By 1969 Board approval had been given for a glass fibre powerboat hull, to be known as the Spearfish 30, or in much of their documentation as the Spearfish 9m.
A specialist moulding firm, Tylers of Tonbridge, built the first hull, the boat to be completed with a wooden deck and cabin top. To save the cost of a wooden plug for the mould the hull of a Huntsman 31 was used as there was no need for reinvention, except to shorten the hull to 30 feet, for reasons long forgotten. The 30 foot hull also has a lower freeboard at the stern, again for no recorded purpose.
A Huntsman 31 hull shell with substandard waxy timber was used as the buck, which allowed the modifications to be conveniently made.The first hull was supposedly too heavy and was rejected, and it recently became known that the hull was finished as the unusual Hercules.
Fairey redesigned the hull structure in conjunction and prepared a moulding shop in the factory to do their own laying up. But the orders received were beyond their capacity to mould and so they had to subcontract to Tylers and three other firms.
The Spearfish accommodation layout was straightforward with a pair of berths in the bright well lit cabin, a heads compartment on the port side and a rudimentary galley to starboard of the companionway. The first production Spearfish, with its wooden deck and cabin top was exhibited at the London Boat Show in 1969, and was powered with twin 175hp Perkins which achieved 30 knots.
The list price for an all glass fibre Spearfish in 1971 was £9,950, but the wooden deck and cabin version continued to be offered, at a less affordable £11,475. Deck and superstructure moulds had been made by Fairey, and interior mouldings were added as well.
Spear patrol boats
Following the success of the naval Huntress, a pleasing timber wheelhouse was added to the Spearfish, which was marketed as the Spear 9m, and a few were sold to several police forces. This was followed early in 1977 by the Spear Mk II with a much less attractive but more menacing wheelhouse in glass fibre. In the Mk II Spear more of the cabin and cockpit interior was also formed from glass fibre mouldings, but apart from the enclosed wheelhouse and cabin windows, the layout was similar to the Spearfish. Dimensions and power options were also as for the Spearfish.
These boats were an immediate sales success, and more than compensated for the stalled sales of the pleasure boats, caused by the imposition of the 25% VAT.
Like the military Huntresses, some of the Spears were kitted out with rather improbable machine gun mountings. A gunner standing on the foredeck would have been extremely vulnerable, not least to the movement of the boat. Today, almost all the Spears have been transformed into Spearfish.