Please select your home edition
Edition
Marine Resource 2016

18ft Skiffs - New Zealand's resurgence

by Frank Quealey on 8 Feb 2012
Maersk Line - .. supplied Australian 18 Footers League © http://www.18footers.com.au
New Zealand’s 18ft Skiff sailors will make their strongest challenge in recent years when they contest the JJ Giltinan Championship. The event runs from 17-26 February on Sydney Harbour.

Since the time James J. Giltinan first conceived the idea of holding a world’s championship for 18ft Skiffs, New Zealand has not only been a regular and successful competitor in the event, but has also been a leading innovator in the class.


The most famous of these Kiwi innovators is Bruce Farr, whose designs dominated the class during the 1970s, but others to stamp their name on innovations are the Mander brothers (Peter and Graham), Jack Logan and Russell Bowler.

New Zealand were represented from the first regatta on Sydney Harbour in 1938 then held and won the 1939 event (Manu, skippered by Geo. Chamberlain) at Auckland. Jack Logan was next in the 1950 series in a radically designed snub nosed skiff named Komutu before the Manders (Intrigue) made a sensational breakthrough with the first trapeze men to become the first two-time winners of the championship in the 1952 and 1954 events.

Although they were always competitive the only New Zealand winner between 1954 and the early 1970s was Bern Skinner, who took the 1960 series in Surprise. The most successful New Zealand 18ft Skiff designer came into the 18s in 1969/1970 when Bruce Farr boats represented USA, UK and Australia as well as New Zealand. Don Lidgard took the 1972 series for New Zealand with Smirnoff and Terry Mc Dell (Travelodge New Zealand) also won for New Zealand in 1974. Both in Farr designed boats. Bob Holmes (Travelodge in 1973) and Dave Porter (KB in 1975) also won for Australia in Farr designed boats. Russell Bowler was the next Kiwi to progress the evolution in design with the super lightweight hull construction of Benson & Hedges for the 1977 regatta at Auckland.

Escalating costs over the next two decades has seen the Kiwi challenge suffer in comparison to the earlier years, although the deeds of skippers such as Chris Skinner, Phil Airey and Scott Kennedy can’t be underestimated as they have put up some excellent performances against the might of Australian, USA and UK teams.

Hard work and dedication by Graham Catley and Alex Vallings has seen a heartening revival in the class in New Zealand. Only one month ago, Alex Vallings won the 2012 Mark Foy Trophy regatta at Auckland in his brand new C-Tech skiff - one of two hulls built by Van Munster Boatbuilders late in 2011 for both Alex and Graham (Maersk Line).

The New Zealanders have six boats (including the two new skiffs) entered for the 2012 Giltinan: C-Tech (Alex Vallings), Yamaha (David McDiarmid), Maersk Line (Graham Catley), Stunt Academy (Chris Hirst), Cutting Shapes (Ed Ross) and Bridge Marina Travelift (Kez Cameron).

Graham Catley, who was also a crew member with Russell Bowler on Benson & Hedges, looks back at the struggle the Kiwis have had since the 1980s but is confident that the present position of the class in New Zealand suggests it will only get stronger in the future. 'The New Zealand fleet went into decline and subsequently died out when the Grand Prix 18 circuit effectively made the cost of competition prohibitive for our participation', he said. 'Phil Airey relocated back to Auckland and teamed with Alex Vallings in 2003, then I imported three more boats in 2005'.

'We began to refurbish the boats and commence local racing on a regular basis. We had three boats at the 2007 Giltinan Championship, which was the beginning of the renaissance in the New Zealand fleet'.

'In 2011 our effort intensified with the launching of the two new boats for Alex and me, which has brought our fleet up to nine good boats for regular club racing'.

'Alex and I have fitted our boats with strong participation from New Zealand sail and spar makers. Alex’s win in the recent Mark Foy Trophy international regatta gives an early indication that the New Zealand fleet continues to grow in maturity and competitiveness', Catley concluded.

The New Zealand resurgence can only be good for the class as it continues its international progression.

Ancasta Ker 33 660x82Protector - 660 x 82Zhik Yachting 660x82

Related Articles

JJ Giltinan Trophy - ILVE in action ahead of the JJ's - Video
The ILVE 18ft Skiff Team are back and in a brand new boat. Now see it in action! The ILVE 18ft Skiff Team are back and in a brand new boat. We brought you the video of how they turned it into a silver bullet with a mirror-finish chrome vinyl wrap. Now see it in action!
Posted on 24 Feb
18ft Skiffs - JJ Giltinan Trophy - Invitation Race runs out of puff
2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship began on Sydney Harbour when Australian 18Ft League conducted Invitation Race The 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship regatta began on Sydney Harbour today when the Australian 18 Footers League conducted the traditional Invitation Race for all 26 regatta entrants. Unfortunately for the crews, there was little, or no, wind for the duration of the race and the course had to be shortened to just three legs as the fleet was almost becalmed.
Posted on 24 Feb
Spectacular new self-catering villas in Vassiliki
Now Wildwind not only provide top spec equipment but can also offer luxury villa accommodation. Now Wildwind not only provide top spec equipment, highly experienced RYA qualified instructors and a location with one of the most reliable wind patterns in the sailing world, but can also offer luxury villa accommodation.
Posted on 23 Feb
RS Aeros at the Frigid Digit Regatta, Seattle, USA
This year the event featured Lasers, Opti's and RS Aeros hosted by the Seattle Laser Fleet, Seattle's Frigid Digit regatta started as the major midwinter Laser event back 1974. This year the event featured Lasers, Opti's and RS Aeros hosted by the Seattle Laser Fleet, Corinthian YC and West Coast Sailing.
Posted on 23 Feb
Sanya awarded Youth Sailing World Championships
World Sailing, the world governing body of the sport is pleased to announce that Sanya, China will host the 2017 edition The 2017 selection process opened in November 2016 after the Israeli Sailing Association exercised the right to withdraw from hosting the 2017 edition as a final contract had not been concluded.
Posted on 22 Feb
UK Flying 15 celebrates 70th anniversary at RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show
To kick start their 70th Anniversary year the UK Flying Fifteen Association are asking everyone to join them To kick start their 70th Anniversary year the UK Flying Fifteen Association are asking everyone who sails an International Flying Fifteen or keelboat, to join them at the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show 04-05 March (Alexandra Palace, London), to get the celebrations under way.
Posted on 20 Feb
Have you tried foiling yet? Top tips from Marko at Wildwind
Wildwind invested in foiling kits for some of their Laser fleet, converting the standard Laser in to a flying machine. In 2016 Wildwind invested in foiling kits for some of their Laser fleet, converting the standard everyday Laser in to a flying machine. ‘Can it be that easy?’ we here you cry, well you’re right but fortunately the Wildwind staff are not ones for turning down a challenge and have put a lot of time in to finding the optimum techniques so that you can be flying as soon as possible.
Posted on 19 Feb
18ft Skiffs - Thurlow Fisher take another win as JJ's loom
Today’s Race 11 of Australian 18 Footers League’s Club Championship on Sydney Harbour took on even greater importance With the 2017 JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championship just six days away, today’s Race 11 of the Australian 18 Footers League’s Club Championship on Sydney Harbour took on even greater importance than usual for the 19 teams contesting the event. A 10-15 knots ESE wind allowed all teams to set their big number one rigs.
Posted on 19 Feb
A great excuse for FINNtastic racing – Finn Masters Magazine
It must be close to the start of the European Finn season, with the publication of the Finn Masters Magazine this week. It must be close to the start of the European Finn season, with the publication of fourth edition the Finn Masters Magazine and Yearbook this week.
Posted on 17 Feb
RS Aero Florida State Championships at Martin County US Sailing Center
The setting proved spectacular in terms of facility, race management, hospitality, location and weather for 18 racers The setting proved spectacular in terms of facility, race management, hospitality, location and weather for the eighteen racers that signed up for this second largest US East Coast RS Aero event.
Posted on 16 Feb