Can Fairline’s first foray into the sportsfly market successfully combine the versatility of a flybridge with the performance of a sportscruiser? MBY editor Hugo Andreae heads to the Med to determine if the British boatmaker has mastered the art of compromise...
The best of both worlds or a compromise too far? That is the question hanging over all sportsfly models. Can they really combine the space and versatility of a flybridge boat with the sleeker looks, performance and handling of a sportscruiser or do they simply end up being a halfway house that doesn’t truly satisfy on any front? The all-new Fairline Phantom 65, the British yard’s first attempt at a modern sportsfly boat, certainly has its work cut out.
Not only is it relatively late to the party (both Sunseeker and Princess have been offering similar-sized sportsbridge boats for a while) but the Fairline Squadron 68, with which it shares its hull, is a big, handsome beast with a full-length flybridge and up to four cabins, while the Fairline Targa 65 GTO is a long, lithe two-deck sportscruiser with a big sunroof, tender garage and more sunloungers than an LA pool party.
The new Fairline Phantom 65 nestles somewhere between the two. It’s 4ft shorter and five tonnes lighter than the Squadron 68 yet somehow manages to pack in exactly the same three- or four-cabin layout below decks as well as a crew cabin and tender garage.
The Targa GTO, meanwhile, is lower, lighter and leaner still, but lacks the Phantom’s upper deck with its lovely outside helm position and extra outdoor socialising space – and even if you did want one, production has stopped to make way for the new Phantom.
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In other words, Fairline is gambling that the Phantom won’t just replace the Targa 65 GTO, but generate extra sales too. It’s a brave punt but an informed one; the Targa never seemed to perform quite as well as its looks suggested and at this size it’s as much about style, comfort and convenience as outright performance anyway.
On the face of it, the Phantom seems to offer a bit more of everything than the Targa while still looking considerably sportier and more manageable than the Squadron.
Read Hugo’s full review of the Fairline Phantom 65 in the December 2022 issue of MBY, which is out now.
Update: The Fairline Phantom 65 is due to make its US debut at the 2023 Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show.
Fairline Phantom 65 specifications
LOA: 65ft 4in (19.96m)
Beam: 17ft 2in (5.23m)
Draught: 5ft 2in (1.58m)
Air draught: 20ft 6in (6.29m)
Displacement: 38.3 tonnes (dry)
Fuel capacity: 4,177 litres
Water capacity: 1,080 litres
Test engines: Twin 1,622hp CAT C32 V12s
Top speed on test: 38.1 knots
Fuel consumption: 255lph @ 20 knots / 95lph @ 11 knots
Range: 262nm @ 20 knots / 387nm @ 11 knots
Noise: 67 dB(A) @ 20 knots / 59 dB(A) @ 11 knots
RCD category: B for 16 people
Starting price: £2.05 million ex VAT (CAT 1,150hp)
Price as tested: £2.94 million ex VAT