The Fairway Castle
Our plans for a new landmark structure on Cowes Fairway
Probably the finest views in Cowes
The Island Sailing Club’s top balcony boasts sweeping views westwards of Southampton Water and eastwards to Portsmouth and beyond. It is currently occupied by an unheated enclosed marquee with window panels on its east side and by a sun deck which benefits from late sunshine – a rarity for Cowes..
The marquee is used for a small number of events in the summer when it can overheat and is unpractical for use in the winter. To the front of the marquee is the Club’s Race Box.
A permanent social space
It is proposed that the temporary structure is replaced with a permanent one with 270 degree views to the east, north and west. The Race Box would be retained and would be redesigned to ensure there is a clear view through to Cowes Fairway. Food and drink currently needs to be carried to the top floor and so to improve the ability to service the room, a dumb waiter would be installed in the Centenary Room. Should funding allow, we would also seek to upgrade the two top floor toilets.
An exclusive and very special room
The room would have two main purposes. Firstly to act as an exclusive Members' area with table service during the busy periods. Secondly to act as a flagship space for functions and events enabling the Club to attract high profile celebrations and corporate events – weddings, anniversaries, regatta dinners, company sailing days and corporate functions. The space would command a price premium for non members and would be a place where members can create some truly tremendous memories.
The Fairway Castle: A new Cowes Landmark
It is envisaged the Fairway Castle would be ideal for events holding between 50 to 100 people, whilst the adjacent availability of the Centenary Room and outside sun deck will increase the scope for combined usage where two or three different spaces are required.
We do not propose changing the Centenary Room levels or moving the bar. This recently decorated room is perfectly usable for regular meetings and serving buffet room if a function was held on the top balcony. The toilets need improving to 3 unisex toilets and a dumb waiter installed which would rise up from the kitchen to the bar. A storage room/shed could be created near the water tank.
We currently hire the Top Balcony Marquee for £200 and the Centenary Room for £75; the former is hired 4 or 5 times a year and the latter 6 or 7 times. Sales of food and drink for these events has not been itemised separately but is estimated to be in the order of £4k. The top balcony hire fee would be raised for non-member events.
The business case is based on the following upweighted usage and assumes more aggressive marketing of the space. Weddings have longer lead times, but family functions are more immediate.
A conservative projection identifies the potential for a bottom line uplift of c £22,000 p.a. with 6 weddings, 10 family functions and 16 buisness meetings.
Costs and Funding
Advice has been sought with respect to planning permission and we have received assurances that obtaining the necessary permits would not prove to be an issue.
Initial quotations for building the structure have been obtained and these are best case £150,000 with a ceiling of c£200,000. This cost includes fees, alterations to the Race Box, a timber frame cladded shell with bi-fold windows and doors, roof lights, roof and drainage and all electrical and plumbing works.
The Club lacks the cash resources to be able to fund the Fairway Castle and therefore we are approaching the membership as well as local and national businesses to evaluate the appetite for contributing to this exciting new venture. Three options are being considered:
- Naming: An individual or company who wishes to donate between 35% to 65% of the cost of building the ISC Fairway Castle could have the structure named after them and would choose the name of the building e.g. The John Smith Pavilion.
- Tiered Funding: We would produce three funding tiers – Platinum, Gold and Silver. There would be 10 Platinum Founders at £10,000 each, 15 Gold Founders at £5,000 each and 25 Silver Founders at £1,000 each. Each would be listed on a plaque in the room and Platinum Founders would receive a scale model of the building, Gold an engraved Commemorative Vase and Silver, a Founders Plate.
- A Castle Fund: We would embark on a fundraising programme, reaching out to members and businesses, with the idea of creating a range of fundraising events and activities which, over time, would build towards the financial target.
At this stage we want to understand how much interest there is for a project such as this. The Flag Officers and the General Committee believe it would add significantly to the overall amenity of the Club and hence, to the value of membership.
Any thoughts, comments or expressions of interest in the funding options would be gratefully received. In the first instance and without any obligation whatsoever, please contact the Club Secretary via email or telephone. Copies of the Funding Prospectus can be downloaded below.
Last updated 14:19 on 12 March 2020