COWES, ISLE OF WIGHT
Skye Villa, Newport Road, Cowes
Charles Sibbick spent the early part of his life in the building trade in which he rose to become a contractors foremen. He was also interested in yacht design and construction and, in 1888 with the growth ininterest in small racing yachts in the Solent, he decided to turn to small yacht design andconstruction for a living.Based at the Albert Yard in Thetis Road, Cowes, he designed and built around 300 boats until the company went out of business in early 1903. Many of these were small racing yachts,termed Raters, but he also built a number of cruisers, the largest of which was 63 tons and over 60 feet long. His customers included the rich and famous of the day ranging from Princes and MPs to wealthy American businessmen. His boats were exported all around the world and some 20 of his yachts are known to still exist today.
Charles Sibbick drowned in January 1912 while rowing a small boat in the Medina River. The following is from the Isle of Wight County Press of 24 February 1912:
“Few men were better known in the professional yachting world than the late Mr Charles Sibbick, who was 63 years of age. He attained considerable fame as a designer and builder of small racing yachts, his wonderful Raters being remarkably successful at English and Continental regattas. Until the alteration in the yacht racing rules that practically revolutionised the design of racing craft, he was indisputably the premier designer of the type of racing yacht that made the name of Sibbick famous throughout the yachting world. At one time he had a very flourishing business at Cowes, employing a large number of men.
He had served on the Cowes Urban District Council and was one of the founders of the Cowes Conservative Club. In his younger days he was a good cricketer and he had been secretary of Northwood Cricket Club. He was a lover of bowls and played with the Cowes Bowling Club. His tragic death has caused a great sensation at Cowes”.