Alan V. Burnard

Alan V. Burnard

Alan V Burnard

Alan Burnard is most famous as the designer of the Fairey Huntsman, one of the great offshore production cruisers of the 1960s.

Alan was born in May 1925, and trained as a Naval Architect, he had been working as a draughtsman at the Flatland Shipyard in Gosport. Whilst contemplating setting up his own design practice in 1957, he was recruited to Fairey Marine, specifically to develop a new seagoing motorboat. Alan’s father was C W Burnard, a motor boat designer based at Itchenor and who was well know to Charles Chichester-Smith and Charles Currey, directors of Fairey Marine. They had sent a copy of their advertisement to Alan Burnard and suggested he should apply. On appointment in October 1957 he assumed overall design responsibility for all of Fairey Marine’s boats, and held that position for the next 25 years with acknowledged success.


Huntsman H23 H28 Line Profile - Courtesy of Charles Lawrence
Huntsman H23 H28 Line Profile – Courtesy of Charles Lawrence

The new seagoing motorboat was a hot moulded version of the Hunt 23 – the boat that was to inspire Dick Bertram to build the Hunt designed ‘Moppies’ when he saw it in 1958. Ray Hunt had been experimenting with the deep-V concept for several years and had a 23′ prototype which was seen in 1956 by Dick Fairey (Son of Fairey Aviation pioneer Sir Richard Fairey). Fairey Marine’s hot moulding techniques an plant enabled a hull to be formed as a very strong but light single skin of ply, not requiring internal frames.

The 23′ hull was used as a basis of the Fairey Huntress, designed by Alan, and also for the first of the Bruce Campbell Christinas. The first Huntress was ‘Rumble’ designed for Sir Max Aitken, and is still in use today, as a Weymouth fishing boat with the name ‘Waikiki’. The first Huntress to race was Dick Fairey’s ‘Flica’ in the 1960 Miami-Nassau, where it caught fire and sank. (However, another Hunt 23, driven by Jim Wynne, came second.)

Alan Burnard extended the Huntress hull from 23′ to 28′-10″, increased the depth of the topsides (and thus the beam), added more flare at the bow and a straight sheerline. A low cabin top, windscreen and gently curved coamings completed the composition to become the Huntsman 28, one of the most beautiful motorboats of all time. Over 100 were built between 1960 and 1970, and they were regular award winners throughout the 1960’s including third overall and first diesel boat in the 1961 Cowes – Torquay.


Fairey Powerboats desinged by Alan V Burnard and built by Fairey Marine at Hamble point between 1958 and 1975 - courtesy of Charles Lawrence
Fairey Powerboats desinged by Alan V Burnard and built by Fairey Marine at Hamble point between 1958 and 1975 – courtesy of Charles Lawrence

Alan subsequently designed the Swordsman 33, his own ‘Seafox’, a 30′ deep-V race boat, the Huntsman 31, and later, in glass fibre, the Spearfish and Fantôme. As the economy deteriorated in the 1970’s, Fairey Marine concentrated on military boats. The Royal Navy had ordered the Huntress for use as captains’ motor boats as early as 1963, and military variants of the Spearfish were known as Spears. Alan enlarged the design to become the 37′ Dagger, followed by the 45′ Sword. He was also responsible for the military Lance and Tracker, and the development of the Groves and Guttridge’s service boats after Fairey Marine had taken over the East Cowes boatbuilder.

After leaving Fairey, Alan set up his own office, where his principal client was the Al Buraq yard in Kuwait, who produced a range of his fast patrol boats. The company was owned by Sheik Ali Al Sabah, for whom Alan had designed the 53′ Amira built by Fairey in 1974, but it closed during the Kuwait invasion by Iraq.

Alan also had a parallel career as a designer of propellors for fast and semi displacement hulls, including many successful raceboats. He finally closed the door of his Hamble Point office in 2011, at the age of 86.

Charles Lawrence

February 2012


Playtime II (333) - 1978
Playtime II (333) – 1978

Recent Posts

Press Release 14th April 2019

Press Release – 14th April 2019

Embargoed until authorised by UKOPRA / COPC

Following the Classic Offshore Powerboat Club AGM at RAF Yacht Club today a presentation was held at their invite from UKOPRA to publish their new classes for historic racing which take immediate effect.

COPC as an existing avid supporter of the regenerated offshore racing scene in the UK had prior to that presentation formalised their affiliation with UKOPRA by unanimous decision in order to allow event organisation under their sanction.

Much work has gone on in the past months and UKOPRA are extremely grateful to the committee of COPC for their input and assistance in creating the new (old?).

Class 4 Historic

Sub Classes for Class 4 are as follows with offshore general rules to apply.

  • Runabout – Pre 1990 design to a maximum of 115 HP and 21 ft boat length.
  • Cruiser – Pre 1990 design with a maximum speed of 50 knots to be upheld.
  • Purpose designed – Pre 1990 design with a maximum speed of 60 knots to be upheld.

The aim is for historic boats to compete on the same courses as existing UKOPRA Offshore class boats with a reduced distance covered to reflect the need to preserve the historic equipment.

The points system to be allocated to this class of racing will take a form of only 25% coming from final race position with the remainder awarded to criteria relating to Presentation, Age, Spirit, Quality of restoration, Provenance etc.

In addition to the above the publication of new UIM rules relating to Pleasure Navigation now allows the following UIM Group B compliant boats to enter our offshore classes as follows.

  • UIM Promotion Class can enter UKOPRA 3A/B
  • UIM Production Class can enter UKOPRA 3X
  • UIM Super boat Sport S1 and S2 can enter UKOPRA 3N

Minimum levels of equipment carried will be as referred to in the UKOPRA general rules.

Records Weekend

With COPC now formally affiliated they are keen to run an additional event this year and have agreed to host

Performance Records

Event Organiser – Classic Offshore Powerboat Club.

Sanctioning body – UKOPRA

Date – To be advised but provisionally a weekend in late September / early October.

Location – To be advised although the Freshwater area of the Solent is favoured subject to permissions.

Eligibility – All UKOPRA classes with a minimum of two fully licenced offshore licence holders in control.

Course Measurement – Will be over 1 statute mile to be run in both directions and an average speed taken for the two runs.

There will be the opportunity for marine manufacturers to be measured subject to a suitable application and with a minimum of two UKOPRA licence holders in control of the vessel.

Whilst there is no requirement to be a member of any of our affiliated race organisers to take part in activities we do recommend you support them and any potential event sponsors would be gratefully welcomed.

2019 Poole Bay 100




Registration of vessels for any of the above classes will be opened on Monday 15th April 2019 which will add the owner to our databases for email contact.

Please subscribe to for further updates.

Sponsors interested in being involved with the series as a whole should in the first instance contact

  1. Renato (Sonny) Levi. Leave a reply
  2. SURFURY Leave a reply
  3. Westcraft of Topsham Leave a reply
  4. BELLA 2 Leave a reply
  5. Foam Flyer Leave a reply
  6. Here and Now Leave a reply
  7. A’speranziella Leave a reply
  8. S.E.Saunders Launch Leave a reply
  9. CT 1961 by Charles Lawrence Leave a reply