The Redwing Club was formed in 1896 with four boats ready to race by January 1897 and a further ten built to race that year. In1898 a further boat was built and four more in 1899. By 1902 there were 24 in all. These boats were built to a Charles Nicholson design and were 22ft 1in in length, 5ft 5in beam and 2ft 11in draft. They weighed 1.23 tons.

In 1937 it was decided to build 20 new boats. Charles Nicholson produced designs with 28ft 11in length, 5ft 6in beam and 3ft 3in draft and 200 sq ft sail area. Sixteen boats were built before WWII with four additional boats being completed by 1950.

In the mid 1980’s the class again discussed its future, and the decision was taken to build additional boats to the same design in GRP.

In September 1987, the prototype GRP Boat (No. 21 “Redwing”) was launched.  She was sailed and raced by Redwing owners throughout the 1988 season to evaluate her performance against her wooden sisters.

Further GRP boats were ready for the 1989 season and twenty-eight have been built so far – the last one being launched in 2001 as a replacement for the wooden No. 18 which was lost at Cowes the year before.

Thirteen wooden boats were sold in 1989; originally used for corporate charter in Poole they have now been sold to private owners.  Two have since returned, original number 6 (Blue Jay, now renamed and numbered Banzai number 10) and original number 13 (now 113, Redwitch). This means that the Bembridge Redwing fleet now has eight wooden boats and 28 GRP.

The Class Rules have always restricted the sail area to 200 sq ft, but owners are free to experiment with sail design.  This has led over the years to many unusual innovations, perhaps the strangest being the propeller rig the first Lord Brabazon put on his old Redwing (No. 20 “Kestrel”) in 1934.  Owners of the class have continued to experiment in recent years, the most dramatic being the “swing rig” developed by John Cleave in the 1980s.  The current very high aspect rig (with multiple controls) was developed by Vernon Stratton in the 1990s, based on the Star Class, and is currently the most successful rig.

The Class celebrated its centenary in 1996/1997.  Twenty-eight of the current fleet and four of the 1897 boats took part in a sail-past in Bembridge Harbour in August 1997 to complete the first hundred years of this famous and oldest established class in the country.

This year, 2022 the Class celebrates its 125th anniversary.

If you would like to crew a Redwing or find out about membership or ownership, please either contact an owner direct or get in touch with the Hon. Sec. Joe Robertson – 07800 544861

If you would like to join the Redwing What’s App group please contact the administrators, Rory Morrison on 07753 627767 or Joe Robertson on 07800 544861.













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