The bulk of overseas yachting competition until 1956 has been with Australia. In earlier years this consisted in the participation by individual New Zealand yachts in Australian regattas. In 1888 Logan built the notable 5-ton yacht Akarana to race at the Melbourne Centennial Regatta. In Australia she was rated at 6½ tons and was forced to sail in the 10-ton-and-under class. Despite this, she won the first prize of £140 and was later taken to Sydney, where she was again successful. The Logan cutter Rainbow, launched in 1898 and regarded, with the modern Auckland yacht Ranger, as the most successful racing craft built in New Zealand, was shipped to Sydney in 1900. The yacht competed in several Australian regattas and won some very notable victories. The cutter Waitangl also had a successful racing career in Australian waters.
As this was a form of competition too expensive for the average yachtsman to undertake, it was not until the end of the Second World War and the rapid development in New Zealand of small centreboard classes capable of competing overseas that the race series against Australia began to grow in popularity. In 1938 four Auckland V class unrestricted 18-ft yachts, Riptide, Vaalele, Irena, and Manane, were shipped to Australia to compete against the world-famous Sydney 18-footers. In mostly light winds the New Zealand team was soundly beaten. In a return contest in 1939, sailed on Auckland harbour, the New Zealand team took first and second places. This series developed into the World 18-ft Championship for the Giltinian Trophy. This trophy has been contested regularly since 1945 and has been sailed in Auckland, Sydney, and Fiji.
Inter-Dominion championships between Australia and New Zealand are sailed annually in unrestricted 12 ft dinghies for the Silasec Trophy.
At the 1956 Olympic Games held in Melbourne, New Zealand competed in Olympic yachting for the first time. P. Mander and J. Cropp won the gold medal in the 12-sq.-metre Sharpie class, the two-man boat for the games. New Zealand was second to Australia, but, after the disqualification of the Australian boat, was placed first. New Zealand competed in the keel-boat class at the same games. R. L. Stewart, sailing a Dragon-class yacht, was placed twelfth. As New Zealand had no competitive background of racing in these classes, the team's success was significant.
New Zealand competed in the 1960 Olympic Games yachting sailed on the Bay of Naples. R. Roberts was placed sixth in a fleet of 35 in the monotype Finn-class. In the two-man centreboard series sailed in Flying Dutchman class boats, R. Watson, of New Zealand, was placed eighth in a fleet of 31.
At the 1964 Olympic Games, sailed at Sagami Bay, near Tokyo, New Zealand entrants H. O. L. Pedersen and E. L. Wells won the gold medal for the Flying Dutchman class while P. Mander was placed fourth in the Finn-class.
Between 1958 and 1960 the New Zealand Finn-class yachtsman, R. Roberts, sailed in class championships in Australia, Belgium, Holland, Spain, Denmark, Germany, and the United Kingdom. In the World Finn-class Championships at Zeebrugge in 1958 he was placed thirtieth in a seven-race series of 82 competitors. In the Inter-Dominion Finn-class Championships sailed in Sydney in 1962, New Zealand gained the first three places in a five-race series of 27 competitors. The placings were: R. Watson, first; R. Roberts, second; and P. Mander, third.
New Zealand competed in the 1958 International Flying Dutchman Class World Championships in Austria. Calypso (I. Pryde, R. Simich) was placed fifteenth in a fleet of 46. At the 1962 World Series held in Florida, U.S.A., the New Zealand Duchess(B. Skinner, D. Brook) finished twelfth in a 19-boat fleet. In a championship held in Florida in the same year New Zealand was placed third overall. In 1962 an inter-Dominion contest in Flying Dutchman class boats was sailed at Sydney. The placings were:
First: Huybers, Australia, 5,113 points
Second: Pandora, New Zealand, 4,511 points
Third: Calpreta, New Zealand, 4,379 points
Fourth: Haurere, New Zealand, 4,192 points
The New Zealand international 14 ft class team sailing in England in 1958 was placed second to Canada in a sail off for the International Teams Race. The coveted Prince of Wales Cup was won by Atua Hau (G. Smale, R. Roberts), of New Zealand. The other New Zealand boat, Calypso (I. Pryde, R. Simich), won the Weymouth Town Cup in the same year.
Olympic and overseas competition in International-class boats caused a rapid growth in the number of boats in these classes in New Zealand. Although this has been to the detriment of established New Zealand classes, local centreboard boats are being developed as training classes for yachtsmen seeking international competition. An important development in small-boat racing overseas which has had a widespread impact in New Zealand in recent years is the growth of multihulled craft, such as the catamaran and trimaran. This type of yacht, capable of reaching sustained speeds of 30 knots, has proved popular in New Zealand, and national championships are held annually in one-design 12 ft catamarans. To date, New Zealand has not competed internationally in this class of boat.