12ft Skiff

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12ft Skiff
LCC Skiff.jpg
12 foot skiff in Sydney Harbour
Crew 2
Hull weight 45 kg
LOA 3.7 m
Beam 1.8 m
Mast Length 8.8 m

The 12 ft Skiff, is a dinghy dating to the early 20th century, it is 12 feet (3.7 m) in length, hence the name and is a two man boat. Both the crew and the helm are able to use the trapeze at the same time. It has an asymmetrical spinnaker and a jib, in addition to the mainsail.[1]


The origin of the Skiff is dubious, but it is thought to have roots in the smaller skiffs sailed on Sydney Harbour in the late 1800s. The Skiff became a class in its own right in 1924, when it was raced in several clubs around Australia, at this time the skiff was manned by a crew of 5, but around about the 1940s it changed to a three man boat, and then became the 2 man boat that is used today. After the 1940s the skiff went international.[2]

Nowadays the 12 ft (3.7 m) Skiff is mainly sailed in Australia and New Zealand, although it is growing in popularity in Great Britain.[3]


The Skiff is similar to the larger and better known 18ft Skiff. Of all skiffs the 12footer is known for being the hardest to sail, primarily due to its small footprint relative to its sail area, being able to reach up to 25 knots.[4][5]

The 12 Footers generate considerable power by having 2 persons on the Trapeze Wire, suspended from the mast of the boat. This adds leverage to the crews' weight, allowing the larger areas of sail to be carried.

The modern 12s also have fixed bowsprits to carry the spinnakers from. This is a relatively recent innovation, with the older style of skiff having an 'end to end' spinnaker pole which would need to be positioned by the crew, and would be stored against the skiff's boom when it was not being used.


  1. ^ "12ft Skiff Dinghy Class Information". noblemarine.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Twelve Foot Skiff Association: History". skiff.org. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "Aussies fend off Kiwis in 12 ft skiff win". Sail World. 13 January 2007. 
  4. ^ "12ft SKIFFS". vanmunsterboats.com. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  5. ^ "General Specifications". skiff.org. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 

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