What is a Fairey?

To a few hundred people a Fairey is an elegant motor cruiser that back in the 1960s participated in offshore races and today surviving examples stand out in crowded marinas, whilst at sea, a Fairey powerboat is generally acknowledged with a wave by the sailing yachts it passes, whilst most other motorboats are ignored. 

To thousands of other people, the word Fairey may also conjure memories of a Firefly, Albacore or Duckling dinghy on which they perhaps learned to sail, or even still use or race. The success of these boats provided Fairey Marine with the resources to develop the powerboats. 

The Huntsman 28 is the perfect archetype of the British offshore powerboat, a family cruiser, which also happened to do very well competing against purpose built racing boats in the Golden Age of British powerboating between 1960 and 1974.

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Huntress 23

Fairey’s first powerboat 1959. A 23 foot hot moulded twinberth cabin cruiser, with single petrol or diesel engine. Designed by Alan Burnard on a Ray Hunt deep-V hull. 28 built, plus 48 Captain’s Motor Boats, plus around 50 kits and bare hulls.

Huntsman 28

Developed from the Huntress by Alan Burnard, the 28’-10” Huntsman 28 had twin diesel engines and a comfortable two berth cabin. 87 boats completed, plus a further 27 kits and hull shells. Diesel Huntsman was third in the first Cowes-Torquay race in 1961.

Swordsman 33

The larger twin diesel powered Swordsman had an open aftcockpit or twin cabins with four or six berths. 42 boats built, plus 14 part complete and hull shells, and a further five extended versions.

Huntsman 31

A more refined version of the Huntsman 28 with drier hull designed by Alan Burnard, 28 built with a second cabin aft, six ‘Sport’ models with aft cockpits.

Spearfish 30

A glass fibre version of the aft cockpit Huntsman 31, the first few with wooden decks and cabin tops. The Spear patrol boat version with wheelhouse brought the total built to 131, most of the surviving Spears now converted to Spearfish.

Fantôme 32

Developed from the Spearfish with an aft cabin and futuristic design. Although 36 were built only eight stayed in Britain.

Amira 53

Fairey built two examples of this very elegant 53 foot cruiser in 1974-75, one of which has survived in Spain.