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.

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