Gosport model yacht club preparing to celebrate pond's 100th anniversary

A MODEL yacht and boat club is gearing up to celebrate the 100th anniversary of a popular pond being opened in Gosport.

Friday, 9th July 2021, 11:52 am
Competitors urge their boats on at the launch of the 1996 Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club paper boat race.
Competitors urge their boats on at the launch of the 1996 Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club paper boat race.

The Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club is planning to celebrate the birthday of Cockle Pond in style.

Following the First World War, the Cockle Pond across from Walpole Park was officially opened in 1921, with the club having been founded a few years earlier.

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The pond has been the club’s home ever since, and so president Robert Hobbs hopes this beloved pond will be around for generations to come.

He said: ‘The official opening of the lakes on August 1, 1921, after the improvements had been completed, attracted approximately 3000 people.

‘The programme started at 10am and included yacht racing, a steamboat display, inter-school swimming races, water polo and a tug of war.

‘This is the third century of sailing model yachts at Walpole lakes, with the Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club.

‘Long may we continue to see these lovely yachts sailing on these historic and internationally important lakes.’

The Gosport Model Yacht and Boat Club is one of the largest and most active clubs of its kind in the UK.

It is perhaps best known not only for its ever-present contingent of model boaters on the pond, but also for hosting the national championship for the A-class yachts, organised by the Model Yacht Association, every other year.

Speaking about the event, commodore Chris Durant said: ‘We have people come from across the country to take part and there is even a family from the Netherlands who come every year.

‘It is a big event and people have to rely solely on the wind to help them win.’

In 1971, Cockle Pond was also designated a site of special scientific interest.

Robert believes that the consistent use of the pond has helped to keep it maintained over the years.

He said: ‘The importance of these events resulted in skippers and yachts travelling from the USA, France, Australia and more.

‘Thus the lakes of Gosport have been in the forefront of international model yacht sailing for over 100 years.’

2023 will also mark a centenary for the national championships – so the future of model sailing in Gosport appears brighter than ever.

A message from the Editor, Mark Waldron

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