The Classic Boat Museum is a museum of boats and of the history of yachting and boating. It is located on the Isle of Wight at two separate sites on either side of the River Medina; The Boat Collection in Cowes, and The Gallery in East Cowes. It is a working museum featuring restoration. Work takes place all year round. In addition to classic boats, the museum contains tools, artefacts, books, photographs, film and archival items that relate to the history of boat building, sailing, yachting, cruising and racing over the last century.
The collection includes varied types of boat, most made from wood, that have now been restored. In addition to the main exhibits, there are also smaller boats on display including dinghies, canoes and rowing boats.
The Classic Boat Museum's Gallery, based in the former Saunders Roe 1935 building, houses a number of photographic and artefact items, including:
Yachting is the use of recreational boats and ships called yachts for sporting purposes. Yachts are distinguished from working ships mainly by their leisure purpose.
Yacht racing is a form of sport involving sailing yachts and larger sailboats, as distinguished from dinghy racing. It is composed of multiple yachts, in direct competition, racing around a course marked by buoys or other fixed navigational devices or racing longer distances across open water from point-to-point. It can involve a series of races when buoy racing or multiple legs when point-to-point racing.
Dinghy sailing is the activity of sailing small boats by using five essential controls:
Cowes is an English seaport town and civil parish on the Isle of Wight. Cowes is located on the west bank of the estuary of the River Medina, facing the smaller town of East Cowes on the east bank. The two towns are linked by the Cowes Floating Bridge, a chain ferry.
Cowes Week is one of the longest-running regular regattas in the world. With 40 daily sailing races, up to 1,000 boats, and 8,000 competitors ranging from Olympic and world-class professionals to weekend sailors, it is the largest sailing regatta of its kind in the world. Having started in 1826, the event is held in August each year on the Solent, and is run by Cowes Week Limited in the small town of Cowes on the Isle of Wight.
A regatta is a series of boat races. The term comes from the Venetian-Italian language regata meaning "contest" and typically describes racing events of rowed or sailed water craft, although some powerboat race series are also called regattas. A regatta often includes social and promotional activities which surround the racing event, and except in the case of boat type championships, is usually named for the town or venue where the event takes place.
The National 12 is a two-person, two-sail, twelve-foot long sailing dinghy. They are sailed extensively in the UK. The class was started in 1936 by the Royal Yachting Association as an alternative to the more expensive International 14s.
Uffa Fox, CBE was an English boat designer and sailing enthusiast.
Gipsy Moth IV is a 53 ft (16 m) ketch that Sir Francis Chichester commissioned specifically to sail single-handed around the globe, racing against the times set by the clipper ships of the 19th century. The name, the fourth boat in his series, all named Gipsy Moth, originated from the de Havilland Gipsy Moth aircraft in which Chichester completed pioneering work in aerial navigation techniques.
The Snipe is a 15 1⁄2 foot, 2 person, one design racing dinghy. Designed by William F. Crosby in 1931, it has evolved into a modern, tactical racing dinghy with fleets around the world. The class is governed by the Snipe Class International Racing Association (SCIRA) and recognized by the International Sailing Federation as an International Class sailed in 30 different countries. There have been over 31,000 Snipes constructed worldwide.
The International 14 is a 14-foot double-handed racing dinghy. The class originated in England in the early part of the 20th century. It is sailed and raced in many countries around the world and was one of the very first true international racing dinghy classes recognised by International Sailing Federation. It is a Development Class being controlled by a set of rules that allow for innovation and changes in hull and rig design as long as they fall within a set of specific limitations such as length, weight, beam, and sail area. The class has permitted its rules to be revised at various times in its history in order to keep the class at the forefront of dinghy racing development and can now best be described as an ultralight dual-trapeze sailing dinghy with large sail area. It is often raced with boats of similar design in one-design, or non-handicap races.
Fairey Marine Ltd, latterly known as FBM Marine, was a boat building company based on the River Hamble, Southampton, England. The company was created in the late 1940s by Sir Charles Richard Fairey and Fairey Aviation's managing director, Mr. Chichester-Smith. Both were avid sailing enthusiasts along with Chichester-Smith's good friend and former Olympic yachtsman, Charles Currey.
His Majesty's Yacht Britannia was a gaff-rigged cutter built in 1893 for RYS Commodore Albert Edward, Prince of Wales. She served both himself and his son King George V with a long racing career.
Alexander Robertson & Sons was a boatyard in Sandbank, Argyll from 1876 to 1980. Alexander Robertson started repairing boats in a small workshop at Sandbank, Argyll in 1876, and went on to become one of the foremost wooden boat-builders on Scotland's River Clyde. The 'golden years' of Robertson's yard were in the early 1900s when they started building some of the first IYRU 12mR & 15mR racing yachts. Robertson's was well known for the quality of its workmanship and was chosen to build the first 15-metre yacht designed by William Fife III. More than 55 boats were built by Robertson's in preparation for the First World War and the yard remained busy even during the Great Depression in the 1930s, as many wealthy businessmen developed a passion for yacht racing on the Clyde. During World War II the yard was devoted to Admiralty work, producing a wide range of large high speed Fairmile Marine Motor Boats. After the war the yard built the successful one-class Loch Longs and two 12-metre challengers for the America's Cup: Sceptre (1958) and Sovereign (1964). Due to difficult business conditions the Robertson family sold the yard in 1965, and it was turned over to GRP production work until it closed in 1980. During its 104-year history, Robertson's Yard built 482 numbered boats, many of which are still sailing today.
The Swallow is a type of one-design classic keelboat that was used as a two-man Olympic class for the 1948 Olympics. It is now sailed with three crew. Now a thoroughly modern classic, the main fleet is at Itchenor in Chichester Harbour, West Sussex, with a smaller fleet at Aldeburgh, Suffolk. There are around 40 active boats. As a National Class, the rules and affairs of the Class are regulated by the Royal Yachting Association. Many of these boats are named after birds and, in particular, sea birds.
William Umpleby Kirk was a pioneer photographer of the late Victorian period. He was born in Hull and grew up in nearby Market Weighton where, in the early 1870s, he set up his first photographic studio. Examples of his work from that period have survived and are collected. In 1881 Kirk moved his family and his business to Cowes, Isle of Wight. Cowes at that time was the international centre of yachting, the sport of royalty, the rich and the privileged. At Cowes yachts were raced, bought, sold and shown off. The rich and the titled came to Cowes to meet each other, to play and to be seen. Kirk photographed the boats and their owners afloat and ashore. He specialised in marine photographs, in portraiture e.g a copy of Kirk's photograph of The Marquis of Ormonde is held in the British National Archives at Kew. He photographed groups at house parties, tutor groups and sports teams of Naval Cadets at Osborne Naval College. His photographs of the sumptuous interiors of large yachts remain to record that era.
Akarana is a racing yacht which was built in Auckland, New Zealand in 1888 by Robert Logan (Senior) to represent that country in the Australian Centennial Regatta held on Hobson's Bay, Victoria. She was restored as New Zealand's bicentenary gift to Australia and is today currently the oldest vessel in the collection of the Australian National Maritime Museum.
Partridge is documented as being the world's oldest, still fully operational classic racing yacht.
Dolly Varden was a British racing yacht.
Blanche Coules Thornycroft was a British naval architect. She was not formally recognised in her lifetime but her role as an "assistant" is now better credited.