When referring to a sailboat the term skiff denotes a high performance monohull. The origin of the word comes from Sydney, Australia, the birth place of the 18ft Skiffs. These boats developed from working skiffs in Sydney harbor in the 1800s. The skiffs were used to move supplies from ship to shore. On the weekends the skiff owners decided to start racing. It wasn't long until skiff racing on Sydney Harbor was a popular gambling event. From there the boats have developed into some of the most refined sailboats ever built. Other dinghys which exibit similar behavior are deemed "skiffs".

Skiff (?), n. [F. esquif, fr. OHG. skif, G. schiff. See Ship.]

A small, light boat.

The pilot of some small night-foundered skiff. Milton.

Skiff caterpillar Zool., the larva of a moth (Limacodes scapha); -- so called from its peculiar shape.

 

© Webster 1913.


Skiff, v. t. [imp. & p. p. Skiffed (?); p. pr. & vb. n. Skiffing.]

To navigate in a skiff.

[R.]

 

© Webster 1913.

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