Cowes Town Waterfront Trust

A charitable organisation to rejuvenate Cowes Waterfront

The Cowes Town Waterfront Trust is a charitable organisation whose prime objective is to rejuvenate and improve Cowes Waterfront and recreational facilities across the Isle of Wight.

The Cowes Town Waterfront Trust owns the Cowes Yacht Haven boatyard and marina and invests the income generated back into its future, as well as making charitable donations that align with its Objects.  Examples of these donations can be seen below. 

Since its formation in 1991 over £3.5 million has been put into the construction of new buildings and improvements to the facilities. Cowes Yacht Haven has evolved into a prime event location, not only hosting Cowes Week visitors, but providing year round facilities for other regattas such as Cowes Classic Week, Powerboat Festival, Commodores Cup, Admirals Cup and many corporate team building and training events.

Objectives and Activities

The principal purposes of the Charity are as follows:

(i)            To promote high standards of planning and architecture in or affecting Cowes;

(ii)            To educate the public in the geography, history and architecture of Cowes;

(iii)           To secure the preservation, protection, development and improvement of features of historic or public interest in Cowes;

(iv)           To provide or assist in the provision of facilities for recreation or other leisure-time occupation in the interests of social welfare with the object of improving the conditions of life of the inhabitants of the Isle of Wight and visitors thereto, and to provide or assist in the provision of facilities for the mooring of boats to be available to members of the public at large.

In order to achieve these objectives, the Trust (through its trading subsidiary) manages the Cowes Yacht Haven, and a number of events at the Event Centre, as well as directly receiving rental income from various properties to use to further develop services and achieve outcomes for public benefit.

Charitable Donations

Youth Sailing (purpose iv)

The Trust have continued their support of the Youth Sailing initiative which engages with several groups within the sailing fraternity, including the Royal Yachting Association and Americas Cup challenge to encourage and promote sailing to younger people.

Our involvement includes:

  1. Providing a substantial donation in the form of a discount for the storage and launching/recovery of six boats used by youth, support ribs and other boats.
  1. We discount the cost of keeping a storage container that supports both youth sailing and other sailing and a tent that youth sailors use as a base. In addition, the container is used as a dry repair/dust containment shop in the winter.
  1. We provide additional facilities free of charge including sail drying and folding facilities and meeting rooms (when not booked by a fee payer).

This sponsorship also extends to a number of boats using the Cowes Yacht Haven facilities on annual contracts.

Cowes Week Ltd (purpose iv)

The annual Cowes Week sailing regatta would struggle to function as currently organised without the visitors’ berths and marine trades provided in CYH. This week-long event attracts some 8,500 competitors participating in racing around the Solent and some 100,000 spectators shore-side, making it one of, if not the most significant single revenue contributor to Cowes and the Isle of Wight each year. A key shore-side attraction during Cowes Week is the firework display on Friday evening when the population of Cowes swells many-fold. To help facilitate this evening event, the Trust annually donates more than 10% of the cost of the fireworks.

The Classic Boat Museum Cowes) (purpose ii & iii)

The Trust makes an annual donation towards the upkeep of two launches, Rosabelle (the Frank Beken launch) and Tranquillity. The museum keeps boats on the water as living/working exhibits, and the Trust facilitates this by launching and recovering Rosabelle and providing a free berth in CYH.

Class sponsorship (purpose iv)

The Trust continued to encourage clubs and classes to hold sailing championships in Cowes. In 2019 the Trust welcomed the annual Quarter Ton Cup event providing a number of competitors with free berthing, use of the Event Centre for a prize giving and Solent Room for use a race office.

Fun On the Water Day (purpose iv)

British Marine lead and promote the Marine industry and work with its members to achieve sustainable growth in a competitive global environment. As part of its local activities the British Marine’ Fun On The Water Weekend’ was hosted free of charge by the Trust at CYH. This was a tremendous success taking over 350 people out onto the water on RIBs, paddle boards, jet skis and kayaks. For many this was their first taste of water activities.

Miss Isle/Natasha Lambert charity (purpose iv)

The Miss Isle School of Sip & Puff Sailing (MISSPS) is a unique sailing and training experience on the Isle of Wight.

The school’s vision is to provide affordable sailing tuition to young people with physical disabilities who would benefit from using the sip and puff method of sailing.

The MISSPS has benefited from the Trust not only welcoming the Charity in making its home at the yacht haven, but also working together to make CYH more accessible for disabled sailors. Both organisations are currently working on a common goal of improving facilities for the disabled onshore and on the water, with the ultimate aim that CYH will be recognised as the number one marina for offering disabled people excellent facilities. CYH provide free mooring, launch and recovery and washing for two boats and a RIB.

In 2019 we saw the installation of a disability hoist onto the pontoons provided by the MISSPS to further enhance accessibility to sailing.

Cowes Heritage (purpose ii & iii)

Cowes Heritage is a voluntary group founded in 2004 dedicated to recording and exhibiting the history and heritage of Cowes, Isle of Wight. Cowes Heritage holds an extensive archive relating to the local area, which is made available to the general public on request. It has also produced several books and DVDs of local interest. Cowes Heritage holds a three-week exhibition every autumn. The 2019 exhibition entitled ‘Made in Cowes’ featured material recently donated by well respected local historians. The Trust which donates funds for room hire understands that more than

1,000 persons viewed the exhibition.

Cowes Powerboat Weekend (purpose iv)

The annual powerboat event in 2019 was supported by the Trust with a significant donation in the form of a discount for the use of the marina and landside activities.

Association of Sail Training Organisations (purpose ii & iv)

The Association of Sail Training Organisations (ASTO) is the UK’s National Sail Training Organisation. Membership is made up of more than 30 not-for-profit organisations that operate more than 50 Sail Training vessels around the UK.  ASTO’s mission is to promote Sail Training and to support the UK Sail Training industry. Via CYH, the Trust provides heavily discounted facilities and berthing when ASTO members visit Cowes.

Isle of Wight Story Festival (purpose iv)

The Trust made a donation to become a Gold Sponsor of the 2020 ‘Isle of Wight Book Festival’ which was held in the Riverside Centre, Newport, Isle of Wight. The festival aims to inspire families and children to become creative through organised workshops and readings from guest children’s authors.