About a year or so before 1910 some model yachtsmen developed the idea of open water model skiffs, sailing on Sydney Harbour or Parramatta River. The first club was at Berrys Bay in North Sydney.  Soon after a club was created on the opposite shore at Balmain and another started at Iron Cove. In 1918 a state council was formed with various pond and open water clubs participating.

At least 10 clubs were formed to race the skiffs on open water, some were short-lived. Others such as the Iron Cove 2 ft Club spanned almost the full history of the skiffs. Whilst most were located in the inner western suburbs along Parramatta River there was an outpost at Sans Souci on the Georges River, and briefly, another at Cammeray on Middle Harbour.

Racing appears to have stopped by 1954, but during the four decades beforehand racing was extremely active. Designs evolved, racing reached great heights and the support from competitors and spectators was very strong. The model skiff and pond classes were quite numerous – from eight to 10 inches up to 32 inches. However, the predominant classes for the open water skiffs were 12-inch and the mighty two-foot class. They are, however, beginning to make a comeback.