About Us

Swindon Model Boat and Engineering Club

The Club is a friendly group with an interest in all kinds of marine models and model engineering.

It was formed in 1931 by a group of model boat enthusiasts, who were out of work at the time due to the depression. They built their boats out of all types of scrap materials and sailed them on a lake at the rear of Florence Street. Swindon.

Since that date except for the period of the 1939-1945 war the club has been in continuous existence.

After sailing at several locations the main water before and immediately after the war was Cheney Manor Lake ( Plaum`s Pit ). Following discussions with Swindon Council permission was given to sail on the small lake at Coate Water Country Park, Due to weed problems we now sail at the Harbour at the same venue. We also sail at the Lotmead PYO Strawberry Farm where we have our Club Hut. Lotmead is privately owned and sail days at Lotmead are arranged between the Club and the farmer. Members meet for a Lake Day on the fourth Sunday each month from March to October at one of the above venues. Members can sail at any time at Coate. NOTE no I.C. powered boats are allowed to sail at Coate Water on Sundays.

Club meetings are held at the Coleview Community Centre, Stratton St Margaret, Swindon. SN3 4AS, on the First Tuesday evening of the Month, at 7-30pm.

The Club at present has a healthy membership which ranges from juniors to Senior Citizens.

All members require to have Public Liability insurance to sail a boat, this is by the MPBA ( Model Power Boat Association ) to which the Club is affiliated or by another recognised model  Insurance. The MPBA provide the guide lines for our compliance with current legal requirements.

Most of our members are social sailors, but a few regatta events are held each year, where members can indulge in friendly competition sailing against navigation courses and possibly against the clock.

The types of boats built and sailed by our members are ;-

Radio Controlled Scale Boats

These can be models of any actual boat such as Fishing vessels, Warships, Merchant vessels, Etc. They are usually electric motor or steam driven and can be built from kits, purchased hull & scratch built superstructure, or scratch built.

Radio Controlled Fast Boats

These are powered by electric or I.C. engines & are sailed in competitions divided by engine capacity, they are usually built from kits & developed by the owner. They can reach 50 mph.

Radio Controlled Yachts

These sail in classes based on design. Can be built from, Kits, Purchased hulls & scratch superstructure, or totally Scratch built.

Unfortunately the following types of boats cannot sail on either of our lakes :-      

These are normally specially Built & can be driven by I.C. engines. There are a few powered by steam. All are sailed tethered on a circular course & divided into classes by engine capacities. Speed reached 150mph ( air screw ), 135mph ( water screw ), Steam has reached 129mph.

Straight Running
Boats of this type are free running and are run over a course approximately 40-100 metres in length aimed at targets at the end of the course. The winner is the highest points. Power source can be I.C. Electric or Steam. They can be functional or scale and compete in classes.

Our Committee

George Kirkham

President / Chairman

In 1945 I started my apprenticeship as a Fitter & Turner at the Great Western Railway Works at Swindon & joined the SMB&EC, followed in 1946 the MPBA & am still a member of each.
My main interest is scratch building steam plants & boats for SR & RC scale, I also enjoy exhibiting at shows & sailing.

Colin Maxfield


I am a retired engineer, and have had an interest in modelling for about fifty years. This includes building and flying rc model aircraft. Recent interests are making and sailing rc model boats and making small stationary steam engines.

Brian Young


Richard Foggin



Club Members are willing to help with getting started in boat modelling. Our members have experience with most aspects of model boating and can give guidance and advice to the new comer to the hobby.

For the more experienced modellers assistance with making the more difficult parts can be arranged. If you have a problem with radio control, assistance can be given.

We have Club Pressure Vessel Testers who can test and certify the safety of Members Boilers and Gas tanks.
On our Engineering aspect asking for assistance could be fruitful as guidance may be capable of being given due to experience of your project, or
similar projects.

Contact us today on Our Contact Page