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Friday, 29 June 2012

Fairey Duckling

Hugh Coryn wrote to say that he had recently acquired a Fairey Duckling, built 1962 still varnished complete with her original suit of Williams sails.

Although still usable Hugh's intention is make whatever restoration is necessary to bring her back to as near original as possible.

In the post war years Fairey produced sailing dinghies utilising techniques that had been employed in the construction of wartime aircraft. Fairey Marine output included the Firefly, Albacore, Falcon, Swordfish, Jollyboat, Flying Fifteen, 505 and International 14's along with the much smaller Dinky and of course the Duckling which was designed by Uffa Fox.

The hot moulding process was an adaptation to post war boat building of the method originally developed by de Havillands in the 1930′s for “stressed skin” wooden aircraft production, using layers of agba sandwiched together with glue over a male mould and “cooked” in a large oven called an “autoclave” By using true mass-production techniques, Fairey Marine were able to turn out vast numbers of identical boats at an unprecedented quality and price.

As you can see Hugh's boat is a Hamble native.

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.