'Sunstone' and Tom & Vicky Jackson



'Sunstone' was designed in late 1964 by Sparkman & Stephens. In the design, Olin Stephens developed his 'Finisterre' model, keeping the centreboard, but deepening the hull and adopting a low aspect, but powerful sloop rig. However, 'Sunstone' was revolutionary as the first of S&S's many successful fin and skeg designs. Her basic dimensions, with the exception of draft are similar to 'Finisterre's': LOA - 39.75', LWL - 29', Beam - 11.5', Draft - 5.4'/7.2'. She was built to Lloyds 100A in 1965 and has kept her varnished hull ever since. 'Sunstone' has Olin Stephens' endorsement as, "a boat that has probably had the widest spectrum of usefulness of any designed by S&S." ("Lines", 2002) In "Heavy Weather Sailing", Olin also says, "Among S&S designed centerboarders, 'Sunstone' seems a good example of a centerboarder suited to heavy weather sailing."




The culmination of 'Sunstone's' racing career in England was selection as the 'small' boat in the England (South) team for the 1996 Commodores' Cup, held biennially by the RORC for three boat teams representing sailing nations. Both the team and 'Sunstone' were successful, the English team winning the Commodores' Cup and 'Sunstone' her class, with the best individual boat score in the event.


(Right: Olin Stephens with a half-model of 'Sunstone')




 Despite occasional racing success in Royal Ocean Racing Club (RORC) events on England's south coast, it was not until 1985 that 'Sunstone' truly began a run of offshore racing success. In that year she won the classic Channel Race overall, despite competition from the entire Admiral's Cup fleet, and also won her class in the Fastnet Race by 11 hours. This pattern of success continued under the old IOR rule, until the RORC switched to IMS and Channel Handicap (CHS, now IRC) in 1990. During the period from 1990-97 'Sunstone' went on to accumulate a series of Class and Overall victories under both CHS and IMS. In RORC racing, she was six times IMS annual points Champion and Yacht of the Year and once CHS Yacht of the Year. In her eight Fastnets with us, she has registered four class wins.



While we were both working full-time, we had little time for cruising, though we managed brief visits to most of NW Europe's favourite areas.

In 1997, we took a long-planned step toward a life fully committed to sailing. Tom took early retirement from his job as Principal of Portsmouth College, a sixth form and community college in Portsmouth, England, while Vicky resigned from her post as Assistant Dean in the Faculty of Social Science at Southampton Institute, now Southampton Solent University. During the year, 'Sunstone' also received a very thorough refurbishment and re-equipping to adapt her for her future as a world cruiser as well as occasional racer.