Your Opportunity to Create a Southampton Sonar Fleet

This proposal is being put forward by Royal Southampton Yacht Club Trust a charitable organisation with an aim of getting people on the water and sailing. We welcome the involvement and input from interested individuals, bodies and organisations who would be interested in supporting this project and from businesses or organisations would be willing to own a boat, sponsor or fund the project.

Most other sailing centres in the Solent and South of England have keelboat fleets either operated by clubs or Training Centres but it is something which Southampton is lacking.


To gather together a fleet of at least six Sonar keel boats in theSouthampton Water Area for the use of individual sailors, charities, sailing and yacht clubs, Training Establishments and other organisations. It is proposed the fleet could be used as single boats or a number of boats for recreational, racing, training or cruising purposes.

Races would be arranged specifically for them as a one design fleet with the ultimate aim for this fleet to be part of the RYA Keel boat league.

For ownership and Management of Fleet It is envisaged that a consortium (club) will be formed that will manage, maintain and operate the fleet. The boats may be owned by individuals, organisations or the consortium. The consortium will lease the boat out to users and income will be used for the upkeep of the fleet and to reimburse owners for the use of the boats.

The Sonar

The Sonar is a 23’ one-design keelboat high-performance racer and comfortable day-sailor, just right for getting the entire family or friends on the water together. It was designed by Bruce Kirby and almost 700 boats have been built since 1980. The Sonar has achieved status as an International Class

The Sonar is ideal for all types of sailing, sail training and racing.With its sparkling performance, it has been selected by many yacht clubs, training centres and public sailing programmes as their preferred keelboat

The Sonar became the first choice for the Paralympics and was used in the Rio Paralympic Games in 2016. It is an ISAF Recognised Class, with fleets in many countries around the world.

Where we are

Dialogue is already taking place with local businesses, Universities,SWAC, RYA and Sport England

SWAC already has two Sonars and the RSYC Trust is in discussion with SWAC to use those boats for our beneficiaries and club members. We have entered both of these boats into The RSYC Twilight series using very experienced helms and local Young Carers as crew.

We have located three excellent ex Olympic Sonar boats that are forsale. Our next step is to secure fundingor support to acquire these boats at an attractive price.

If any club member or group of club members would be interested in owning one or part of one of these Sonars and be part of this fleet please call me.

Once we have them we need to find moorings for them in the Southampton area. We will be approaching marinas,mooring owners, sailing clubs and other organisations an endeavour to secure berths.

We are pleased to have the support and help of two Paralympic sailors. Helena Lucas MBE who is an Ambassador for the RSYC Trust has agreed to helm one of the Sonars in theTwilight race series and Hannah Stodel who raced Sonars at the Rio Olympics. Helena has won many top awards including Gold at London 2012 and Bronze at Rio in 2016together with Silver in the Yngling class at the pre Olympics in Qingadao in 2006.Hannah has represented Great Britain at 4 Summer Paralympics and with her colleagues John Robertson and Stephen Thomas has won three gold medals in the Mixed Sonar class at the Disabled Sailing World Championships.

Whether as a volunteer helper, sponsor or fund raiser of this initiativef or more information or how you can get involved please contact  Graham Tracey, Trustee - Royal Southampton Yacht Club Trust. 

For Graham's contact details please phone or email a request to the Club with your name and membership number.