1961 Fairey Huntress 23
Our Fairey Huntress 23, hull number 40 was proudly displayed on the Fairey Marine stand at the 1961 Earls Court International Boat Show. These gorgeous fast launches had the ability to use their power to lift themselves out of the water rather than pushing themselves through it. In the late 1950s legendary American marine designer C. Raymond Hunt had perfected a ‘Deep V’ – shaped hull which planed across the water surface with a softer landing over waves and great directional stability.
The Deep-V hull, which Hunt developed throughout his early design career, changed the traditional bow and underside of motorboats to a shape resembling its name. This design enables a boat to slice through the water, instead of pounding down on top of each wave. The result is a more comfortable ride for the passengers and a boat with a defined centre line better able to stay on course.
British naval architect Alan V Burnard was responsible for the design of all Fairey Marine’s motor and military boats from 1957 until 2002. In 1960 he developed the Hunt hull into the Huntsman 28 with twin diesel engines. This model and the 23ft single-engined Huntress 23 achieved legendary status in the 1963 James Bond epic ‘From Russia with Love’ which featured five Fairey boats in a dramatic chase scene featuring Sean Connery as James Bond and Daniela Bianchi as Tatiana Romanova. In the world of classic cars the iconic Aston Martin DB5 will always be associated with James bond. In classic motor boats, the same is true of the Fairey Huntsman and Huntress.
Originally some examples were fitted with powerful, but extremely thirsty petrol engines and the history of our Huntress shows that early in its life a 1945 Perkins S6M diesel engine was fitted. These famous engines were used to power Seaplane Tenders as well as Army River Class Fast Launches. In 1997 this engine was replaced by a 145hp 1968 Perkins T6.354 turbocharged marine diesel engine. Remarkably, our history file contains several letters and an invoice from the boat’s famous designer. In the letters Alan Burnard outlines for the then owner his new design and manufacture of engine mountings for this more powerful engine. At the time this extraordinary man was 87 years old and although he resigned from Fairey Marine in 1982, he maintained his office at Hamble Point Marina until 2011.
Fairey Marine perfected a hot moulding process. Boat hulls consisted of a single piece of plywood, formed to the finished shape of the boat. Several layers of timber strips were glued and laid up over a solid buck, which were then baked in an autoclave. This produced an extremely strong and remarkably durable hull. Although Fairey produced many boats for the rich and famous many Huntress Hulls were bought by the Ministry of Defence and were completed by various boatyards for use as ships Captain's or Admirals motor boats for use on various warships by the Royal Navy.
Our Huntress retains its original configuration as a 2 berth motor boat with sink, cooker and single head. It is fully equipped with a modern VHF radio, Navman plotter, Raymarine Tridata depth/speed display, life jackets, fenders and numerous accessories. There is a huge history file which even includes an original 1961 Boat Show badge with pin!
A very rare opportunity to purchase a rare and important wooden motor boat with an impeccable pedigree.
Please follow the video link to this wonderful boat in action.