The end of an era…

By | July 12, 2017

Fairline Squadron Yachts outside the Ipswich testing facility – image: Oxyman

Sam Newington, son of the original Jack Newington, has passed away at home peacefully, aged 82.

Father Jack had started in the marine industry with a series of gravel pits on the River Nene. One of these gravel pits became Oundle Marina.

The first of the Fairline Boats brand was a 19ft (5.8m) boat built in glass-reinforced plastic and, apparently, launched in 1967. When Sam, a former Royal Air Force pilot and Columbia University MBA graduate, took over in 1971, the company employed 14 people.

Sam expanded the company’s sales network overseas to take advantage of the expanding Mediterranean market place – by 1979 the company employed 140 people and turned over £5 million, with production expanded by the success of 1977’s Fairline 40 model.

The company expanded in the 1980s developing lines of high speed cruising yachts. When Sam retired in 1996, the company expanded further by establishing Fairline Boats of North America Inc., creating a network of 35 dealers.

In 2002 the 10,000th Fairline was completed, together with new production facilities at the original Oundle site. By 2010, the 12,000th Fairline was completed, a Squadron 55 shipped to a client in Italy. The Fairline Owners Club was founded in 2003

In 2006 the company was purchased by 3i, ending Sam’s involvement in the company founded by his father Jack in the 1970s.

The company launched the Fairline Targa 38 in 2006, which won the European Powerboat of the Year in the 30 ft (9.1 m) to 40 ft (12 m) category in 2007. Fairline Boats was purchased by Better Capital and RBS in July 2011. In September 2015, Fairline Boats was bought by luxury brand group Wessex Bristol.

Having suffered a series of trading difficulties since post the 2008 Global recession, in November 2015 the company directors proposed a company voluntary arrangement to its creditors. However in December 2015 Fairline Boats entered administration.

In January 2016, Alexander Volov and Igor Glyanenko, UK-based Russian businessmen, purchased the assets of Fairline Boats for about £4 million.

Fairline Yachts Ltd’s new managing director Russell Currie announced a reduction in the workforce from the previous 466 to “around 100”. In March 2016, Fairline Yachts completed their first build, a Targa 48GT, for a UK customer. In May 2016, Fairline Yachts announced a partnership with the yacht designer Alberto Mancini and naval engineers Vripack to work on the design of the future Fairline model range.

The company builds motor yachts in Oundle, Northamptonshire.