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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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Cleavage at Cleveland

With Team Chic again attending (although minus one very prominent member) what other title could I choose? Having arrived on the 26th with time to spare we find our accommodation up to scratch and as soon as we unload head for the pool but decide it is too hot for the spa. The trip up and preparation for it followed normal procedures with a number of jobs left until the last couple of days. Needless to say I did get the lawns cut and the weeds snipped even if I had to call the plumber to fix the pipe I broke in the process. The new cradle was finished with a couple of days to spare (I always told Maree she would have it for the nationals). To make some more time I paid a mechanic to check and repack the trailer bearings. This was a mistake as I found one running hot and had to stop and pull it to bits and repack it before it seized. 

When we arrived we were informed that the club was locked and we could not get our boats in. This was excellent planning on behalf of the Queenslanders as it foiled the plans of those who hoped to get up early and train but I did notice one boat out with his gear in the club. Well we planed to get there tomorrow and time will tell how it all goes.

Thursday and the day before the titles. We were able to get into the club and many of us moved our boats into the club grounds although I have some reports that a local or two were surprised that we all didn’t turn up in a convoy. Only a couple went sailing while many of us returned to the spa and pool at Club Victoria. We were doing it hard. We gained a ruling that one lady would not be disqualified for heat treating her boat as she passed through a bush fire. Phil ruled that as it was only one side it probably warped the boat anyway. 

Friday finally arrived and from early morning boats were having last minute changes, as we all got ready for the Invitation race. The odd couple turned up but now with a third. As odd triple did not sound right. At their advice they have been named Huey, Dewy and Luey. Team Chic although smaller this year turned up in their uniform to the pleasure of many of the guys.

The race started on time with a large number of boats over standing the first mark. Anyone who follows someone who wears glasses on the land at all times has no excuses. For my part I blame John Dick and for the second time will not go with him up a work. The race had a number of withdrawals including Russell Bates and Michael Johnson from the front pack. The race was won by one of the favorites Barry Eastgate from Maree Early and Natalie Farrell all sailing new Johnson hulls launched in the last few weeks. I guess we can now remove Barry from the list of favorites and ask Phil when he will be building a new boat for himself. Many of us returned to Camp Victoria to rough it for the night and while in the pool and spa started to organize the important things, New Years Eve. The bachelors (John Dick and Barry Eastgate) were not spotted. Was it Barry celebrating his win knowing he might as well pack up his boat. 

The big day arrived and we again were greeted with a 15 – 20 knot breeze. The start line was tight but Michael Johnson and Russell Bates got away clean to the lead the fleet from start to finish. Barry Eastgate sailed well to recover to third while Maree Early swam and was separated from her boat causing her to retire. We packed up and those roughing it went back to Camp Victoria to the spa where we discussed the day’s action. The two bachelors have had their social life curtailed with the arrival of Alex from Melbourne. We have worked out that John Dixon’s problems all relate to the fact that he is not used to sailing such a pretty boat. Shane Navin is enjoying the series safe in the knowledge that his wife is keeping the bush fires from his house.

Day three of the series and our first two race day. We were greeted for the morning race by another 15 – 20 knot breeze. Michael Johnson again lead from the start with a close race for second between Barry Eastgate and Maree Early with Barry winning out despite Maree using movable ballast. In the battle that mattered I managed to finish just ahead of Doug Bennett. 

After a quick lunch we were out for the afternoon session with Michael Johnson again leading the way around the course. There were about 6 boats battling for second place and with the wind reaching 25 knots Russell Bates won out from Natalie Farrell and Barry Eastgate. Back at Camp Victoria in the spa those of us roughing it continued the important job of organizing our New Years Eve party. Peter Young has become one of the quiet members of Camp Victoria but with so many women in his unit (wife and daughters) I suppose he is not used to getting a word in. Robert Bates is starting to get on my nerves as he works harder and harder. I am finding it more and more difficult to keep up to him (in fact I am not). 

Day four and after a big storm the night before we were all apprehensive about starting today. In the end the club cancelled the day’s racing and a storm complete with lightning passed over the course just when we should have been sailing. Now we could retire to Camp Victoria and get ready for the nights activities. Huey, Dewy and Luey had to return to their camp and explain to the kangaroos that they did not sail. They were expecting a hard time as they were finding it difficult to explain to the kangaroos why they were not the first 3 boats in each race. As you could expect we had a quiet night around the pool and spa. 

Most of the Victorians attended and the weather were kind (yes even in Queensland it planned to rain on our party). We invited all interstate sailors and support crews even those from New South Wales. We must thank Les for supplying the live music. 

New Years Day and although there were no reported hangovers no one did anything to energetic. We all took the opportunity to relax and recharge our batteries. I guess some needed more recharging than others. Was that a result of them overcharging the night before?

The 2nd Jan. And the wind was again in the 15 – 20 knot range. The boats were fighting the breeze with Barry Eastgate leading at the first mark from Michael Johnson and Russell Bates. By the bottom mark Michael had the lead from a pack containing Barry Eastgate, Russell Bates, Maree Early and Mark Harper. In the end it was Michael Johnson from Maree Early and Barry Eastgate.

In the afternoon race we were greeted by a 15 – 20 knot breeze (what a surprise). In another surprise Michael took the lead early on from a pack of the usual culprits. However for the first time in the series the wind died a bit and in the end it was Michael Johnson just ahead of Barry Eastgate with Jamie Chivel third. Not to be outdone by a Blairgowrie boat John Dick came in with a fish even bigger than the one Robert Bates had in his boat in the morning race – go Rock.

Now for the final day. A change to sailing instructions allowed us to race both races back to back and to be a bit shorter. As we arrived at the club the smiles could be seen on the faces of the light weather fliers. However about an hour before the start the wind kicked in at 20 knots but for the first time from the south and not the north. The increased strength in the wind saw Russell Bates lead from Mark Harper and Barry Eastgate. 

In the second race Russell again lead the fleet home from Michael Johnson and Peter Skinner. We retrieved the boats. Held the AGM and packed up the boats. No more jelly fish, turtles, sea snakes, manta rays, dugongs and sharks, how boring sailing will be.

Seriously though this was by all comments I have heard rated it as one of the friendliest and best titles that the sailors can remember. Thanks must go to the Cleveland Yacht Club and the Queensland Association who not only ran a top regatta but also was prepared to listen to comments made and takes them onboard to make the regatta even better. One person who had a lot to do with this series was Mark Harper and he deserves a special mention.

Thanks of course to all those in the boats without which we could not have sailed and in particular those who brought their own boats. The kitchen kept us well fed and thanks must go to all the ladies who fed us instead of having a holiday themselves. A most important group who made sailing possible without real carnage when launching and retrieving were the trolley dollies who did a fantastic job. Finally from a personal point of view big thanks must go to my fellow sailors who made the series most pleasant to compete in.

From a strictly personal view I must thank the girls from Team Chic who make being a sabre sailor most pleasant. Not only are they good company but they put in huge amounts and without them the Victorian Association would be in heaps of trouble – just look at who our office bearers are. As per normal the girls lead by Auntie Nat had all the young girls following and waiting to join this prestigious team.

Back at Camp Victoria one sailor stood out – Russell Bates. Not because he was taller than the rest of us or, tried to beat the girls in the bruises competition or, was forever moaning about the state of his hands or, was forever moaning that too many people were going fast (particularly the girls) or, was claiming he should be in Team Chic or, was forever moaning that it was not windy enough, but because he was never critical of anyone and always willing to help and give advice and made the titles so much more fun (well I said I would get him back). I am sure we all look forwards to racing him again next year and for us Victorians in the near future.

Stephen Early

How to sail fast like Team Chic

  • Obtain multiple bruises in strange locations
  • Must have physical attributes of the female species
  • Regatta preparation must be restricted to the following: shop, swim, sunbake, sailing (only if required).
  • Shave down before start of series
  • Must consume alcohol post race (beer is preferred)
  • Identical uniform for “core” members, colours and styles may change from year to year
  • Must have the ability to avoid voodoo dolls
  • Obtain “go fast stripe” and “x factor” sunburn marks
  • Must wear “girlie” clothes to presentation
  • Must stay in one location – prefer to stay together
  • Must have a furry animal attached to mast
  • All male applicants are to be denied membership
  • Ability to mix it with the boys at the front of the fleet (remember the Vic teams racing!!)
  • Must hold an office bearer position in the association if possible
  • Must either drive through bush fire or fly to venue 
  • Numerous onshore group hugs
  • Chanting and cheering other team chics on the race course

Team Chic 2002
1131 – Fiona McCulloch
1613 – Maree Early
1621 – Catherine Masters
1622 – Natalie Farrell

Cleveland - the unofficial story.

What a contrast. The invitation race at Lindisfarne a year earlier had been sailed with fresh snow having fallen on nearby Mt Wellington, and with many of the competitors having invested in thermal underwear and polar fleece beanies. Roll forward 12 months, and it couldn't be more different. Brisbane in a heat wave took some getting used to. The entire regatta was sailed in mid thirties temperatures, and the nighttime temperatures hovered around the mid twenties. Naturally, none of us had air conditioning at our accommodation, although the lucky ones had ceiling fans. Furthermore, without daylight sailing, you simply got used to waking at 5.00am when the sun rises.

Fortunately, we were spared the nightmare of sailing any of the races in a drifter. The thought of having no wind & waves to counteract the heat and humidity whilst on the water would have been like spending 2 hours in your sailing gear in a sauna. As it was, the conditions presented a dilemma. Sail in the wet suit and long sleave top and risk boiling if the wind drops? Or go the shorts and T-shirt approach and expose your knees to a battering, and your legs to stings from the marine creatures if you capsize.

One certainly wouldn't describe Brisbane as being a drifter series. 18-25 knots was the wind range, and it meant that those that were used to lake sailing in fickle light breezes were at what might be described as being at a slight disadvantage! Moreton Bay was strongly tidal, and the with the tide typically flowing against the wind direction, it created interesting steepish, but shortly spaced waves. The rides that this created on the broad reaches had to be experienced to be believed, and bad luck if you got to do your gibe when one of the gusts came through. Some parts of the course were worse than others too, and our finish line was typically positioned in what could best be described as a washing machine.

Perhaps the aspect of Moreton bay racing that came, as the greatest surprise to us Southerners was the jellyfish. Let's be precise here. The things congregate in packs, and when you found a concentration of them, there would 5 of them to the square metre. Thump, thump, thump would be the sound as you foils hit them, and as we quickly found out during the invitation race, this has the inevitable effect of knocking your rudder blade up. As a consequence, almost everyone resorted to supplementing the shock-cord on his or her rudder box with tightly tied cord.

As it turns out, the conditions on the course became something we all got used to after a few races. The real excitement therefore turned out to be the launching and retrieval exercise at the club's single launch ramp. With a good swell rolling over the end of the ramp, and with breezes always on-shore, it led to interesting times. Launching tended to be orderly, as everyone was lined up in single file waiting his or her turn. The fun started however as a dozen or more boats would be heading for the ramp simultaneously. Twelve into one simply doesn't fit, so you got used to emergency diversions after you already had your blades nearly fully up, or worse, having to try to swim your boat back after you'd jumped out in water over your head having missed the ramp. How we managed to get 43 boats back in one-piece race after race is beyond comprehension.

Of course, what would a series be without a race committee that wanted to make things a little different for the competitors? Dealing with the tides was hard enough - with boats routinely overstaying the lay-lines to such an extent that they would be on a screaming reach by the time they rounded the mark. The race committee however liked to add a bit more of a twist by routinely setting starboard courses. It just took one boat on starboard at the top mark to really make life interesting for the many who would approach the mark on the port lay-line. And then there were the start-lines. 8 races, and 8 start-lines that were invariably so pin end biased that only perhaps a third of the fleet were able to be in the front row and actually get thru the line on starboard. There was no better way to sharpen your starting skills!

And in the overall scheme of things, did any of the above either impact the result, of cause anyone not to enjoy themselves? Nup. The best sailors filled the top places, and everyone came away knowing that they'd been on holidays. Theme parks for the kids whilst Dad sails, swimming in the pool after racing, quality accommodation at cheap prices, and some flying

Downwind legs that reminds you of why it is that we love sailing so much.

Andrew Graham 1624

Cleveland Nationals holiday by Bates Boats

We were to leave for Queensland on the 20th December but decided to leave a week earlier to do some serious training at the Theme Parks before the Nationals.

We stopped off at Sydney on the way and spent a day at the Volvo 60 around the world yachts at Darling Harbor.

Upon reaching Cleveland we set off on a 4 day training program at the Theme Parks where Robert our son was determined to terminate his family members by taking us all on Lethal Weapon as our first ride, we were subjected to 4.5 G forces in all directions. I got to know the local Chiropractor very well from the frequency of visits.

Having completed all the parks the Victorians started to arrive from down south on the 23rd December. 

We spent Christmas Day eating prawns and surfing at Mermaid Beach at the Gold coast, as it was 37? nearly every day. 

After finding the Cleveland Yacht Club that is 98 years old we registered for the race day and then sat under Steve’s shade structure that was our savoir from the heat each day. While some go fast sailors wet and dried their boat I tried to remember how to rig the Sabre and remember how to sail since it has been 20 years in 1981 that I sailed a sabre Nationals.

The big day had come for the Invitation race and briefing after the safety issues were mentioned such as Jelly fish, Sharks, Turtles and Whales we set off to the Start line.

Half way out I hit a patch off Jellyfish that completely removed my rudder blade from the rudder box so with some spare rope I tied the rudder blade in. Latter this proved a not a wise decision as the Turtles are known to surface in front of you, ripping out your transom.

Barry Eastgate decided to win the Invitation race and take on the superstitious witchcraft of Mrs. Bates (my Mother) who usually makes Anzac biscuits to poison the opposition, but let the team down this year.

Race 1 and the heat were too hot with you having to hose yourself every 15 minutes before leaving the beach. One member brought her dry suit to Queensland with her just in case the temperature dropped below 35? and got cold (Fiona) !!! Michael showed that he was going to be the one to set the pace where he won the first race. Team chick also showed their strength by sailing out in front.

Race 2 - We were advised by a special briefing that they had neglected to advise us of the Sea snakes. What next Black cats and Bats!! My training from mum on the voodoo dolls was rusty because Barry decided to tip me over on the starting line with 30 seconds to go while I had one hand inside my life jacket trying to reclip up my new hiking pants that had unbuckled themselves at 45 seconds before the start gun, leaving them dangling around my ankles (the moral of this event is DO NOT CHANGE ANYTHING BEFORE OR DURING A TITLES) and for Team Chicks don’t fall out of your boat without having a lead to hang onto.

Race 3 - Michael at the start line decided to be a martyr and sail his boat ahead of mine on the start line and take the 2 assaults by the suicide sabre and save my bewitched start by smashing up his boat (thanks again for your deflection) and Barry Eastgate for sailing too far inshore and hitting the rocks and slowing his boat down so we could pass him.

Race 4 - Electrical thunder storms stopped it so all the Victorians went back to the resort and hopped in the pool and spa to live life on the edge. 

Race 5 and 6 showed that the under 100kg skippers were fast and dominated the races. Michael having won all races till now and was going to take home the National Title. 

Race 7 and 8 were for the sabres with 20 to 25 knots and 2m vertical seas all skippers were stretched to their limit. Barry having broken his toe straps in race 7 retired as the races were back to back. Mark next time don’t listen to my advice as you were sailing too fast up wind in both races.

I would like to thank all the Cleveland members and the dolly persons for launching and retrieving boats in the seas. 

Russell Bates
Sabre 1593

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