The Fairey name has been associated with speed, power and performance for over a century. Its origins were in aviation where, during the first half of the twentieth century, it built thousands of military aircraft chiefly for naval aviation. With names like Fulmar, Albacore and Swordfish it was clear even then the sea was already an important element in its business model and indeed the founder of Fairy Aviation – Sir Richard Fairey - was a keen yachtsman.
1940s – The early days
Fairey Marine was created by the directors of Fairey Aviation in the late 1940s to build boats in Hamble, Hampshire, on the UK’s south coast, using techniques which had been developed in the construction of some of the company’s aircraft.
The use of the then-revolutionary hot-moulded vacuum process enabled Fairey to build firstly a range of highly successful range of sailing dinghies, mostly designed by the legendary Uffa Fox, and later performance motor boats. For many years thereafter, Fairey Marine was the world’s single largest boat manufacturer outside the United States, selling up to 1,000 boats a year.
1950s – The move into Motorboats
In 1957, in response to a demand for fast motor boats, Fairey Marine took the decision to develop a Ray Hunt-designed ‘deep V’ hull design.
A talented young naval architect called Alan Burnard was employed to evolve the design into what became the Huntress (a single engined fast motor cruiser) He then went on to design the larger Huntsman 28 (a twin inboard engine fast cruiser) and all further highly successful models in the Fairey motor boat range.
1960s – The glory days
In 1960, Peter Twiss – a former Fairey Aviation test pilot and world air speed record holder - joined Fairey Marine to help develop the market and race a new breed of powerboats. The entire range had hull designs which gave outstanding sea-keeping capabilities, superb performance and easy handling.
Although primarily designed as fast motor cruisers, between 1961 and 1973 Fairey boats won no fewer than 202 awards – and 54 in 1969 alone – for their success in various prestigious endurance races such as the Cowes-Torquay, Round Britain and London to Monte Carlo. The Huntsman 28 proved to be the most successful with no fewer than 22 different boats taking part in these demanding races. They also featured in popular culture, not least in the powerboat chase scene in the 1963 James Bond movie ‘From Russia with love’.
2020 – Renaissance
Today, the bloodline has been revived by the new Fairey Marine. Following years of maintaining and restoring original vessels from this quintessential British brand, it has now begun production of these prestigious boats from the original designs with meticulous attention to detail. The new boats will display the elegant lines, retain the keen performance and style, and will be finished to exacting standards only found in hand made products. The vessels are fully customisable, with an owner being assured that their vessel will retain the true DNA of a Fairey Marine powerboat.