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Rating: 3.0

2-foot racing model LILY

Date: 1920s- 1930s
Overall: 145 x 632 mm, 1.9 kg
Medium: Cedar, brass, paint
Credit Line: ANMM Collection Gift from Ron Mobberley
Object Name: Hull
Object No: 00003865
Place Manufactured:Australia
Related Place:Centennial Park,

User Terms

    This sailing model of the 2-foot LILY was carved out of a solid block of cedar by Henry 'Waltho' Mobberley. Mobberley raced LILY on the lake at Centennial Park, Sydney, while also crewing on the 18-foot skiff races on Sydney Harbour.

    SignificanceModel skiff racing was highly competitive in the 1920s and 30s, and owners often bet on the race results. LILY is a rare example of an Australian hand-crafted, competition model.
    HistoryThe common racing skiff's origins go back to the 1870s when a number of classes raced regularly on Sydney Harbour. The 1890s saw the 18 footers begin their rise to dominance as the showpiece skiff class, and the massive 22s and 24s faded into history.

    At the same time there were people playing with, and racing, model boats, largely on pond and lakes. In Sydney to the south of the city, the natural water plains and ponds that drained toward Botany Bay had been landscaped to become parklands, areas now known as Centennial Park and Moore Park. The lakes were ideal model boat venues and the pond boats were a regular weekend feature.

    Racing appears to have stopped by 1954, but during the previous four decades they were extremely active. Designs evolved, racing reached great heights and the support from competitors and spectators was very strong. The model skiff and pond classes were quite numerous, from 8 to10 inches up to 32 inches, but the predominant classes for the open water skiffs seem to be 12 Inch and the mighty 2 foot class.

    The skiffs were raced in winter, as summer was dominated by the larger skiffs. An integral part of the racing was the need for the skiffs to be followed by their skippers in rowing boats. These boats needed to be at least 3 metres long, with someone else aboard to row it as well, sitting aft and facing forward with the skipper in the bow.

    The rower’s principle job was to manoeuvre the dinghy alongside for the skiff’s skipper to make adjustments to his boat during the race. While the skipper and rower had their independent tasks, in some instances they worked together on tactics and shared observations on the conditions and their rival’s position. The rower had to make sure he kept clear of other skiffs and their rowers. Interference or contact with the opposition could bring instant disqualification from the officials adjudicating the race.

    Built at home, often on the kitchen table, the hulls and fittings were a true example of expert craftsmanship. The early model skiffs were hollowed out of a solid block of timber, usually the light Queensland red cedar, but later craft were real miniature skiff constructions with keels, frames, floors, planks, beams and knees. Designs also incorporated brass fittings hand made from sheet and stock sections, halyards and sheets with sliding cleats, and jappara sails.
    Additional Titles

    Assigned title: Model van de 2-footer zeilboot LILY

    Web title: 2-foot racing model LILY

    Assigned title: Modell von der 2-Fuß zegler LILY

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