16 July 2018


The Sabre was designed in 1974 and is one of the most recognized and popular classes in Australia with over 2,100 boats worldwide. Its growth outstrips most locally designed classes and the red-tipped sail with Sabre logo is a key feature of its recognition.

Recently a small group of members at East Fremantle YC in WA started using a non-standard sail which is slightly larger in area than a legal Sabre sail and unrecognizable as a Sabre sail. They in fact are promoting themselves as a new class even though they are using everything Sabre other than the sail (what does that tell you about how great is the Sabre design).

No formal approach has been made to Sabre Sailing Association of Australia Inc (SSAA) in respect to this sail.

Australian Sailing (AS) has advised that this is very disappointing and that the purported ‘class’ has no affiliation or recognition with AS. There are likely insurance ramifications for clubs allowing non-affiliated /illegal ‘classes’ to compete.

SSAA advises that this sail, or for that matter, any other sail that does not meet current Sabre rules of measurement are illegal and not to be used. This means any boat using a non-conforming sail is barred from Sabre racing at national, state and club levels.

SSAA is aware of disenchantment throughout Australia and particularly in WA with the way this group is trying to piggyback the Sabre design and undermine the goodwill of the class built up over the past 44 years. In fact, one major member state association (not WA) has already voted unanimously against adoption/promotion of this illegal sail.

SSAA is conscious that there is a very real possibility that hulls (GRP or timber) may be built to the Sabre design for use with the WA non-conforming sail. Sabre rules require application for a sail/hull number prior to commencing construction and payment of a royalty. A measurement certificate cannot be issued without meeting these requirements, and of course, meeting our rules of measurement.

GRP builders are required to be licensed by SSAA and the first 5 boats are built under a provisional license. After the 5-boat cap is reached and in the absence of a signed license, no Sabre sail/hull number will be issued to that builder or client. The ramifications are that any boat subsequently sold 2nd hand that may be later presented for measurement and with a legal Sabre sail will not have a valid sail number and will not be measured – Buyer Beware.

SSAA emphasises that non-standard Sabre sails are illegal and not condoned in any way.

The effect of this illegal sail on the class is devastating in WA, especially as the class has built significantly from virtually nothing over the past 10 years. SSAA acknowledges this growth and shares the concerns and disappointment of Sabre sailors and reaffirms support for the Sabre concept as it stands.

Click here to download official notice.