The Sabre fleet at Maylands has a friendly rivalry with the Laser Radials which start 5 minutes behind the Sabres and generally the first Laser catches the first Sabre before race end. We had six starters in each of the Sabre and Laser fleets yesterday, Sunday 14th February – in ideal conditions for a team’s race.
We had an unusual race finish yesterday – the Sabres prevailed, involving no less than 4 Sabres all mixing it up with 4 Lasers as a bunch of boats all crossed the line within seconds of each other, giving the race committee a headache as no photos were taken. All 8 skippers had to compare mental notes afterwards to check the official results. But 3 Sabres led home all finishers this time.
Four Sabres had battled it out all day for the coveted first spot. Terry Gaunt jnr in Scimitar (1870) was pitted against Barry Newell in Damocles (1417) in the lead bunch of two boats – all day. Bruce Lee in C3PO (2042) was keeping just in front of Chris Holyday in Fuse (2023), not far behind Terry and Barry – all day. Things changed dramatically on the 2nd last leg as a following and strengthening sea breeze brought both Bruce and Chris right up to Terry and Barry at the last mark rounding. The four Sabres rounded St Annes locked together, the final mark, before a broad reach sprint to the finish line. Barry had the inside advantage, closely followed by Chris on his stern and Bruce and Terry to leeward – all in a line with four Lasers on our heels – also scrambling to get to the line first!
Then, we heard a loud ‘bang’ as one of the Sabres copped the strongly built stubby nose of a Laser across its rear portside and stern – the first Laser of four boats was trying to get to windward of Terry in Scimitar. No damage, except some lost paint as the Laser struck a glancing blow that seemed to swing and stop Scimitar in its tracks for a moment. That left Bruce just a nose in front of Barry and Chris as they crossed the line – the first 3 Sabres all finishing with less than 5 seconds between them, with Terry another 4 seconds back in fourth place.
POSTSCRIPT: The first Laser just beat Terry home by 2 seconds – but we all thought it was a bit of a rough way to get past the magnificent Sabres. The result leaves Bruce just 2 points ahead of Terry in the Championship race, with Barry and Chris locked on equal points, just two points astern of Terry.