MBM ponders Fairline's decision to offer more engine options for its sportscruiser baby

Fairline has announced that, due to changing client requirements, its entry level Targa 38 will be offered with a wider variety of horsepower.

Fitting Volvo Penta’s 370hp D6 engines will take this sportscruiser from 36 knots to over 40 knots, making it the fastest Fairline yet and one that, more importantly, should be capable of some swift and economical cruising speeds lower down the rev range.

There is no doubt that the 38’s hull is up to the job. On test (MBM June 2006) this boat performed beautifully, with real guts and solid, seaworthy ability, which makes Fairline’s other move questionable. As well as the bigger 370s, the 38 will also be offered with smaller 260hp D4 engines to, in Fairline’s own words, “allow those on a smaller budget access to this luxury brand”.

All very noble, but if there is one boatbuying lesson everyone is pretty much agreed on it is that you always buy the biggest engines you can and never, ever, opt for the smallest. If you do go small on power you might prefer to bequeath your boat rather than sell it on the open market, as residual values may well prove poor, if not heart-attack inducing.

And that’s before we get on to the whole issue of lower performance. Ultimately, the small-engine boat’s base price of £175,000 excluding taxes may look appealing but owning Fairline quality without actually being able to use it may prove a frustrating experience.