Australian Sabres swarm the Swan River

Sabre Champion Scott Olsen on an upwind beat
© Perth Sailing Photography
The acknowledged master of the Sabre in Western Australia is Scott Olson of PDSC and he gave no quarter over the regatta, taking a steady series of nine bullets in the nine races. However the racing was far more interesting for second through to fourth with Mark Soulsby of South Australia winning on count back from Victorian Gary McLennan (both on 24 points) and Nick Mouat again from Victoria, one point behind the pair. Second and third were resolved on the final day with McLennan jumping to second by beating Soulsby over the line into fourth.

The Perth Dinghy Sailing Club is the first club in WA to host the Sabres National Championships in the West and the regatta got off to an excellent start with no less than 35 visiting sailors from South Australia, Victoria, NSW, Tasmania and Queensland. Perth Dinghy Sailing Club is renowned for their hospitality and regatta organisation but this regatta has made the records by drawing more visiting sailors to a WA championship than any other Class in many, many years – a credit to the organizers under the helm of Brian and Jenny Jones.

Catering easily for all ages and sizes, the single handed competitive Sabre has had a delightful renaissance and the Class continues to rapidly grow, spreading now over four WA clubs.

The three competing Youth sailors grouped closely mid fleet to finish a creditable 51st (Chris Gallen, EFYC), 52nd (Oliver Medd, PDSC) and 54th Ryan Miragliotta, EFYC). Young Oliver challenged Sabre Grand Veteran (and grandfather) Harold Medd from Black Rock, Victoria to prove his sailing prowess which fortunately he did being the Sabre duelers the spectators loved to watch.

The lady skippers finished in the following order: Fiona McCulloch (BRYC) followed by Emma Hall (SA) and WA’s Leone Woo from East Fremantle Yacht Club.

As the only yacht club in the City of Perth area, the regatta was officially opened by Deputy Mayor of Perth Rob Butler who suggested, after a particularly blustery Welcome Day day on the Swan River, and with the tail of the cyclone imminent, that the Welcome Night was possibly a good time for the sailors to stop praying for strong winds and enjoy what they had – how right he was – the winds for the duration were perfect. An abundance of Race Officers assisting John McQueen meant that no slight went unnoticed and a hugely successful regatta was enjoyed by all on the sheltered waters of Matilda Bay over the New Year period.