A brief history of Hampton Court Model Yacht club. David Bell ( Archivist at HCMYC ), May 2007.
The Rick Pond in Hampton Court Park(also known as Home Park) has been the venue for model yacht racing since the 1890s. Rev Leonard Sampson Lewis-Low founded the Surbiton MYC in 1893, the first club to adopt the water. By the late 1920s there were three clubs using the pond. The YM6mOA (Yachting Monthly 6 metres Owners Association) was founded in 1924, probably by Mr W J Daniels and Major Malden Heckstall-Smith. In 1923 the Major, whilst Editor of the Yachting Monthly devised a formula based on his 18 footer rule (the Yachting Monthly 6 metre). This was on a scale of 2in =1 foot, later known as the international A class. It was devised in collaboration with Mr W J Daniels for a series of international races between England, Denmark, America and countries of the British Empire.
The associations southerly branch sailed at the Round Pond at Kensington, Gosport and the Rick Pond at Surbiton. The headquarters for the YM6mOA was initially at the MYSA at Kensington, but moved to the Rick Pond in 1929 when the boat house was built. The YM6mOA was now recognised as a club with full and associate members. The club raced these newly developed A class yachts until the present day and continue now with both free sailing and radio classes as Hampton Court MYC.
The SLMYC (South London Model Yacht Club) were sailing on the Long Pond at Clapham between 1918 and 1928, when they moved to the Rick Pond. They sailed A class and 10 raters before the Second World War, then post war the club introduced the more popular Marblehead class. By the 1950s very few 10 rater races were held. The club introduced Radio control Marbleheads to its fleet in 1986 and have sailed both free sailing and radio up until the clubs merged.
There was also theSurbiton MYC, of which little is recorded. All three clubs had storage facilities. The YM6 boathouse was constructed in 1929 at a cost of £250 and was used purely to house the boats. In 1930 the then President of the club Mr T B Davis put at the clubs disposal £1000 for the purpose of building a clubhouse to adjoin the boathouse. The building was designed by Bill Daniels and consisted of a lobby, kitchen, ladies and gents dressing rooms, a presidents room and a function room. The water supply was pumped to a storage tank by hand from a nearby well. Lighting and cooking were supplied by gas. This was completed in 1931. The SLMYC had a shed like building, quite modest in construction compared to the grand timber building of the YM6mOA next door. The Surbiton MYC had a small brick built building on the Palace side of the pond.
The ponds water comes from the River Longford. The river feeds all the ornamental gardens of Hampton Court, flowing down the Long water canal into the Rick before departing into the River Thames. The pond has a fairly open aspect with mainly prevailing south westerly winds running straight up the length of the pond. The southerly end of the pond was extended by about 100ft in 1931 to 1010ft in length. The most recent change to the pond was when the southerly end was filled in returning to about its former length. This was to allow avenues of trees to be planted returning the park to the layout designed by Charles II. The drawback to this has been to make vane racing at the SW end of the lake difficult due to the steep and unsettled soil. Hopefully this will be addressed in the future. In 1996 the ground rent for the 2 existing club premises was substantially increased. This encouraged the two clubs to officially merge. The SLMYC boathouse was demolished and the combined club has been renamed the"Hampton Court Model Yacht Club". There has in recent decades been a problem of the Rick Pond weeding up during the summer months. A charitable grant was given in 2006, to fit an ultrasonic weed control device, and since then the weed situation has improved.
Today the clubs main classes are the One Metre, A class, and the Marblehead. The clubs success has continued to grow and is now thought to be the second largest model yacht club in the country. The club has a very active race schedule. Every Sunday and Wednesday there is club racing for the three main radio classes. The club also plays host to District and National events which attracts top skippers from all over the country. The club is also keen to promote Vintage and Classic racing as well as offering its facilities to other model sailing associations.Recently the Radio classes, R10 (Feb 2012), and MicroMagic(Sept 2010) have been added to the classes of yachts sailed at Hampton Court.