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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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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.

Congratulations to Scott Olsen from Fremantle Sailing Club who is the Overall Champion of the 2017/18 Sabre National Championships held at Perth Dinghy Sailing Club. This is the 2nd time Scott has won the Sabre Nationals after wininng in 2013/14. Congrats also to Megan De Lange from Victoria who won the Female Champion.

Other placegetters included. 

  • Grand Masters: Murray O'Brien (VIC)
  • Masters: Scott Olsen (WA)
  • Grand Veterans: Bruce Abbott (VIC)
  • Veterans: Pete Coop (WA)
  • Senior Dave Meehan (WA)
  • Youth: Liam O'Brien (VIC)
  • Over 90kgs: Robert Depiazzi (WA)
  • Under 60kgs: William Thomas (WA)

Full Results are available here

Scott Olsen web  Megan web
          Scott Olsen, pictured with Chelsea Baker       Megan De Lange, pictured with Chelsea Baker

A big thank you to all the Sabre sailors that competed in the event. We hope you enjoyed the experience. 

Sabres WA would also like to thank all the volunteers who helped with this regatta. Regattas like these take a large number of volunteers to ensure a successful event and all our volunteers worked very hard and dedicated their time to the event. We had a number of volunteers from the Sabre WA Community, Perth Dinghy Sailing Club and also from other WA yacht clubs and we thank you all for your time, efforts and professionalism.

Volunteers web
Some of our on-water volunteers

Thank you also to our valued sponsors. The high standard of this regatta would not have been possible without the support of these companies. Thank you to our major sponsors City of Perth, 4Branding, ISP Australia. Along with support sponsors Boating Hardware, Ronstan, Extreme Sails, Everett Smith, SQP Enterprises, Sailing Gear for Women and Girls and Shenton Park IGA.

Drone Footage
By George Coop

Drone Day 1Day 1

Drone Day 4
Day 4

Highlights Video - Perth Sailing Photography

Highlights video - by Rick Steuart - Perth Sailing Photography

We were supported by a great group of sponsors. They and entry details to the Perth Nationals are shown here

Following discussions at the Sabre AGM in January 2017, it was suggested that a survey of Sabre sailors in Australia be conducted to gain insights to help us to determine whether we should change the locations and/or the timing of our Sabre nationals to encourage greater participation. This arose bearing in mind the lower than expected attendance in the recent two Nationals in Hobart and Black Rock. Findings will not affect the next Nationals in 2017/18 in Perth.

Questionnaire emails were sent some 500 people who had shown an interest in receiving information about Sabre activities. We were pleased to receive 197 responses from Sabre owners, a good degree of interest. Responses showed that there was a core group of 34 people who participated in most Nationals, an additional 40 who did so only in their own state, 49 who rarely competed (perhaps only when the event was held at their club) and 74 (or 38%) who never competed. Many of the latter group preferred to sail Sabres in club races only or ‘just for fun’.

Although the situation can differ between event locations, it is likely that in most cases our current participation of 65 or so boats in nationals will be made up of most of the first group and some of the second. In order to get increased participation, the most popular response was to change the timing of the event to be in say mid-January, away from the Xmas New year family holiday period. In doing so, we need to be also mindful of national event times of other classes where children of Sabre parents participate. A change of location also scored well, with responses suggesting that we should seek family friendly, low cost places eg those with camping areas, cabins etc. However a high 50% would unlikely to be tempted to participate by any change to the event.

Some 40% of respondents mostly sail in their state championships.

Probably little of the above will come as startling insights to most Sabre sailors, however it does provide us with guidance and confidence in planning future Sabre nationals. We thank all those who participated and provided comments and look forward to their continuing participation and success in Sabre sailing.

As an interesting side issue of the survey, Sabre sailors were asked how they got into Sabre sailing. Their responses can be seen here.

Following the successful introduction of Sabres into the Sail Melbourne regatta last December, we have again secured a spot for six races in the weekend 2, 3 December 2017. It will be held at the recently renovated sailing area at Royal Brighton Yacht Club. Again the organisers have requested that we have entries of at least 20 boats, which we exceeded last year. Let’s get behind it again this year to enjoy the regatta and showcase our class.

Quoting from the Sail Melbourne website, “Sail Melbourne is Australia’s premier Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta, held annually in the waters of Port Phillip, Victoria. Established in 1992 it has become the largest annual ‘Off the Beach’ regatta in the southern hemisphere and is critical to the growth and success of junior and youth sailors, enabling them to race alongside their Olympic heroes.” The regatta will also be the inaugural leg of the new Asia Pacific Circuit.

Some of we less youthful characters also enjoyed the event. It will be again an excellent opportunity to hone our skills for the forthcoming Sabre Nationals, to be held in Perth and other regattas coming up in 2018. The NOR and the online entry can be found on the event website, http://www.sailingworldcupmelbourne.com/

We plan to load boats and trolleys into containers in Melbourne during 9,10 December, ie the weekend following the regatta and there may be opportunities for interstate boats to secure positions. If you are interested, please contact Barry Eastgate at barry.eastgate@bigpond.com

Sail Sydney will be held 15-17 December 2017 at Woollahra Sailing Club and further details can also be seen at http://websites.sportstg.com/assoc_page.cgi?client=1-9990-0-0-0

The Sabre State Associations around Australia are about to get underway for their winter series. Notifications are normally sent by email to Sabre skippers in each state however details will also be seen on this website under the top tab: states/(state)/winter series and/or the side tab: (state)

Each state will be holding State Championships and details including Notice of Race can be found in the State section of this website.

Alex McKinnon Photography has done a great job catching action shots of the regatta, even on the Invitation day when it was blown out! A selection of photos can be seen on http://www.alexmckinnonphotography.com/sabre201617

Alex has also emailed shots for sale of their boat in action to individual competitors. A great compilation video of the action can also be seen on YouTube video https://youtu.be/tnOBG0ieoVI

The weather from the start of racing was interesting and varied to say the least. The invitation race was cancelled due to a strong northerly and gale warning. The first race of the series on Thursday 29 December took place in remarkable conditions with constant wind changes in direction and pressure; the heavens opened, boats filled with rain and the local suburbs were flooded. To add to the confusion, in the 65 boat fleet there were four black flag starts and 18 boats suffered maximum points for this misdemeanour.

The planned second race of the day was moved to the following day, giving three races in medium strength sea breezes. Following some strong advice by race officials, the subsequent starts were orderly, mainly under a U flag.

Day three saw a frustrating beginning when boats returned to shore due to the lack of breeze, but the planned two race sequence got underway some two hours later.  The completion of six races so far allowed one race to be dropped. This made some significant changes in the overall placings since several of the top sailors were able to drop their black flag points.

With three races of the nine race series to complete, the top positions in the 65 boat fleet were still well open.  In his first season in Sabres, youthful Black Rock Yacht Club sailor, James McLennan, led with a consistent first, two seconds and a third placing. Then followed South Australian, Mark Soulsby, Western Australian Scott Olsen, and James’ father, Gary McLennan in fourth place. Jon Holroyd of Victoria lay in fifth place and made up the three previous national champions in the top five positions. Many in the top 15 places were national champions in other classes.

The next day comprised two races sailed in a stronger sea breeze, with big seas providing plenty of thrills and some spills testing both boats and crews. This saw James McLennan edged out of his regatta leadership position, by double seconds from Western Australian, Scott Olsen.  A first and second place by Victorian Jon Holroyd put him in third position.

The final days racing was sailed in a 12 knot SW breeze and led to a thrilling finish.

Staring at 1pm in a building breeze, the race was taken out by Jon Holroyd. This gave Jon a one point lead for the series over Scott Olsen in second place with James McLennan in third and Gary in fourth. Then followed two South Australians, Ben Knoop and past national champion, Mark Soulsby.

Indicative of the close racing, first places in individual races were shared by five of the top seven finishers.

The strong contingent of 12 female skippers was tied on points by Black Rock’s Susannah Gillam and Fiona McCulloch, with Susannah edging ahead on countback.

Although the current 65 boats does not match the 130 that sailed in the nationals at the Blairgowrie beach destination in 2011, the quality throughout the 2016/17 series was extremely high and competition for positions was intense.  Sailors enjoyed the close racing and big fleet buzz.

Next year the nationals will be contested on Perth’s Swan River, hosted by Perth Dinghy Club. More information can be seen by clicking here.

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