The largest ever gathering of Sunbeams took part in a Regatta celebrating their 100 years of racing from the 7-9 June at Itchenor Sailing Club. The Sunbeam was designed by the celebrated yacht designer, Alfred Westmacott in 1922 and is considered by many to be his best design. At just over 8 metres long they can easily be sailed by a crew of two and there are a number of husband and wife teams who race up to three times a week during the long season from April to October from Itchenor Sailing Club. The Solent Sunbeams were joined by 6 boats from the Falmouth Sunbeam Class which resulted in a big fleet of 36 boats which exceeded the previous record turnout by some margin.
Such was the fleet size that the boats competed in a round-robin series in Chichester Harbour and Bracklesham Bay in fantastic sailing conditions with moderate breezes and blue skies under the excellent stewardship of PRO David McGregor. The racing culminated in a single fleet race which started 3km south of the entrance to Chichester Harbour.
The first race was won by Roger Wickens and Tim Martell in V26 Danny, the most successful Sunbeam team in modern times. The second race was won by Peter Nicholson, Mike Hollis and Christine Graves in the first Sunbeam V1 Dainty. This was a fitting result given that Dainty recently won the 2023 Classic Boat Award as ‘Centenarian of the Year’. Whilst Danny also won race 3, former International 14 world champion, Martin Jones, sailing with his wife Vicky took line honours in race 4 in V32 Holly. Race 5 was won by another husband and wife team of Joe & Cathy Burnie in V41 Fleury. Race 6 was won by Simon Perkins and Ian Stobie sailing V47 Kitty.
With one race to go the Centenary Regatta was led by Danny by just one point from both Fleury and V16 Mystery which had only been launched on the previous day after an extensive rebuild by Haines Boatyard in Itchenor. Danny won the final race to clinch overall victory while Fleury took fifth place to narrowly take second place overall and V16 Mystery sailed by Alan Stannah, John Tremlett and William Cuthbert finished third overall.