In 1984 Southampton Model Power Boat Club which was set up mainly for Fast I/C Power Boats had a small but active group of members devoted to scale building & sailing. Frustrated with the lack of time allocated on the clubs waters for scale sailing as opposed to Fast I/C Power Boats they decided to look for alternative waters. New lakes at Eastleigh formed from the extraction of gravel for the new M27 had become available but on enquiry Eastleigh Borough council would only allow the use of these new waters by a local club.
The only way that the Scale group could use these attractive new facilities was by forming a new club in the area and so the Eastleigh & District Model Boat Club was born. The Club was officially formed in August 1984 by nine members and it was decided to join both the MYA and MPBC and from such small beginnings, the club gradually built up to a membership of over 80 in the late nineties with some members having an interest in both sail and scale.
The Sail Section, as it was known, established itself at Beach Lake, one of the three gravel pits that now form the centre-piece of Lakeside Country Park and the first recorded racing with Radio Marblehead yachts, was in 1988, followed by International One Metre yachts in 1990. Meanwhile, the Scale Section looked for its own more appropriate water and tried several locations without success, but in 1994 joined the Association of Model Boat Clubs.
Then in 2002, through connections with the Twyford Waterworks Trust, permission was given to build a pool within the Waterworks grounds specifically for scale modelling and this was officially opened in 2004. Then with TWT having plans to redevelop their site the scale section moved to a new larger site at Highbridge Farm where the Sunday and Wednesday meetings continue.
In 2016 the Club reorganised under a new constitution formally establishing a Scale Division and a Sail Division, each managed by their own committees whilst the Club Committee remained with an overview on Club activities and finances.
At this time each Division had about 40 members, with the Sail Division continuing to operate at Lakeside Country Park, racing Marbleheads and One Metres on Fridays and Sundays, and informal sailing on Wednesdays. In 2016 the Sail Division also adopted the burgeoning Dragon Force 65 class for informal racing on Wednesdays.
The Park waters are rented from the Borough Council, who permit the Club to keep racing marks on the Lake all year ‘round, and in view of the general age of members, the Council allow the Club very generous car access to the Park, conditional on members taking good care of the turf.
The Scale Division now established at Highbridge continued to develop its facility and has an annual regatta and barbecue in late summer or early autumn and holds & attends various modelling or charitable events during the year. There is a Chairman’s Challenge and various other competitions during the year such as the ever popular steering competition around a temporary obstacle course and the development of new propulsion. Organised and ad hoc visits are also made to exhibitions and areas of interest such as a visit to Chatham Historic Dockyard, invitation to the launce of refurbished steam pinnace 199 and the Fleet Air Arm museum. Social evenings and other days out also play a part in the success of the club.