The History of Cowes Yacht Haven
The rapid growth in the number of sailing boats and yachts in and around the South Coast, plus the renewed interest in marine activities have added to the swelling numbers wanting to come sailing in the Solent off Cowes.
This demand has escalated the provision of onshore facilities, especially in a busy time like Cowes Week. Cowes has responded to this demand with the rapid development of facilities at Cowes Yacht Haven, known locally as Cowes Marina.
Whilst there is, in fact, no such thing as Cowes Marina, the name has been used colloquially for the area which is now Cowes Yacht Haven and dates back to the inception of the marina facility in 1970. As the largest and most prominent marina in Cowes serving the Solent area, South Coast and the Isle of Wight, it would seem obvious that the name Cowes Marina should have been adopted more formally, but this has never been the case.
Outside of Cowes Week, the Solent has also been for many years hugely popular with cruisers and racers alike. As it has become more internationally known, the need for berthing facilities has increased and by the early 70s the international race entry had swollen to a level that meant that there was a growing need for a marina in Cowes.
Groves and Gutteridge, a working boat-yard, set on the site of what is now Cowes Yacht Haven, were under pressure to provide berthing in addition to the lifting and repair services that were already in place. Visiting yachts used to moor in the harbour mouth, up the Medina River and along Cowes Green, with extra mooring buoys put in place by the harbour authority to cope with the extra visitors. The need for more facilities in the marina at Cowes escalated not only due to the international racing element but also because of the great influx of the international cruising fraternity.
Groves and Gutteridge has continued to improve both berthing and onshore facilities year after year.
Cowes Marina has changed hands twice in recent history, firstly becoming Ancasta Marina and secondly Cowes Yacht Haven, part of the Cowes Town Waterfront Trust.
The onshore life of Cowes Yacht Haven during the Summer months includes the construction of a huge bar and performance stage for the Cowes Week Regatta. This becomes a central attraction of the town with live bands playing in the afternoons and evenings. There is a shopping village around the central area of the marina and corporate hospitality marquees cover the rest of the yard. Amazingly during Cowes Week, despite the huge numbers of yachtsmen and spectators that gather daily, the marina boat services continue as usual.
Cowes Yacht Haven offers full services including launches, lift out and winter storage with facilities for overwintering in excess of 100 yachts.
The Haven Events Centre, erected on the site of one of the original old boat sheds, offers a spectacular facility for hosting conferences, business meetings, receptions, prize-giving ceremonies and private parties within Cowes Yacht Haven and looks forward to becoming the focus for even more events, large and small, throughout the year.