Story by Melanie Parking For Sail World

The 60th edition of the 12ft Skiff Interdominion Championships is underway on Wellington Harbour, hosted by the Worser Bay Yacht Club. .

OK, 60 years this event been going on – let that sink in a bit!

In 2005, Nicholas Press won his first inter dominion trophy, as a skipper. Sailing with Brad Yabsley out of Sydney’s Flying Squadron. He has then gone on to engrave his name on the Silasec Trophy as overall winner an impressive eight times. Can the 60th anniversary of the event be his ninth? Or can Brett Hobson and Cameron McDonald hold firm to reclaim the title after winning it 11 years ago in Brisbane sailing on Garde?

The racing is tight, and the fleet is well mixed up. Some absolute blinders are coming out, with Jono Clough and Hamish Hall-Smith taking a line win in heat 5, after returning to the line at the start thinking they were OCS – they weren’t… yet they won. Putting them 4th overall.

The 60th kicked off on Sunday 23rd of Feb, in Wellington. Hosted by Worser Bay Boating Club, who have just opened their stunning newly built clubrooms. The breeze was a typical Wellington blustery Southerly, with the invitation race seeing the spectacular speeds and boat handling that only a 12ft skiff can demonstrate.

all images ©Garrick Cameron

Race 1 was raced in the afternoon, and the breeze kept in. And while the conditions were testing, and humbling for much of the fleet, the not so coveted daily award for the best mine or most spectacular capsize, (usually awarded for a full noise dive with mast over bow action), couldn’t be handed out! That really says something of the boat handing capabilities of the crews – and it wasn’t like we weren’t watching out for the mining action.

Day 2 and 3 were much the same with a nice sea breeze and some champagne sailing – albeit cold for the Aussies! The main part of the Interdominion Championships is the Australia vs. New Zealand John Brooke Trophy. The teams are smaller than other years – yet very strong on both sides. Between 2012 and 2015 the Kiwis’s held on to the John Brooke, then the Aussies took it back for a few years. Day 3 sees the Kiwis’ leading 149 to 126. It’s early days. Anything can happen.

At this stage of the regatta spirits are still at reasonable levels, bodies are not too tired, and there has only been one windy day. However, we’re in Wellington, sailing at Worser Bay – where the slogan is ‘The Worser the Bay, the Better the Sailing’ – seriously! Sailors in these parts really can handle the hard stuff. And looking at the long-range forecast, she’s going to blow! That miner’s trophy will be awarded for sure.

Garrick Cameron, photographer, is out on the course with a very keen eye and the best chase boat driver (and some mighty fine looking camera kit). Check out his pics below!

Tim Bartlett; won his first inters in 1985, sailing Dimension Sailcloth in Brisbane. He’s currently sitting in 11th place, sailing Frankenskiff. Watching him send it flat, fast and furious down the Wellington harbour, foot flat to the floor, was incredible! 35 years sailing these boats – now just pause for a bit, find a video of a 12ft skiff and think about sailing these things for 35 years….. he’s a total legend.

Day 4 tomorrow – looking like a northerly system kicking in, that will start sorting the lads out (there are no ladies sailing this year). The event ends Saturday Feb 29.