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Australian and NZ 18ft Skiffs to do battle in ANZAC Regatta

by Andrew Fenwick on 1 Apr 2009
Graham Catley, North Sails’ Hayden Whitburn and Riley Dean sailing Maersk Line in full flight on the Waitemata harbour . .

ANZAC weekend promises to bring some added excitement to the Waitemata Harbour for young and old. 18ft skiffs will be making an appearance over the weekend in the annual 4 day regatta. The ANZAC Regatta has been fiercely contested between Trans-Tasman crews for the last 2 years and will be hosted by the Auckland Sailing Club from Thursday 23rd – Sunday 26th April.

18ft Skiffs are regarded as the fastest mono-hull boats in the world able to sail at speeds in excess of the breeze. This makes action packed racing, all races are sailed in the vicinity of Auckland Harbour so the public can view the racing from one of the many Vantage points around Okahu Bay, Bastion Point or North Head. The 18 footers require 3 highly skilled yachtsmen to race these boats at their limit. All boats are easily identifiable and often have remarkable crashes which add to the spectacle of racing, making the class the thing of dreams for many young aspiring yachtsmen.

This year predictions are for a 12 boat fleet to contest the prestigious trophy. The ANZAC Regatta is one of only four internationally recognised regattas for 18ft skiffs with Sydney, San Francisco & Carnac (France) being the only other venues to host international regattas.

Of the 12 boat competition in this year’s ANZAC regatta, 9 boats will be representing New Zealand and 3 will represent Australia. The New Zealand Crews look forward to hosting the Australian boats in Auckland every year as it gives them a chance to showcase their skills on their home waters.

Scott Kennedy, Skipper of YAMAHA says 'It’s nice to be able to host the Australian boats on our home waters, we have recently returned from sailing the Australian boats on Sydney harbour and look forward to having a bit of home advantage over the Australians for once'. As well as not having to commute to Sydney the New Zealand boats are looking forward to showing the Australians a bit of local hospitality, Scott goes on to say 'As well as having to understand sailing on Sydney Harbour you also need to understand how the Australian fleet sails, they sail in packs like wolves and will often ‘hunt’ the New Zealand boats in their fleet to ensure they don’t win races on their harbour.' Besides the on the water tactics there is great camaraderie between the two nations in this fleet and off the water relationships are held in high regard.


New Zealand enjoys a strong history in the class with a number of World Championship winning crews in the 1970’s. Increasing professionalism and rapid advancements in design resulted in rising costs and dwindling fleet numbers in the late 1980s. The class has now stabilized leading to its strong resurgence in an amateur form in Australia and its re-establishment in New Zealand. Growing fleets of 18ft Skiffs sail in the UK and throughout Europe including France , Italy , Denmark , Switzerland and Germany . The class is also sailed in the USA and Canada .

Some of the New Zealand Boats are using the ANZAC regatta as their last practice before they depart for the 18ft World Championships. The Winning crew of the 18ft world championships will receive the Mark Foy Trophy which was first contested on Sydney Harbour in 1892. The Mark Foy Regatta will be held in Carnac , France in June 2009, followed by Sydney in 2010 and San Francisco in 2011. Auckland hopes to host this regatta in 2012.

Released on behalf of the New Zealand 18ft Skiff Association.

For more information please contact:

Andrew Fenwick 021 770 771 anderwfenwick@xtra.co.nz

Graham Catley 021 707 399 graham.catley@marstelterminals.com

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