It's rare to have two such exceptional boats on test in the one issue

It’s rare to have two such exceptional boats on test in the one issue. I knew there was something special about the Windy 25 – apart from the price, of course – when Dave Marsh reappeared in the office after a brief trip to Norway and said, almost in passing, “Yes, I think it’s probably the best handling boat I’ve ever driven.” That’s the trouble with technical editors: they’ll doggedly pursue some arcane detail while the big story is jumping up and down saying, “Me! Me!”.

Fairline’s Phantom 46 is more of a quiet revolution, but it’s one that we find particularly satisfying, because we think it was all MBY’s idea in the first place. As Dave says in his report, “It seems like somebody at Fairline has finally peeled the design squad away from their computer screens, and forced them to head out into a lumpy sea.” So many British power cruisers of recent years have been built with the Deutschmark and the Med so firmly in mind that we’d got used to recommending Scandinavian, Dutch and (some) American boats to anyone concerned with practicality, cruising, rain, rough weather and all those other facts of boating life that all of us who go to sea have to deal with occasionally – even in the Med. But with the Phantom one of the biggest players in the business has shown that it is prepared to invest serious money in what we would regard as a ‘serious’ cruising boat. It’s not a return to Fairline’s roots by any means – it’s no ‘starter boat’, unless a four-bedroom house is a ‘starter home’ – but it’s a giant stride in the right direction, and one we applaud.