18 Footers - Joining the Fleet

18 Footers – Joining the Fleet

Season 2024-2025

The Australian 18 Footers League (League) have a fleet of 18 Foot Skiffs sailing out of Double Bay.  The maximum 18 Footers for the regular season is 20 but we are aspiring to have over 30 boats competing in the ultimate 18 Footer prize, the JJ Giltinan World Trophy.

There are older, more seasoned teams as well as new teams sailing the 18 Footers in the current 2023/24 season, and there are opportunities for bringing on new teams into the 2024-2025 Season.

So what do you do if you want to sail on a League 18 Footer?  Read on and find out what it is all about.

How experienced do I need to be?

An 18 Footer is a fun exhilarating boat to sail on.  They are demanding and require a reasonable level of skiff sailing skill to race the 18 Footers.  

A prerequisite is experience sailing a trapezing skiff style boat such as a 49er, 16/14/12 Foot Skiff.

How experienced does the whole team need to be?

Ideally, at least one member of the team would have sailed an 18 Footer in the past. There is lots to learn in preparing and racing an 18 Footer and an experienced crew member will greatly assist the new team members in coming up to speed.

Who owns the 18 Footer?

The Australian 18 Footers League own the 18 Footers and all the equipment associated with the skiff.  Even if the crew opts to purchase their own equipment for the 18 Footer, it becomes part of the equipment for that 18 Footer and therefore the Leagues.

What equipment does a team get?

The League will provide the 18 Footer including all the equipment, on a trailer ready to race for the season campaign. 

There will also be apparel provided for each team to be worn on race day and partner events.

How old is the equipment we will be using?

The League endeavours to keep all the 18 Footers current.

  • Hulls are less than 8 years old that have been maintained throughout.  This includes a refurbishment after year 4
  • Masts are to the latest specification (currently C-Tech) with the oldest masts in the fleet for 2024/25 season being 3 years old
  • The sails are replaced regularly to keep the skiff competitive:
    • Jibs are less than 2 years old
    • Spinnakers are less than 3 years old
    • Mainsails are less than 4 years old

What do I need to pay for?

An allowance is provided in the form of a $3,000 credit for incidental expenses in running the 18 Footer.  This would include for example replacement ropes, wing nets, things that typically wear out and need replacing from time to time.

It is expected that the team will provide their own labour to keep the skiff running at an optimal level.

If there is a major breakage on the boat due to equipment failure, the League will pay for repairs.  However, the team will need to arrange transport to and from the repairer.

Who allocates the boats?

Each season there are a few 18 Footers that will need new teams.  A decision is made by the Organising Authority at the League to who gets what boat based on a criteria which includes:

  • the Sponsor Partner expectations and commitment, 
  • the Sponsor Partner personalities and involvement in the 18 Footers, 
  • the skill and experience of the team being presented for the following season, 
  • the age and general condition of the 18 Footer

Often, many of the crews remain with the same boat from one year to the next.

How does the Sponsor Partnership work?

Some teams bring their own sponsor partner along, however, it is not a requirement.  We have both new and long term partners that we match with teams on an 18 Footer.

Each of our partners under agreement pay an annual fee and in return they seek a return on their investment with brand exposure, promotional activities and product activations, membership packages and access to hospitality packages.

And of course, they want to see their boat and team out sailing each week competing against the other 18 Footers.  For most of our Partners, it is not all about winning, but how the boat performs against the other like 18 Footers in the fleet.  Most importantly the boat is on display every week of the season.

What support do you give for teams?

There is an 18 Footer Academy for providing new teams coaching and education with the aim to lift their skills in managing an 18 Footer around a race track in the variety of conditions seen in a typical season.

The Academy Coach is available to provide:

  • Training days for on water coaching
  • Rig setup and tuning for performance

How does the overseas competition travel work?

The League sends boats to Europe each year.  Up to four boats fit in a container and the typical cost of a container to Europe and return is around A$45,000.  However, the cost of this is highly subsidized by the League so that the shipping cost for each Team is minimal.

  • The team that wins the Point Score each year has a prize of free 18 Footer travel to Europe.
  • The top 8 in the Point Score pay only $2,000 for the 18 Footer transport to Europe. 
  • Any other League Team pays $4,000 for the 18 Footer transport

It is the aim to increase the amount our skiffs travel with regattas in other countries such as the USA on the roadmap.

How often do we need to sail?

It is expected that each 18 Footer attends all races for the season.

Imagine if the Rabbitohs decided not to attend matches during the minor premiership, how would that work for the rest of the competition?  In the same way, it is important to the competition, the sponsor partners, the spectators and the rest of the competitors that each 18 Footer is at every race during the season.

Training for experienced crews is restricted to 10 Training Days per season.  There are allowances made for new crews that want to train more.  There is no restriction on training in the off season.

How do I get involved

If you believe you have the skills and the commitment to join our fleet, or even have a team that want to get a boat for the upcoming season, contact sailing@18Footers.com.  Ideally, provide a brief one pager about your sailing experience.