This fabulous Fairline defines the word 'sportscruiser'
Ever since the first Targa stormed onto the market back in the early 1980s, Fairline‘s game-plan has been evolution rather than revolution. So it comes as no surprise to find that this new Targa looks, well, like a Targa. Get up close, though, and this boat’s freshness announces itself with taller side screens, a razor-sharp radar arch and exciting horizontal ports cut into the boat’s topsides.
The huge cockpit manages to be minimalist, and yet packed with detail and specification all at once. Rpm counters and the plotter screen are left close up, exactly where you want them, while the engine instruments and compass are set at eye level. There is even a chart table (well, this is a British sportscruiser).
On the exterior, Fairline have extended the bathing platform out and around the quarters to make boarding easy, even with a tender mounted there. There is a liferaft enclosure beneath the companionway sole, plus a manual bilge point neatly tucked behind a locker door.
In the aft section, a mass of seating is laid on. Seat backs are high and you feel utterly enclosed, even at this, the shallowest section of the cockpit.
Downstairs, the white mouldings and neutral vinyl works with the oak cabinetry to keep the saloon very light. Windows, skylights and ports add to the sense of space. For some après boat, there is a central entertainment panel where a standardfit 15in flatscreen or optional 20in version can be viewed by all.
In the galley, details like the stainless steel fiddle and graphite counter top lift it above the norm. Storage and workspace are plentiful; a great touch is the chopping block inlay where you can cut your limes for the end-of-day G&T.
Taking their traditional positions fore and aft of the saloon are the two cabins. The mid guest cabin does not manage an en suite, but it does offer more space than you think, with some decent clearance above the twin berths.
The forward master cabin comes complete an en suite toilet and shower compartment that is impressively roomy. The plan seems to have been to fill the space with a berth and storage compartments, and a large overhead hatch (complete with the Ocean Air blinds enjoyed across the whole boat) adds to the feeling of space.
On the water the T38 handles beautifully – almost telepathically. Fancy a cruise over the channel? The deep-vee hull will play the part of comfortable grand tourer, and feel bigger than its 39 feet.
Or perhaps you’re after quick blast round the next headland for lunch? In that case, the hull responds eagerly to helm and throttle, happier to be above 25 knots than below.
This boat loves to turn and during our more yobbish manoeuvres, the side screens showed their worth. This is anything but a wet boat, but the spray kicked up by the bows and on by the breeze was well contained.
Is this the best Targa yet? Possibly, but the question itself is academic. The simple fact is that this is yet another great Targa, and its perfectionist attitude to onboard life makes it the best boat in its class. Bar none.