Fairey Marine Duckling with No Name Yet

by Gill
(Winchester UK)

My boat is a Fairey Marine Duckling.

It's little. It has oars, but no mast.

I don't mind, I love rowing, I find it very therapeutic.

Not that it's something I do very often. My partner enjoys fishing, not that he does that very often.

Between us, we have the potential for some good days out.

I don't know it's age or anything much about it. It hasn't got a name.

I haven't actually got the boat yet.
A friend has been restoring it and can't finish it as he's about to go off on a 2 year tour of Britain and Europe. (lucky devil!)
I didn't know he had it, but when he showed it to me I fell in love with it.

Now he's given it to me to finish off.

I don't know a thing about restoring wooden boats, or any of the technical terms for things.

This is going to be a really new experience for me!

Hopefully I'm going to be able to find out what I need to know here, and eventually have a lovely little boat to play with.

Here she is at last

Collected yesterday and now residing in my partner's (that's him, the scruffy one), workshop, waiting for me to do whatever it is that I need to do.

I have to admit that this boat looked a lot smaller when it was in my friends back garden!

A bit of rubbing down I think, inside and out, and a coat of varnish or maybe paint inside.

I don't know.

There are a couple of patches, which look like they're probably quite well done, so I will leave those bits alone.

New runners underneath.

I understand that these are made of strips of wood with strips of brass on top.

Is this correct?

What sort of wood should they be and where would I buy it from?

Advice would be very, very welcome.

Here is another view of my duckling, any advice on what to do with the insides gratefully accepted.

Comments for Fairey Marine Duckling with No Name Yet

Click here to add your own comments

Duckling or dinky.
by: michael

Hello Gill,

I love your little boat, and tho' I have come to this website rather late (by about 5 years)!, I hope she is still going well.

She is of course, as others have said, a Dinky. A lovely tender , and I wish I had one.

Best wishes,

Michael Young

Fairey Dinky
by: Anonymous

Hi -

I grew up with one of these. It is a Fairey Dinky not a Duckling


what a sweet boat
by: andrew

Rowings is nice but hard work when its breezy.

I made a mast once from two pieces of soft springy wood stuck together for a boat this size and it worked very well, still got it in fact.

But someone knicked the boat!

When choosing the wood the knots in it, if any, must be a small as poss.

by: Anonymous

I'm looking for a Sailing Duckling here in USA - East Coast.

Let me know djtj535@aol.com

Fairy Dinky
by: Anonymous

Dave from Cornwall is correct she is a 'Fairy Dinky'.

As he says the 'Duckling' had a much more rounded bow, to my mind the 'Dinky' is much prettier.

Rugged dinghies
by: Anonymous

From a post on Bill's Log

After 50 years of continuous use, quite a few Ducklings remain in service, which is a testament to the durability of resin impregnated agba.

These rugged dinghies can carry up to three people, plus their gear, and still have acceptable freeboard.

Most Ducklings are equipped with a sailing rig consisting of wooden spars short enough to fit into the boat, a Gunter mainsail and a small jib, plus a daggerboard and a kick up rudder with a tiller.

Cornwall UK
by: Dave Cornwall UK

Just been reading about the restoration of the 'Fairy Duckling'.

The boat is in fact a 'Fairy Dinky'.

The difference is that the Duckling is 9ft long and the Dinky is 7ft 6 inches long.

Also the Duckling had a much more rounded bow.

Hope this helps,

by: mike

Hi Michael,
I'm not quite sure what your question refers to.

Are you talking about a boat?s buoyancy or personal buoyancy aids?


by: Michael

(Excuse me for not being V. COMPUTER SAVVY!)...

Duckling without a name - still
by: Gill

Hi Stuart,

Well, mine has 2 oarlocks and two oars to go with them, original ones by the look of them.
They certainly look well used.

It's got a rather tarnished brass ring and I don't know about a hinged transom because I don't actually know what one of them is!
I'm very ignorant when it comes to boats (though I did go sailing for a week last summer, but that's a different story)

I haven't found a brass plaque or a serial number yet, but have to admit, I haven't looked.

The cold weather has kept me out of the workshop where the boat lives for the present and where my other half is restoring a VW campervan (lots of grinding and welding going on there and I'm not sure how compatible the two projects are going to be).

I've also been getting to grips with a new job so not a lot of time to spare.

Hopefully I'll be getting dusty in the near future.

Unfortunately I don't know anything about the boat, other than what I've learnt from this website.

And a very good one it is too.

If I find anything out I'll certainly let you know.

Does yours have a name?

Uffa Fox
by: Anonymous

Uffa Fox, who designed the Duckling among others, also designed an Airborne Lifeboat, which is on display at the Classic Boat Museum in Newport, Isle of Wight.

It has been shortlisted as one of the objects that will be included in a BBC program about how Hampshire and the Isle of Wight made an impact on the history of the world.

Fairey duckling
by: smwyeth

Hey, I have one as well. Beautiful little boat.

It is in great shape with four oarlocks with the inset blocks, hinged transom, wash runner board in the bottom, brass tow ring in the prow and a brass plaque on the transom stating the Fairey marine Ltd, England sole distributorship bt G O'Day Boston Massachusetts.

I can't find a serial number on her.

I would love to know more, any advice?



my email is smwyeth(at)stjoelive(dot)com

My Duckling
by: Anonymous

Once I get working on her the questions will flow!

I would be interested in finding out the history, so thank you for that tip too.

I will certainly take photos when I get her.


Dec 14, 2009

Many thanks for your advice.

I will do as you say and give her a wash before sanding and I agree that it would be a shame to paint nice wood.

I shall certainly check out Alresford, I didn't know there was a timber place there.

And I will be dragging my partner around boat jumbles next year, it will pay him back for all the motorcycle jumbles he's dragged me round!


A little Duckling
by: Mike

Hi Gill,

Aren?t you lucky!

Fairey built lots of beautiful boats including several famous dinghies like the Firefly, Flying Fifteen and cruisers like the Atlanta designed by Uffa Fox, to name but a few, and of course the Duckling.

And as they were built just down the road from you on the Hamble, I reckon that is where you should take your Duckling for her maiden voyage.

If you are interested in her history there should be a hull number stamped on her somewhere, probably on the keel or under the rear seat.

And they might be able to trace her at the
Fairey Owners Club.

You will have to send us a photo as soon as you get her home.

And if you have any questions about her restoration get in touch.


Dec 14, 2009

Hi Gill,

In theory the 'runners' are sacrificial strips which are allowed to take all the wear and tear of dragging her across a beach or whatever and can be replaced easily, so they could be any timber.

However, I'm sure you don?t want to have to replace them every five minutes, so that will rule out the ?construction grade? stuff from your local DIY store.

The metal strip is used to protect the wooden skids from excessive wear from dragging her over abrasive ground such as rocks or rough concrete slipways, so it is optional depending how you use her.

There are quite a few timbers which would be suitable but you really want something you can source locally and from a sustainable source.

Why not try the Timber Mill at Alresford that is near Winchester see what they have that might be suitable.

You could also have a look in at some of the Boat Jumbles, there is a big one at Beaulieu in April and another at Netley at the beginning of May. They are also hand places to pick up any bits you might need like brass strip, rowlocks etc.


Dec 14, 2009

Hi Gill,

From what I can see in the photographs I would suggest using varnish inside and out, it would be a shame to hide any of the lovely wood.

Use a good quality marine varnish.

It is possible that epoxy has been used on her, when epoxy cures it produces a waxy residue on the surface called Amine Blush, being waxy nothing will stick to it satisfactorily.

So, just in case, before you start varnishing give her a good wash off with soap and water, then a light sanding with a fine grit sandpaper.


Click here to add your own comments

Return to Your Comments.

Want to add more photos?

Photo Uploader

If you are having problems uploading Photos or would like to add more click on this link for the Upload Form.

Show / Hide