12ft Skiff

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
12ft Skiff
LCC Skiff.jpg
12 foot skiff in Sydney Harbour
Crew 2
Hull weight 45 kg
LOA 3.7 m
Beam 1.8 m
Mast length 8.8 m

The 12 ft Skiff is a development dinghy class dating back to the early 20th century. It is sailed in Australia and New Zealand, it is 12 ft (3.7 m) in length, hence the name, and is a two-man boat. Both the crew and the helm are able to use the trapeze at the same time, it has an asymmetrical spinnaker and a jib, in addition to the mainsail.[1]


The origin of the 12 ft Skiff is dubious, but it is thought to have roots in the smaller skiffs sailed on Sydney Harbour in the late 1800s. The skiff became a class in its own right in 1924, when it was raced in several clubs around Australia, at this time the skiff was manned by a crew of five, but around the 1940s it changed to a three-man boat, and then became the two man boat that is used today. After the 1940s the skiff went international.[2]

Nowadays the 12 ft Skiff is mainly sailed in Australia and New Zealand

Campaigning a 12 requires a range of skills, including boat handling, tuning, boat maintenance, organisation and training. However, with recent equipment developments, and the introduction of carbon masts, 12’s are very manageable boats and any sailor with relative experience, such as cherubs or moths, would quite easily adapt.

· Reaching speeds of up to 25 knots

· Mast height 8.8 metres

· Overall length 3.7 metres

· Beam 1.8 metres

· Crewed by two people, both on trapeze

· Light weight 45 kilogram hull

· Three complete rigs (small, medium, large)

· Each skiff is individual, not an off the shelf product

· Simple measurement rules allow design development

· Rig size and design is unrestricted

The asymmetrical spinnaker is set off a fixed bowsprit


The skiff is similar to the larger and better known 18ft Skiff. Of all skiffs the 12 footer is known for being the hardest to sail, primarily due to its small footprint relative to its sail area, being able to reach up to 25 knots (46 km/h; 29 mph).[3][4]

The 12 footer generates considerable power by having two persons on the trapeze wire, suspended from the mast of the boat, this adds leverage to the crews' weight, allowing the larger areas of sail to be carried.

The modern 12s also have fixed bowsprits to carry the spinnakers from, this is a relatively recent innovation, with the older style of skiff having an 'end to end' spinnaker pole which would need to be positioned by the crew, and would be stored against the skiff's boom when it was not being used.


Maersk Line 12ft Skiff


  • New South Wales State Championship "The Morna Cup"
  • Queensland State Championship
  • Australia Championship "Norman Booth Trophy"

New Zealand[edit]

  • New Zealand team trials
  • New Zealand National Championship
  • Interdominon Championship "Silasec Trophy"


  1. ^ "12ft Skiff Dinghy Class Information". noblemarine.co.uk. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "Twelve Foot Skiff Association: History". skiff.org. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  3. ^ "12ft SKIFFS". vanmunsterboats.com. Archived from the original on 8 June 2009. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 
  4. ^ "General Specifications". skiff.org. Retrieved 15 June 2009. 

External links[edit]