Scaling up production is top of the agenda for UK yard

Stabilising production is top of the to-do list for Fairline in 2019, according to executive chairman David Tydeman, who took the helm at the UK boatbuilder toward the end of last year.

Speaking to IBI at the Düsseldorf boat show, Tydeman admitted that production had been lagging behind the success of sales and new product development – it had planned to build 140 boats in its first two years since the rescuing of the business from administration back in 2016. It actually built 102 – 22 in 2016, 35 in 2017, and 45 in 2018.

“The assumption was we’d build 90 boats in 2018 – we built 45 – so maybe we were a bit ambitious,” Tydeman said at the show, where the builder is presenting its Targa 43, Targa 48 and Squadron 53. “We had the challenge of restarting production and taking on the new Hythe site, so there was a big task list,” he explained.

Fairline has seen its revenues grow since the rescue from £10m to £25m to £45m last year, with headcount now standing at around 490. This year the builder is looking to produce 90 boats – 70 of which have already been sold – and Tydeman has appointed new production managers across its three key product sectors (its core 43, 48 and 53ft models; the new F33 line; and its 60ft-plus range) to help smooth the process.

Another key appointment includes Dennis de Roos, who will be joining the firm as its new commercial director next month. De Roos was a former commercial director at Morgan Cars.

The builder has also set up Fairline Design Studios Ltd to focus on prototype development.

Of the 90 planned boats for 2019, 15 will be F33s, with the first to hit the water at Cannes in September. The first of its new 63-footers launched at the end of last year and it has so far sold nine that will need to be delivered in 2019. It has also sold seven of its new 64 Squadrons, with the first launching in April, meaning it will need to deliver 16 boats over 60 feet in the coming 12 months. That task will be complicated by the movement of the production line for the bigger boats from Oundle to Hythe.

“We’re in a place now where the dealers are saying as long as we can build it, they can sell it,” Tydeman said, “but we can’t be complacent or over-confident.”