The original pocket-rocket, the Balmain Bug is one of the 6ft skiffs which used to hurtle around Sydney Harbour, and a predecessor to the iconic 18ft Skiffs. Crosbie Lorimer discovered what it takes to keep this unlikely looking boat the right way up

A robust friendship and a certain amount of telepathy are essential ingredients for a six foot skiff crew!

The Balmain Bug is a 1.83m (6ft) Australian skiff class dinghy, of which just two remain in existence. First raced in 1899 at Balmain in Sydney, the fleet expanded throughout the 1900s, until it was overtaken by the larger skiffs, including the iconic 18-footers.

Ask any Sydneysider what they know about the ‘Balmain Bug’ and they’ll probably tell you about the primordial, lobster-like creature at the Sydney Fish markets. Few residents of the Emerald City – most sailors included – would know of the other Balmain Bug, a tiny historic

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