Phantom 43 — By Richard Thiel
— October 2000
Long-Term Love Affair
|Three months with a Fairline 43 Phantom reveals she’s not just a pretty face.|
Those who regularly read PMY know that although we try to exhaustively evaluate boats, we labor under one disadvantage: We’re usually on them for only a day or less. We have no such problem with Fairline’s new Phantom 43. As this is written, she’s been our company boat for nearly three months, during which time we’ve run her in every kind of weather and sea, from the Chesapeake to Nantucket. We’ve entertained aboard her, day-cruised her, and lived aboard her. We know this boat.
We know she is solid and well built. After all this time, there’s not a squeak or rattle, and only one failure: Twice the swim platform door latch vibrated loose and deep-sixed itself. Other than that, the gleaming cherry wood inside has been surprisingly durable, and the electrical, plumbing, electronic systems have performed flawlessly. This is roughly a $600,000 boat, and she delivers the kind of build quality that anyone who pays that price has every right to demand.
She also delivers performance. Her Bernard Olesinski hull has taken us safely through the raucous six-footers of Long Island Sound’s The Race and delivered a smooth, stable, dry ride and a fine turn of speed. Conditions permitting, her twin 480-hp Volvo Penta 74Ps push her to a fast cruise (200 rpm off WOT) of 28.5 knots. We like the performance those engines generate, but the rest of their review is mixed at best. At 52 hours, we lost the starboard engine to a casting defect in the exhaust manifold that allowed coolant to escape through the exhaust. The boat sat a week in Nantucket before being fixed. Then at around 65 hours, we lost the port engine to a faulty alternator, a malady that was fortunately fixed more expeditiously. At 80 hours the port CPU was replaced, due to condensation.
As for the boat herself, she delivers comfort. Her swim platform is deep enough to sit on while donning diving gear and offers an in-sole compartment for the shore power cord and hose, while integral exhausts virtually eliminate the station-wagon effect (although the transom does get smudgy). Pass through the port-side transom door, and you’re in a six-foot-long cockpit with an integral transom seat complete with comfortable, easy-to-clean cushions. Beneath is a port-side bin we found perfect for stowing cleaning supplies; a deeper one to starboard accommodates the four standard fenders. There are even port and starboard teak boarding steps that lift for dockline stowage.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.