After the Second World War the Fairey Aviation Company was looking for peacetime outlets for its skills and expertise. With extensive premises on the waterside at Hamble, boat building was clearly an option and in August 1946 Sir Richard Fairey, the founder of Fairey Aviation, started the Fairey Marine Company to produce wooden boat hulls by a hot moulding technique previously developed for wooden aircraft. An obvious market was the increasing demand for pleasure craft. The sailing dinghy was one type of boat that was literally racing ahead as more and more clubs were started or expanded. Day sailers, cruisers and ocean racers too were developing rapidly as yachting was transformed from a rich man’s pastime into a popular sport.

Nowhere in Britain was design and building activity more intense than on the South Coast and in the Solent area, where Uffa Fox was a boat designer of established reputation. He had demonstrated the principle of the planing dinghy when he designed and built the International 14ft, Avenger, as early as 1928. Avenger was enormously successful as a racing dinghy because its V shaped hull enabled the boat to ride up over its own bow wave and greatly increase its speed. Uffa Fox adopted the same principle in his post war designs that included the well-known Firefly, National Redwing, Albacore and Flying Fifteen.

Uffa Fox was Design Consultant to the Fairey Marine Company that developed and moulded in wood a number of his designs. The first to be produced commercially was the Firefly following the success of its prototype at Henley in 1946.

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