History

Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation (CISF) , a 501 (c) 3 Foundation, was started in 2002 with a modest endowment by Bradford N. Swett, a lifelong sailor with a passion for sailing. Brad’s daughter, Hannah, an accomplished sailor and summer resident of Jamestown, took over as President of the Foundation when Brad passed away. The Foundation’s main mission to both provide & promote marine access, marine education, sailing and sailboat racing to people of all ages, abilities, and backgrounds. In doing so, CISF aims to develop the next generation of ocean and environmental stewards, as well as bring more people into the sport of sailing.

Since its’ inception, CISF has been assisting sailors on Conanicut Island by providing financial assistance to those who want to learn how to sail or compete in regattas at the international level.  The addition of Jamestown Sea Adventure Camp in 2012 expanded CISF’s reach to a much broader base to include non-Jamestown residents as well.  

CISF’s capital is supplemented by local fundraising efforts through an annual silent auction, as well as a fall Fundraising appeal. Over the past several years CISF has dedicated a significant amount of financial resources to Jamestown Sea Adventure Camp, held at the Town-owned park, Fort Getty. Each year of camp brings more awareness to the needs associated with providing such a service, but mostly it highlights the need for such a camp and the joy, confidence, and outdoor awareness being on and in the water brings to local youth. 

The most significant need identified over the past three years of holding camp is the need for an indoor facility to provide shelter and safety on inclement weather days. To that end, the Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation is pursuing a public-private partnership with the Town of Jamestown to create a community sailing and marine education center in Jamestown at Fort Getty.

Future Vision of The Conanicut Island Sailing Foundation

The Vision for a community sailing and marine education center is rooted in CISF's love for Jamestown’s marine environment. Each and every CISF Board member feels passionately about Jamestown's marine environment and making that accessible for all.  Each Board Member has their own story and memory of how sailing and the marine environment helped to shape and became a vital part of their life in a positive way.  These connections to the marine environment have become the passion that drives CISF to continue to improve its fundraising, programming, and community base each year.

Ft. Getty is blessed with a natural environment second to none within Rhode Island; located on a peninsula jutting into the west passage at the mouth of Narragansett Bay. Fort Getty provides a sandy beach, a rocky shore and a salt march, all facets of a marine environment that are ideal for exploration and learning.

Our vision for a community sailing and marine education center at Fort Getty includes a facility with enough space to do the following:

  • winter storage of boats and science equipment
  • Have a “wet” classroom
  • Have a multi-purpose room
  • A small office
  • Bathrooms   

The main goal is to serve the residents of Jamestown by providing marine access and education.  In the past, Fort Getty has served as the venue for regional and national small boat sailing events with much success. Fort Getty will remain viable, and hopefully even more appealing for sailing events in the future. CISF would like to work with the Town of Jamestown to develop a “Community Sailing and Marine Education Center”, which will provide service and economic benefits to the community through camp programming, sailing and marine education programming, sailing instruction, boat rental, and other community-related events that serve the residents of Jamestown.  The Fort Getty Community Sailing and Marine Education Center will also provide local and regional exposure of the Jamestown area as a positive, healthy, and unique waterfront experience. 

A public-private partnership described above will be a tremendous asset to the Town of Jamestown and its residents.  CISF and the Town of Jamestown are both in the business of public service.  CISF intends to provide 100 percent of the funds necessary to build the Community Sailing and Marine Education Center on land owned by the Town of Jamestown.