Please select your home edition
Edition
InSunSport - International - GR

Record fleet of 130 for Australia's Sabre class National Championships

by Andrew Graham on 10 Jan 2012
Sabre class National championships Steb Fisher

130 Sabres assembed at Blairgowrie Yacht Squadron in Victoria over the Christmas New Year period for the class's 34th national championship sponsored by Club Marine.

These numbers put the regatta in the top handful of class championships in Australia this year, and was easily the biggest in the history of the class. The event coincided with a delightful week of weather and lighter to moderate conditions which allowed all 10 scheduled races to be completed. Blairgowrie's facilities coped well with the big influx of sailors, aided well by its extensive lawn and beach areas and substantial patrol boat fleet. A focus on afternoon racing allowed competitors and their families to enjoy a sleep in or to explore the delightful southern Mornington Peninsula.

Entries were drawn from around the country, including the classes newest state of Western Australia where a 20 boat fleet has been created in recent years. A strong South Australian contingent of 12 were well placed to take on the big Victorian fleet.

The event was won by last year's winner - Black Rock sailor Chris Dance; with Adelaide sailors Mark Soulsby and Craig McPhee in second and third; and Blairgowrie's Wayne Bates and Peter Hackett in fourth and fifth. Chris Dance's three first places gave him a comfortable win in the series with 19 points between him and second placed Mark Soulsby. It was without doubt the most competitive Sabre fleet ever assembled, with many sailors having highly impressive national and international sailing credentials. The regatta also saw the largest number of youth entries yet seen in the class with 17 entries; with Blairgowrie's Liam Edleston winning the trophy in his first year in the class.

The racing was exciting, and provided close boat-to-boat experiences that will be long remembered by all who took part. The starts and mark roundings in particular saw concentrations of boats that could only be described as awesome - and provided fantastic racing at all parts of the fleet. Good start lines and an experienced start team meant that the fleet got away without excessive levels of recalls. Important given that social events were scheduled for 5 of the 7 evenings during the regatta ! Highlights of the social program were a party night courtesy of long-time Sabre builder Brett Young of YMS and a presentation dinner with 250 in what might be the final such event at Blairgowrie before their clubhouse re-build later in the year.

The regatta produced many notable stories and personal achievements. One was clearly the entry of Stuart Wallace. Stuart returned to the class some 31 years after winning the championship as a junior (and later winning a world championship in the Lasers). Stuart had 'stumbled across' his original Sabre and decided to buy it and enter the regatta. Result ? A credible 13th. Then there were the 3 generations of Safety Beach sailors - Natasha Martin, her mother Fiona, and her father Tom McCullough. (with Tom winning the newly introduced 'Super Vets' division for those over 70). Another competition was the battle of the sail makers - with Jamie Thomson of Thomson sails beating off Brent Frankcombe of Quantum and long time class sailmaker John Hooper.

Sabre championship fleets have been growing strongly in recent years, reflecting a broad range of favourable factors. The class is clearly filling a gap in attracting sailors seeking to 'simplify their sailing' by taking up a single handed boat. But within that cohort lies a full spectrum of sailing experience. At the pointy end; it is revealing that every one of the top 10 place getters in this year's nationals has moved into the class with solid national or international experience in the serious dinghy classes like Sharpies, 470's, Contenders, Lasers, Tasars and 505's . Move down the fleet a bit though and you'll find surprising numbers of sailors who have returned to sailing after a break of maybe a decade or more. Others again have taken to the class after having learned to sail as an adult and quickly adopted the Sabre as their natural 'sweet spot'. Others have been long time Sabre fans, Regardless of ability though; the Sabre provides the key attributes of a single handed boat that doesn't require an Olympic level of athleticism, but is still fun to sail and provides large fleets with close racing.

Those charged with managing the class though would point to a range of other factors behind the class's long term success. The addition of new fibreglass builders in 3 states has created ready availability of high quality and fast boats. This couples with a move by organisers of championships to choose venues with proven appeal to would-be participants and their facilities, plus the resources and experience to host bigger regattas. And then there is the classes culture - a good balance between great racing and a relaxed and supportive social side to the class.

The championships move to Royal Queensland Yacht Squadron and Perth Dinghy Sailing Club in the next two summers as the class moves to further develop as a national class by focussing on building up the states outside the traditional powerhouse states of Victoria, South Australia and Tasmania.
Wildwind 2016 660x82Naiad/Oracle SupplierT Clewring - Generic

Related Articles

Groupama Race – The first Caledonians at Home
A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min. A beautiful performance for the kiwis on their Eliott 50. Their complete the Groupama Race in four days 10h and 24 min after nearly 300 NM of 'Match Racing' against local sailors.
Posted today at 7:17 pm
First all-female Extreme Sailing Series™ team to compete in Lisbon
First all-female GC32 team will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time. The first all-female GC32 team, Thalassa Magenta Racing in partnership with the Magenta Project, will make its debut at the penultimate event of the year in Lisbon in just one week’s time.
Posted today at 6:59 pm
J70 World Championship – More action shots from Day 2 by Chris Howell
Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted today at 6:49 pm
J70 World Championship – Day 2 images by Christopher Howell
Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two Photographer Christopher Howell has provided this gallery of images from day two
Posted today at 6:32 pm
J70 World Championship – Day 2
Three races were held on Berkeley Circle for the 68 international teams competing in the races on Wednesday. The conditions were once again, true San Francisco. The fog was lurking if not covering the race course, the wind had bite, and blew 14-18 knots. There was a big left shift in the last race that caught more than one local off guard.
Posted today at 5:29 pm
Sébastien Josse's lead up to the Vendée Globe
The skipper of the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild is setting sail on his fifth round the world in 14 years. The skipper of the Mono60 Edmond de Rothschild is setting sail on his fifth round the world in 14 years. As such, the sailor can rely on a vast amount of experience, bolstered by all the expertise of the Gitana Team, the offshore racing stable founded in 2000 by Ariane and Benjamin de Rothschild
Posted today at 4:55 pm
Clipper Round the World Yacht Race - Clipper 70 fleet makeover begins
Maintenance Team at Race HQ is now hard at work to refit the Clipper 70s in preparation for the 2017-18 race. After clocking up an average of 41,000 miles each during their tenth edition race circumnavigation, the Maintenance Team at Race HQ is now hard at work to refit the Clipper 70s in preparation for the 2017-18 race.
Posted today at 8:42 am
Building conditions on Day 2 of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds
San Francisco has a storied reputation as a world-class venue during summer/early fall, and Day 2 of Alcatel J/70 Worlds San Francisco has a storied reputation as a world-class venue during the summer and early fall, and Day Two of the 2016 Alcatel J/70 Worlds, hosted by the St. Francis Yacht Club, did not disappoint.
Posted today at 4:54 am
Groupama Race – Between the north and Nouméa
Beau Geste arrived at 7:09am this morning, taking the third position on real-time, behind Vodafone and Scallywag. Beau Geste arrived at 7:09am this morning, taking the third position on real-time, behind Vodafone and Scallywag. The crew was very pleased about his race. The owner and skipper, Karl Kwok, compared the luxury and unspoilt landscapes from the East coast to Polynesia and the West coast to Cebu island in Philippines.
Posted on 28 Sep
68 yachts line up for the first two races of J70 World Championship
In the second race, conditions ranged from 18-25 knots with choppy seas which left more than one competitor on his side After three days of “non San Francisco” conditions over the wekend-85 degrees with sailors waiting around for wind while complaining of it being to hot in the parking lot-“San Francisco” came back. In the second race of the day, conditions ranged from 18-25 knots with choppy seas which left more than one competitor on his side with the gennaker up.
Posted on 28 Sep