Twelve Sunbeams contested the annual championships hosted this year by the Royal Cornwall Yacht Club and sponsored by Treen’s Brewery.

As usual racing took place in the wide expanse of Falmouth Bay using bespoke windward/leeward courses. Two back-to-back races were sailed on each day, each race lasting about 60 minutes.

The race committee signals vessel was John and Liz Maunder’s Melkin. RYA Race Officer John was ably assisted by Liz, and Charlie Choak. In the RIB were RYA Mark-Layers David Stewart and Robert Taylor, accompanied on Friday by Hugh Jones and on other days by Chris Williams.

After racing competitors came ashore at the club to enjoy Treen’s Sunbeam ale and platters of sandwiches.

Conditions were challenging for race officer and competitors alike with generally unstable, light to moderate, westerly airflows fluctuating in both direction and strength over the course area.

Considerable changes in fortune were experienced from race to race, for example a 9th in one race being followed by a 1st in the next!

Discards were used up early and no boat accumulated a commanding overall position. At the end of the second day nine different boats had featured in the twelve podium places and no boat had been on the podium more than twice. Only four points separated the leading five boats making the final day a real cliff-hanger.

Neil Andrew and Tim Bailey in Verity won the first race, moving them up the leaderboard from their overnight position of 5th, especially when the leader, Whimsey (David and Emma Mantle), added a 7th to her score having already discarded a 9th.

Verity led the second race until shortly before the final windward mark when some lax covering let through Whimsey and Halcyone (Gilly Fox and Bob Warren). On the downwind leg to the finish Whimsey was winning both the race and the championship until Halcyone crept past to win by three seconds with Verity close behind. The points situation was so close that the fleet came ashore not knowing the outcome.

At the final reckoning three boats were tied on 16 points, the next was on 17 and the next on 18 points. Two separate tie-breaks were needed to establish the podium places. After many years of trying several times runner-up Verity was announced the 2018 champion. Dropping one place on the final run relegated Whimsey from 1st to 4th.

1st Verity Neil Andrew and Tim Bailey 2,(8),6,4,1,3

2nd Audry Stuart Sawyer and Roger Ford / Jack Elsby-Hartman (5),2,5,1,3,5

3rd Halcyone Gilly Fox and Bob Warren 4,5,(7),2,4,1

4th Whimsey David and Emma Mantle (9),1,1,6,7,2

5th Pixy David Townrow and Lyulph Hesling 1,4,(8),5,2,6

6th Ivy Nigel Glanville and Josh Redgrave / Jo Philpott / (10),3,4,8,5,8

Ben Carne

The outcome might have been different had Daisy (Simon Carter and Ben Carne) been able to sail more than just on Saturday when she finished a convincing 2nd and 3rd.

2019 will be the 95th anniversary of Sunbeam racing in Falmouth.