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Town: St Peter Port, the Victoria Model Yacht Pond
Description/directions: The harbour has four large concrete jetties and the pond is on the most southerly one that leads out to Cornet Castle.
If you come in by ferry you arrive on the second most northerly jetty, so you have a few minutes¹ walk.
Parking on Guernsey is complex but virtually free. From the ferry office you buy a sort of cardboard clock for a couple of pounds. Then you can park for free in lots of car parks on the jetties, but depending on location your time is limited to a variety of hours from one, to three, to eight, which you fix by rotating the numbers on the cardboard clock. At certain times the most popular places are packed out (note: the most northerly car park always seemed to have spaces but that was furthest from the pond). However we found that by choosing a late afternoon we could park legally right by the pond.
But it¹s hardly worth it. (Better than the nav system in our car, though, it didn¹t believe that the Channel Islands existed and we spent a week driving through blue sea!)
Type: Purpose built boat pond, also used at fixed times by small children learning to sail dinghies.
Size: Medium to large.
Shoreline access: 100%, raised concrete wall.
Depth: 2 Feet (see pictures for wading!)
Restrictions: none that I could see.
Boat club: The Guernsey Model Yacht Pond Club, details on http://www.swambc.org/Guernsey%20MYPC.htm
Open public access Yes.
Other facilities: Parking all round. Good clean public loos, short walk. Castle with museum, further up the jetty: one of the museum guides kindly told me the history of the Pond and showed me some historic documents. Lots of interesting ship models in museum, too: Guernsey was once a shipbuilding centre. Tea hut on SE side. Large yacht chandlery on north side that sells the full range of Skipper yachts at prices well below the mainland, plus a large r/c lifeboat that (I¹ve been told) is supposed to be a limited edition only available through the RNLI, however it was in there and not too expensive. So if you¹re on Guernsey and you¹ve forgot to pack a boat, you can soon put that right.
Anything else to add:
In 1917 the pond was drained and used as a hangar for seaplanes. During the Occupation of 1940-45 it was drained again, this time used as the base for gun emplacements.
After the war the pond was nearly filled in and used for car parking or housing. We owe its survival to a stubborn hero who argued in the States (the island parliament) that the pond was both Royal and paid for by public subscription, and they should respect the intentions of the original builders.
In recent years its survival has also depended on its use for child training by the big-boat Guernsey Yacht Club whose large clubhouse is on the E side. Yachting is a major island sport, the seas around the island are rough and rocky, so it helps that the most junior members can learn dinghy sailing on this safe pond, right by the clubhouse. If you are a big-boat yachtsman and club member, the GYC will welcome you as an affiliate.
Finally there is now a new Guernsey Model Yacht Pond Club (2003) and with any luck the Pond will have a future if tourists like myself go to Guernsey to use it.
About the pictures:
Unfortunately the salt-water pond had been colonised by algae, and our regatta ground to a halt about 20 yards from the lee shore, as all the keels were wrapped in green threads. Because of this there were no race results, and we had to send a boy in to get the boats back.
Boats in shots: two 12² Skippers, A Star Yacht SY7 and Endeavour IV, a French Bretagne 1000, a Nauticalia schooner, and a small bath-boat lifeboat with a battery motor strapped to it, rather low in the water.
Not much wind, mostly sunshine with few light showers.
Listed by Andy Tribble [01.11.2005].
Anything to add or amend?