Part of the new generation of fast open Fairlines, the F-Line 33 is the boat every British enthusiast has been crying out for, for the past 20 years. We talk to its designer Andy Pope to find out more
The R-Class may be cleverer, the Bladerunner may be faster and the Sunseeker Red Bull will doubtless be flashier, but none of them tug at the heart strings quite like the F-Line 33.
That’s partly because the starting price of £264,600 inc VAT (for those lucky enough to pre-order their boats), is roughly half the cost of its nearest British rival, and partly because of the fond memories so many of us have of the 28-34ft Targas that dominated British boatbuilding during the ’80s, ’90s and early 2000s.
It may not be called a Targa, because Fairline wants the F-Line range to become a sub-brand in its own right, but make no mistake – this is the spiritual successor to those iconic craft of yesteryear. It is also a vital part of Fairline’s plans to grow the business.
Just as Porsche introduced a whole new generation to the sports car brand with the launch of the original Boxster, so Fairline hopes to tempt an entirely new breed of buyers into the fold with the F-Line 33.
“We started discussing the idea with a couple of dealers and the shareholders at the Düsseldorf show in 2017,”says Fairline head of design Andy Pope. “We punted a few ideas around that included a small Targa-style boat, an aggressively modern alternative and a more retro-inspired option. In the end, we managed to incorporate the best elements of all three; it’s dynamic and progressive but with core design values that will stand the test of time.”
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The other big decision the team took was to steer away from the idea of an out-and-out sportsboat. The dealers asked for a boat customers could socialise on, not just tear around in at high speed. That meant a large open cockpit design with room to eat, drink, sunbathe and move about without tripping over one another.
“We wanted to avoid the corridor effect that so many smaller boats suffer from,” explains Pope. “Instead of a single narrow walkway that guides you through the cockpit, we’ve created a flexible space with socialising areas, room to walk around
both sides and a better connection with the water.”
With a beam of 11ft 6in (3.5m), it’s actually quite a wide boat for its length but thanks to a near-vertical bow and a new two-chine hull shape that lifts the stern higher out of the water at speed, it should perform and handle like a true sportsboat.
In fact, with the most powerful engine option of twin 430hp petrol V8s, Fairline is confidently predicting a top speed of at
least 45 knots. In benign conditions, it might even be knocking on the door of 50 knots and thanks to an optional sportspack with a specially tuned exhaust, it will sound every bit as good as it looks.
For those who don’t want the speed or expense of feeding a pair of petrol engines, there is also a twin 220hp diesel option giving a still-useful top speed of 33 knots and an estimated range of 200nm from its 700-litre fuel tank. Whichever engine you opt for, the handling is claimed to be safe, stable and progressive with plenty of grip and good manoeuvrability from the Volvo duo-prop sterndrives.
The addition of Italian design consultant Alberto Mancini to the team has also brought a sharper focus on the purity of line and the detailing of the F-Line 33. The profile of the side windows, heavily sculpted flanks and rebated transom have a distinctly automotive feel to them, while fashioning the air inlets, outlets and drains into an integral part of the design avoids cluttering up the exterior with fittings. Even vital deck gear like the pop-up cleats and fender eyes are cleverly integrated into the toerails while the nav lights, horn and aerial are designed to minimise any visual disruption. Small hinged sections of the sidescreens swing open on both sides to give access to the foredeck, which can be fitted with a pulpit and guardrails for additional security. The anchor itself is mounted on a recessed spring-loaded stem that is held in place by the chain’s tension but projects forward when the chain is released to drop the hook well clear of the bow.
The central two-person helm seat is raised on a small plinth for extra visibility and there is some discussion about fitting hinged side wings that would enable a couple more guests to perch alongside. Aft of this is the cockpit galley with gas rings, griddle, sink, fridge and ice maker hidden under a thick teak cover (there is a second fridge below decks but no inside galley). This leads back to the main seating area aft comprising two opposing benches separated by a drop-down table that converts to a large double sunpad.
This whole cockpit area can be covered by an optional T-top and canopies to provide more shade and shelter when required.
The final flourish is the optional hydraulic transom that rotates round to become an extended bathing platform. If you choose not to fit the latter, the stern is left open with just a pair of safety gates enclosing the cockpit. Further options include a modified aft bench with a mini tender garage designed to fit two Seabobs and a wakeboard package with a carbon-fibre ski pole and special trim tabs to generate the perfect wake.
Below decks, there is said to be standing headroom at the foot of the companionway and in the bathroom, which the designers have kept as large and light as possible by fitting a frosted glass skylight overhead.
What looks from the outside like a long, thin hull window is purely cosmetic so other than a small hatch forward and the smoked glass companionway door, the main cabin relies on a multitude of artificial light sources designed to replicate the look and ambience of natural light.
The U-shaped dinette converts into a comfortable double bed while the mid-cabin has a clever two-way door that fits flush
with the bulkhead when left open to maximise the feeling of space during the day time.
The finish of the interior is said to be classy and expensive looking, with plenty of little details to catch the eye and delight
the touch. Pope describes them as ‘jewellery’ but says “it’s still a Fairline at heart with all the usual wood and leather but also some lighter more modern materials to differentiate it from the rest of the Fairline range.”
The decks, for instance, are clad in Esthec rather than teak and the hull and furnishings will come in a bolder choice of colours than usual.
The really exciting news is that the 33 is only the start of the F-Line range. The design team is already drawing up plans
for larger and smaller models either side of it, although precise details of what and when they may arrive is still some way off.
In the meantime, we should all be thankful that the 20-year wait for a stylish sub-35ft British sportscruiser is nearly over (it’s due for launch in early 2019), and you can be sure that as soon as there’s a chance to sea trial it, we’ll be all over it like a rash. ￼
For more information contact Fairline Yachts here.
At a glance…
Length: 32ft 9in (9.99m)
Beam: 11ft 6in (3.5m)
Displacement: 6.8 tonnes
Fuel capacity: 700 litres
Water capacity: 200 litres
Twin Volvo 220hp
D3 diesel (33 knots est)
Twin Volvo 240hp
V6 petrol (33 knots est)
Twin Volvo 350hp
V8 petrol (40 knots est)
Twin Volvo 430hp
V8 petrol (45 knots est)
Pre-orders: from £264,600 inc
VAT, final production prices to follow