Cowes faces the future

First and foremost, I would like to express my thanks for the tremendous stakeholder support we have received to date on the Cowes breakwater project, with letters of support from many sources including both Town Councils, IWC, CHC Advisory Committee, clubs and class associations. The Commissioners and I are focussing our main attention on ensuring this level of support and commitment for the project, delivers the required decision to release the funding commitment and allow delivery of the breakwater for 2013. We hope to be able to provide you soon with positive news.


The sailing season may be over for most, but much work has already gone into preparing for the 2013 season. Principally, the necessary modernisation of regulations for Cowes Harbour in the form of a Harbour Revision Order and formulation of a complete, new set of General Directions to replace out-of-date and 'not fit for purpose' harbour byelaws. Details on the progress of these proposed changes can be found in the adjacent article.


CHC continues with its pro-active approach to communications via a number of channels, including the Advisory Committee and our monthly E-newsletters. Having an active Advisory Committee provides an effective communications conduit to stakeholders and harbour users, with major stakeholder groups and organisations represented.


There's a steadily increasing number of subscribers to CHC E-newsletters which aids the effective distribution of harbour information. However, I would like to encourage you to share this email with friends and colleagues to help ensure that Cowes Harbour news reaches as wide an audience as possible. Thank you.

Best Regards,

blue sig

Captain Stuart McIntosh,

Cowes Harbour Master


Winter lay up

If you're about to bring your boat ashore for storage over the winter then read on for some useful advice from the CHC team at Kingston Marine Boatyard on the River Medina, East Cowes.

From dealing with engines and batteries, to cleaning the bilges and taking out the upholstery, there are plenty of jobs to do on your boat before it comes out of the water for the winter months.

To find out more, contact the Kingston Marine Boatyard team on 01983 293952 or send them an email:


All roads lead to Cowes 

Early on Thursday, 20 September the team joined Rod Hodgson, CHC's principal Marine Pilot, as he boarded the Cowes pilot boat Valerie to go and meet the cruise ship MS Hanseatic at the North Sturbridge pilot boarding ground in the vicinity of Ryde Pier.

On arrival in Cowes Roads the Hanseatic dropped her anchor, paying out 6 shackles (164m) of chain to hold the vessel in position in the forecast wind conditions and tide.


The 123m Hanseatic was one of a growing number of cruise ships to call at Cowes in 2012 and was sailing from Hamburg to Malaga with 184 passengers onboard.


Cruise ship passengers visiting Cowes are ferried to Trinity Landing where they disembark to enjoy various tours around the Island and often a visit to Osbourne House.


Trinity Landing is an excellent facility in fair weather, however, a couple of ships have had to abort their visit to Cowes due to adverse sea conditions on Trinity Landing.


The proposed new Outer Harbour breakwater would dramatically improve the situation and allow CHC, and the Isle of Wight as a whole, to increase their marketing of the Island and of Cowes as a destination port for small passenger cruise ships.


View photos from the Hanseatic's visit to Cowes on Flickr.


We will be talking in detail about the work of Cowes Pilots in a future newsletter.


Cowes news for all

If you have friends or family who live or work in Cowes, come on holiday to Cowes, sail from Cowes or have an interest in the town's activities on and off the water, then please share this newsletter with them. They can register to receive CHC news here.


Please keep in touch!

Don't forget that Cowes Harbour Commission is always happy to gain feedback on its services and on the issues it is tackling on your behalf. If you want to talk to the Harbour Master, Capt. Stuart McIntosh or to Rod Hodgson, the Deputy Harbour Master, please feel free to call into the Harbour Office on Town Quay, phone and make an appointment on:
01983 293952, or

Cowes Harbour Commission also owns and operates the following commercial services: Shepards Wharf Marina, Kingston Marine Services, Cowes Harbour Moorings and Cowes Harbour Fuels. 

You can keep up-to-date with all the news on our website:


CHC Local Notices to Mariners (LNTMs)

Sailors and boaters using Cowes Harbour are advised to regularly check current Notices to Mariners.

Links to recent LNTMs:

No. 30 of 2012: Diving at Work and Commercial Swimmers

No. 23 of 2012: Cowes Harbour Fairway

No. 20 of 2012: Approaches to Cowes Harbour

All current Notices are available on the CHC website.


Above: Shepards Wharf Marina - popular dry sailing venue for day class yachts and ribs in Cowes.
Progress towards regulation changes

CHC is pleased to report that the statutory consultation phase for the proposed Cowes Harbour Revision Order (HRO) has been successfully completed. This is another important step towards modernising and improving the legislative powers available to Cowes Harbour Authority to ensure that 'local harbour rules' remain 'fit for purpose'.

Once the Marine Management Organisation has reviewed and approved the HRO, it will be laid before Parliament before it can be brought into force. This will then signal the start of statutory consultations on a new set of General Directions for Cowes Harbour, which will all be subject to an agreed adjudication process, if there are any outstanding issues that were not resolved during the consultation period.


The new General Directions will take over from existing Cowes Harbour byelaws and become the primary tool for local legislation within the Harbour.


CHC is committed to the principle of transparency and has already undertaken a significant amount of consultation with stakeholders and the Advisory Committee during the development and drafting of the new General Directions. It is now vital that the statutory consultation on the proposed new General Directions gets underway as soon as possible so that it can be a thorough and robust process.


In conclusion, these powers of General Direction are required in the interests of providing safe navigation within a busy harbour and therefore, from a safety point of view CHC is keen to get the new General Directions in place for the 2013 season.


Read the full story on

Commissioner insight - David Riley 

David Riley, the Cowes Harbour Commissioner responsible for Finance and Governance is a practising Chartered Accountant with over 35 years' experience.


He has owned a house in West Cowes since 1988 and for the last 10 years has spent most of his time there when not at work. A competitive racing sailor since his childhood on the east coast, he owns and occasionally races a 33 foot, locally designed racer/cruiser.


"For a public body, transparency in finance and governance matters is essential," said David. "Since my appointment in 2009 Cowes Harbour Commission has made great strides in moving towards full compliance with the guidance on governance. This guidance also expects the Commission to make a commercially acceptable rate of return on its assets. The surpluses we make should be used to support the long term viability of the port and thus for the benefit of stakeholders.


"In the 24 years since I've been in Cowes there have been many changes and improvements to the harbour, paid for from a number of sources including surpluses generated by the Commission.


"One of the reasons I was proud to be appointed a Commissioner was because I felt I could assist in the financial structuring relating to the breakwater project and I look forward to its completion by the time I complete my second three-year term as a Commissioner in 2015."


Read the full story on

New Chairman for Advisory Committee

At the September meeting of CHC's Advisory Committee, Red Funnel CEO James Fulford was elected as the new Chairman. There was consensus that a Vice Chairman should also be appointed and this position was given to Adrian Wilkins representing Medina Combined Clubs.


After his election, James Fulford stated that he would endeavour to discharge his duties as Chairman using best judgement as a delegate for the benefit of the Advisory Committee, regardless of the fact that he was a representative of Red Funnel. He also made it clear that if and when he was offering a view as a representative of Red Funnel, and unless this is stated at the time, his views should be interpreted as representing the Committee as a whole.


The Advisory Committee, which meets at least four times a year, is a key part of Cowes Harbour Commission's good governance policies, enabling stakeholders to bring issues to the attention of CHC, and assisting the flow of information to the Cowes and harbour community.

End of season mooring tips 

As the autumn nights start to draw in, it's time to prepare for over wintering your boat.

Firstly, please be aware that for vessels on a CHC licensed mooring it has always been the mooring license holder's responsibility to provide their own mooring strop or mooring lines and to maintain vigilance over them, reporting to the moorings team any problems.


Whilst Harbour staff endeavour to check mooring strops and lines visually on a regular basis and act on noticeable defects, owners should take care to check the strops and lines regularly during the winter.


Further, we recommend that all substantial cruisers on a swinging mooring should have double strops. Owners of vessels being left unattended for any length of time over the winter should look at roving a secondary line or chain for peace of mind to cover the possibility of the main strop parting.


Now is the time to remove, clean and store all pile lines. Don't leave them to foul up over the winter, shortening their usefulness and ruining your pristine deck and your wife's fingernails in the spring!


As with pile lines, the use of worn out multiplait genoa sheet is not recommended for pontoon lines and the practice of doubling up of lines in the winter is sought after and almost universally practiced.


If you should need any further assistance or advice, please feel free to call the CHC mooring team based at Shepards Wharf Marina on 01983 297821, or email


Read the full article on

Feedback on Cowes Port Handbook 

Work has already started on the 2013 edition of the Cowes Port Handbook and publishers Island Holiday Media are keen to receive any feedback you may wish to give regarding this year's Port Handbook.


We would like to hear from Cowes Port Handbook users, advertisers, and stakeholders alike.


Please email the editor with all your thoughts and comments on how the Handbook can continue to build on its long-standing reputation as a first-class guide for yachtsmen and visitors to Cowes.

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