The UK’s Fairline Yachts is certainly making its 50th year one to remember, as it has announced a £30m investment over four years in a new-build facility at Hythe on Southampton Water. This will allow the company to build yachts up to 30m (100ft) and the new facility will see the creation of 200 new jobs.
Fairline has acquired a 20,000sq m (5 acre) site at the Hythe Marine Park which not only includes the former Green Marine site but also the Solent Marine facility and the listed flying boat building. Fairline is undertaking a nine-month building programme which will enable the company to construct yachts starting in the late summer of 2018.
Russell Currie, Fairline Yachts’ managing director, explained to IBI: “We are investing £30m over a four-year period which includes the Hythe site, tooling, moulds and product development. This will be funded by our shareholders through a mix of cash resources generated from the Oundle plant and capex funds.”
Fairline first made known that it would develop a new waterside facility at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September. Currie explained: “At that time the Hythe site was not available and did not become so until Green Marine went into administration. We were looking north, east, south and west for a new site but then the Hythe site became an option and opportunity.”
Solent Refit will relocate from Hythe and Allan Foot, the company’s managing director, told IBI: “We are looking to relocate to Fawley where we are currently deeply involved in negotiations over a possible new site.”
Once Hythe is up and running, Fairline will build yachts up to 18m (60ft) at Oundle and larger craft at Hythe. In addition to building, the Hythe site will also handle testing, commissioning and customer handover. The Hythe site will provide Fairline with large vessel deep-water berths and over 18,000sq m (200,000sq ft) of undercover manufacturing space. It is expected the new facility will initially create up to 200 jobs in the Southampton area within a two to four-year period.
Currie commented: “We will have an open application for those jobs, so former Green Marine staff (46 jobs were lost) as well as any of our existing 380 staff will be able to apply. We outlined all these developments to them yesterday.”
As to Fairline’s Ipswich facility, which is used for commissioning Oundle-built yachts, Currie said: “We have an 18-month lease on Ipswich which we will let run.”
Regarding product development, work is already under way on Fairline models over 60ft, including a relaunch of the Fairline 78, the company’s current largest model which has been built since 2002. At Oundle work is ongoing on craft from 10m-16m (33ft-53ft).
Currie told IBI that one of his team had commented in regard to the 50th anniversary: “This is the best news for Fairline in the past 49 years.”