liam O'Brien (VIC)
  • Over 90kgs: Robert Depiazzi (WA)
  • Under 60kgs: William Thomas (WA)

Full Results are available here

Scott Olsen web  Megan web
          Scott Olsen, pictured with Chelsea Baker       Megan De Lange, pictured with Chelsea Baker

A big thank you to all the Sabre sailors that competed in the event. We hope you enjoyed the experience. 

Sabres WA would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped with this regatta. Regattas like these take a large number of volunteers to ensure a successful event and all our volunteers worked very hard and dedicated their time to the event. We had a number of volunteers from the Sabre WA Community, Perth Dinghy Sailing Club and also from other WA yacht clubs and we thank you all for your time, efforts and professionalism.

Volunteers web
Some of our on-water volunteers

Thank you also to our valued sponsors. The high standard of this regatta would not have been possible without the support of these companies. Thank you to our major sponsors City of Perth, 4Branding, ISP Australia. Along with support sponsors Boating Hardware, Ronstan, Extreme Sails, Everett Smith, SQP Enterprises, Sailing Gear for Women and Girls and Shenton Park IGA.

Drone Footage
By George Coop

Drone Day 1Day 1

Drone Day 4
Day 4

Highlights Video - Perth Sailing Photography

Capture
Highlights video - by Rick Steuart - Perth Sailing Photography
https://perthsailingphotography.weebly.com

We were supported by a great group of sponsors. They and entry details to the Perth Nationals are shown here

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