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2020 Australian Sabre National Championships at Wallaroo Sailing Club - Days 1 & 2

by Harry Fisher 7 Jan 2020 04:15 PST 4-11 January 2020
J Gratton in Hoodoo racing in the 2020 Australian Sabre National Championships © Bodhi Stone

Victorian Alan Riley, sailing Maybe Not, has jumped ahead of the pack after the first two days of championship racing at the 2020 Sabre Nationals at the Wallaroo Sailing Club in South Australia.

He kicked off his campaign with a dominant display so far, winning the first two races on the opening day yesterday, and then ending up with a third and another first in the two races today.

The only competitor able to take a win away from him has been Western Australian Scott Olsen, who sits in second overall on 10 points (four points behind Riley).

Day 1 Highlights and Interviews

Olsen is lucky to have made it to the event as well, flying in from Perth and sailing a borrowed boat after the bushfire crisis in the west closed the major road routes from Western Australia to South Australia during his travel window.

It opens up an interesting battle going into the lay day, with South Australians Craig McPhee and Ryan Kelly hot on the heels of the two leaders on 15 points apiece.

The Wallaroo Sailing Club has put on a great event so far, with the solid sea breezes and rolling swells its known for on show for competitors and spectators alike.

The town, which was originally settled for Cornish mining, makes up on of the three towns on the Copper Coast on South Australia's Yorke Peninsula - a popular holiday destination about a two-hour drive from Adelaide.

At the start of the event, SA Sabre President Ryan Kelly said the club was stoked to be hosting the Sabre Nationals with refurbishments to the club a number of years ago allowing for major events such as this.

"The club's about 55 years old and seven years ago we went through a large redevelopment," he said. "This has allowed us the club to be able to host large events like the Sabre Championship."

The vibe around the boat park has been great, with many of the visiting sailors enjoying the famous windy and warm weather on offer in Wallaroo.

McCrae Yacht Club father-son duo of Murray and Liam O'Brien were both happy to have some warmer weather compared to what they were normally used to in Melbourne.

"We stacked three boats on a trailer and did the trip from Melbourne... it's great, although yesterday was a lot colder than we thought, we brought the Melbourne weather with us," Murray said.

"Today was, I think, more typical of what we'd expect from Wallaroo, nice and warm, sunny, and windy."

Day 2 Highlights and Interviews

Tomorrow will see a lay day for competitors, a chance for them to experience what the Yorke Peninsula has to offer, followed by the final three days of championship racing.

Stay tuned to Down Under Sail's coverage of the event via our social media channels, or at

The event is proudly supported by the Copper Coast Council, as well as Ronstan Sailing.

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