Fairline F-Line 33 sea trial: Breathtaking handling shines through on test

Editor Hugo gets behind the wheel of the most exciting new boat he's tested in his 15 years at MBY. This is our full sea trial of the Fairline F-Line 33 and it's everything we hoped for...

I can honestly say this is the most excited I’ve been about testing a boat since I joined MBY 15 years ago. In that time I’ve driven everything from a 90ft Pershing to a 100-knot race boat and pretty much everything in between.

But exhilarating as these experiences have been, they have never felt like the type of boat I could ever envisage owning – even when my Euromillions ship comes in.

The Fairline F-Line 33 is different. The minute I saw the first renderings in 2017, I was smitten. It wasn’t just the taut, muscular styling that did it for me, it was the size and price too.

At a whisker under 33ft long it looked small enough to be fast, fun and manageable but large enough to cope with half a dozen guests during the day and a family of four at night. And the mooted starting price of £264,000 inc VAT, while still well beyond my league, at least seemed within dreaming range.

Time has done nothing to dilute those first impressions. Admittedly the starting price has crept up to £290,400 in the intervening months but everything else has survived the development phase intact.

When hull No 1 was revealed at the end of August during a preview event in London, it looked every inch the modern British sportsboat we’d all been waiting for. Even at its global launch at the Cannes Boat Show a few weeks later, it more than held its own in the company of Rivas and Wallys costing several times as much.

Now the initial hype has died down, I’m here to discover if it has the substance to back up those glowing first impressions. It’s a lot to live up to and, to be honest, I’m nervous it might not.

The constant quest for ever more space and comfort means that many of today’s sportscruisers don’t handle or ride as well as their lower, leaner, more focused predecessors. The Fairline Targa 34 and Targa 38 both drove superbly and while the 33 is smaller than either of them, it comes from very different design stock.

With Olesinski now exclusive to Princess Yachts, Fairline turned to J&J Design for the F-Line’s hull in an effort to replicate or exceed the magic of those legendary Targa forerunners. No pressure then…

Read our full sea trial review of the Fairline F-Line 33 in the December edition of Motor Boat & Yachting, which is out now.


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