Category Archives: Sanders Cup

2020 Sanders Cup Interprovincial Challenge Results

After having to postpone the Sanders Cup due to gale force winds in December, again Windy Wellington lived up to its name and made it challenging for the organisers to get a contest in.

The Kingham Trophy was held early Saturday morning in light Southerlies. Even though OA and FDSM had the lead for a while, Trailblazer claimed the lead on the last downwind leg to finally claim this elusive prize.

After waiting for the Northerly to fill in for a while, the Sanders Cup was held in a building breeze with very close racing and mixed results.

In the end, Manawatu dominated over East Coast, who were the only team to put two wins on the board. Northland came third and sported a win in the last race.

David Brown and David Feek won the Sanders Cup for Manawatu on Trailblazer

Sanders Cup 31 January – 2 February 2020

The traditional interprovincial challenge for the Sanders Cup will be held at the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club in Wellington.

Details and the Notice of Race are available on

The original contest dates were 6-8 December 2019, but it has been postponed to 31 January – 2 February.

New entries will be accepted (late payment fee comes in after 26 January).

The entries and fees from the original dates are still valid.

For those that are unavailable on the new dates, the Evans Bay Yacht and Motor Boat Club will refund the entry fee if advised before the contest.

2019 Sanders Cup – Welcoming New Champions

Sanders Cup, Kingham Trophy, and the dreaded DFL

This year’s edition of the Interprovincial Challenge offered a variety of conditions making for a very close contest where seven boats had top three finishes.

When Northland chose to hold their fifth consecuitve defence on Lake Taupo, the Horowhenua Sailing Club offered to host the contest in Motuoapa. Being unable to sail on their home waters, the Club was looking forward to creating a fun setting and good sailing, harking back to the 1981 Sanders Cup held at the Manawatu Sailing Club in Foxton where the Kingham Trophy was actually sailed at Lake Horowhenua.

Phil McNeil won the invitation race back then, but Lake Taupo did not favour him this time. A wet and overcast day made sailing tricky. The invitation race, set as a triangle course just off Motuoapa marina, was sailed in moderate breeze. Wade McGee and Demian Dixon on FDSM led around the top mark ahead of Phlipnhel. Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd nearly caught the Wellingtonians on the finish line but FDSM narrowly kept their lead, winning the beautiful Kingham Trophy.

Kingham Trophy Winners Demian Dixon and Wade McGee

At the 95th edition of the historic Sanders Memorial Cup, the competition was very close with six of the eight challengers having won this interprovincial contest before. 

Crucial preparations involved an awesome dinner and a late evening at the House up the hill. It has been said that many secrets were spilled that night.

In the first two races of the Sanders Cup, the surprise entry from Auckland showed that the oldest boat in the competition had not lost any of its speed during its stint overseas. Bungholio won the first race and were comfortably leading the second one when their rudder broke. Chance had it that Northland lost their crew to injury, so Rob jumped ship and sailed the remainder of the contest with Phil.

Bungholio arriving for her first New Zealand contest in a decade
Tuning Trailblazer
Rigging Riders on the Storm

Canterbury benefited from Auckland’s disaster and took a race win after coming third in the first race, putting them in the lead after the first day.

On the second day, race wins went to Wellington and North Harbour, which meant the fleet was very close together on points before the final two races. Wellington was the exception, sporting a comfortable lead, as they were the only team who consistently scored in the top three.

A win in the sixth race confirmed the success for Wade and Demian, wrestling the trophy from Northland to go back to Wellington with all the silverware on offer.

It was an emotional win for FDSM, as the crew had lost their first Javelin, that they had lovingly rebuilt and optimised over years, in a car accident 18 months ago.

Demian Dixon and Wade McGee won the Sanders Cup for Wellington

The competitors appreciate the tough racing, while ashore there is a lively exchange of experience and knowledge. This extends to mutual assistance when gear fails, as in the case of the sailing sailmaker taking the batten ends of his spare sail to replace the bent ones on the OA.

Something would be missing without some more lighthearted awards. Craig Gilberd got awarded the Dog Trophy by Head Brother Colin Shanks for sustaining an injury while trying to get back into the boat after a capsize.

The famous DFL trophy is earned by the skipper with the highest score who finished all races.

The DFL was awarded to David Brown from the Manawatu

Huge thanks are due to the hosts David and Margaret Feek who provided the venue and amazing hospitality. The fleet appreciate the efforts of the Horowhenua Sailing Club and the Race Management Team under Tony Brown who together did a superb job delivering a great regatta and fair sailing.

The Sanders Cup Association is continuing their enthusiastic support of the Javelin Skiffs as the Class that this exceptional trophy should be competed for, considering the amount of regions as well as the range of crew and skipper age, weight and gender that were represented at this event.

At the Taupo Regatta on 9/10 March the fleet will come together again before the National Championships that will be held 29-31 March in Howick, Auckland. For the latest international news and photos please visit the Facebook  page and find out more about the Class on

2018 Sanders Cup Interprovincial Challenge and Kingham Trophy

Drama and no surprises at the Kingham Trophy


Representatives from seven provinces came together this weekend at the Gisborne Yacht Club to compete in the Sanders Memorial Cup Interprovincial Challenge, a trophy that has been sailed for under its original inception since 1921.

The traditional invitation race has another prestigious prize up for grabs, the Kingham Trophy, which features a massive silver ship with sails.


With waves breaking on the beach, launching was a challenge. Hot Gossip got off light, only getting dragged and swamped by a wave with the crew landing in the tide instead of the boat. Unfortunately, Black Bart were less lucky and a wave shook their rudder lose and dumped them back on the beach breaking the rudder stock. They missed the invitation race and the following first race of the Sanders Cup but managed to get the rudder welded again for racing on Saturday.


In Easterly winds around 15 knots and moderate swells, there were plenty of fast rides to be had. Unfortunately, the persistent rain made it less enjoyable for the Committee members on the start boat. Nevertheless, they delayed the start to make sure that the Auckland representatives could at least make the first race of the Sanders Cup as they had encountered a road closure.


Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd sailing for Northland took the lead early on in the Invitation Race, showing superior speed upwind. The rain and mist made it very difficult to see the top mark, so the leaders were very relieved when they finally made out the safety boat. With the pressure being up and down a bit, the downwind angles kept changing, and it was difficult to judge which direction the bottom mark would be in. After the hoist, Riders on the Storm who are sailing for East Coast accelerated past the South Canterbury entry on Hot Gossip and hauled in Trailblazer from the Manawatu when they had a bad gybe, which took them out of the race. Northland were so unsure about the right way to go that they dropped their gennaker and turned around without gybing, only to then decide on the rough bearing to where the mark should be and hoist again straight into a good gust that still got them to the mark first. On the long beat their lead extended even though they only focussed on defending again Trailblazer. Northland has now won the Kingham Trophy the three consecutive times, which is the first time in its 67-year history!
The first race of the Sanders Cup had a shorter course, and everyone knew their way to the top mark by now. The fleet was slightly late for the start but close racing was had around the three-lap course. Northland won ahead of Manawatu, which South Canterbury stealing third place of Auckland when Thumper had problem dropping their gennaker before the finish. East Coast managed a fourth place even though the Head Brother had broken his crew’s (!) toe.

After racing, to start off a good social evening, the representitive from the Invitation Race sponsor Sunshine Brewery Joe Williams presentation of Kingham Trophy to happy winners Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd.


Close Competition for the Sanders Cup


On Saturday there was a lot of sailing to be had for the Javelins in Gisborne, but only three races to count. The seven hours on the water started with westerly winds, and the fleet got off to a good first beat, only for the breeze to die and come back in from the opposite direction. At the time limit, the race was abandoned and restarted to the East. This single lap was won narrowly by Northland ahead of Manawatu and East Coast.


Another one-lap race followed, in which some boats could lay through to the top mark due to a wind shift to the right. This time, Manawatu finished ahead of Northland and South Canterbury.


Then the course was shifted to make an upwind leg to the South, even though the Race Officer was predicting the wind would come back to the East. The leading boats went towards Young Nick’s Head but South Canterbury wallowed in the doldrums out to sea until the Eaterly came back and allowed them a gennaker reach to the top mark. This race was abandoned and restarted in a strengthening Northeasterly that had everyone wiring and planing to forget the delays of the day. Northland came out victorious again, followed by Manawatu, South Canterbury and Auckland. Noteworthy in this race was a tight mark rounding at the bottom with four boats closely together.


In the evening, the club turned out a great barbeque again.


The final straw

Do you know what it’s like?

Can you imagine what it feels like to be buried 30 feet beneath the waves for over a hundred years?

Well here I am, and what do you know, all of a sudden my peaceful rest is disturbed!


Just to give you a bit of background, I was a young ship when I was blown onto rocks on the Gisborne foreshore in 1912 because my anchors did not hold.  Built at Belfast in October 1909 with an illustrious name like Star of Canada I was a twin screw general cargo steamer of 7,280 tons gross (12,000 tons fully laden), 470.3 ft in length, while my engines were 749 hp nominal.


So after this disaster, you would think that was it, I was lying there on the bottom of Poverty Bay, minding my own business, gathering sediment. You would think that after removing my wheelhouse and everything else when I was wrecked, they would now leave me alone. But no, along comes this keeler from Northland, which cannot decide which region it belongs to (heard rumours she wants to support South Canterbury this weekend, but then she was supposed to be the impartial committee boat manned by people from Poverty Bay and Manawatu), dumps this anchor into my hatch and wraps all this chain around my topsides – when is it ever enough? Maybe they wanted to offer me this anchor, showing me how modern technology would have served me better? But no, she kept tugging at it insistently from above. Well I thought to snare her well and proper. This is the third day she was motoring around topside, dropping anchors and marks left, right and centre, so getting entangled with me put a stop to that for a bit.


And here are these sailing people, not a proper engine between them, and they think they are doing something special, racing for a trophy that was not even invented yet when I sunk!


You see, all that went down above the seas is a boat from Northland winning the Sanders Cup again. What’s the flap? But these guys think it’s important, so they dump this anchor and chain on me for their committee boat without any consideration of my peaceful rest, and then they get all excited just because they could not leave again in a second. So it delayed the start for an hour. So they had to use a dinghy for starting their races. What is that in comparison to the fate of a ship like me?


Ah well, let them do their thing. I am still going to be here after they are gone. They did all these races today, judging by what I can see from below, their circles were getting smaller compared to the previous days. The blue boat was the fastest the first time around, followed by a grey one and a white one. The grey boat was doing well on the second lot, and then I found out she has yellow decks, white sails, and the number 378 on them in red. What a mix of colours! The white hull was nicer to look at. I got a good view of her too, very sensible white decks, even some wood on her – just the sails looked funny, you could actually see through them! Except for where the number 359 was put in black. The other white boat had “Riders on the Storm” written on its side, which I got a good look at in the first race, but her sails were grey – what sort of colour is grey for sails, I ask you? That one chased the blue boat to the finish in the second race. However the most jarring one must have been this other boat of an indescribable blue-ish colour that had “Hot Gossip” written on its side. Her decks were nice timber, but her masts – green! That must be unheard of. She put them in the water twice for me to make sure of it – yes, green! Between races, I also got a full view of the blue boat, which has big yellow letters with “Trailblazer” on its side, and her sails at least are white – except for the red 524 plastered on each side. Where is their sense of propriety? And here is another curiosity: two of those who swam seemed to be female. That is unthinkable though, is it not? There was one more race, and the blue and grey boats were very close together for most of it. I think it was the grey one that finished first.


After decades under the sea, this does not really affect me. This anchor tearing at my remains however, and a diver disturbing my rest, that is not nice! Who do they think they are? They were so insistently tugging though, that I gave up and let it all go again. A shame really, I thought I had that keeler well entangled. A beautiful lady too, has been around for about forty years, so not too green… but she got off! Ah well, patience. Maybe one day one will stick. Or maybe some nice lady will join me down here, that would be a change for the better for once!