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Tiller from the 18-foot skiff BRITANNIA

Date: 1918
Dimensions:
Overall: 1100 × 74 × 50 mm, 3 kg
Medium: Wood; timber. Metal. Rope.
Credit Line: ANMM Collection
Classification:Vessels and fittings
Object Name: Tiller
Object No: 00016823
Place Manufactured:Balmain

User Terms

    Description
    This tiller was manufactured by George Robinson for the skiff BRITANNIA. BRITANNIA was one of the most famous of the 18-foot racing skiffs on Sydney pre-World War II. Built in 1918 by 'Wee' Georgie Robinson, BRITANNIA raced in the 18-footer class for 26 years until the skiff was converted to a starter boat in 1945. BRITANNIA sailed 691 races and won 41 titles and cup races, clocking up a total of 17,000 nautical miles.
    SignificanceBRITANNIA reflects the life and achievements of its builder, owner and skipper, 'Wee' Georgie Robinson, a prominent waterfront identity on Sydney Harbour pre-World War II. It is also a superb example of the skills of the wooden boat builders during that period.
    HistoryBRITANNIA was built at Balmain in 1918 by champion 18 foot skipper and boat builder 'Wee' Georgie Robinson. Typical of the era, BRITANNIA was built of cedar and its features include batten carvel hull construction with copper nail fastenings. In the 18 footer heyday of the 1920s and '30s, BRITANNIA was famed for its tremendous sail carrying capacity.

    By 1936, the skiff had been racing on the Harbour for over 15 years. BRITANNIA was, by this time, well established as one of the champion racing skiffs of the 18 footer class on Sydney Harbour. The skiff was quite famous, as was its skipper.

    'Wee' Georgie Robinson and BRITANNIA won consistently through the 1920s and '30s. Indeed, in the late 1930s BRITANNIA could boast a formidable list of championship honours as one of the fastest skiffs on the Harbour. In 1938, Georgie Robinson won the J L Glick Cup as "The Skipper with the Best Record in all Sydney Flying Squadron Club Championship Races Sailed for the Seasons 1935 - 36, 1936 - 37 and 1937 - 38."

    After 25 years of racing, BRITANNIA spent the next 28 years as the official starter boat for the Sydney Flying Squadron when it was fitted with a launch engine and superstructure. It was retired to a harbour front boatshed in the early 1970s. BRITANNIA was purchased by the National Maritime Museum in May 1986 and in June 1986 it was sent for restoration to boat restorer Arthur Griffith.
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