Paddletug Iona


Hello everyone...

We are a friendly, welcoming club that meets twice weekly throughout the year at Fairlands Valley in the middle of the town to sail our model boats, have impromptu discussions about the models and share knowledge to help everyone along their boat building journey. Fairlands Valley Park is a large public park with three lakes. We use the middle one: The Millennium Lake. (SG2 0BL)  The park has a good café, good parking, paved paths and child play facilities.

Club business is carried out lakeside, with the exception of the AGM in January. We exhibit at a selection of local shows / exhibitions to make our club known to the general public and we visit other clubs. Our members have every type of boat: scale boats, sail boats, fast boats and slow boats; boats made of plastic and GRP; wood blocks and planks; old boats and new boats; boats from kits, boats from bits. We at SMBC just like model boats and the people who build and sail them. Come and meet us.

Brief History... Stevenage Model Boat Club started as a section of Stevenage Model Aircraft Club. In the 1970s, the boat section split from the aircraft section and moved to their current home in Fairlands Valley Park. In the 1980s, Syd McGoun and his wife re-formed the club as SMBC. At this point the club was at the forefront of the new sport of model power boat racing and for many years the club attracted members from a wide area, participating in competitions to a national level, held on the Millenium lake in Fairlands Valley..

When & where do we sail... 

 Thursday afternoon from 12.00 - 3.30pm 

 Sunday morning from 9am -12 noon throughout the year, subject to weather conditions!

Generally Thursday is more Scale & Sail, Sunday sees I.C boats and fast electric. 

You can find location details,  map and contacts on our ABOUT page

If you are thinking of taking up model boats as a hobby, join our club. Membership fees are around £25 a year, and for that you get... 

To join a friendly communiity

Have access to the rescue boat

Get help with building + running your boat 

If there are any special events being held which may affect access for sailing, members are usually notified in advance via email. 

There's a nearby cafe & toilet facilities, and free parking. 

Download our membership application form - you'll see membership rates here. Open it with suitable PDF reader and complete it by either adding your details and emailing it to the secretary, or print it out and bring it to the lake.

I.C Boats

Sprint cat

I.C Boats (Boats with internal Combustion engines - diesel, petrol or glow plug) can still be run on the SMBC Lake in Stevenage. The heyday of class racing at the club has long passed, but a healthy interest remains with enthusiasts meeting on a Sunday morning and a Thursday afternoon. All descriptions of boats are run, modern racers, ready to run boats, the latest hydros and near vintage boats. These fast and furious boats are subject to an 80 decibel noise limit, the same as required on the current racing circuit events. 

Fast Electric Boats

old hydroplane

Fast Electric boats are very popular, whether tunnel hull, mono hull, or the basic 'Club 500'. SMBC runs a Club 500 competition through the year, from Spring to Autumn, with members pitting their racing skills against each other using identical boats. 

Come and watch the racing on Sunday mornings at - check the Events page for dates.

Scale Boats

landing craft

Scale and semi-scale boats are most prevalent in the club now. Highly detailed models of naval ships and lifeboats abound, with a good selection of tugs, fishing boats and other work boats. Private yachts, speedboats, airboats and paddle steamers appear from time to time. Older models keep appearing, as does the occasional model that is solely a figment of a vivid imagination.



Yachts are popular as they can be sailed all afternoon, with the challenge of skill against the wind with no need to refuel or recharge batteries. There are not enough yachts of one design to make for viable class racing. On the water, for casual sailing, are marble heads, IOMs, (International One Metre) smaller ready to go models and semi-scale boats from kits or built from plans. Help with setting up boats and sailing techniques is always available at the lakeside, but the subject is too large for inclusion on this site.

Steam Boats

steam launch

We only have a few steam powered boats at the lake. However these boats are always appealing to other boaters and the public who come to watch. Building a steam boat can seem daunting but the results are very rewarding.

News ... We have a news page updated every month or so to reflect what's been happening at the lake, new video links, club 500 races etc. Also archive pages from previous years... ( these will appear soon, as the website is being re-built)

SMBC Events... We are involved in organising and attending various events throughout the year, both locally and further afield. By running some of these events, the club is proud to support the RNLI and Mercy Ships, a local charity funding a hospital ship off the coasts of African countries, providing life saving and life enhancing operations to local people there. See the EVENTS page for more details of what's on and what we do. Want to get in touch? Contact details are on the ABOUT page, with useful email addresses.

For Sale... We often have a few boats and associated boating paraphenalia for sale. It's probably cheaper than buying from an online auction site and you can get to see the boats at the lake too! 

If you want to sell a boat or some bits, email the web admin with details

YouTube Video Channel...

Don't forget to check out our channel on YouTube to see some of our boats in action... we usually have a new video every couple of weeks.



Currently there are no Covid restrictions in the UK.

If you have coronavirus symptoms: a high temperature,  a new, continuous cough, a loss of your sense of smell or taste,  get a test and stay at home. If you have attended a session within 14 days and test positive for Covid-19 please let the chairman know as soon as possible.

For more information please see