Fiji and the JJ Giltianan 18 Footer Championship
Published on February 6th, 2014
While Australia and New Zealand were the driving forces behind the first 32 years of the JJ Giltianan 18 Footer Championship, we mustn’t forget the participation of Fiji as the only other competing nation until the USA in 1970.
The Fijians first entry was Alex Bentley’s O’Vuka at the 1950 regatta in Auckland and led to the 1952 series being conducted by the Royal Suva Yacht Club.
A new 18 Footer was built for the home regatta on Suva Harbour and Laucala Bay and a fleet of ten boats from Australia, New Zealand and Fiji competed.
Conditions for the regatta were ideal for light to moderate weather boats, and, like previous venues, tremendous crowds gathered on the waterfront to view the racing.
The scene in 1952 was vastly different to that of the modern JJ Giltinan Championship, as we can see in the accompanying photos supplied by 18 Footer historian John ‘Steamer’ Stanley.
Two Fijian boats Tarua (F.H Gardiner) and Talei (R. Percy) went to the following championship at Auckland in 1954.
Unfortunately this was the last time Fiji contested the JJ Giltinan Championship.
Report by Frank Quealey, Australian 18 Footers League