Fletcher F23 first look: Iconic British brand to relaunch with first new model in 20 years

Fletcher, one of British boatbuilding’s most iconic names, is planning a dramatic comeback with its first brand new model in over 20 years and an all-electric future...

The new Fletcher F23 bowrider will initially be launched with petrol outboard and sterndrive engines but all-electric options should be ready towards the end of next year. The first demonstrator could be afloat as early as November.

“We are not saying too much at this stage as regards the all-electric solutions,” says creative lead Ed Ahmed. “But what we can say is Fletcher is a performance brand, first and foremost so for us electric solutions will not be about how far we can go. They will be about speed and having fun.

“As of today no other electric boatbuilder is producing what we aim to deliver, which ideally for the Fletcher F23 is up to two hours at full throttle and a maximum speed of 50mph.”

Designed in-house and based on a proven Fletcher deep-vee hull, the new model manages to combine modern snub-nose styling with a hint of retro, thanks to a frameless, tinted wraparound windshield.

At the stern a full width integrated bathing platform, with the outboard engine (or sterndrive) hung off the back of it, extends the waterline length and provides a place for wakeboarders and waterskiers to put on their gear.

This leads forward to a pair of sunbeds divided by a central walkway through to a deep set cockpit. Protected by the long wraparound windscreen and featuring a U-shaped bench aft and two swivelling bucket seats forward, this looks like a very secure and sociable arrangement.

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A hinged centre section of the windscreen swings open to provide walk-through access to the bow lounge with yet more sunken seating.

The hull is rated to take up to a 300hp (225kW) engine, which should give a top speed of around 45 knots. It will be built at a new production facility in Hambridge, Somerset and the construction will include carbon fibre reinforcement to maximise strength and lightness.

Fletcher expects F23 prices to start around £210,000 including VAT, pitching it as a premium British built rival to mass market sportsboats from Europe and America. If the F23 sells as well as expected, Fletcher is already planning to expand the range with a new F20, F26 and F30 already on the drawing board.


Remastered heritage

Fletcher has a long history of building sportsboats in the UK with an estimated 50,000 units sold since the company first started some 60 years ago. Many of today’s boat owners cut their teeth on its iconic range of small speed boats like the Arrowflyte 14, Arrowflash 15 and Arrowstreak 17 during the 80s and early 90s when sales were at their peak.

A flood of cheaper imports from the US and Europe put paid to the British yard’s success in the 2000s but many older boaters still have fond memories of Fletcher’s well regarded hulls and sea-keeping.

Fletcher Boats is hoping to tap into this nostalgic end of the market by offering remastered versions of its heritage models alongside the new F23 model – including the 14 GTO, 15 GTO, 17 GTO, 17 GTS, 19 GTO and 19GTS. These will eventually make the switch to electric boat propulsion too.

As we went to press, the first new Fletchers for almost a decade were in build – one 14, two 15s and one 19 – all with petrol power. For the time being all Fletcher sales will be direct from the factory.