New Sunbeam Launched in Centenary Year

The Solent Sunbeam Class, known for its rich history and enduring elegance, continues to flourish with the launch of the magnificent GRP Solent Sunbeam V74 Odyssey.

As she slipped into the water by Haines Boatyard at Itchenor the beloved V1 Dainty, a century-old Sunbeam, was being prepared for a grand journey to the South of France, where she will participate in the prestigious Regattes Royale and the Voile de St Tropez. This juxtaposition of tradiKtion and innovation exemplifies the enduring appeal of the Solent Sunbeam Class.

Odyssey was commissioned by the Taylor family, who are no strangers to the world of classic sailing. The Taylors’ passion for classic sailing extends beyond the Sunbeams, with a history that includes ownership of Swallows and XODs at Itchenor and various other classic sailboats.

Peter and Anne Taylor, both former Commodores of Itchenor Sailing Club and with extensive involvement in the Royal London Yacht Club where Peter was instrumental in creating Cowes Classic Week, are co-owners with son Sean and granddaughter Alice Taylor.

Alice had the honour of christening Odyssey with champagne over her bow, welcoming a new arrival to this classic dayboat class. Peter Taylor expressed his gratitude to John Tremlett and the Haines team for craaing a superb example of this timeless class.

This launch also serves as a testament to the initiative of Roger Wickens, as Odyssey represents the latest in the evolution of GRP boats within the Sunbeam class. The combination of traditional craftsmanship and modern materials has resulted in a vessel that
captures the essence of the past while embracing the future of sailing.

In addition to the GRP innovations, recent refurbishments of wooden boats within the class highlight the dedication of Sunbeam enthusiasts to preserve their heritage. These ongoing efforts breathe new life into classic vessels, ensuring they continue to grace the waters for generations to come.

The Solent Sunbeam Class has a rich history dating back to its inception in 1923, with a strong presence at Itchenor and a vibrant sister fleet at Falmouth. The class continues to thrive, attracting sailors who appreciate the elegance and competitive spirit it embodies while enjoying regular dinners and social events after racing. With the launch of Odyssey, the class demonstrates its resilience and commitment to preserving the traditions of classic sailing.

The Class welcomes anyone who would like to try out a Sunbeam. They race at Itchenor from April to October on Thursday nights and weekends. Please contact James Axtell ( to find out more.

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