Sanders Cup

Senior Inter-provincial Sailing Trophy

Sanders Cup
Sanders Cup

The Sanders Cup holds a special place New Zealand Yachting History. It is the oldest trophy sailed for in New Zealand under its original inception. It is the only remaining senior interprovincial challenge competition still sailed for today.
Since the inaugural races in 1921 it has been sailed for every year with the exception of 1942-45. The Sanders Memorial Cup was presented by Messrs Walker and Hall Limited in 1921 in the memory of Lieutenant Commander W.E.Sanders, V.C., D.S.O., R.N.R. for interprovincial competition between 14ft one design yachts.

Lord Jellicoe & the X-Class

This magnificent solid silver trophy cup was first sailed for in 1921 after Otago issued a written challenge to Auckland announcing that their leading boat would come to Auckland and race the champion of the north in a beat of five series. On March 24th, 1921 on the Waitemata Harbour the “Iron Duke” owned and sailed by Governor General Lord Jellicoe, competed against “Heather” from Otago, sailed by W.J.P.McCullouch. “Heather” and her crew emerged victorious and the cup went south to Port Chalmers until the Aucklanders regained it a year later in “Desert Gold” skippered by Joe Patrick.

Since these first contests the original X class, developed by founder W.A Wilkinson and drawn up Glad Bailey, has gradually progressed from clinker built hulls to moulded ply construction. Throughout this time these boats have retained the same qualities of the original vessels.

Introduction of the Javelin

Interest in the X Class began to wane in the late 1960’s, consequently 1971 saw the advent of todays Javelin class yacht in the Sanders Cup contests. This light responsive two man craft gives spectacular performances in both tactical and power (18ft skiff like) sailing. It is a credit to the original designer of the class (John Spencer) that this craft favours neither light nor heavy crew combinations to a great degree. New Zealand’s world-renowned yacht designer Bruce Farr added his influence to the class in 1974 with a javelin of his design, “Joshua”, winning for Auckland.

Today’s fleet is well spread and enjoys good numbers in some of New Zealand and Australia’s major urban centers. Whilst some of the newer boats have been built out of exotic materials used in Whitbread and America’s Cup Boats the older timber and plywood boats remain highly competitive with the 1995 Sanders Cup being won by a timber boat built in 1982 by Dave Elder of Christchurch. With the new materials making no major impact the emphasis is still on the sailors and their skill. This leads to close racing that is fast and exciting for those who compete and spectate.

Related Posts: Sanders Cup

Sanders Cup in Whitianga 27-28 February 2021 Notice of Race

Please enter now for the Sanders Cup to help the Club organise a great event for us. Download the Notice of Race here:


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 … Continue reading 2020 Sanders Cup Interprovincial Challenge Results


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 … Continue reading Sanders Cup 31 January – 2 February 2020


2019 Sanders Cup – Welcoming New Champions

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 … Continue reading 2019 Sanders Cup – Welcoming New Champions


Sanders Memorial Cup 2019 Notice of Race

    The Sanders Cup Interprovincial Challenge will be decided this year on Lake Taupo on 22-24 February 2019.   Sanders Cup NOR 2019


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, … Continue reading 2018 Sanders Cup Interprovincial Challenge and Kingham Trophy


NoR – 2017 Sanders Cup and Kingham Trophy

Event: Kingham Trophy & Sanders Cup Dates: 10th, 11th & 12th March Host: Bay of Island Yacht Club 2017 NOR Sanders Cup


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