New Solent Sunbeams launched for start of 2013 season

Two new Solent Sunbeams were recently launched at Itchenor for the start of the 2013 season. Molly and Alchemy are the fifth and sixth examples of composite GRP Solent Sunbeam completed since the class expansion programme began in 2010. The Sunbeams - beautiful classic racing keelboats date from 1923 and Mark Harvey, co-owner with his wife Nicola of Alchemy, described the Sunbeam as “the queen of the enduring Alfred Westmacott’s Solent classic dayboat class designs.“

Five of Westmacott’s classes continue to flourish in the Solent area - 102 years on for the XOD and 90 years in the case of the Sunbeam. Itchenor Sailing Club hosts the largest number of keelboats in the UK with XOD's, Swallows and the Solent Sunbeams with over 100 yachts racing regularly!

Alchemy V65 and Molly V66 - All Sunbeam class yachts traditionally have names ending in the letter "Y" - are absolute perfection in craftsmanship by Haines Boatyard and are fully prepared for a full seasons racing programme of over 80 races which will include three one week championship series. Cowes Classic Week, AAM Cowes Week,and Itchenor Points Week at home here in Chichester Harbour.

Three further new boats will begin building this summer raising the Itchenor Solent Sunbeam fleet to 30 boats by the beginning of the 2014 season.

GRP Solent Sunbeam Betty V61Click image for a larger image

The Sunbeams have a fleet at Itchenor (Sussex) and another in Falmouth (Cornwall). Every year, they compete against each other either in Chichester Harbour, Falmouth Harbour, or at Cowes Regatta. The wonder of the design is that the first boat which was built in 1923, called Dainty, is as fast as Milly, which was built in 2000. It all depends on who is sailing them!

Four of the new composite GRP hulled Solent Sunbeams are now built and racing on level terms in the Solent Sunbeam Fleet - V61 “Betty”, V62 “Firefly”, V63 “Dragonfly”, and V64 “Maisy”. Alchemy V65 and Molly V66, were moulded by Mark Downer’s company at Sandown and completed by Haines Boatyard in Itchenor.

All the new composite Solent Sunbeams have been built to a very high specification. The cockpits are fitted out in teak with purpose-made stainless steel fittings and Harken deck gear. The hull topsides are over 9mm thick and nearer the keel the hull is over 25mm thick - all to ensure that the weight distribution matches that of the wooden boats. The new boats are epoxy coppercoated below the waterline, and inside they have bulkheads fore and aft with floatation compartments.

More Solent Sunbeam information here

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