To mark the class' 80th birthday the West Solent One-Designs are lining up at Skandia Cowes Week for their own class start

One of the prettiest one-design classes sailing at Skandia Cowes Week is the West Solent One-Design. Celebrating its 80th birthday, this HG May-designed classic has established fleet status and a total of five will be lining up for an 1155 start tomorrow morning.

Initally commissioned in 1924 by the Berthon Boat Company in Lymington, the class became better known as the West Solent Restricted class and a total of 37 boats were built. However, in 1994 the owners voted to revert the class back to its one-design status and a total of 11 boats have now been, or are in the process of being restored to the original one-design specifications; nine of these are regularly raced on the south and east coast.

The five boats entered this week include W1 Arrow – owned by Phil Plumtree the class secretary, W10 Lynette – from Antibes in the south of France, W23 Natica and Black Adder from the east coast and local boat W7 Dilkusha.

Chatting about why the West Solent One-Design’s presence at this year’s Skandia Cowes Week is so important, Plumtree commented: “As Cowes Week is the best and oldest regatta in the country we thought it was fitting that West Solents should return as a class in their 80th anniversary year. We’ve managed to get five boats together and we’re looking forward to some good, close racing over the next few days.”