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Motorboat Monday: A diminutive Fairey with a fair bit of urge

Chris Haining January 23, 2017 Motorboat Monday 7 Comments

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After last week’s shallow-draft scorcher from North America, today’s offering for Motorboat Monday comes from three thousand miles West, and could barely be more different in character than the V8-motivated Kindsvater.

It’s only fifteen feet long, and has a fraction of the power, but good things come in small packages. As with last week’s boat, today’s has been the subject of a painstaking restoration, and is a glorious example of a boat that has become rather rare.

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The name sums it up. This boat was built in 1959 by a company that many marine and aviation enthusiasts will have heard of: Fairey. The Aviation side of the business came first, you may remember the Fairey Swordfish bi-plane, the Firefly fighter or the Gannet airborne early warning aircraft. No? Inexcusable. After the war, the boatbuilding arm of Fairey was born, with both commercial and leisure customers.

This was one of their smaller boats. More famous is the Fairey Huntress (as seen in From Russia With Love), the larger Huntsman and the later Swordsman, all of which were to become extremely highly regarded. The 15 foot Fairy Cinderella was of good stock, then.

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This example is, it has to be said, not wholly original. But I’m not so sure this is as much of an issue with a classic boat as it is with a car. Both need a lot of maintenance, for sure, but it seems crazy not to upgrade components on a boat when the opportunity arises, particularly if it makes it easier to live with.

The majority of examples of the Cinderella were built for the use of outboard motors – this rare inboard-powered machine is properly referred to as a Fairey Carefree. And don’t be fooled by the Volvo Penta tachometer.

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Wicked Fairey’s Sea Tiger engine is in fact a marinized version of the Ford Crossflow engine. In this case it’s essentially the same tune as the 1600 GT engine, which gives the little boat something around 100hp, enough for around thirty knots.

It’s a planing hull, of course, with a medium vee shape. There are pronounced spray rails at the bows for a reasonably dry ride, and I imagine she’d be a pleasure to be aboard.

 

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She’s certainly a pleasure to look at. Her lines look entirely conventional until you reach the stern, where you notice a beautiful reverse sheer and trapezoidal transom. The polished wood shows off her construction – cold-moulded ply in typical Fairey style.

I enjoy the contrast in the image above – the sedate, graceful British Fairey against the atomic power of the no-holds barred American Kindsvater. I’d like both, please.

(Images copyright Chris Haining / Hooniverse 2017.Thanks to the Classic Motor Boat Association)

  • Rover 1

    Room for a V8 in there?

    • spotarama

      if theres room for a cross flow then theres always room for a rover V8, if not, well its only plywood, pass the jigsaw……

  • Batshitbox

    True Fact: Ol’ Batshitbox is taking a few weeks to go to The Wooden Boat School in Brooklin, Maine next summer. My goal is to be able to pop out a few canoes and kayaks and lake boats every once in a while to earn my beer money in my retirement years. Also if I don’t acquire a completely new skill set every decade or so I turn into a pumpkin. True fact.

    (Also, Fairey Swordsman is quite the double entendre, but I’m still not stooping to making any motorboat jokes.)

    • Excellent! Both for the near-pun and life intentions. There’s a boatbuilding school up the coast from here; I must pay them a visit some time.

    • Alff

      Fairey Swordsman does not enjoy motorboating.

    • Alff

      Also, enjoy the boating school. Uncle Charley, from whom the Ford at left passed, took up wooden canoe building as an avocation. His goal was to build one for each of this three sons. Sadly he didn’t cross the finish line. His boys will eventually finish the third. It was very time consuming. Like many good things, not a pastime that will compensate for all of the hours spent.

      • 1slowvw

        Building a boat is something that gets my attention on a 2 year cycle. Most times I convince myself to build a hydroplane, something small like a mini most XL but I end up realizing theres no room in the garage, and my wife is a better woodworker then I so I would end up needing a lot of assistance.