Please select your home edition
Henri-Lloyd 2022 December - YY LEADERBOARD

Close racing for Solent Sunbeams at Cowes Classic Week 2021

by Sarah Johnson 15 Jul 2021 16:22 BST 5-9 July 2021
Solent Sunbeams at 2021 Cowes Classic Week - Day 1 © John Green

An impressive 22 Solent Sunbeams ventured from Chichester Harbour to Cowes Classic Week last week, making them the second largest fleet at the event and the class's largest turnout at the regatta since its inception in 2008.

The mix of 98 year-old and newly-launched examples of this much admired class enjoyed incredibly close racing with superb conditions on the challenging waters of the Solent.

Racing on the first day in 10-15 knots of wind resulted in V70 Minty leading the fleet home in race 1 followed by V12 Argosy winning race 2 after a number of leader changes and some avoiding action needed as a huge ship passed close to the fleet. V26 Danny maintained a consistent second place in both races.

Tuesday saw the arrival of a large depression in the English Channel which cancelled racing but allowed the sailors to enjoy the classic cars on display in Cowes Parade. Day 3 saw the wind increase to 15-20 knots with V26 Danny winning the first race and just losing the lead in the second race to V32 Holly. Afterwards it transpired that V26 Danny had completed the second race with a broken mast which required some swift action early the next day to pick up a spare mast from Itchenor!

V68 Sky took the first win on in the fifth race in 12-17 knots of wind with V70 Minty second and V26 Danny third despite their early start and re-rigging of a new mast. Race 6 started with a three-mile long beat to South Bramble which V18 Polly lead for the first half but was overtaken by V32 Holly and V70 Minty just before the windward mark. Tactics in the strong tides was crucial to the results of this race which saw V32 Holly win ahead of V12 Argosy.

With just one race on the final day, the overall result was still very much in doubt. The sun came out but the light winds led to a long delay until finally a 12-15 knot breeze filled in. Strong tides meant some of the fleet overstood the windward mark and the final result was decided by a match race between V26 Danny and V32 Holly with the overall regatta win at stake.

V32 Holly managed to hold off V26 Danny at the finish and took the regatta win by just two points. V70 Minty held off V68 Sky for third place. Congratulations go to Martin & Vicky Jones in their newly-acquired and very beautiful 94-year old Sunbeam, V32 Holly. A former world champion in the International 14 dinghy class, Martin summed up the week commenting that it been some of the closest and most enjoyable racing that he and Vicky had enjoyed for a long time, which was made even more special by racing in such historic boats.

Such was the closeness of the racing during the week that five different boats won at least one race and the top 6 boats were divided equally between the traditional wooden and newer GRP hulls, although the first two boats were wooden.

For more information on sailing and owning a Solent Sunbeam as well as information on all the forthcoming events please contact the Class Association via the website at

Find out more at

Related Articles

Entries open for Cowes Week 2023
In this iconic regatta two of the most competitive classes are worlds apart At 197 years young, Cowes Week remains one of the pre-eminent regattas in the world, and this year the team expect to welcome more than 500 boats racing in 37 different classes. Posted on 17 Jan
Cowes Week 2022 overall
A spectacularly busy finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron The last day of Cowes Week featured short, action-packed races in a solid north-westerly gradient wind, culminating in a spectacularly busy finish line at the Royal Yacht Squadron. Posted on 6 Aug 2022
Cowes Week day 6
Khumbu wins the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup A thrilling finish for the Grand Prix yachts competing for the New York Yacht Club Challenge Cup, one of sailing's most coveted prizes, saw Christian Zugel's GP42 Tschuss lead three boats across the Royal Yacht Squadron line just 30 seconds apart. Posted on 4 Aug 2022
Cowes Week day 5
Ian Atkins' Dark 'n' Stormy wins the Britannia Cup Lighter winds this morning increased to give competitors another great day on the water, predominately in breezes of 10-18 knots. Posted on 3 Aug 2022
Cowes Week day 4
Women's Day sees a great ratio of female helms More brisk winds and warm weather provided a further day of excitement for the fourth day of Cowes Week. Sir Ben Ainslie, the most successful Olympic sailor ever, was racing today, demonstrating just how seriously the top teams take their racing. Posted on 2 Aug 2022
Cowes Week day 3
One highlight: more than 20 XODs crossed the finish line overlapped After a relaxed morning waiting for wind, Cowes Week competitors enjoyed a third successive day of glorious sailing and close racing in ideal conditions. Posted on 1 Aug 2022
Cowes Week day 2
Lashings of excitement, thrills, spills and adrenaline Warm weather, combined with winds gusting above 25 knots, provided lashings of excitement, thrills, spills and adrenaline for competitors at Cowes Week today. Long downwind legs for many classes ensured competitors came ashore with big grins. Posted on 31 Jul 2022
Cowes Week day 1
Sun and a west-south-westerly breeze that built from 10 to 15 knots The Solent delivered a sparkling and action-packed day for the start of Cowes Week, with plenty of sun and west-south-westerly breeze that built from 10 to 15 knots to give maximum gusts in the low 20s by early afternoon. Posted on 30 Jul 2022
Cowes Week Regatta Update - 17 days to go!
There is still time to enter the world's largest regatta Cowes Week is only three weeks away, so if your boat is ready and you have your crew sorted, there is still time to enter the world's largest regatta. Posted on 12 Jul 2022
Cowes Classics Week 2022 overall
Up to 20 knots and lots of sunshine for the finale Day 5 of Cowes Classics Week saw West South West to South South Westerly winds of up to 20 knots and lots of sunshine providing some exciting champagne sailing. Posted on 2 Jul 2022