Dawn Huntress

Hugo McGowan writes:-

Dawn Huntress on the Tyne

Dawn Huntress on the Tyne

Dawn Huntress was built by Fairey Marine on the Hamble. She was supplied ‘hull and machinary’ in kit form and completed at Toughs Boatyard in Teddington in 1964 for a Mr Hedges who I understand was a confectioner.

She is a 23′ Fairey Huntress, hull no 120 of 246 boats and was designed by Alan Burnard who was one of the pioneers of the deep V high speed planing hull. Faireys employed a unique hot molding process to build these boats. They were constructed from Agba laminate and are very light and strong. These boats were made famous in the James Bond film From Russia with Love. Sean Connery drives a Huntress fitted with a Deerbourne Interceptor engine and as usual outwits the baddies. The action was filmed on the West Coast near Craobh Haven.

I aquired her in 2005 and presented her to my wife Anna as a 40th Birthday present. Her feelings could be discribed as mixed at the time but she has grown to love her… I particularly chose a Fairey because of their reputation for sea-kindness and legendary sea keeping qualities. These attributes make her well suited to the East Coast.

When I found her she was in pretty much abandoned state down in Portishead. I have spent the last few years on a comprehensive restoration which has included new teak decks, new rubbing strakes, comprehensive repairs to the hull and a full repaint. More recently she has had a repower and the original 145hp Perkins has been replaced with a new 220hp Cummins B series which gives her a good turn of speed, is much more environmentaly friendly and uses a lot less fuel.

We applied to take part in the 2012 Jubilee Flotilla on the Thames. I was amazed to be accepted. It put me in a difficult position as I was in the process of a re-power and the Cummins engine that I was having built was way behind schedule. It eventually arrived in the nick of time and we had to go flat out to get the thing fitted. She did a few days of sea trials around Blyth in May and I then trailered her down to Ipswich.

We set off into a nasty Easterly which slowed us down for a couple of hours but as soon as we turned South we were able to give her some beans. It took us five hours to get to Tower Bridge. The Flotilla was fantastic. Despite much rain we had a great time and it was an unforgettable event to be part of. I trailered her back from Shepperton and she is now back in Blyth.

Should any of you sailors have an interest in going for a blast feel free to come and find me and I will be happy to demonstrate whar a Fairey can do. If you are curious about Faireys click on the link and have a look at the owners club website www.faireyownersclub.co.uk