25 Sabres battled it out on Wallagoot Lake for the NSW Sabre Titles, the best numbers for a championship regatta for 35 years in NSW. 8 capable Victorian Sailors supporting the event added to this success. It provided the critical mass and competitive edge we need in NSW to move our sailing to another level.
There were three outstanding stories. The first one was that our sailing in NSW has a way to go to meet the standards of the top Victorian sailors. The ‘Vics’ took out the first six places Murray O’Brien (McCYC) followed up his second in the recent Sabre Nationals, winning the event with three first placings. The battle for 2nd, 3rd and 4th was extremely close with only 0.5 of a point separating them! In the end Liam O’Brien (McCYC) scored 2nd on countback from Bruce Abbott 3rd (BRYC), with Barry Eastgate (MMYC) in 4th.
The second story was the dominance of our NSW women sailors, with Wendy Atkins the first NSW boat and Aurora Paterson the second, finishing 7th and 8th places overall. There was some exciting highlights. One of my favourites was Aurora Patterson (pictured below) and a few other NSW Sabres battling with Murray in the first run of the first leg, of the fourth and ‘windiest’ race.
The third story, perhaps most important, was the great spirit of the competition. There were great battles between the front, middle and back of the fleet, meaning everyone had something to fight for. Words of encouragement, openness to share ideas, and getting to know each other was a real highlight. This was helped by the support of Wallagoot Sailing Club’s friendly culture and professional management of the regatta. Thanks also to Jamie Simpson and Pete Whitton for all the background work in organising the event.
This event has given NSW sailors an appreciation of areas in need of improvement and quite a bit of motivation to be more competitive next time. The willingness of Victorian sailors to support us in this is a clear demonstration that the sabre sailing is in a good place nationally. We’d love to see more Victorian boats of all standards join us next time, yet we’d also love to provide some stiffer competition! We also hope to see this event build great interest in the Sabre class across NSW and the ACT. There was some good NSW sailors not at the event, hope they come next time!