Historical 10 foot skiffs
Historical 10 Foot Skiffs are sailing skiffs raced by members of the Australian Historical Sailing Skiff Association at Drummoyne Sailing Club on the Parramatta River in Sydney and at the Brisbane 18 Footers Sailing Club on the Brisbane River in Bulimba, Brisbane. Racing is held under the auspices of the AHSSA. The 10 footers are beautiful boats with a strong sense of camaraderie among the crews, who are reliving the sailing events of the past.
The 10 foot skiff is crewed by crews of 3 who attempt to keep these craft under control below large amounts of sail area. The only exception to this is the skiff Commonwealth II which requires between 4 and 5 crew depending on rig selected.
In Sydney, these boats race once a month on a Sunday with a start at 13.30. The race generally lasts just over 2 hours and often draws a crowd of onlookers walking through the rigging area admiring these beautiful wooden craft. The size of the sail area, carried in 3 rigs also often draws comment. While they can be very twitchy boats to sail, they provide a modern view of sailing from a time long gone.
Currently the oldest boat in the fleet is the Commonwealth II, built in 1997, is an exact replica of the Commonwealth which was built in 1907. This boat still sails and has had many memorable moments including a win on Handicap at the National Titles in 2006 when crewed by 4 sailors from Lake Macquarie. The Commonwealth II continues to sail in National Titles.
The oldest boat sailing regularly is the Dove, based on an old Queensland 12 foot skiff called Dove, she is one of the smaller 10s both in hull and rig. She has proved to be a very good handicap boat and recently won the NSW Handicap State Title in March, 2011.
The majority of the other boats are reproductions of hulls designed and built by Len Heffernan in the early 1950s and carry a mix of sails from 18s and 16 foot skiffs.
Dates and venues
The sailing dates for the 10 footers at Drummoyne Sailing Club may be found at the 10 footer website.
The NSW 10 footers venture up to Lake Macquarie on the last Sunday in November each year and the first weekend in February where they hold the first two heats of the NSW State titles, before venturing back to Drummoyne Sailing Club for the last two heats.
The National Titles alternate between the Brisbane River, at the Brisbane Sailing Squadron, and the Drummoyne Sailing Club, on the Parramatta River.