Sam New­ing­ton 1935-2017

The key boat­ing sto­ries you need to read Fair­line lu­mi­nary dies peace­fully at home

Motorboat & Yachting - - Latestnews -

Sam New­ing­ton, the man who built Fair­line into one of Bri­tain’s lead­ing boat man­u­fac­tur­ers, has died peace­fully at home aged 82.

The fam­ily’s in­volve­ment with the marine in­dus­try be­gan in 1964 when Sam’s father Jack New­ing­ton con­verted a gravel pit in Oun­dle, dig­ging a trench to link it to the River Nene. Oun­dle Ma­rina was cre­ated, a small in­land wa­ter­ways and ma­rina busi­ness that hired and re­paired boats. In 1966, Jack bought a mould for a 19ft glass­fi­bre boat. It be­came the Fair­line 19, and Fair­line was born.

Sam pur­sued his own ca­reer as a fighter pi­lot in the RAF be­fore join­ing his father’s frozen food busi­ness. When that was sold, he stud­ied for an MBA at Columbia Univer­sity in New York be­fore re­turn­ing to the UK as a man­age­ment con­sul­tant for Mckin­sey. He joined Fair­line in 1970. At the time, the com­pany had just 21 em­ploy­ees.

A keen boater who had made many cross-chan­nel trips, Sam brought both his man­age­ment acu­men and love of boat­ing to bear, in­tro­duc­ing a 25-footer and then the 23 Hol­i­day, which went on to sell 600 units.

Fair­line grew rapidly un­der Sam, and the Fair­line 40, launched in 1977, al­lowed the com­pany to ex­pand into Mediter­ranean mar­kets. By 1979, the com­pany was em­ploy­ing 140 peo­ple and turn­ing over £5 mil­lion a year. His man­age­ment style was very hands on. The Targa range was cre­ated di­rectly as a re­sult of Sam and his wife Bri­ony’s boat­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. With a hol­i­day home in the South of France, the cou­ple naturally kept a Fair­line there, a 26ft Sun­fury. It was their need for a larger boat that saw the cre­ation of the hugely suc­cess­ful Targa 33 in 1984 that went on to sell over 350 units and spawned the en­tire Fair­line Targa genre.

In to­tal, Sam and Bri­ony owned 18 Fair­line boats, test­ing a dif­fer­ent model each year by tak­ing it to their hol­i­day home. Ev­ery­one at Fair­line knew when they had ar­rived as faxes would start coming in de­tail­ing changes that Sam wanted mak­ing.

In 1986, Fair­line was awarded the Queen’s Award for En­ter­prise, In­ter­na­tional Trade and in 1996, Sam re­tired, sell­ing Fair­line Boats to South African Graham Beck (who also owned Princess Yachts In­ter­na­tional) hav­ing run the com­pany for 26 years.

More re­cently he in­vested in English Har­bour Yachts, the com­pany set up by former Fair­line de­sign di­rec­tor Adam Green­wood.

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