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Our third State title to be held recently at Lake Wallagoot Boat Club was another success and brought smiles to the locals as out-of-towners came to stay and play. This stunning piece of water set in the Bournda National Park near Tathra is one of the best stretches (and least used) in Australia. Four Victorians made the 6-7 hour trip along with 4 Sydney siders.  The Saturday saw 3 races held in a freshening but shifting Southerly breeze ranging from 8-15 Knots. (My opinion.) From the beginning the superiority of the Victorian visitors boat speed was clear.  In particular Alan Riley in “Maybe Not” showed why he has won the last two National Titles winning each of these races by 40 seconds or so from defending champion, Murray O’Brien in "Purple Patch”. Third in each race was Bruce Abbot in “Panache” and fourth in the first two went to Peter White in “Delusional”. NSW skipper, Brad Gorman in “The Darkside” upset the trend by finishing 4th in heat 3. 

Sunday saw the breeze lightening but this made little difference to the leaders with the “usual places” coming through. This meant that neither Alan nor Murray could be displaced from the top two places but they continued to contest the last race. Murray going to an impressive lead until he backed his assessment of the breeze rather than covering Alan on the last work! So a clean sweep to Alan Riley. The women’s trophy went to an improving Sian Morton in “Gillyweed”, the first NSW boat was Brad Gorman’s "The Darkside” in 5th, defeating Craig Simpson, in "Poetic Justice” by one point. First local was Neil Fisher who was 7th in “Windsong”. The annual Challenge trophy was also won by Victoria. From a NSW point of view an enormous amount was learned about sailing faster and we do feel that we are on the improve. Regular and close class racing is clearly important but the readiness of our visitors to share ideas and offer support is much appreciated. 

Next season sees us hold the National Titles at the Canberra Yacht Club from Sunday the 10th of January to Saturday the 16th. Keep an eye out for the NOR over the next few weeks. And pencil in the first weekend in March for the next NSW State Titles at Wallagoot.
Photo gallery available on Facebook by clicking here.

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!  

NSW States 19 - 1

Is that some NSW Sabres being a bit competitive with Murray and the other Vics? Go Aurora.

NSW States 19 - 2

Murray deservedly and comprehensively takes home the trophies

NSW States 19 - 3 

Well done Wendy. First NSW Boat in the Championship

NSW States 2019 - 4

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