12ft Skiff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

12ft Skiff
LCC Skiff.jpg
12 foot skiff in Sydney Harbour
Hull weight45 kg
LOA3.7 m
Beam1.8 m
Mast length8.8 m

The 12ft Skiff is a development dinghy class dating back to the early 20th century. It is sailed in Australia and New Zealand. It is 12 ft (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 12ft 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 1926 when, at a meeting between Lane Cove 12ft Sailing Skiff Club, Greenwich 12ft Flying Squadron, The Spit 12ft Skiff Sailing Club and Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Skiff Club, the 12ft Sailing Skiff Council was formed. At this time the skiff was manned by a crew of five, but around the 1940s it changed to a three-man boat, and then became the two man boat that is used today. In 1947 the Council changed its name to the NSW 12ft Sailing Skiff Association.[2] After the 1940s the skiff went international.[3]


  • Overall length 3.7 metres
  • Beam 1.8 metres
  • Crewed by two people, both on trapeze
  • Light weight 45 kilogram hull
  • Sail area and rig design are unlimited
  • Mast height is unlimited but can be up to 8.8 metres
  • Most boats have three complete rigs (small, medium, large)
  • Each skiff is individual, not an off the shelf product
  • Simple measurement rules allow design development
  • The asymmetrical spinnaker is set off a fixed bowsprit

Sailing and Racing[edit]

Today the 12ft Skiff is primarily sailed in Australia and New Zealand.

Campaigning a 12 requires a range of skills, including boat handling, tuning, boat maintenance, organisation and training. However, with recent equipment developments, and the introduction of carbon masts, 12ft Skiffs are very manageable boats and any sailor with relative experience, such as Cherubs or Moths, would quite easily adapt.


The 12ft Skiff is similar to the larger and better known 18ft Skiff. Of all skiffs the 12 footer is known for being the most difficult to sail, primarily due to its short and narrow hull relative to its large sail area. A 12ft Skiff is capable of sailing at speeds of up to 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph).[4][5]

The 12ft Skiff generates considerable power by having two 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 12ft Skiffs also have fixed bowsprits to from which they carry their spinnakers. 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.


Maersk Line 12ft Skiff


  • New South Wales State Championship "The Morna Cup"
  • Queensland State Championship
  • Australia Championship "Norman Booth Trophy"

New Zealand[edit]

  • New Zealand team trials
  • New Zealand National Championship


  • Interdominon Championship "Silasec Trophy"


  1. ^ "12ft Skiff Dinghy Class Information". noblemarine.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  2. ^ Martin, Tom (2003). 75 Years Afloat; Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Skiff Club 1926-2001. Vaucluse, NSW: Vaucluse Amateur 12ft Sailing Skiff Club. p. 64.
  3. ^ "Twelve Foot Skiff Association: History". skiff.org. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  4. ^ "12ft SKIFFS". vanmunsterboats.com. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009.
  5. ^ "General Specifications". skiff.org. Archived from the original on 9 August 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009.

External links[edit]