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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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Following discussions at the Sabre AGM in January 2017, it was suggested that a survey of Sabre sailors in Australia be conducted to gain insights to help us to determine whether we should change the locations and/or the timing of our Sabre nationals to encourage greater participation. This arose bearing in mind the lower than expected attendance in the recent two Nationals in Hobart and Black Rock. Findings will not affect the next Nationals in 2017/18 in Perth.

Questionnaire emails were sent some 500 people who had shown an interest in receiving information about Sabre activities. We were pleased to receive 197 responses from Sabre owners, a good degree of interest. Responses showed that there was a core group of 34 people who participated in most Nationals, an additional 40 who did so only in their own state, 49 who rarely competed (perhaps only when the event was held at their club) and 74 (or 38%) who never competed. Many of the latter group preferred to sail Sabres in club races only or ‘just for fun’.

Although the situation can differ between event locations, it is likely that in most cases our current participation of 65 or so boats in nationals will be made up of most of the first group and some of the second. In order to get increased participation, the most popular response was to change the timing of the event to be in say mid-January, away from the Xmas New year family holiday period. In doing so, we need to be also mindful of national event times of other classes where children of Sabre parents participate. A change of location also scored well, with responses suggesting that we should seek family friendly, low cost places eg those with camping areas, cabins etc. However a high 50% would unlikely to be tempted to participate by any change to the event.

Some 40% of respondents mostly sail in their state championships.

Probably little of the above will come as startling insights to most Sabre sailors, however it does provide us with guidance and confidence in planning future Sabre nationals. We thank all those who participated and provided comments and look forward to their continuing participation and success in Sabre sailing.

As an interesting side issue of the survey, Sabre sailors were asked how they got into Sabre sailing. Their responses can be seen here.

Following the successful introduction of Sabres into the Sail Melbourne regatta last December, we have again secured a spot for six races in the weekend 2, 3 December 2017. It will be held at the recently renovated sailing area at Royal Brighton Yacht Club. Again the organisers have requested that we have entries of at least 20 boats, which we exceeded last year. Let’s get behind it again this year to enjoy the regatta and showcase our class.

Quoting from the Sail Melbourne website, “Sail Melbourne is Australia’s premier Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta, held annually in the waters of Port Phillip, Victoria. Established in 1992 it has become the largest annual ‘Off the Beach’ regatta in the southern hemisphere and is critical to the growth and success of junior and youth sailors, enabling them to race alongside their Olympic heroes.” The regatta will also be the inaugural leg of the new Asia Pacific Circuit.

Some of we less youthful characters also enjoyed the event. It will be again an excellent opportunity to hone our skills for the forthcoming Sabre Nationals, to be held in Perth and other regattas coming up in 2018. The NOR and the online entry can be found on the event website, http://www.sailingworldcupmelbourne.com/

We plan to load boats and trolleys into containers in Melbourne during 9,10 December, ie the weekend following the regatta and there may be opportunities for interstate boats to secure positions. If you are interested, please contact Barry Eastgate at barry.eastgate@bigpond.com

Sail Sydney will be held 15-17 December 2017 at Woollahra Sailing Club and further details can also be seen at http://websites.sportstg.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-9990-0-0-0

The Sabre State Associations around Australia are about to get underway for their winter series. Notifications are normally sent by email to Sabre skippers in each state however details will also be seen on this website under the top tab: states/(state)/winter series and/or the side tab: (state)

Each state will be holding State Championships and details including Notice of Race can be found in the State section of this website.

Alex McKinnon Photography has done a great job catching action shots of the regatta, even on the Invitation day when it was blown out! A selection of photos can be seen on http://www.alexmckinnonphotography.com/sabre201617

Alex has also emailed shots for sale of their boat in action to individual competitors. A great compilation video of the action can also be seen on YouTube video https://youtu.be/tnOBG0ieoVI

The weather from the start of racing was interesting and varied to say the least. The invitation race was cancelled due to a strong northerly and gale warning. The first race of the series on Thursday 29 December took place in remarkable conditions with constant wind changes in direction and pressure; the heavens opened, boats filled with rain and the local suburbs were flooded. To add to the confusion, in the 65 boat fleet there were four black flag starts and 18 boats suffered maximum points for this misdemeanour.

The planned second race of the day was moved to the following day, giving three races in medium strength sea breezes. Following some strong advice by race officials, the subsequent starts were orderly, mainly under a U flag.

Day three saw a frustrating beginning when boats returned to shore due to the lack of breeze, but the planned two race sequence got underway some two hours later.  The completion of six races so far allowed one race to be dropped. This made some significant changes in the overall placings since several of the top sailors were able to drop their black flag points.

With three races of the nine race series to complete, the top positions in the 65 boat fleet were still well open.  In his first season in Sabres, youthful Black Rock Yacht Club sailor, James McLennan, led with a consistent first, two seconds and a third placing. Then followed South Australian, Mark Soulsby, Western Australian Scott Olsen, and James’ father, Gary McLennan in fourth place. Jon Holroyd of Victoria lay in fifth place and made up the three previous national champions in the top five positions. Many in the top 15 places were national champions in other classes.

The next day comprised two races sailed in a stronger sea breeze, with big seas providing plenty of thrills and some spills testing both boats and crews. This saw James McLennan edged out of his regatta leadership position, by double seconds from Western Australian, Scott Olsen.  A first and second place by Victorian Jon Holroyd put him in third position.

The final days racing was sailed in a 12 knot SW breeze and led to a thrilling finish.

Staring at 1pm in a building breeze, the race was taken out by Jon Holroyd. This gave Jon a one point lead for the series over Scott Olsen in second place with James McLennan in third and Gary in fourth. Then followed two South Australians, Ben Knoop and past national champion, Mark Soulsby.

Indicative of the close racing, first places in individual races were shared by five of the top seven finishers.

The strong contingent of 12 female skippers was tied on points by Black Rock’s Susannah Gillam and Fiona McCulloch, with Susannah edging ahead on countback.

Although the current 65 boats does not match the 130 that sailed in the nationals at the Blairgowrie beach destination in 2011, the quality throughout the 2016/17 series was extremely high and competition for positions was intense.  Sailors enjoyed the close racing and big fleet buzz.

Next year the nationals will be contested on Perth’s Swan River, hosted by Perth Dinghy Club. More information can be seen by clicking here.

As well as the intense but friendly sailing competition at all levels on the waters of Port Phillip Bay, we have lined up a great social program.

We also have excellent prizes and auction items provided by our generous supporters. Please support them when in the Black Rock area or for your general sailing needs.

We plan to have substantial photography and media coverage coordinated by Alex McKinnon Photograhy.

Harold Medd will shortly send directions to reach Black Rock Primary School, Arkaringa Cres where we have arranged trailer parking for the duration of the event. Cars can be free parked in the side streets off Beach Road, 5 minutes walk from the club. Drop your gear at the club, park up the hill and take a short stroll back to your boat.

For Nationals Facebook updates, we plan to use the Vic page of Facebook. On the website front page, click Facebook, then click on the Vic page. Alternatively, click here.

For up to date results throughout the Nationals, please click here.

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.

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