Category Archives: History

Part 1: The 14-foot One Design

Apart from those few hardy souls racing in the 14-foot Javelin class, the Sanders Cup is mostly unknown to today’s yachtsmen. It is still the ultimate goal in the New Zealand Javelin national calendar, but for the rest of New Zealand, the event passes with barely a whisper.

It was not always so.

There was a time when the Sanders Cup was the ultimate prize in New Zealand yachting, and its raison d’etre, the 14-foot X-class (also known as the Jellicoe Class), was the ultimate New Zealand centreboarder nationwide. Nothing else matched them.

Such was its stature, that for almost forty years, newspapers around the country devoted as much space to the Sanders Cup in summer, as the Ranfurly Shield during winter. Details of who was racing in the local trials, the winners, the losers, and the unlucky, followed by tack for tack descriptions of each Sanders Cup race, province against province, were eagerly read by yachtsmen all over New Zealand.

The Sanders Cup elite, George Andrews, Billy Rogers, Peter Mander, Graham Mander, and all the other top-notch regional skippers who competed for it, were giants in their day and tremendous influences on their peers. To aspiring youngsters, they were heroes but at the same time, were yacht club regulars who rigged up alongside everyone else, you could see them most weekends, speak to them, watch them set up their boat, watch them race. By comparison, many of today’s yachting icons, having gained their (quite justifiable) nationwide recognition on an international stage, seem somewhat remote. The Sanders Cup in its heyday was New Zealand yachting through and through. The rest of the world did not matter.

X-Classes racing for the Sanders Cup
X-Classes racing for the Sanders Cup

The competition had its origins well back before the First World War. Following the demise in 1904, of New Zealand’s first centreboard class, the 18ft 6in Restricted Patiki (See Vintage Viewpoint August 1998), there were a number of moves to establish another modest centreboard class to attract young men into the sport. Little happened until 1908 when the Waitemata Dinghy Club was formed as an offshoot of the Devonport Yacht Club. For several years, this club held races for their restricted design 14-foot and 10-foot dinghies, but by 1912, WDC had gone into recess (most of its better dinghies had found a new home in, of all places, Kawhia).

W.A.`Wilkie’ Wilkinson, in his magazine, the New Zealand Yachtsman, was a regular champion of the smaller boats and again called for the re-establishment of `a small dinghy class suitable for young boys’. His proposed `Yachtsman 14-foot Dinghy’ was even backed by the offer of a completed 14-footer from Ernest Davis as a prize. Apart from a lot of talk, nothing much happened, although from time to time over the next four years his editorials peevishly brought up the topic, and complained about yachtsman’s apathy in general.

As well as influencing the yachting public through N.Z. Yachtsman, the energetic Wilkinson was also commodore of the powerful North Shore Yacht Club and did not readily let go of his `pet’ projects. On 23 October 1916, he submitted plans to the Auckland Yacht and Motor Boat Association for a smart little clinker 14-footer, drawn by Glad Bailey, son of Charles junior, and asked that they adopt it as a strict one design class. Within a month most clubs had agreed in principle, although perversely, Richmond adopted it unrestricted, Ponsonby and Manukau adopted it undecked, while North Shore’s fierce rivals, Victoria Cruising Club ignored it altogether.

With so much indecision, North Shore Yacht Club, under Wilkinson’s direction, went ahead and adopted the design as it stood. He then announced that Bailey was building a 14-footer to the plan for Messrs Frank Cloke and Joe Patrick, owners of the crack 24-foot linear rater Speedwell. The first 14-foot One Design was named Desert Gold (after a famous racehorse of the time), and launched in January 1917. Like Speedwell, she carried a huge red star on her mainsail, an indication of her owner’s strong socialist leanings. She was joined a few days later by another, La Ola, built by the Ross brothers of Orakei.

In the 1917 Auckland Anniversary Regatta, Desert Gold easily beat La Ola and Dixie, the last of the old WDC dinghies, and went on to win every race she entered that season. She dominated all 14-footers in 1917/18 season as well, and then for reasons unknown, was laid up.

Despite such a clear superiority over existing 14-footers, there was little interest in a new yacht class. The Great War in Europe was grinding to a close and yachting, like many other sports was still in limbo.

The 1918/19 season however saw the arrival of Betty, built by Walter Bailey and sailed by Norm Bailey. Like Desert Gold, Betty trounced any opposition and won both line and handicap in the 1919 Regatta. Among the opposition that day was George Honour in a chunky new square-bilge 14-footer named Sasanof, to whom Betty was giving 12 minutes. This lengthy handicap stands in sharp contrast to Ronald Carter’s florid prose in Little Ships wherein he described Sasanof, the prototype of the popular Y-Class, as being `light as a feather …..’, and how she ` .. blew across the water light as a piece of thistle down’. Pity any wildlife downwind of that particular thistle. By the end of the season, Betty was giving Sasanof 17 minutes.

Desert Gold returned to racing in the 1919/20 season, and immediately went into a head to head battle with Betty. The arrival of another, Meteor sailed by T.G. Parker added spice to the racing and all other 14-footers were left in the wake of the three One Designs. They dominated the 1920 Anniversary Regatta, all three raced off scratch. Next lowest handicap in that event was George Honour’s newest square bilge 14, Sea Sprite on 10 minutes handicap. More thistledown to endanger the local wildlife.

Post-war optimism, coupled with the social and economic changes that followed the end of World War I, fueled a boom in yacht club membership, yacht building and racing. It seemed the time was right for a new yacht class. Wilkinson was now shipping correspondent for the Auckland Star, and writing a weekly yachting column under the by-line `Speedwell’. He promoted the merits of the fledgling 14-foot class at every opportunity.

During the winter of 1920, the AYMBA approved the rules and restrictions for the 14-foot One Design Class, and guaranteed a period of 5 years before any further changes were to be made. Following this news, Wilkinson announced that inquiries had come `from all over New Zealand’ and that `Mr. H.P. Nees of the Otago Yacht Club was in town and will take back with him full plans of the 14-foot One Design class’.

Over the next few months, he endlessly reported the building news in the 14-foot class. Certainly, from a standing start, it was impressive stuff. Eleven were under construction, for such famous names as Lidgard, Bailey, Wild, Ewen, Gifford and Endean, with others imminent. Wilkinson canvassed prominent Auckland yachtsmen and raised £30 for prize money to be won over ten races, a small fortune by today’s standards. Even the august Royal New Zealand Yacht Squadron, who had previously ignored centreboarders altogether, announced its intention of holding an Under-21 series for its junior members.

Mind you, their main reason for being involved in the first place (and indeed the main reason for the sudden popularity of the new class) was the knowledge that New Zealand’s incoming Governor General, Viscount Lord Jellicoe, was a keen yachting man. He had a preference for racing one-design class keelers, but at the time Auckland had no such class. Even so, he had indicated that he was prepared race smaller craft as long as they were `to a class design’.

The closest `class’ racing Auckland had at the time was among the red-hot 22-foot mullet boats. They were providing the most exciting racing on the harbour, but to the RNZYS patricians, the mere thought of Jellicoe patronising the smoky working class clubs of Ponsonby and Victoria, instead of the Squadron, would have been too horrible to contemplate. The 14-foot One Design it had to be then.

The entry of the Squadron into the One Design fray was good for the class, as all Auckland yacht clubs were now involved in some form or another.

All was not rosy however. The predominance of boatbuilders among the new owners raised eyebrows among many older yachtsmen for whom amateurism was a requirement for all proper yachtsmen. At the 1920 AGM of the North Shore Yacht Club, Mr. F.W. Chalmers commented on the construction cost rising from £35 to £76 and that `… instead of being sailed and handled by boys, they were sailed by men, including a number of professionals who were not out for the love of the sport but for what they could get out of it.’

Any further discussion on such Edwardian niceties paled into insignificance on 6 November 1920 when Wilkinson breathlessly announced in the Star, that the Governor General, Viscount Lord Jellicoe, the hero of Jutland, had placed an order with Charles Bailey junior for a 14-foot One Design. Prominent Squadron member, W.P. Endean, already had one being planked at Bailey’s, and sportingly offered to wait until another could be built, to allow Jellicoe to start the season on time. The new boat was a birthday present from Lady Jellicoe.

Model of the X-Class "Iron Duke", with the much newer Javelin "Night Nurse" in the Background
Model of the X-Class “Iron Duke”, with the much newer Javelin “Night Nurse” in the Background

Any likelihood of the class being purely an Auckland affair now vanished completely. A governor-general has always been the closest to royalty we have ever had, and in the patriotic fervour of post-war New Zealand, to have one sailing his own boat, in club races, and a war hero to boot, was just too appealing. Everyone wanted to be seen with `the great man’.
Model of the X-Class “Iron Duke”, with the much newer Javelin “Night Nurse” in the Background
The 1920/21 season opened to high expectations, and heightened further when the Otago Yacht and Motor Boat Association challenged their Auckland counterparts to a race to decide the championship of the 14-foot One Design class. Just how much Wilkinson had in engineering this is not known, but given his extensive contacts in the yachting community and the fact that he had been advocating just this sort of thing for well over ten years, it seems likely that he prodded his old Dunedin mates into a challenge.

Jellicoe’s boat, named Iron Duke was launched Monday 13 December 1920. The following Saturday at the North Shore Yacht Club, skippered by Jellicoe, with designer and builder, Glad Bailey in his crew, she finished fourth. Both officials and contestants complained about wash from the large spectator fleet.

By New Year 1921, fourteen One Designs were racing in Auckland; six were building in Dunedin and one at Russell. The class was further elevated by news that Messrs. Walker & Hall Limited had donated to RNZYS (who then vested it in the AYMBA), a 50 guinea championship cup, open to all New Zealand. The cup was dedicated to the memory of Devonport born Lieut.-Com. W.E. Sanders V.C., D.S.O. R.N.R., lost on the Q-ship Prize in August 1917.

The first bout of national Sanders Cup fever was under way.

Sanders Cup articles courtesy of Robin Elliot and Harold Kidd

Fresh Perspective – John Spencer

The following article was written by John Spencer in Boating New Zealand magazine at the time the Javelin’s moved to the new style Main and Jib sailplan. It provides an interesting history to the early days of the class ans sail measurement ideas.

Efficient rig design proves essential

While the “least said, soonest mended” of Peter Blake´s unfortunate remarks in mid March, I was intrigued by the report that Sir Tom Clark had said of NZL 20 that she looked like an “ugly Infidel.”

Now there is a comment, no doubt made “off the cuff”, that could be interpreted to mean several things which I am sure Sir Tom did not intend. I´m quite sure that he was thinking back to those glorious days of the 1960s when the “Black Box” could lose a race but didn´t do so very often. Some have called NZL 20 “ugly”, just as some said the same of Infidel.

To me NZL 20 is a beautiful creation, which is what Cove Littler, owner of Ariki said of Infidel back in the mid 1960s. Maybe that’s what Alan Sefton had in mind when he said NZL 20 looked like a “modified Spencer design.” She is not, of course, except in that she is an exciting boat, as Infidel was here in the 1960s and later Ragtime in California.

I have already commented on the skiff type rig and sail plan design that we are seeing in the new America´s Cup Class. It is obviously very efficient so we might well wonder why it never happened before or why it took so long to happen. The fact is that it has all happened before, as long ago as 60 years, but has been inhibited by rules that prevented real development and only really encouraged rule beating. Two things are involved in designing a really efficient sail plan and both were proven before most of us were born. Both in fact could be said to have been proven by the schooner America, back in 1851.

Even 100 years later the thinking of rulemakers was based on the assumption that the effective area of headsails was 80 per cent of the area between the forestay and the mast and classes such and the International 6 and 12 Metre still use that formula, as indeed International 14s still did many years later. Consequently the actual area of a headsail could be more than double the measured area.

In America’s day jibs overlapping the mast were unthinkable but a cutter-rigged fore triangle did allow extra sail area due to the overlapping jibs and staysails. It was generally agreed 100 years later that cutters were about two per cent slower up wind anyway as they couldn’t point as high as a sloop due to this.

It was around 80 years after America that a Scandinavian 6 Metre fronted up for the class championships in Genoa, Italy, with an overlapping jib of considerably greater area than it “measured”. It became known thus as the “genoa jib”. Previously an American 6 Metre had been designed with a smaller mainsail and a wide non-overlapping jib set on a boom, much like America’s single jib. The rulemakers, for some incredible reason didn’t like that but allowed the genoa jib to continue, with no measurement of the additional area. This form of measurement was adopted for Ocean Racing Rules and persists to this day. If you don’t have a genoa you have less sail area but no less measured area.

The other thing America proved was that you need sails that hold their shape. She raced with cotton sails that stretched far less than the flax sails that were used in those days. Now we have mylar, kevlar, and some into experimenting with carbon fibre, replacing dacron woven polyester because it stretches less, just as dacron stretched less than cotton and became the material to use some 30 years ago.

50 years ago it was being well proven that in modern rigs overlapping sails were slow if the full area of a headsail was measured. When the Star Class, designed in 1911 introduced a new sail plan in 1930, they went for what later proved best in the Redwing Class in England which had one design hulls but allowed freedom to design the best possible sail plan within a maximum area.

The Soling Class has much the same, designed 30 years later and the Star Class’s 1930 sail plan is as efficient as any designed today unless allowed full length battens to support more roach area.

Full length battens are nothing new. Few things are. Canoe sailors had them 100 years ago and called them ”batwing” sails. A low mast and large roach held out by three battens gave them an efficient sail with less weight and windage up high on their tender craft. The Chinese had them on their junks some 2000 years BC, that is 4000 years ago. They also had suction bailers made from bamboo.

Large roach also has been prevented by rulemakers since the gaff sail became unfashionable. It is also, of course inhibited by the desire of most sailors today to rely on a standing backstay to hold up the mast.

The ”masthead” rig developed as a result of rules that gave it more “free” area and allowed it much larger spinnakers. The original sail plans for Beven Wooley’s Sabre and Tom Clark’s Saracen had no standing Pied Piper. Their rigs worked fine without, even for family cruising and were the forerunners of the admittedly more complicated America’s Cup Class rigs we see now; dinghy rigs.

The efficiency of a larger roach, fully battened mainsail is not, however based on free area that is not measured and nor is it unseamanlike.

Some cruising sailors still prefer the gaff rig for it enables them to set a lot of area on a relatively short mast. The Chinese junk rig has even been preferred by some ocean racing sailors, such as Blondie Haslar for similar reasons. Full length battens can be used to achieve the same in a modern sail but most sailors today feel uncomfortable without a standing backstay which can fully support the mast aft. Despite this we are seeing more and more fractional rigs in which the standing back-stay does no more than control mast bend while the mast is held up aft by runners, as in the early days of gaff rigs and long booms. Runners in fact are often needed on today’s masthead rigs.

Measuring mainsails was, and often still is thought to be simplified by measuring only the triangle between the three corners or, in the case of a gaff sail as two triangles. Usually this was further simplified by using only the luff and foot measurements. Roach area was not measured as it was supposedly restricted by limiting the number and length of the battens.

Very conservative

Traditional sailmaking methods certainly did not allow much roach to set well with short battens but even in New Zealand, where full length battens were commonly used, far more was possible than was mostly seen. Traditional sailmakers were very conservative but in the 1950s dinghy sailors such as Paul Elvtrom, Bruce Banks and Rolly Tasker got into making their own sails and from success there went into business as sailmakers. The pressure they put on measurement rules with larger and larger roach areas resulted in the introduction of cross measurements to contain this; in some classes full length top battens were used as well to support the top of the sail better where the process had already gone too far.

We all like the idea of simple measurement rules but simple to measure can often mean simple to beat and gain extra area. This applies particularly when full length battens are allowed and has been experienced in some classes. Crosswidth measurements at quarter, half, and three quarter heights with measurement bands on the mast and boom had evolved by 1960 as the popular way of ensuring that one design or restricted class sails were all of equal area. It didn’t work! IYRU eventually decided that the position of the measurements should be determined by folding the leach, not the luff, and that was a big improvement for one design sails, which is what it was intended for.

For restricted or development classes IYRU recommends measurement of total area unless class rules say otherwise. The Australian skiff classes and NS 14 dinghy use full and total area measurement methods where there is a maximum sail area stipulated and don’t seem to have any problems with the arithmetic involved.

The luff times the foot, divided by two, is not the actual area unless the boom sets at 90 degrees to the mast. Droopy booms are not some break-through in sail design, only another way of getting more sail area. If it might endanger a head or two in the cockpit that’s the risk you must take to have an advantage, unless you are fortunate enough to be sailing in a class that has good measurement rules. The rules don’t have to be one design ones for sails and, until we get the sailors all cast in the same mould I don’t even think true one design sails are the answer for equality.

In the America’s Cup we see now the crew being weighed, as well as the yacht when a measurement check takes places. Could we live with a dinghy class that had rules restricting our height and weight so that we were in fact all equal?

Some dinghy classes have a very small margin of weight tolerance, partly due to the boat length being short and often the result of the designed shape in a one design; its sail area and sail plan also likely to affect this. Certainly it would seem that the long accepted principle of weight is important.

Uffa Fox once said that weight is no use except in a road roller. He wasn’t thinking of crew weight, which certainly paid dividends in the International 14s of his design at that time in the 1930s.

Many classes have been concerned over the advantage to lightweight sailors in dinghies of 12 or less feet in length, some even longer for the Pheonix Class was among the first to be concerned with this and is 4m in length. Other classes of maybe more length and certainly more sail area have been concerned over the need for a lightweight skipper and heavy crew.

All classes today seem very concerned as to their popularity and more getting out than are coming in, nationally. I think that it is, either way a matter of development. If a class does not develop it will very likely stagnate., If, on the other hand it outdevelops too many existing hulls then these have to be replaced, which is not so easy to do. If, on a further hand (how many do we have?) the sail plan is allowed to be developed we are talking something that is regularly renewed, as long as it means only the sails and not the full rig.

Skiff sails, with no real restrictions other than area and not even that in the 12s, have become the leaders of the world and yet almost one design. What I am driving at is that with freedom to choose, in a dinghy class that does restrict the sail area, the same area should be allowed to a lighter crew if they choose to have a lower rig. If the height of the rig is restricted to being moderate or low the heavier crews will be less disadvantaged by small sail area if it is allowed to be efficiently used higher up, and if this suits all the class will end up well ahead of others.

Javelin rigs

I would like to have seen the Javelin Class’s new sail measurement rules allow lower rigs of the same area for I’m quite sure that this would have been good for the class now it has updated its sail plan. The very simple measurement procedures now adopted would not have been compromised by allowing this.

I promised more about that and here it is. It has been tough getting to this with my deadline and poor ability on a typewriter competing against the excitement in San Diego and real dinghy racing stuff to watch in the semifinal series for both challenger and defender.

The Javelin Class was created from the wishes of sailors such as Helmar Pederson and Ian Pryde, and others from the Cherub class who saw the need for a bit more length and sail area for the crew weight they had. Ian Pryde, like myself earlier had built and raced an International 14 and had experience of that class. His was also a Kiwi design, by Des Townson.

The 14s were a great boat but not one that appealed to most Kiwi sailors. A heavy, by our new standards, minimum weight, minimal buoyancy to penalise those who capsized or became swamped as a result of “decks” restricted to a 3ins gunwale, trapezes not allowed and an ineffective spinnaker due to the short spinnaker pole allowed, all pointed towards a Cherub Type 14 being faster and more exciting to sail with less sail area and consequently less cost.

What with the 1960 Olympics and the advent of the Flying Dutchman as the Olympic two-handed class the Javelin sat there, its rules formulated, while its main proponents chased Olympic selection.

A couple were built to a design I had drawn earlier as a Y Class, which fitted the rules but had sufficient rocker to be fast with a three-handed crew. I built Javelin number 3 from a design originally intended as an International 14 for a lightweight crew and this got the class going in Auckland, after being the show in John Burns and Co’s shipchandlery window downtown in Commerce Street.

I was then asked to produce a further design, to the limit of the rules and based on the Mark 6 Cherub design, for heavier sailors. This design, for various reasons became known as the Mark 1 Javelin and my earlier design as Mark 2. The Willetts Memorial Trophy, now raced for exclusively by Javelins was then seen as the Auckland Provincial 14 Championships and at that time the International 14s had shown superiority over all other 14ft classes.

In their first season, with only two or three completed the Javelins won the trophy and the following year seven Javelins entered, filling the first seven places. All used wooden bendy masts, mostly made by me. These were relatively stiff by later standards when aluminium masts took their place and had little, if any, pre-bend.

The first rig development in the class came from Murray Ross. Murray developed a rig that had a lot of pre-bend and mainsail cut to suit this. The Javelin, like the Cherub was given a development hull design rule but one design sails, with cross measurements to control it from the start.

What began as a generous amount of roach however, with Murray’s rig development had to be used in the luff and particularly at half height. Thus sails became straight or even hollow in profile on the leach, with a kickback at the top and bottom to the masthead and boom. Murray’s ability to get power from such a rig made the team of Biger and Ross virtually unbeatable but most found Javelins going slower and lacking power.

Eventually the penny dropped and larger sections for masts replaced the very thin ones Murray had introduced, though still only what Cherubs had been using all along. Pre-bend was still considerable and Javelin sail plan rules made it difficult to get a nice looking efficient mainsail.

The next development was high foredecks. You may well ask what that has to do with the rig but Javelin rules, like many others over the years, limit the height of the rig from the deck instead of the sheer, or did until recently. Javelins were getting a reputation for needing a midget to steer them and a gorilla for crew. A gorilla needs more room under the boom to get quickly from one trapeze to the other so, with plenty of weight to handle the additional leverage from a mainsail up higher is even further advantaged if others do likewise.

By then this was getting the spinnaker and jib all out of kilter for the forestay and spinnaker hoist were now also much higher than on our original Javelins for which the sails were designed. They looked, in fact like they had got borrowed off a Cherub and even Cherubs had seen problems with their rig developments, adopting a new sail plan several years later.

It was the Victorian Javelin Association which made the initial effort towards a new sail plan, concerned over their windward performance against NS 14s being poor despite the Javelin’s trapeze and 6 per cent more sail area. This probably had been the cause of the Javelins becoming almost extinct in New South Wales.

Melbourne sailor Wayne Gelly saw the Cherubs adopting a new sail plan to their advantage and felt the time had come for Javelins to do the same. After consulting with me he had a prototype set made and took them to the South Pacific Championships in Perth, January 1987, where 11 Kiwi Javelins competed with Cooltainer sponsoring freight costs to and from the event.

Nothing much happened but further discussion at the 1988 Sanders Cup brought the Wellington Javelin Squadron, at that time “Head Office” for New Zealand, and Warren “Wolfie” Williams to pressing for a development type measurement rule that would allow improved sail design within the existing rig and individual sail areas, allowing replacement of one sail at a time. I was eventually asked by Wolfie to write the rules and did so one the basis of an area measurement.

Further discussion between New Zealand the various Australian State associations determined that owners preferred a more simple measurement procedure and with a 75 per cent majority needed to pass any rule change it became a challenge to find, somehow a simple method that would not contain loopholes. A number of people, both here and in Australia finally put together a rule that looked good and it got the almost unanimous support of owners in both countries to become effective for the 1991-1992 season.

The new jib, close to 1m longer on the luff, fits the rig far better and the shorter foot length eliminates most of the overlap, allowing sheeting further forward which gives crews more room to operate. It also allows narrower sheeting and higher pointing so, as I would have expected became a must.

As we are seeing in the America’s Cup, if you can point higher, maintain boatspeed and tack quickly, you have got it right. The new jib does all three. After a season’s racing there seems no doubt that the new mainsail is also superior to the old when it comes to boatspeed, even if the difference is less dramatic and it certainly looks like the new sail plan has put the Javelin back to being the “ultimate” two-handed single trapeze dinghy.

The very simple measurement arithmetic, which in the past could certainly have been vulnerable, becomes very effective in controlling area in a large roach mainsail and also evident seems to be Ken Fyfe’s position as the top sailmaker for the class over this past season. Ken’s experience in skiff and Cherub sails of this type had to count and his expertise is well known in there.

The Javelin looks really set now for the 1990s and beyond, both here and in Australia. It’s a class where, despite its development rules, older designs and older hulls still hold their own at championship level. There are no problems with its rules there and never have been.

Maybe next month I should write more of design development in dinghies generally and why older designs are remaining competitive in the Javelin Class.

Javelin Class Sanders Cup Winners (1971 – 2015)

Year Winner Province Venue Skipper Crew
1971 Scheherezade Wellington Wellington P. Williams D. Oliver
1972 Topaz Wellington Wellington B. Coleman M. Sleeth
1973 Topaz Wellington Picton B. Coleman M. Sleeth
1974 Joshua Auckland Dunedin A. Ball P. Newlands
1975 Joshua Auckland Auckland A. Ball P. Newlands
1976 Hombre Auckland Te Anau D. Cochran T. Gallagher
1977 Worzel Gummidge Auckland Wellington R. Vernon P. Vernon
1978 Fleet Scribbler Hawkes Bay Napier D. McBeath D. Zorn
1979 Dancing Queen Auckland Lyttelton W.H.M Paterson M. Ross
1980 Copper Complexion Auckland Auckland G. Duncalf D. Coleman
1981 Fleet Scribbler Hawkes Bay Manawatu D. McBeath D. Zorn
1982 Vitamin C Southland Port Chalmers P. Heads W. Shaw
1983 Coup d’Etat Wellington Te Anau C. Gilberd W. Williams
1984 Hot Gossip Auckland Wellington P. Scoffin S. Mouldy
1985 Hokonui Auckland Picton I. McGill P. Pryde
1986 Wild Fire Auckland Auckland P. Mitchell S. Mitchell
1987 Summer Breeze Wellington Lyttelton G. Cheyne B. Clement
1988 Blunderbus Auckland Wellington R. Vernon P. Vernon
1989 Nice One Auckland Napier I. Vickers J. Bilger
1990 Coup D’Etat Auckland Gisborne G. Ball G. Griffiths
1991 Part Timer Hawkes Bay Auckland D. McBeath G. Bates
1992 Blunderbus North Harbour Port Chalmers C. Gilberd R.Vernon
1993 Bad Blood Hawkes Bay Napier G. Earle C. Valentine
1994 Blunderbus Auckland Wellington P. McNeill R.Vernon
1995 Psycho Hawkes Bay Tauranga G. Earle J.Trow
1996 Magic Bus North Harbour Lyttelton G. Copplestone C. Gilberd
1997 Vertigo Hawkes Bay Auckland J. Trow S. Estcourt
1998 Just Perfick Hawkes Bay Gisborne G. Earle C. Estcourt
1999 Webster & Co Auckland Taupo P. McNeill M. Smith
2000 Freckle Deckle King Country Port Chalmers A. Vallings H. Hey
2001 No Name Required Northland Wellington P. McNeill M. Smith
2002 The Unknown Bay of Plenty Auckland N. Bax B. Bax
2003 The Unknown Bay of Plenty Tauranga N. Bax B. Bax
2004 Phlipnhel Northland Bay of Islands P. McNeill M. Smith
2005 www.javelins.org Auckland Gisborne P. Precey J. Thorman
2006 Phlipnhel Northland Auckland P. McNeill M. Smith
2007 Riders on the Storm East Coast Taupo R. Shanks C. Shanks
2008 Riders on the Storm East Coast Napier R. Shanks C. Shanks
2009 Flying Circus Manawatu Gisborne D. Brown G. Roberts
2010 Riders on the Storm East Coast New Plymouth N. Bax C. Shanks
2011 Bay Nissan Bay of Plenty Tauranga B. Bax A. Scott-Mackie
2012 Full Frontal Northland Taupo A. Muller C. Gilberd
2013 Trail Blazer Manawatu Napier D. Brown D. Feek
2014 Phlipnhel Northland Wellington P. McNeill C. Gilberd
2015 Phlipnhel Northland Napier P. McNeill C. Gilberd

X-Class Sanders Cup Winners (1921 – 1956)

Year Winner Province Venue Skipper Crew
1921 Heather Otago Auckland W.J.P. McCulloch W. Wiseman, G. Kellet, D. Paterson
1922 Desert Gold Auckland Dunedin J. Patrick V. Lingard, T. Patrick, F. Cloke
1923 Rona Auckland Auckland A.E. Matthews J. Gifford, V. Lidgard, L.Matthews, H.Brown
1924 Rona Auckland Wellington J. Gifford V. Lidgard, H. Brown, H. Smith
1925 Iona Otago Auckland G.A. Wiseman G. Kellet, G. Wright
1926 Betty Canterbury Dunedin G.G. Andrews A. Round, R. Hampton, I.Treleaven, G. Douglas
1927 Betty Canterbury Lyttelton G.G. Andrews I. Treleavan, H. Ledger, G. Douglas, R. Hampton
1928 Betty Canterbury Stewart Island G.G. Andrews I. Treleaven, F. Morrison, R. Hampton
1929 Avalon Auckland Akaroa A.L. Willetts J. Currie, J. Larratt, F. Cloke
1930 Eileen Otago Auckland G.E. Kellett A. Dawson, J. Robertson, E. Robinson
1931 Betty Wellington Dunedin A. Johnson G. Harlen, L. Robertson, A. Wilson, W. Corin
1932 Avenger Canterbury Wellington G. Brasell F. Foreman, R. Priddy, E. Sinclair, A. Sinclair
1933 Avenger Canterbury Lyttelton G. Brasell F. Foreman, R. Priddy, E. Sinclair, J. Hobbs, N. Hobbs
1934 Irene Canterbury Lyttelton E.O. Sinclair F. Foreman, H. May, S. Fisher
1935 Irene Canterbury Stewart Island E.O. Sinclair F. Foreman, H. May, R. Hendry
1936 Avenger Canterbury Auckland E.O. Sinclair F. Foreman, R. Priddy, S. Sillars
1937 Lavina Wellington Lyttelton J. Coleman J. Nolan, J. Sanford, B. Williams
1938 Kitty Wellington Dunedin N.D. Blair R. Morrison, N. Banner, J. Elliot
1939 Huia Canterbury Bluff W.A. Tissiman W. Hemsley, S. Sillars, J. Olsen, H. Brodie
1940 Caress Auckland Wellington W. Rogers R. Rogers, D. Rogers, R. Wilson
1941 Caress Auckland Auckland W. Rogers R. Rogers, D. Rogers, R. Wilson
1942 – 1945 , World War II – No Contest
1946 Davina Auckland Lyttelton S. Mason T. Mason, M. Mason, G. Mason
1947 Diane Auckland Auckland A.L. Willetts R. Croad, E. Croad, L. Willetts
1948 Bettina Auckland Dunedin S.A Mason T. Mason, M. Mason, G. Mason
1949 White Heather Auckland Wellington J.H Young L. Riley, R. Lamb, F. Swanberg
1950 Amethyst Auckland Auckland C. Robertson R. Higgins, R. Lidgard, F. Taylor
1951 Venture Canterbury Lyttelton P.G Mander J. Cropp, T. Smith, A. Nicholson
1952 Flying Cloud Auckland Timaru N. Thom R. Thom, G. Bevins, T. Blackie
1953 Frith Canterbury Auckland P. Mander J. Cropp, J. Smith, L. Bamford
1954 If Otago Lyttelton T. Camp J. Wilson, S. Elder, W. Sutherland
1955 Frith Canterbury Dunedin G. Mander J. Cropp, G. Wilson, R. Bassett
1956 Frith Canterbury Lyttelton G. Mander J. Cropp, G. Wilson, R. Bassett

X-Class Sanders Cup Winners (1957 – 1970)

Year Winner Province Venue Skipper Crew
1957 Pinta Canterbury Akaroa J. Morrison D. Gardiner, P. McKeogh
1958 Nymph Auckland Wellington T. Miller B. Wilson, N. White
1959 Outvie Auckland Auckland B. Wilson P. Simons, R. Rimmer
1960 Valiant Wellington Auckland P. Millar T. Manning, H. Poole
1961 Valiant Wellington Wellington P. Millar T. Manning, N. Sheppard
1962 Vibrant Wellington Wellington P. Millar T. Manning, P. Hartley
1963 Delta Auckland Dunedin L. A. Bouzaid J. Fowler, T. Wallace
1964 Tumanako Canterbury Auckland G. Mander A. Holland, D. Elder
1965 Vision Canterbury Lyttelton A.F. Burgess W. Parratt, R. Burgess
1966 X’tasy Auckland Bluff D. Lidgard L. Bouzaid, J. Lidgard
1967 Charade Wellington Auckland H.D. Poole G. Morris, A. Dobbs
1968 Charade Wellington Wellington H.D. Poole G. Morris, A Dobbs
1969 Charade Wellington Wellington H.D. Poole G. Morris, A Dobbs
1970 Charade Wellington Dunedin H.D. Poole G. Morris, A Dobbs

A Brief History of the Javelin Class

Thanks to Robin Elliott for these notes on the early development of the Javelin Class in New Zealand.

For John Spencer’s own recollections of how the class started, read through the Fresh Perspective article. One of the first Javelins if not the first was Gidget built by Jim White in 1958/59.

Original Sail Plan (Oct 1962)
Original Sail Plan (Oct 1962)

The Javelin was designed by John Spencer in 1957-1958, along the lines of his successful Cherub design as a class for those who had out grown the Cherub.

The first Javelin, White Heron was built in 1961 by John Dew of Te Kauwhata although she was not registered until until 26/4/1962

The Javelin evolved from a 14-footer Betty, that John Spencer had built in Rotorua in 1953 as a hard chine International 14 which was refused measurement (for reasons too long to include here )

John Spencer told me he designed the Javelin in 1958 but it didn’t take off until 1961. This is confirmed by the fact the the first lines plan was published in Sea Spray in March 1959. Details of the formation of the Class Association was published in October 1961, and that Percy Cross was building seven of them for Maraetai members. A photo of the finished hull was shown. John Spencer wrote of its development thus far in October 1962 (See scanned article from Sea Spray magazine page 1 and page 2 from 1962)Sea Spray Oct 1962 p2 Sea Spray Oct 1962 p1

The fact that the Class Association was announced in Oct 1961, and given the lead times of the magazine as around 2 months minimum, I would guess that the first Javelins were sailing July/August 1961

Javelins 1-9 were (and possibly no. 10) all built in 1961. Until there were sufficient to make a `class’ there was nowhere to register, hence the registration dates of 1962 and 1963 for these early boats

I would say that the 2000/2001 season (the one we are currently sailing) is the Javelin’s 40th season as a sailing entity. However, much like our own birthdays, it will not have its 40th birthday until July/August/September 2001 when it has completed it’s 40th year. … go on.. write the numbers down on a piece of paper and count them.

1961 was the date they hit the water as a named type of boat, “the Javelin”. In other words, from that time in 1961 they evolved into something that made them more than just a couple of interesting `one offs’. When they were officially recognised is a different thing altogether and has more to do with NZ Provincial yachting politics than any thing else.

Original Construction Details (Oct 1962)
Original Construction Details (Oct 1962)

The original Javelin owners group, with the influential assistance of Sea Spray (namely john Mallitte the editor), announced the Associations existence that winter – 1961. It’s very existence, published as it was nationwide, garnered sufficient enthusiasm to kick-start the class in other centres and grow the class nationally as had been done with the Cherub. They certainly had the people as almost without exception, the driving forces behind the new Association were all top sailors and administrators from the Cherub ranks.

The Javelin never took off as fast as the Cherub had done, possibly because of cost but I think more likely because we were having so much fun with the Cherub, which by 1961 had reached the unimaginable sail number of 450 in just 8 years and was still the fastest growing class in the country. In other words, we hadn’t yet got bored with it. It is interesting to note that the early Javelin owners were almost a who’s who of crack Cherub sailors who had been in the 12 foot class a lot longer than most – Ray Earley, John Spencer, Bruce Wiseman, Barry Heerdegan, Len Anderson, Percy Cross etc etc.

The Javelin Class Association, much like the Cherub class was a yachtie driven organisation. During the early 1950’s, the authorities, the Auckland Yacht & Motor Boat Assn in particular, had openly opposed the creation of new centreboard classes as they interfered with the growth of the `pet’ national classes, the P, Z, IA and X class. They had actively discouraged the Cherubs for example and had it not been for Sea Spray magazine becoming an active John Spencer promoter, the Cherub and in turn the Javelin, could well have disappeared without trace. Certainly they would never have reached the national acceptance levels that they subsequently did. (Sea Spray gave the fledgling 12-foot Q-class skiffs exposure for exactly the same reasons).

Sea Spray allowed Spencer almost as much space as he wanted to provide publicity and `how to’ construction articles. In fact for a time Sea Spray was the official Cherub HQ, keeping the sail number register, and being the central point for all correspondence from the town associations. Elsewhere in the country, to get around the animosity from the various Provincial Yachting Associations (for exactly the same reasons as the AYMBA above) Sea Spray was used as the publicity vehicle to set up `Regional Fleets’ much like the `Chapters’ in the Hells Angels with all registrations and correspondence routed to Sea Spray and printed in the monthly “Cherub Notes”.

Sea Spray also advertised and sold the plans for the latest Spencer mark design – so they were right into it!!.

This relationship between Spencer and Sea Spray editor John Mallitte (which continued right into the 1970’s) also provided the springboard for the Javelin. The Javelin in particular was shunned the Provincial Authorities with very good reason, as it was a direct threat to the Sanders Cup X-class which itself was on very shaky ground having only recently stabilised after its disastrous move to fibreglass. Once again, Sea Spray, by giving column inches to the new Javelin design and reporting subsequent interest from influential Cherub yachties, long before they had even begun to build, kept the idea bubbling away until it became a reality.

Now I had said the first 9 were built in 1961, that’s a bit misleading. Those first 9 were built around the same time in 1961, but whether all were in the water that winter is uncertain. By the end of 1961 around 12-13 had been built. As you all know, getting a hull built is one thing, getting money to finish it off and rig it, and then get a road trailer for it is something else again. It is entirely possible that some of these 1961 boats didn’t hit the water until much later.

Eventually the Provincial Associations acknowledged their existence and took registration fees from the boat owners. I think anyway, to race with some clubs, you had to have your boat registered with the local Provincial Association, but the Javelin Association always controlled the national register of sail numbers.

To confuse us all, some boats were built, and registered with the Javelin Association but often not registered with the Provincial officials until some time later. Others were built but never registered, or failed measurement and then not given a number until later when they had been re-measured. – Can get confusing.

For example Javelin 10 was Timpani built by K. Blunt of Pakuranga. She was built in 1963, varnished with a white bottom but was not officially registered with the AYMBA until 6 August 1964. I assume she was the original Jav 10 but not built until 1963? By 1963 numbers were up in the 20’s.

Robin Elliott – March 2001