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Saturday 9 June 2012

Fairey Atalanta

Decked out for the Royal Jubilee this Fairy Atalanta has it's origin if not precisely in the Coronation year 1953 but is certainly a product of that post war period of English enthusiasm and innovation.

Fairey Marine applied hot moulded wooden construction developed in wartime, to production boat building, the technique enabled light weight and strong construction in the days before GRP became ubiquitous.

History recalls the Atalanta came about through the collaboration between Allen Vines a senior Fariey Marine executive and designer Uffa Fox, the Atalanta was conceived as a trailable shallow draft performance cruiser with the sea keeping capabilities and safety of a fin keel yacht.

There were three variants of the Atalanta, a 26ft (8.1m) hull with a slightly shorter cockpit and more headroom called the Titania (named after another Fairey flying boat), a larger version the Atalanta 31 (9.45m) and the Fulmar a 20ft(6.1m) version with a single lifting keel.

In 1955, Fox designed a 24ft (7.32m) prototype based on some of the concepts demonstrated by Vines in a development of the company's Albacore and after extensive trials the first 26ft (7.92m) Atalanta class boats were launched in June 1956. By 1968, when production ceased, some 291 Atalanta variants had been built at Fairey’s Hamble Point yard.

The Atlanta has a double berth cabin aft and a two-berth cabin, galley and heads forward. The self-draining cockpit has room for six, the unconventional but practical whipstaff tiller allows the maximum space to be utilised. Control lines, and halyards are handled from the cockpit and the headsails and anchor can be deployed by standing in the forehatch. The relatively modest rig and sail area needed to drive the lightweight hull make for easy sail handling as well as lower capital cost, with the additional benefit that the short mast is easily rigged or lowered for towing.

Many of these craft are still sailing and there is an active owners association plus you can follow Atalanta owner and fellow blogger Roy Woolley for first hand insight.


  1. Great post but I'm curious as to where you found the Atalanta. Do you know what she is called?

    Thanks for the link.


  2. Roy, the cream one was on the town quay at Lymington on Saturday of the Jubilee weekend, unfortunately no one was aboard so couldn't find out her history.

  3. I think it's 'Atalanta' old chap. I've been told off about that one by a Fairey enthusiast so you might change it before the same geezer has a snipe at you!

    There's a photo or two here: http://intheboatshed.net/2009/02/07/fairey-marine-boat-owners-have-a-new-website/


  4. What happenstance that the other Fairey posted is the Duckling dinghy! I've heard it said that the Duckling mould was used to make the Atalanta coachroof - and doesn't that look believable?


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