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Oldest videos of 18ft Skiff class dinghies sailing - from 1939 to 1987

by Magnus Smith 23 Feb 15:00 PST
Chesty Bond in 1978-79 © 18ft Skiff Archive

With the JJ Giltinan 18ft Skiff Championships starting next week, it's a great time to look back into our video archive, from 1939 to 1987, to see some of the oldest footage of skiff sailing in Australia.

The oldest video features both keelboats and 18ft Skiffs (albeit briefly) and is from the Sydney Regatta 1939. We can always rely on British Pathé to have the oldest videos, though they are rather short.

The 1960s

Next up is the World Championship in 1960 at Waitemata where you can see 'Jantzen Girl', 'Taipan', 'Ace High', 'Vindicator', and 'Surprise'.

A nice close-up of 'Jantzen Girl' appears in this very short clip from the NSW Titles in 1960.

Finally from this decade is Sydney skiff sailing in 1967. Commonwealth Film Unit's work went on to win at Cannes Film Festival that year.

The 1970s

Now we get a touch of colour to the footage, with racing at Georges River and Botany Bay (exact year unknown) from the archive of Pat Collis.

Then we move to Double Bay in 1976-78 but cannot embed the video here, so we have to...

Apparently this is some 8mm footage taken from the ferry, and possibly covers two seasons.

The 1980s

Somewhen in the 1980s is this old VHS tape of skiff sailing (exact year unknown). Dennis Tango and Glen York can be seen. Can you name any others?

Then, from 1984, Pppssssssssssschchhh... Australia's 18 Footers mostly features 'Chesty Bond'. Made by Film Australia, directed by John Edwards, music by Richard Clapton.

The last video we have is from 1987 and shows the Swan River grand prix. (There are a few other 80s and 90s videos linked below.)

Finally, let's check the experts in skiff footage

The Youtube channel 18footersTV is of course the true master of this domain. Since most skiff fans have already seen what the channel has to offer, we won't display every video like we did with the others above, but you can use the chronological list of their pre-2000 videos below in case there's something you haven't already seen...

Actually, having said I won't embed the videos, there are two that are just too good to omit! I will show them here, as they are great documentaries, first from the 1970s, and then from the 1980s. Enjoy!

What of the other decades?

Do you know the location of any 18ft Skiff videos from the earliest years of the class? We would love to share these with other sailors. You can submit video links for immediate review.

Keep watching

Our video archive is fully searchable, and linked to all the clubs and classes in our database.

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