Two articles in the “MYA Logbook” section of the January 1979 Model Boats Magazine (click to enlarge) serve to summarise the events of 1978. One article ( “Club details – New Forest”) boasts of “one of the best radio waters in the country” with improvements to the banks providing a deep lake open to the wind and free from weeds. The water described is not Setley Pond but Snails Lake, a flooded gravel pit near Ringwood which the New Forest MYC had leased for use during 1978 and, it was assumed, future years. Although events forced the New Forest Club to move again in 1979, they never returned to Setley Pond.
Some of the New Forest Club members were unhappy with the move to Snails Lake which, when first used, had steep banks dropping into very deep water. Family members were concerned that it was dangerous for children, and some of the more elderly members found it difficult to launch and recover yachts, even after the slope of the banks was graded. They preferred to continue to use Setley Pond and, as a result, the Solent R/C Model Yacht Club was founded.
The second Model Boats magazine article from January 1979 illustrates why some of the keen yacht racing members of the New Forest MYC supported the move away from Setley. It describes a competition between Ryde MYC and the SRCMYC on 15th October 1978 and says that because of low water level and “weeds” at Setley the venue was changed to the open air swimming pool at Lymington. The available area of water at Setley does become restricted in dry summers; 1976 had been exceptionally dry and racing at Setley had probably been impossible most of the summer.
The mention of weed problems at Setley Pond in 1978 is puzzling. The poor quality of the soil and the lack of pollution from agricultural fertiliser means that, like other New Forest ponds, Setley is relatively weed free. Club member Graham Coombs (club measurer at that time) does not remember weed being a paricular problem in the 1970’s although sometimes, as now, the water level became inconveniently low.
The photographs which show Setley Pond at the end of the 1970’s or in the early 1980’s. Although it was obviously winter, the pond level was low with a large “beach” by the car park and the western “planks” well exposed. The present day car park layout had now been established with wooden posts and rails prevented cars driving to the very edge of the pond as had been previously done.