The Sinclair family have a long association with Whakaraupō Lyttelton Harbour, with the Scotsman William Sinclair setting up his shipwright business in Dampier Bay near the dry dock in 1870. With his son Jimmy, the Sinclairs were famous for their love of yacht building and racing, with their yachts “Little Wonder” and “Mascotte” competing with their arch rival, the Miller’s “Pastime”, through the 1880s and 90s.
This competitive tradition carried on through to the next generations with the founding of the Canterbury Yacht and Motor Boat Club in 1921. Of the Club’s 40 founding members, seven were Sinclairs, with Elliot Sinclair’s uncle, Sam Sinclair, sailing the “Linnet” under the Club’s flag in the 1922 Sanders Memorial Cup in Dunedin.
True to his family’s tradition, Elliot Sinclair was also an accomplished yachtsman who notably won five consecutive Sanders Cups for the Club and Canterbury from 1932 to 1936. In November 1953, this unrivalled veteran yachtsman again won the privilege to defend the Sanders Cup for Canterbury, sailing “Genie” in the trials off Lyttelton, and was runner-up in the hotly contested Sanders Cup of January 1954, won by Otago’s “If”.