The Solent Sunbeam appeals particularly to the dinghy sailor who no longer enjoys the 'thrill' of capsizing and the cruising man who does not want the high costs and the difficulty of organising large crews. The Solent Sunbeam gives them the big boat feel at a small boat cost.
The Solent Sunbeams were designed in 1923 by Alfred Westmacott, a famous naval architect designing all kinds of boats from steam yachts, electric launches and pure sailing boats both large and small. Four of his designs are still keenly raced in the Solent.
The Solent Sunbeams have a fleet at Itchenor and another in Falmouth. Every year, they compete against each other in Chichester Harbour, Falmouth, and Cowes. The first boat built 'Dainty' is as fast as 'Milly" built in 2000.
There are currently 47 Solent Sunbeams, with more being built, as the class now allow epoxied wooden hulls and GRP hulls.
The Solent Sunbeams celebrated their 90th Anniversary in 2013, and used Cowes Classics Week as their 'flag-ship' event. They competed for the historic RLYC cup the Queen Victoria Jubilee Cup, and hosted a Reception during the week at which the Royal London Yacht Club presented them with an anniversary cake (Pictured is Peter Taylor, Regatta Chairman cutting the cake with Gayle Palmer, Sunbeam Class Captain).
The Solent Sunbeams compete for the Solent Sunbeam Cup, and an oil painting by local sailor Mike Till which Cowes Classics Week commissioned in 2013 to celebrate the Class' 90th anniversary.