Fairline Phantom 38

Having a four-year-old Princess 360, a contemporary Princess and Sunseeker available for comparison was an enlightening experience

Having a four-year-old Princess 360, a contemporary Princess and Sunseeker available for comparison was an enlightening experience. Most striking was the contrast in internal finishes. Like their friends at Princess, Fairline have dramatically improved the quality of their finishes over the past few years. Discernible progress will have to be made before either builder threatens the best of the custom boatbuilders ­ as yet there is no sign of solid wood joinery, held together with exquisite dovetail jointing. However, the lower echelons of the semi-custom market may be twitching nervously in their sleep.

The Phantom does provide evidence that the largest UK boatbuilders still have a little room for improvement ­ for example, in the less than perfect instrument visibility below, and the flybridge helm. Still, there are lots of compensating factors ­ effortless engineroom access, a great lazarette, the invaluable ‘holding area’ and practical wooden floor in the galley, and the abundant flybridge stowage.

It’s slightly surprising that the plus points are generally details that vary between models, while the minus points are in established areas that could have been perfected years ago.

This slightly schizophrenic approach is also evident in the safety department. I can’t over-emphasise how much safer Fairline’s flybridge has become because of the three high-level handrails on the flybridge. And yet their styling department have been allowed to misbehave with a patch of slippery, shiny fibreglass on the foredeck. However, the defects are few ­ it would take little change to produce a boat which was essentially fault free.

At the risk of finding a horse’s head in my bed, I would say that the obvious disparities between the Fairline and the Princess are currently less than the quality variations and detail differences that exist between different models from the same manufacturer. Also, as the Fairline Phantom and Princess 40 demonstrate, directly competing craft can have near-identical layouts yet still feel quite different. And a buyer’s decision to opt for either may, quite understandably, rest on this fact alone.


Length overall (LOA) 40ft 4in 12.30m

Hull length 38ft 7in 11.75m

Beam 12ft 8in 3.82m

Draught 3ft 3in 1.00m

Air draught 14ft 10in 4.30m

Displacement 10.5 tonnes (light)

11.8 tonnes (loaded)

Fuel capacity 200 imp gal 910 litres

Water capacity 110 imp gal 500 litres

Engines Twin Volvo Penta TAMD 63P

370hp @ 2,800rpm

6-cyl 5.5lt turbo diesels

4-bladed propellers

23in diameter by 32in pitch

(580mm by 810mm)

RPM Speed Trim GPH MPG Range

1,500 10.8 4.5° 8.2 1.32 212

1,800 16.1 5.5° 10.8 1.50 239

2,100 20.8 6.0° 15.2 1.37 219

2,400 25.5 5.5° 22.1 1.16 185

2,600 28.5 5.5° 28.2 1.01 161

2,800 31.6 5.5° 35.5 0.89 142

Range figures allow for 20% reserve, 20% fuel, 50% water, 2 crew

Sea state: calm

Wind strength: Force 1 steady


Maximum Speed 31.6 knots

Maximum Range 142 miles at 2,800rpm

Cruising Speed 28.5 knots

Cruising Range 161 miles at 2,600rpm

Price from £165,000 ex Tax

Price as tested £176,403 ex Tax

Sound levels dB (A) Saloon Cockpit Flybridge

Cruising @ 28.5 knots 82 91 81

Maximum @ 31.6 knots 83 92 82

Designer: Olesinski & Fairline

Builder: Fairline Boats

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