Please select your home edition
Ovington Boats - VX One
Product Feature
WEST SYSTEM G/flex Epoxy
WEST SYSTEM G/flex Epoxy
Boat Insurance from Noble Marine

Full racing risks
New for old cover

Welcome to Solent Sunbeam Thursday Evening Racing at Itchenor Sailing Club

by Sarah Johnson 16 Jun 2019 14:03 BST
Solent Sunbeam Thursday Evening Racing 2019 at Itchenor Sailing Club © Sue Kent

What can be more sublime than slipping the mooring for an evening of sociable yacht racing in a stunningly attractive classic keelboat on the beautiful waters of Chichester Harbour!

This is what the Solent Sunbeam fleet does every week from May to September, with the boat owners themselves organising the hour-long race and the prize - a bottle of wine - handed out during the post-race sociable supper at Itchenor Sailing Club!

The origin of these races is particularly enchanting. It was a chance encounter one June evening in the late 1980s between V2 Joy, sailed by Jerome and Elizabeth O'Hea and V1 Dainty, sailed by Peter and Sally Nicholson. One boat offered the other boat a glass of wine which was duly passed between the yachts as they sailed past East Head! They decided to encourage others in the class to sail on a Thursday evening and the now well-established and hugely enjoyed tradition of evening racing began!

From the outset the races were organised by the class members in turn, with the organiser presenting a bottle of wine to the winner over a lively and friendly supper at the sailing club. Guests are regularly invited to take part in this hugely sociable and very enjoyable weekly event which often attracts the best of the summer weather!

The racing takes place in Solent Sunbeams, a class which was designed in 1922 by Alfred Westmacott who was based on the Isle of Wight. Over 30 of this classic fleet are still actively sailing today including several of the original 96-year-old yachts including V1 Dainty who remains an active Thursday Evening competitor at Itchenor Sailing Club, with Peter Nicholson still at the helm.

Owners, or 'keepers' of Solent Sunbeams, as they often feel they are, attest to the perfect balance of the boat and her supreme sea kindliness. One enthusiastic owner describes how the yacht 'ghosts in a zephyr, sparkles in a breeze and exhilarates in a near-gale!' The deep, solid keel and acclaimed design of the yacht means she is so perfectly balanced that she can be helmed to within an inch of her destination.

The class is extremely welcoming and sociable with very supportive owners who are encouraged to race and join in with post-race suppers and who also have a common passion for the design, heritage and sportsmanship of the fleet.

For more information about the fleet, events and racing please visit

Related Articles

Cowes Week announces the Official Charity for 2020
Scaramouche Sailing Trust gets youngster from North London into sailing Cowes Week Limited is delighted to announce that the Official Charity for the 2020 edition of the regatta will be Greig City Academy's, Scaramouche Sailing Trust. This six year old school sailing club, which became a charity last year Posted on 15 Dec 2019
Itchenor Solent Sunbeam at Classic Yacht Regattas
Peter Nicholson's 'Dainty' shone amongst the 'grand dames' of classic yachts Bosham-based Peter Nicholson, owner of Solent Sunbeam 'Dainty' hull no 1, shone amongst the 'grand dames' of classic yachts at La Belle Classe, Regates Royales and Voiles de St Tropez regattas in the South of France. Posted on 25 Oct 2019
Classic Keelboat Syndication
And why you should try it Itchenor Sailing Club offers some of the best one design keelboat racing in the UK. We have racing water at all states of the tide and three different classic keelboat classes to choose from, all of which boast a strong double-digit average turnout. Posted on 20 Oct 2019
Peter Nicholson sets off for Regates Royales
The event sees the gathering of around 150 of the world's greatest classic yachts What started 15 years ago as an unusual and challenging adventure, has become not only an annual event, but one that has created life-enhancing memories, incredible sailing experiences, lifelong friendships, prestigious awards. Posted on 24 Sep 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 8
The final day's racing is for the Cowes Town Regatta The historic and prestigious trophies available include the George Oliver Challenge Cup, Royal Cowes Town Regatta Challenge Cup, Sir Godfrey Baring Bowl and Culpan Challenge Cup. Posted on 17 Aug 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 7
Fridays's racing held in an increasing south-southwesterly breeze Fridays's racing in an increasing south-southwesterly breeze determined the overall class winners at Cowes Week, as well as those for Black and White groups and the whole regatta. Posted on 17 Aug 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 6
A breezy day on the Solent, with powerful gusts to 25 knots The Quarter Ton class is renowned for thrills and spills in stronger winds. Today Sir Keith Mills' Cote led around much of the course, challenged initially by Oscar Strugstad's Dawn Raid, before the latter broke the spinnaker pole in a broach. Posted on 15 Aug 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 5
Very shifty southerly winds provide testing conditions Very shifty southerly winds provided testing conditions for navigators and tacticians at Cowes Week today as a number of weather fronts passed over the race area. Posted on 14 Aug 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 4
Competitors enjoyed a classic day of Solent racing today For the Black Group yachts the day culminated in a classic downwind finish against the tide past the Green to the Royal Yacht Squadron, with competitors gybing frequently in a building breeze. Posted on 13 Aug 2019
Cowes Week 2019 day 3
A tricky day on the Solent threw up challenges of a different kind A tricky day on the Solent threw up challenges of a different kind. As showers moved across the race area winds from every point of the compass were experienced at some point during the day, while wind speed varied from less than 5 knots to up to 15. Posted on 12 Aug 2019