Squadron 74 — By Capt. Ken Kreisler
— January 2003
|The flagship of Fairline’s Squadron series offers an enticing blend of luxury and performance.|
I like the way the English do things. Their speech, mannerisms, and courteous ways, especially with their nautical customs steeped in history as they are, are all done with just the right amount of—well, as their neighbors across the channel would put it, sang-froid, cool, self-assurance. “M’Lord, it”s the Spanish Armada. Shall we dispatch them?” “Straight away, Commander, at your leisure. That is, right after tea.”
Another example is the little radio exchange I was part of as we were leaving our berthing space whilst sea trialing the Fairline Squadron 74, the British boatbuilder’s new flagship that seemed to me to be a quite proper cruising vessel.
“QHM QHM, this is Fairline 74, over.” (QHM stands for Queen’s Harbor Master and must be hailed before any vessel can leave port.)
“Fairline 74, this is QHM, over,” came the precisely pronounced answer.
“QHM, Fairline 74. Permission to leave Portsmouth Harbor for diagnostic testing in East Solent. Over.” (The Solent is the body of water just outside of Portsmouth Harbor on England’s southern coast.)
“Fairline 74, QHM. Permission granted. QHM standing by.”
It was all well done.
Something else done well is the way Fairline builds boats. I make that assessment based on my firsthand experience a few years back with our company boat, a beautiful Phantom 43 that I spent several pleasant weeks on during her six-month stay with us. I found her to be a comfortable ride for my family and me as we visited many ports on our summer travel schedule. After a day aboard the 74, I could see that Fairline hasn’t lost its touch.
Take, for example, our test boat’s stunning woodwork, a combination of burr elm and eucalyptus that provided an eye-catching design element throughout, including the four staterooms below decks. (An optional three-stateroom layout includes a pair of walk-in closets in the master stateroom and a fully en suite head in the guest quarters.) Whether in the saloon, starboard dining space, port galley, or starboard helm station, the fit and finish and joiner work was superior; grains matched perfectly.
The layout on our test boat included a forepeak stateroom, a pair of twin berth quarters to either side, and an amidships master. Each has ample stowage areas including drawer, cabinet, closet, and cubby space to make packing for that long weekend or extended excursion easy. Design elements like the sculpted overhead in the master, the meticulously finished wood bulkheads in the hallway, and the wooden blinds in all the quarters add to the classy ambiance.
Noteworthy interior design continues on the main deck, where Fairline has created a space meant for entertaining and emphasizing ease of movement. The main deck is a comfortable yet elegant space not only pleasant to look at but easy to move about in. To starboard is the fully equipped helm, with its twin multidirectional, electrically adjustable Recaro leather chairs. While comfortable, I found they were too low for a good view of the water ahead, even on the highest setting. I had to sit up straight, which I imagine would be fatiguing after a while. To port is the optional breakfast nook complete with granite countertop and a pair of stylish stools. Other possible configurations here include a nav station and a dual companion seat.
The dining table, just aft of the lower helm station, can seat eight. The galley, opposite the dining area, has an electrically operated partition that can close off the cooking and prep space when necessary. Combine that with the shoji-like sliding door that can separate the lower helm station from the dining area, and a dinner aboard takes on a special, private quality.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.