Top sailors chasing historic trophy in Poverty Bay waters

DEFENDING CHAMPS: Javelin sailors Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd from Northland will be in Gisborne to defend their inter-provincial Sanders Cup title on Poverty Bay from Friday to Sunday. Picture supplied

GISBORNE Yacht Club is hosting the 2018 Sanders Cup interprovincial javelin championships and the event has attracted seven of the country’s top boats.

It starts with an invitation race and race one of the series tomorrow afternoon.

Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd are travelling from Northland to defend the title on their boat aptly named Phlipnhel.

“These 14-foot racing skiffs are two-person boats that have the crew trapezing off the side of the boat,” said GYC spokesman Peter Millar.

“Javelins carry asymetrical spinnakers off an extendable carbon-fibre prod and are capable of speeds around 20 knots (40kmh) in favourable conditions.

“Those spectacular speeds also have the capacity for equally spectacular wipe-outs. They have been known to nosedive and cartwheel, catapulting the crew off the boat.”

GYC commodore javelin class stalwart Colin Shanks and son Ross will represent the East Coast in the championship.

“They have won the event numerous times previously, including twice claiming the Kingham Trophy and Sanders Cup double,” Millar said.

“In conjunction with this event we are hosting the inaugural North Island championships in the phase 2 class of yacht.

“These are smaller two-person yachts that don’t carry spinnakers but are still capable of relatively high speeds.”

The phase 2s will start racing on Saturday in tandem with the javelins.

“At least three Gisborne boats will contest this event. They will be crewed by juniors Aaron Gaskin and Jake and Lucy Millar.”

“We are expecting a similar number of out-of-town phase 2 teams.

Jake Millar is the youngest person (11) to helm a javelin. He skippered Hot Gossip in the annual javelin sprint series on Lake Rotoiti last year.

The Sunshine Brewery invitation race for the Kingham Trophy is being held tomorrow.

It traditionally precedes the Sanders Cup championship.

GISBORNE Yacht Club is hosting the 2018 Sanders Cup interprovincial javelin championships and the event has attracted seven of the country’s top boats.

It starts with an invitation race and race one of the series tomorrow afternoon.

Phil McNeil and Craig Gilberd are travelling from Northland to defend the title on their boat aptly named Phlipnhel.

“These 14-foot racing skiffs are two-person boats that have the crew trapezing off the side of the boat,” said GYC spokesman Peter Millar.

“Javelins carry asymetrical spinnakers off an extendable carbon-fibre prod and are capable of speeds around 20 knots (40kmh) in favourable conditions.

“Those spectacular speeds also have the capacity for equally spectacular wipe-outs. They have been known to nosedive and cartwheel, catapulting the crew off the boat.”

GYC commodore javelin class stalwart Colin Shanks and son Ross will represent the East Coast in the championship.

“They have won the event numerous times previously, including twice claiming the Kingham Trophy and Sanders Cup double,” Millar said.

“In conjunction with this event we are hosting the inaugural North Island championships in the phase 2 class of yacht.

“These are smaller two-person yachts that don’t carry spinnakers but are still capable of relatively high speeds.”

The phase 2s will start racing on Saturday in tandem with the javelins.

“At least three Gisborne boats will contest this event. They will be crewed by juniors Aaron Gaskin and Jake and Lucy Millar.”

“We are expecting a similar number of out-of-town phase 2 teams.

Jake Millar is the youngest person (11) to helm a javelin. He skippered Hot Gossip in the annual javelin sprint series on Lake Rotoiti last year.

The Sunshine Brewery invitation race for the Kingham Trophy is being held tomorrow.

It traditionally precedes the Sanders Cup championship.

The Sanders Cup is the oldest trophy sailed for in New Zealand under its original inception. It is the only remaining senior interprovincial challenge competition still held today.

The impressive solid silver trophy was first raced for in 1921 after Otago issued a written challenge to Auckland announcing their leading boat would go to Auckland and race the champion of the north in a best-of-five series.

On March 24, 1921, on the Waitemata harbour, the Iron Duke, owned and sailed by Governor General Lord Jellicoe, competed against Heather from Otago, sailed by WJP McCullouch.

McCullouch won but the Aucklanders regained it a year later when Joe Patrick-skipped Desert Gold to victory.

The Sanders Memorial Cup was presented by Messrs Walker and Hall Limited in 1921 in the memory of Lieutenant Commander WE Sanders, VC, DSO, RNR for interprovincial competition between 14-foot, one-design yachts.

The format changed to javelin class yachts in 1971 and world-renowned yacht designer Bruce Farr won it on his javelin Joshua in 1974.

Since the inaugural races, it has been held every year with the exception of 1942-45.

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