Ben Curtis talks us through his 47-year-old Fairy Huntsman 28 with an impressive racing pedigree in this owner's report

Product Overview

Fairey Huntsman 28


  • Incredibly tough hot-moulded hull allows for a 38-knot top speed


  • Plywood decking and mahogany scantlings require plenty of upkeep


Owner’s Report: 1967 Fairey Huntsman 28


When I started scouring the market for classic motorboats in 2001, good quality Fairey Huntsman 28s were in short supply, so I began my motorboat love affair with a very nice Huntress 23.

Like so many first time motorboat owners I quickly found that I wanted a bigger boat. Through the Fairey Owners Club I was already in touch with Dave Johnson, who was rebuilding his Huntsman 28 Playtime II in a tent at Universal Marina on the Hamble.

I really wanted one of the boats with Cowes-Torquay race history and Playtime has one of the best track records of all, having won trophies with Charles Currey at the wheel and raced by Peter Twiss.

When a Fairey Swordsman 33 that David liked the look of came up for sale, I sold the Huntress and Bought Playtime II and David bought the Swordsman. He has since moved up to a Triana Tantarella, while I have kept Playtime for nearly 12 years.

I gave up work and sold my car to fund finishing Playtime and getting her afloat; it took me 10 months.

Used Fairey Huntsman 28

Playtime in her tent at Universal Marina

At the time we did the deal Playtime was in a million bits. Most of the major woodwork was complete, the engines were rebuilt and in the boat, but there was still a lot to do.

Dave and I agreed a price and a plan for him to complete a specific set of jobs with three-stage payments along the way.

He completed them on time and I had access to the tent to start the work from the beginning. It’s a risky way to buy a boat but it worked out well for both of us.

Playtime is Lloyd’s registered, I don’t recall at what point we handed over the registration to me, clearly neither of us were too worried about it at the time.

I didn’t have a survey done at the time, as the boat was in a million bits and it was plain to see what needed doing and what didn’t. I spent a morning checking the wooden structure and couldn’t find any rot.

  1. 1. Introduction
  2. 2. Launch day
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