James J. Giltinan was responsible for introducing the sport of Rugby League football into Australia more than 100 years ago, then, as Secretary of the Australian 18 Footers League, introduced the JJ Giltinan Worlds Championship Trophy to 18ft Skiff Racing in 1938.
Rugby League’s most famous club, the South Sydney Rabbitohs, won the first competition in 1908 and have since gone on to win the Giltinan Shield 20 times - more than any other club in the League’s history.
While Rugby League’s Giltinan Shield has represented the highest honour a club could achieve each season, the sailing equivalent (Giltinan Championship) represents the pinnacle of world 18ft Skiff Racing.
Now the Rabbitohs club, in association with its sponsors De’Longhi and Kenwood, has its sights set on winning the sailing Giltinan Trophy with two high tech racing machines ready to tackle the Championship, which begins on Sydney Harbour on Saturday.
De’Longhi-Rabbitohs, skippered by Simon Nearn, and Kenwood-Rabbitohs, skippered by Brett Van Munster, (from Van Munster Boats, the builders of the 18 footers league boats, will each represent Australia in the regatta.
30 teams representing USA, New Zealand and UK, along with Australian teams from NSW and Queensland will contest the championship.
Australian 18 Footers League www.18footers.com.au www.flying18s.com