Former Royal Navy Fairey Huntress - ref 178
Beam 8’ 3”
Draft: 2’ 10”
Hull & Deck: Hot Moulded & Marine Plywood
Model: Ray Hunt design Fairey 23ft ‘Huntress’
Builder: Fairey Marine, Hamble, Hants
Hull Number: 121 See below
Year Built: 1964 See belowConstruction
Fairey Marine hot moulded Agba laminated hull.
The unique system of laminating veneers 2.5mm thick in Kola Blanka (Agba) with some six forming the bottom and five on the top sides, but this could varied to make the shell (hull) stronger, as occurred with the Naval Boats.
The completed shell was formed on a wood block mould, pushed into an autoclave (oven) with steam applied, the heat set off the glue, while pushing down the assembled veneers covered in a rubber bag. A finished hull resulted in less than one hour.
These hulls were incredibly strong for their weight and the process started in the aeroplane industry, perfect for the early days of lightweight powerboats.
Engines were very heavy, slow revving and agricultural in the 1950/60’s, so the speed of the Fairey range was something exotic at the time, with the advent of the then high speed commercial diesel engines.
This Yard/hull number 121 is an ex Navy Captains Launch, attributed to HMS Hampshire with service number 6548 (Forty-eighth boat in 1965) and therefore has the extra hull laminates for service use by HM forces.
It is understood that she was with HMS Hampshire until about 1982 before being re-issued to HMS Bristol and she went to small craft disposal around 1985
The British Armed Forces Small Craft Historical Group & Fairey Marine records, show that Yard/Hull Number 111 was the first Fairey Huntress to be delivered to HM Navy in Portsmouth for HMS Devonshire.
The Caption picture was taken on that delivery/hand over day, by Charles Currey, Fairey Marine Sales Director of the new Devonshire's Captains Launch driven by her boat's crew.
This Huntress had a major rebuild as can be seen from the pictures, new deck, engine replacement, screen etc etc as can be observed. These shipwrite works were overseen by a marine surveyor
Perkins T6.354 marine 24 Volt diesel engine, driving a single shaft through a Borg Warner velvet 1:1 gearbox.
Engine seacock & raw water filter.
Bronze equipoise three bladed propeller
New Cutlass fitted to shaft
Stainless steel Fairey Classic side scoops provide air to the engine bay
Single lever engine controls-new
Wheel steering to the Fairey bronze rudder.
The original rod and bevel box system, original Borg & Beck steering wheel with Fairey aircraft motif.
Original Fuel Tank & system
The Perkins engine was purchased from Naval Stores as a new/refurbished unit in it's packing case, which was fitted in 2012. Prior to fitment, this engine was dyno tested at Perkins Agents, Golden Arrow Ltd in Southampton. The output & power specification was exact ally as supplied to the British Navy for their Captains launches of 112HP at 2250 revolutions. The bores were scoped & inspected, no defects were found.
This Perkins T6.354 Marine Diesel Engine was sold as 135 HP at 2450 RPM and later 145HP at 2450 RPM for pleasure boat applications. Her Majesty's Ships often returned the fuel pump setting to the domestic 'pleasure boat delivery', so the ward room Officers could have more enjoyable water skiing
All skin fittings replaced with new during refit 2012
Survey for the 2012 Season
Twin batteries and 24 volt electrics, laid to the dash panel.
Cabin lighting and Navigation lights.
VHF with DSC linked to GPS
Anchor & line. 20KG CQR with length of chain
Bilge pumps - Three Electric, Two manual
Two cabin berths are upholstered with storage underneath.
The cabin would convert to a double with an infill.
Marine sea toilet with Blakes seacocks
The engine box is removable for full engine access and doubles as a seat.
The engine box lids are shining varnish
Usual complement of fenders, lines & warps, anchoring etc.
Hand rails on the cabin roof
Bow & Stern, spring cleats, Rope fairleads and bow anchor fitting- all classic Fairey.
Stainless steel bow push pit.
This Huntress was built around 1964 and delivered to the Admiralty with a Perkins T6.354 marine diesel for use aboard the fleet as Captains personnel launches..
They were particular popular as the ships company could water ski, and the often long distance from the anchored off warship could be covered quickly. One or two Huntress entered war zones such as the Falklands and other clandestine operations where their small size and exceptional sea keeping qualities, made them extremely useful.
This fast launch was allocated to HMS Hampshire and demobbed around 1985 after transfer to HMS Bristol around the Falklands conflict era.
The current owner has a history file and details of past maintenance, together with a survey dated December 2011 for himself. Sadly family pressure has put this Huntress on the market and she requires a new loving owner.
She retains all those lovely classic chromed details that make the Huntress not only a collectors classic boat, but also a craft that can be used afloat for enjoyment or family fun.
Huntresses are an absolute cracker of a little seaworthy boat, the brain child of Ray Hunt the naval architect who must rank as having the largest number of craft afloat in both power & sail across the spectrum of yachting, his 'deep V' concept was a milestone in boating design.
The Hull form was licensed to Fairey by Ray Hunt in the 1950s, after Colin Chichester-Smith of Fairey Aviation & C. Currey observed it, whilst sailing 6 meters pre war in USA , ahead of their time Fairey wishing to build powerboats post war. The Huntress had a slow start owing to the total lack of suitable engines, petrol being the only option, but the Perkins T6.354 was born and Sir Max Akin started the Cowes Torquay race 1961, principally to foster improved small offshore powerboats, so a whole industry of Pilot, Navy and domestic craft resulted.