September 2021
Message from Gary
It has been a busy month for Cowes and CHC. We had the success of Cowes Week and other high profile, successful yachting and powerboating events (more of that below) but we also had our Annual Meeting.

It was a shame that we had to move the Annual Meeting online at short notice due to the escalating numbers of COVID-19 cases on the Island. Despite this, approx. 70 people joined us for the meeting, which is in line with the number of people who attended in previous years when the meetings were held in person.

David Riley, CHC Board Chairman and I were pleased to report CHC’s activities for 2020. Despite being a year severely affected by COVID-19, our financial results were still positive (although down on previous years) and we continued to invest in harbour improvements. For further information, click on the image to see the main points of our results.

August is always a busy month in Cowes but this year we saw many new boat owners and people enjoying the water. We therefore felt it was important to run a safety awareness campaign during the month to highlight the need to use proper safety equipment and to swim only in designated areas.

Looking ahead, with many people choosing to visit the island as the trend for staycations continues, it looks like September is also going to be a busy month. We therefore look forward to supporting everyone who decides to take their journey to the island by boat or makes use of the water during their stay.
Gary Hall
Chief Executive - Cowes Harbour Commission
Harbour Master's
Safety Briefing
Boat fires show a re-focus on maintenance is needed
We have seen an increase in boat fires over this season. These have partly been caused by new owners being unfamiliar with basic boat maintenance which ensures their vessels are seaworthy. I would urge all boat owners to keep up an appropriate maintenance schedule to ensure breakdowns are avoided as much as possible.
Fires generally begin in or around the engine space and can be caused by things like leaking fuel and the resultant build-up of explosive petrol vapours. Therefore, it is recommended you carry out pre-departure checks and ensure the engine space is kept clean and free from debris.
At High Risk
All boats, if not maintained correctly, can develop issues. Hence the need to ensure a maintenance schedule is practiced. Some of the key factors to look out for when carrying out maintenance and checks on your boat are: Read More
August - A busy month in review
August was a busy month for Cowes and CHC. Inevitably Cowes Week dominated the month but hot on its heels was the biennial Fastnet race, the first visit of the 44Cup, the first visit of the Sonata National Championships for 15 years, the Etchells Europeans, the rather delayed Spring Classics Event and then the final weekend hosted the British Powerboat Racing Club's Cowes-Poole-Cowes and Cowes-Torquay-Cowes power boat races.

With such a difficult year and with so many races not running during 2020, it was a joy just to have the events take place this year and see the influx of people that visited the island during the month.

Cowes Week was hampered by changing weather conditions throughout the week that tested competitors skills and ability. For many this is why they enjoy racing in the Solent so these challenging conditions made it all the more enjoyable. It was great to see the Fastnet race back in Cowes on its biennial visit where for the first time in its 96 year history, the race finished in Cherbourg rather than in Plymouth. Weather conditions again played a key part in the race but this did not deter the 450+ boats that took part. Over 30 teams from the UK, America, Germany and Italy entered the 60th Anniversary of the Cowes-Torquay-Cowes Powerboat Race. It generated a lot of interest throughout the weekend with lots of visitors to Cowes Yacht Haven where the boats were moored. The event is a great spectacle for the crowds and many people lined up along The Green to watch both the start and finish of the race.

For our part, Harbour Master Ed Walker and CHC’s harbour patrols support both the lead up to the events and then provided river patrols and ferry escorts to ensure that everyone was able to use Cowes Harbour and navigate the busy start/finish lines safely.

Throughout the month, bookings for Shepards Marina and our harbour moorings were good, so the marina team and our berthing masters were kept very busy. The Basque Kitchen at Shepards Marina also enjoyed a busy week as did The Sugar Store, with many people taking advantage of the newly created pier seating area and river views. 
This new feature focusses the spotlight on our on-site business partners.
This month its all about the entertainment as we focus on the two convivial venues at Shepards Marina: The Sugar Store and The Basque Kitchen.
The view is unique and add to this the range of exquisite beers and pizzas on offer from The Sugar Store and that’s surely a recipe for success?

The view is unique and add to this the range of exquisite beers and pizzas on offer from The Sugar Store and that’s surely a recipe for success?

The Sugar Store is one of Cowes' oldest buildings and has seen its fair share of entertaining events over the course of the summer. From hosting social events for the delayed Spring Classics Regatta or supporting Cowes Week with both private and open parties, no other venue boasts the view of the harbour from the pier directly in front of The Sugar Store

That said, don’t just think the only way to experience this atmosphere is when invited to an event or function. You can also soak it all up as a group or couple, when the venue is open for normal trading. You also don’t have to worry if the weather is bad as the newly refurbished interior offers an industrial chic vibe combined with... Read More
The Basque Kitchen was opened by Markel Rodriguez in 2012 as restaurateur and head chef. 

Over those 9 years, he has led his completely Spanish front of house and kitchen teams -which starts to illustrate his provenance and authenticity. 

He grew up in a small village in The Basque region (which you can tell as soon as you start chatting with him!) and sources all of his ingredients himself. He brings many of them back from Spain on his sourcing expeditions-but virtually everything on his menu is authentically Spanish. If it cannot be Spanish, it is sourced locally on the Island.

Over the years, the menu has been honed and crafted to cater for the tastes of his customers, offal being a common ingredient in Basque cookery but is not a feature of Markel’s menu. An example of that is the 1 kilo steak challenge, can you eat the whole thing?? Also, don’t be fooled, it may say Tapas on the menu, but you’ll actually have the Basque version, “Pinxtos”. Pintxos is a concentrated version of Tapas, both in flavour and size. Small in size but big in... Read More
This is another new addition that we will feature from now on. Here we profile a member of the CHC team to put a name to a voice, a face to a name, or even a face to a voice!
This month, we profile, Helen Strobridge, Marina Office Administrator. 

Helen's voice is often the one you’ll hear when you phone to make your mooring or marina booking with CHC. Ably supported by Helen Martin, Cath & Charlotte, Helen also manages the high demand we have for CHC’s residential moorings. Dealing with both existing and new mooring holders on a daily basis is a huge responsibility for Helen as our waiting lists are long, so it is important that she caters for as many people as she can to ensure that use of our moorings is maximised; a job that Helen does extremely well.

Knowing how well she juggles these responsibilities, it is no surprise to learn that Helen has over 25 years’ experience within Island yachting. She grew up on the Island and her professional, and much of her personal experience, has been wrapped up in the world of yachts. She was a dinghy and keel boat sailor in her youth, and has previously worked as a chandlery manager, superyacht crew and at a local yacht brokers.

It is because of Helen’s invaluable experience that we understand the needs of the visitors and residents using our harbour services. We are therefore proud that Helen heads up our knowledgeable, efficient, and friendly service to customers of Shepards Marina.
Advertise with us and reach
your target audience
If you are a company offering products and services to the sailing community, water users or even tourists to Cowes, you will want to get your business message in front of the right people. CHC can help you with this. We have a range of outside advertising spaces at Trinity landing, Shepards Marina, Town Quay and even the new Breakwater.

Prices vary depending on location but every package includes the cost of the banner. We can even create the artwork for you to show your business off in its best light.

For further information please email
Further information from CHC
Cowes Harbour Commission (CHC) is constituted under the Cowes Harbour Act and Orders 1897-2012. It is the Statutory Harbour Authority for Cowes Harbour on the Isle of Wight. CHC receives no funding from either central or local government and re-invests surpluses into the organisation for the overall benefit of harbour users and stakeholders.
CHC’s vision is to fulfill the potential of Cowes Harbour and the River Medina in delivering first-class port facilities and leisure services and by acting as the main transport and shipping gateway supporting the Island’s economy and employment.
CHC is a trust port and offers the following to the sailing and local community: harbour and river moorings, events centre, boatyard services and storage, commercial marine services and a fuel berth.
Cowes Local Notices to Mariners

Local information for harbour users

Harbour Services from CHC
Based on a 10-acre site at Kingston Wharf in East Cowes, is the Cowes Harbour Services Boatyard, with a range of boatyard services and boat storage facilities, as well as the Cowes Harbour Storage self-storage facility, and a chandlery.
Shepards Marina is one of Cowes Harbour’s main marina facilities offering a full range of services and amenities suitable for yacht racing events, rallies, and catering also to the cruising sailor and powerboater.
Cowes Harbour Commission owns and licences the majority of the pontoons, swinging moorings, and pile berths within Cowes Harbour and the River Medina, as far south as the Folly Inn.
Cowes Harbour Commission | Website