ILUKA Bay could well have seen another world record set at the weekend when a bunch of dedicated sailors competed for the Crosby Cup.

Sailing in vessels made from roofing, bamboo and rubber, they have made vessels capable of hitting 10-12 knots in the right conditions.

Every year we take out the rules, revise them and then we reseal them in the trophy at a special ceremony called The Screwing of the Rules.

One of the group's founders, Robin Crosby, said these speeds were likely to be a world record.

"As the cost of any of these boats comes in under $100, we are confident to claim the world record for speeds reached per dollar spent," he said.

"I noticed recently a French boat that cost about $4 million reached 50 knots. I think we've got that covered."

But he hastened to add there wasn't any shortage of all the traditional elements of sailing competition at the weekend.

"You know the America's Cup. Well, we've got the same rule bending, tweaking and all of the egos, but none of the expense," Robin said.

Also in the tradition of the America's Cup is the rather splendid trophy they compete for.

"It's on a magnificent block of wood with a corrugated iron column which contains the set of rules for the competition," Robin said.

"Every year we take out the rules, revise them and then we reseal them in the trophy at a special ceremony called The Screwing of the Rules."

He said the event was sailed privately and without fanfare annually at Iluka between his family and a group of friends who loved to sail.

Robin said the idea of building tin boats began years ago with some members who could not make it last year.

"They worked with boys who had been invited to leave school at 15 and they were doing stuff to teach them basic skills," Robin said.

"They said, let's build some boats, but it's so expensive."

Robin said the group's mentor was inspired by the the lives of young people in the 1950s.

"Back then every young kid built a tin canoe," he said.

"I was at a classic boat show with him at Yamba in the late '90s and we built a tin canoe.

"We built it that morning and launched it in the afternoon and it cost $40 to make, so I thought this would be a something to use.

The program with the boys yielded a number of boats, but when the program funding ran out, they had these boats no-one knew what to do with.

"The thought seemed to be no-one should have anything after it was over, so it was decided to get rid of them," Robin said.

"We decided to rescue them from the dump and we had these boats.

"We did it as a birthday sort of thing. But instead of playing cricket on the beach, we would sail these tin canoes."

Robin said the only field left to conquer was the Olympic Games.

"Sailing tin canoes is about the only sport that's not in them," he said.

"When they were in Sydney and there was all this corrugated iron about (during the opening and closing ceremonies) we were saying where are the tin canoes."

The conditions took their toll on the sailors who were tuning up their boats on Saturday.

Robin's brother, Steve Crosby, looked in fine form sailing across the bay until his rudder came adrift.

Luckily for him, Luke Tucker on the NSW Maritime vessel was coming into the bay and saw him, threw him a line and towed him back to shore.

"Someone has to be here to provide the humour," he said as he re-attached the rudder and looked over his boat.

One of the rules that has been tweaked is the design of Alastair Bell's boat, christened the Flying Pig. While constrained by the roofing iron and 5m length, he has eschewed the bamboo and ropes for aluminium rigging.

"It's probably the fastest boat of them all here this weekend - if it stays upright," he said.

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