A Look Back At Fairline

From humble beginnings in a gravel pit, Fairline Yachts has come a long way.

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What does a gravel pit have to do with Fairline Yachts? Well, that’s where it all started. Back in 1963, Jack Newington bought a bunch of unused gravel pits next to the River Nene, a tidal river in the east of England. He saw a need and created the Oundle Marina where, in addition to the marina, he had a chandlery and a fleet of small rental boats.

Four years later and in response to numerous requests, he built the first Fairline: a 19-foot fiberglass river cruiser called the Deluxe. Four years later, he retired and his son, Sam, a former RAF pilot and graduate of the Columbia University MBA program, took the reins with just 14 employees. Sam expanded the company with Mediterranean dealerships, launched the Phantom line and, by 1979, had a crew of 140 and was the first UK builder quoted on the Stock Exchange.

By 1998, the Targa and Squadron lines were well established, the company had 35 overseas dealers and a U.S. subsidiary company. In 2007, a modern 65,000 sq. ft facility was opened by Prince Andrew as the 12th production line and, in 2008, CEO Derek Carter visited Buckingham Palace to receive the Queen’s Award for Enterprise on behalf of Fairline. In 2010, the 12,000th Fairline was completed (a Squadron 55 for an Italian owner) and the company was purchased by Better Capital and the Royal Banks of Scotland in mid-2011, with plans for even more expansion.

It’s been a long road from a gravel pit to more than 12,000 luxury yachts worldwide but, today, Fairlines range from the Targa 38GT to the custom-built Squadron 80.

To read about the Fairline Squadron 50, pick up the September 2012 issue of Yachting.
To read about the Fairline Squadron 55, click here.
To read about the Fairline Targa 64, click here.
To read about the Fairline 74, click here. For a gallery of the 74, click here.