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The weekend of March 3rd-4th saw a great turn out of 11 female Sabre sailors at the Women On Water event hosted by Sorrento Sailing Couta Boat Club (SSCBC). In their typical committed fashion the ‘Sabrettes’ keenly attended the training event focused on delivering quality coaching, skills and confidence building, and guaranteed fun for all levels of femal sailors!

SSCBC secured a top line up of experienced and encouraging female coaches and race management, ensuring the event ran smoothly and participants were able to take home some great key learnings.

The weekend proved to be a mix of conditions with some excitement, two up boat sailing and wayward boat retrieving on the Saturday afternoon after a high wind front passed through. One ‘Sabrette’ positively posting her weekend learning on Facebook as,“I am not afraid of storms, for I am learning to sail my ship”(Louise Alcott).

Competition was not amiss amongst the friendly natured Sabrettes with the race series top positions going to:

1st Lisa Barrand

2nd Fiona McCulloch

3rd Wendy Wilson

Thanks to SSCBC for a great weekend and all the coaches for sharing their valuable insight and endless encouragement! We look forward to next year.

To learn more about women participation in sailing check out: www.womenandgirlsinsailing.com.au

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A bumper crop of 74 entries and competitive raced over 2 days under testing conditions that witnessed breeze from every direction on the compass (except perhaps vertically up).The 43rd Sabre State Titles once again demonstrated that the Sabre is a sailing class with wide State and National appeal, suitable to the waters of Port Philip and a boat fit for all ages.  

Numbers were up slightly on the equally successful 2016 States titles at Somers Yacht Club in 2017 and this was in no small part attributable to the pleasing increase in numbers of female skippers (15 at last count) and the increasing numbers of youth sailors coming through the class. The greater influx of these groups is certainly putting on a squeeze at the top end of the fleet. Sabre’s flexibility was evidenced in the top 10 placings, with a mixture of female and male sailors of all ages from youth to veterans.

Congratulations to all participants and in particular to Gary McLennan, the overall winner who has just returned to Sabre sailing after a broken arm, to Murray O’Brien who was also in second place at the recent Sabre nationals in Perth, to returning champions Wayne Bates in third place and Chris Dance in fourth and to Megan Delange in fifth. Megan was also the winner of the well contested female group.

 The top 5 and top 10 results came from a wide variety of Vic clubs, illustrating the widespread strength of the class. It was not easy to be consistent in the often changing conditions and each boat had a bad race which they were able to drop from the five race series.

 The inclusive nature of the Sabre fraternity recognises that it is not always about the front of the fleet. While every fleet has its champion, there is no champion without a fleet, a credo of the class. Prizes are allocated on range of outcomes covering age groups, weight categories, novelty prizes such as Mr and Mrs ‘Mid Fleet’ and of course the Top 10 placegetters. Prize results are seen here. Overall placings are seen here.

The Sabres camaraderie and culture was firmly on display with all competitors providing their finest and most spirited efforts on the race course. Sailors are then first to offer a hand to pull boats up the beach or buy each other a well-earned refreshment, to get racing started all over again back at the bar. This camaraderie is a hallmark of the class; an inclusive spirit and a variety of programmes for class and personal improvement.       

Many thanks must go to Safety Beach Sailing Club and its volunteers for putting an industry ‘best-practice’ display of organisational talent. Again, many thanks to the Victorian Sabre Committee (otherwise known as volunteers anonymous of Victoria) who tirelessly and seemingly invisibly roll out these events like clockwork. Special mention must be made of the efforts of class stalwart, Secretary/Treasurer Barry Eastgate and SBSC regular Bill Manning in their hard work to make it all happen.  

This article would not be complete without ensuring that we clarify the events that lead to the unfortunate exclusion of two sailors from the official entry list of the regatta.

As an Association there are clear and written protocols of the requirements that determine eligibility to compete in a Victorian State Championship. These are contained within the NOR and include a fully measured and certified Class A boat (including spars, sail and foils), being a financial member of the Victorian Sabre Association, holding minimum Public Liability Insurance provisions of $5 million and lastly entering the regatta prior to the stated deadlines in the NOR.

In the interest of the class promotion and ensuring enjoyment for all, the Committee’s approach was one of fairness and flexibility for every competitor to demonstrate or provide relevant documentation. Unfortunately at this regatta this was not able to be achieved by all sailors and the Committee was left with no option but to exclude them from eligibility to receive prizes or recognition of place. This is a regrettable but ultimately unavoidable outcome for all concerned. No one on the Committee wants to disqualify any sailor at the event, nor do we want to be placed in a position of enforcing these requirements while at the same time sailing our own regattas. Being forced to make such decisions puts all involved in an invidious position and one we would have much rather avoided.

We do say a strong welcome to those sailors involved and we certainly hope to see you sailing Sabres soon.

Overall, it was again a very successful championship event with great social interaction and sailing under testing conditions. Well done and congratulations to the winners and all participants.

Yours in Sailing

Russell Rooney – Victorian President 

Sabre States R1 

"Gimme the beat boys and free my soul, I wanna get lost in your rock and roll and Drift Away"

Sabre States Women

"May the force be with you. Sabres attracting plenty of female sailors to the class". See here for a more extensive report on the 'Sabrettes' action.

The Vic State Championships have been and gone and congratulations to all participants in a big regatta of 74 entries with tricky, often light winds. It again illustrated that for success we should be able to sail in all conditions, not just those we look for each Saturday or Sunday afternoon and against competitors in big fleets. All the best to the overall winner, Gary McLennan, BRYC, second Murray O'Brien from McCYC, third placed the ever youthful Wayne Bates, BSC and Megan Delange, MMYC taking out the strongly contested ladies trophy.

With the build-up regattas to Nationals and States over it's now time to concentrate on one of the many events that makes Sabres 'The Fun Single Handed Dinghy'.

Mordialloc Sailing Club will hold the annual Sabre Teams Race over two or three races on Saturday 7 April, with the information session at 1pm. This year will be somewhat different. The innovative plan is to have the leading two boats in each team sail a longer course in the first lap so that they will have to catch up both to their team mates and other competitors over the remainder of the race. The third and fourth boats in each team will have the experience of being at the front, trying to stay ahead as well as duelling with similar boats in other teams. This format should make for close finishes. Be there and find out.

Come along, join a team and get involved in what will be an engaging and fun day. Entry will be made on the day.

As advised to Sabre sailors by email of 17 December 2017, the NOR has been published and entries are open for the 2018 States. Another great show with strong competition right through the big fleet.

Enter now while it’s still on your mind - and you can order a shirt that fits!

Click here for NOR

Click here to enter

Victorian Sabres took part in two significant sailing regattas in November and early December 2017.

The first was the annual Black Rock Yacht Club Go for Gold coaching regatta with six races on the weekend of 25,26 November 2017. Our national champion and very experienced coach, Wayne Bates, followed the fleet providing on-water advice and great feedback in the bar afterwards. 17 Sabres from fleets around the bay took part, in what was often shifty, light wind. Steven Douglas steered his new Yachtworks boat, 2099 to win the series with four firsts. Susannah Gillam, 2039 who excelled in the conditions was runner up and Geoff Dresser, 2054 who is sailing fast in most conditions this year took out third prize. It was a great warm up for the Sail Melbourne International regatta to be held the following weekend.


A strong fleet of some 20 Sabres were entered for the next regatta. Sail Melbourne International is Australia’s premier Olympic and Invited Classes Regatta, held annually in the waters of Port Phillip. This year the regatta was hosted by Royal Brighton Yacht Club with some of the world’s best sailors from Australia and around the world attending. 360 competitors from ten countries raced with sailors coming from Australia, China, Malaysia, Hong Kong, Japan, USA, Bermuda, Sweden, New Zealand and Canada. The stellar Melbourne line-up included the Australian Sailing Team and Australian Olympic medallists at Rio.

With Sabres competing the previous weekend in Go for Gold and to be packed in a container for the Nationals in Perth the following weekend, we opted to race on the two weekend days rather than including Friday that was also offered. Unfortunately, we struck a very unusual weather pattern with 20-25 knots and two to three metre seas that led to general agreement with the PRO, Mark Taylor, that sailing on Saturday and Sunday was cancelled. Many of us used the weekend to flood proof our homes in view of the dire weather warnings! The positive was that there was no last minute boat repairs required before stacking the container for Perth.

So far, apart from SMI, the season has been one of light winds which will mean a quick learning curve for the normal 15-20kts expected in Perth.

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