Changing the Guard in Victoria

14 March 2024
During the Vic State Championship weekend in February 2024, your committee met briefly. The main item was to appoint a new president and vice president with Bruce Abbott advising he was stepping down after more than five years in the role.

With the class having successfully overcome various challenges and moved with opportunities, Bruce felt that it is now timely that new leadership with fresh ideas and impetus takes over. The meeting unanimously voted in Murray O’Brien as President and Jarka Kluth as Vice President. The Sabre Committee under the association rules appointed Murray and Jarka in the interim until a vote is taken at the next AGM when all positions will be declared open.

Bruce was asked to reflect on some of the committee’s significant achievements during the past five years. He listed:

  • Improving communications with Sabre sailors and sailors generally.

A key step was redeveloping the Sabre website, a major task in coordination with our current partners, Peak Websites. The Sabre Performance Forum on our website is a very successful way for sailors to share ideas. Thanks to Murray O’Brien, Alan Riley and Gary McLennan for moderating the site which has now more than 700 members.

  • Developing and implementing a growth plan.

In 2017, in conjunction with the national body, a survey of Sabre participants was undertaken which led to a SWOT analysis. This helped the committee to focus on areas of importance to Sabre sailors.

  • Sabre sail evaluation.

Led by Victoria, this thorough two-year labor-intensive project involved sailors in all states trialing four identical new design sails. They were compared to the ‘shark’ sail and our current sail. The project considered variation in various wind and wave conditions, experience, strength and weight of current sailors, cost of change and potential disruption of fleets. The result was unanimous decision by all states to stick with our current sail. Details of the project in the Sabre website can be seen here.

  • Vic State Committee.

Progressively, as valued committee members retired, new members have been added which has reduced the average age, widened the talent base, increased female representation and increased the clubs represented.

Our ongoing secretary/treasurer, Barry Eastgate is a tower of strength and experience and a great support to the committee. We are fortunate to have the Vic Sabre fleet in good hands.

Bruce said that it has been fun participating in the many regattas held in Victoria and other states. Indeed, he has competed in both Vic States and Nationals every year since 2008 making strong friendships and ‘talking sailing’ over a few drinks.

He said that it has been a pleasure and honour to have served as president and he plans to continue as a committee member for a period. It’s a fun class with a great bunch of sailors. Best wishes to the incoming officers and all Sabre sailors.

Murray O’Brien

President SSAV

M: 0400 552 642

E: [email protected]



SSAV New President – Murray O’Brien

SSAV new Vice President – Jarka Kluth