Historical 18ft Skiffs Race on Sydney Harbour.

"They are a difficult boat to sail. There are great people in the class – they are fun – and the camaraderie is great.” Pic - Bruce Kerridge
Like all 18ft skiffs, the sail area dwarfs the hull size. With huge bow sprits supporting jibs twice the size they ‘should’ be and spinnakers that simply defy belief, watching a fleet of 18ft skiffs race around Sydney Harbour is about as Aussie as it gets.

So on Australia day weekend, the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association in conjunction with the Australian Open Skiff Trust was hosted by Sydney Flying Squadron for the 2016 Historical 18 footers championship. Two races were held, with the third being cancelled due to light winds and rain, with the overall winners being the crew of three time historcial 18 footers champion, Aberdare.

Skippered by local legend John ‘Woody’, the boat was locked in a fierce duel with Yendys, a name familiar to many in the sailing community from Geoff Ross’s Sydney to Hobart standout. Aside from the name, Yendys is one of the last remaining examples of a wide beamed 18ft skiff in existence. Built in 1924, it was raced regularly (with a crew of up to 15!) until 1942/3, when it became too outdated to keep up with the new shapes emerging. It was donated to the Sydney Heritage Fleet by J Allen in 1977, and underwent a 6 year restoration project before it returned to the water.

“I come back to Australia every year to sail them because they are a difficult boat to sail. There are great people in the class – they are fun – and the camaraderie is great,” commented Irish skipper of Yendys, Harold Cudmore. “I also sail the boat because I am bloody-minded,” he said. “You’re all the time refining your knowledge.”

Check out the incredibly footage of the vintage 18ft skiffs on Sydney Harbour in the video below.

1. Aberdare – John Winning, 3 points
2. Yendys – Harold Cudmore, 4
3. Australia – Michael Chapman, 10
4. Tangalooma- Peter Legrove, 11
5. Myra Too – Phil Barnett, 11
6. The Mistake – Terry Stewart, 12
7. Australia IV – David Witt, 14
8. Britannia – Ian Smith, 14
9. Alruth – Robin Tickner, 14
10. Scot – James Watt, 18
11. Top Weight – David Swales, 23