Sailboat Project CIC

Sailboat Project CIC

What started as a pub conversation between three friends back in 2007 is now a thriving sailing co-operative, offering nautical education and training, sailing practice, sail transport and sailing holidays.

The Sail Boat Project is a co-operative, currently with three members and with ambitions to grow. It’s based in Brighton where it has a 16ft sailing catamaran, several inflatable kayaks and plenty of equipment including wetsuits and life jackets. More recently the project has acquired a 10m long Westerly Renown ketch called ‘Karic’- a boat with two masts and room for six people.

The main activities of the co-operative are education, training, skill sharing and regular sailing practice. Kayak training courses are also held in York and the Lake District as well as in Brighton.

By following the business plan developed with support from The Co-operative Enterprise Hub, the Sail Boat Project expects that by 2011 it will own a yacht large enough to take 10 people to Spain, for example. Then the co-operative will be able to offer sailing holidays and long distance carbon-free travel as well as opportunities for training and experience on a larger vessel.

The business planning consultancy was provided by Jo Bird and Bob Cannell of Co-operative Business Consultants. Jo also helped the group to work out how the structure of the co-operative would adapt to growth. At present the three founders are the workers (part time) and the only members, but in the future the Sail Boat Project will involve some of its clients as members, becoming a multi-stakeholder co-operative.


  • We helped the Sailboat project to run some market research to establish whether their idea could float.
  • We helped the Sailboat Project formally constitute themselves as a community interest company.
  • We developed a business plan and assisted with financial planning.

Jo Bird, Hub adviser, said: “At the core of the co-operative model is a passion for activity. The people at Sail Boat have built a co-op around their passion and their desire to make it available to others. It’s about collective ownership and being very open to new members and new people benefiting.”

Credit for case study text to Co-operative Enterprise Hub

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