Solent Sunbeam Chisholm Weekend

The May Bank Holiday Weekend saw 19 Solent Sunbeams on the water for the fleet’s first major event of the year at Itchenor Sailing Club.

The weekend is always one of the best-attended events in the Solent Sunbeam Class and this year the fleet enjoyed light winds with 19 boats competing.

The Chisholm weekend comprises four races on Chichester Harbour, competing for the Chisholm Weekend Trophy in honour of Sir Henry Chisholm. He was instrumental not only in growing the class at Itchenor in the 1960s and 1970s but also in restoring many boats and thus arguably rescuing the fleet from oblivion.

The first race saw Peter Taylor helming Betty take an early lead by choosing the eastern side of the channel only to be overhauled on the penultimate leg by Roger Wickens in Danny.

In the second race the fleet had the benefits of a strong ebb tide which carried them to Dunes, ensuring that the race became like a game of snakes and ladders. James Axtell in Argosy and Ollie Gilchrist in Sky led going round Dunes but the strong tide and light airs led to Sky quickly dropping 11 places.

Image: Kirsty Bang

On the run down to Peacock Betty, Danny and Fleury, sailed by Joe Burnie overhauled Argosy by sailing down the western side of the channel and they finished the race in those positions.

On the Sunday in even lighter winds the racing was decided largely by those boats choosing the correct side of the channel to  sail the first leg, given that fleet had to fight against an adverse tide. Fleury won the start of the third race and went onto win, followed by Danny with Holly, sailed by Martin Jones, in third place.

Going into the last race, 4 boats were still within a chance of winning the series. Out of these 4 boats, Danny was the only one to choose the correct side to sail the first leg and took the early lead followed by Alan Stannah in Spray and Tamsin Saunders in Alchemy. On the final leg the wind died and Alchemy managed to ghost past Danny to take the win, with Danny holding on to second place to win the Chisholm Weekend Trophy.

In the evening 45 Sunbeamers enjoyed a dinner at Itchenor Sailing Club to celebrate the event.

Overall Results:

  1. V26 Danny – Roger Wickens & Tim Martell
  2. V61 Betty – Peter Taylor & Robin Richardson
  3. V41 Fleury – Joe & Cathy Burnie

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