Why a Sabre?
ABOUT THE SABRE CLASS
Welcome to the Sabre – one of Australia’s most popular single handed racing dinghies. At 3.7m in length, the Sabre is similar in length to the popular Laser class, although has a little less sail area. It is amazingly light-weight, with a minimum hull weight of just 41kg. The boat is easily launched single-handedly, with most boats using a beach trolley for easy storage, rigging and launching. The boats are easy to sail, and can offer lively performance in planing conditions. They are also a comfortable boat to sail, with their deep cockpits and rounded side tanks. – this is a boat you sit in, not on.
The Sabres can be built in plywood, fibreglass, or fibreglass with plywood decks. They can be home built in plywood, professionally built and home painted and fitted-out; or fully professionally built. It is a ‘one-design’ class, with a series of measurement rules that ensure that one Sabre is the same as all the rest. The Sabres are an Australian class, and over 2200 have been built so far.
Who can sail a Sabre ?
You will struggle to find a boat that can be competitively sailed by a more diverse range of people. In fact, Sabres are sailed by people from 14 to 80 in age; and in weights from 45 to 95kg. And don’t forget – you don’t need a crew – so you won’t be left on the beach when your crew can’t sail.
Unlike the Laser class, the Sabre is not an Olympic class, and the less serious nature of the racing and the sailors reflects this. The Sabre class and its friendly culture therefore appeals to the 99% of sailors who aren’t aspiring to the Olympics! Nevertheless it has helped to develop sailors who have successfully competed in national and world championships in other classes.
The Sabre with its hard chines was designed for Port Phillip Bay (and its signature ‘chop’), and this makes for greater stability and a boat that rides waves and responds well. It does not much require as much crew weight, strength or stamina as the Laser. Additionally, Sabre sailors are not as prone to lower back problems due to more upright position when hiking.
As you might expect that leaves a fairly large proportion of the population suited to the Sabre. A couple of groups deserve special mention – teenagers and women. The Sabre over the years has proved to be a great boat for teenagers making their first move out of training classes like Minnows or Sabots once they reach say 50kg.. It’s also a great women’s boat; it isn’t going to over-power you. In Victoria for example, the Sabrettes are a friendly and active group of female sailors.
So whether you have never sailed before, if you are coming back into sailing after a long break, you want to change gears after years in another class, or you just want great fleet racing – think Sabre.
And why just sit on the beach watching your kids or spouse sail!
What is the racing like ?
So why is Sabre racing so good, and why do we enjoy it so much? Many factors make all the difference when it comes to providing great racing.
We are a one-design class where it is the skill of the skipper that is the deciding factor. In turn, we sail as our own class, rather than in mixed-class fleets. This leads to great, enjoyable close racing. Don’t under-estimate how enjoyable it is to participate where you find yourself within a couple of lengths to other boats right around the course!
We offer amongst the biggest fleet sizes in Australia – with 130 boats for example taking part in the 2011/12 championships at Blairgowrie, Vic and 95 boats in the Victorian championships.
Races are often a mixture of ‘scratch’ and handicap – the latter providing a means by which up & coming sailors can get some recognition for their achievements.
Never raced before? We all started sometime – give it a try ! There is a broad range of experience across the fleet, and you’ll always find yourself competing against boats no matter what your standard. We actively coach our incoming sailors to help to improve their performance and enjoyment in racing and afterwards.
And finally, we’re a friendly bunch – sailors socialise well before and after the race.
Where are Sabres sailed?
Head to your state’s page on the website to find out where local racing takes place.
HOW DO YOU BUY A BOAT ?
Most people new to the class will start out with a second hand boat. Prices start at maybe just $1,000 for a boat with a lot of miles on the speedo, and climb to $8,000 or more for a ‘late-model’ boat.
A great place to be looking for boats is the ‘For Sale’ page on the Sabre Association website. sabre.org.au. Don’t forget to look at notice-boards at Sabre clubs. Try putting up a wanted to buy sign too if you have not seen a boat in your price range.
For new Sabres, you have lots of options. The Sabre website lists the contact details of builders of new plywood and fibreglass boats. These can be supplied as hull only, or all the way to ‘ready to sail’ complete with trailer and beach trolley.
THE SABRE CLASS ASSOCIATION
The Association looks after the health and promotion of the Sabre class. It organises a national championship each year which rotates through Victoria, Tasmania, SA (Adelaide) Queensland, (Brisbane) and Perth. It is normally held at Xmas / New Year. Good numbers ensure strong, friendly competition.
Each state holds an annual state championship with interstate boats welcome. The state associations organise Sabre regattas which are normally held at clubs where there is a good Sabre contingent. Additionally, excellent coaching days are held at many clubs. Championships and regattas are great opportunities to gain experience in bigger fleets, and they attract sailors across all skill levels, ie not just the hot-shots!. They also feature a series of championships within the championships such as the Juniors, Masters and Womens events, as well as Divisional sections.
HOW DO YOU FIND OUT MORE ?
Browse the rest of this website, which contains a wealth of information on all things Sabre.
Better still, why not also come and have a chat with some Sabre sailors at one of the Sabre clubs?