Fairline Targa 47 — By Capt. Bill Pike
— October 2005
One Sweet Ride
The Targa 47 is what it’s all about: fun and excitement behind the wheel.
Once in a while, I forget what boating’s really about. I get all tangled up in a particular vessel’s construction, say, or her engineering. I crawl around on all fours for hours, exploring engine rooms, examining the wonders of electrical systems or hull-to-deck joints. Or I spend hours checking out the latest laminating techniques on plant tours. And although most of this stuff is interesting and instructive from the boat-test standpoint, I can’t help but think I’m sometimes failing to focus on what’s most important: whether or not the boat I’m sea trialing is fun to drive.
Of course, some of the vessels I test make falling prey to this phenomenon virtually impossible. More to the point, climbing behind the wheel of one of these babies and juicing the throttles is so darn pleasurable and exciting that, afterwards, recollections of simply driving the boat seem to transcend all other details and features. My recent test of Fairline’s Targa 47 performance cruiser is a case in point. Once I’d finished with the boat for the day and retired to my Miami Beach hotel room to examine and tweak the notes I’d taken, all I could think about was how much fun I’d had driving her around the coastal Atlantic all afternoon, four- to-six-footers be danged.
I’d begun the sea trial per usual with a tentative, conservative approach to using her ultra-responsive Volvo Penta electronic single-lever sticks (see “Crème de la Crème,” this story), her quick-on-the-draw Lenco electric trim tabs, and her silky-smooth, power-assisted Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering. What happened next was not typical of all boat tests by a long shot, but it was sure big-time fun! Within minutes I was so sweetly acclimated to the way the 47 responded to her throttles, tabs, and rudders once she was up and running that I slowly, steadily, and joyfully poured on all the coal available, in this case a total of 960 metric horses or, if you want to get picky about engine specifications, 960 metric brake horsepower.
The result sent chills up my spine, literally. Just imagine: I had the standard, electrically actuated moonroof powered back so I could feel fresh salt air whizzing by but not be bothered by it. I had the helm-seat bolster flipped up so I could rest easy but still see clearly over the bow and all around. I had my right forearm supported on a gunwale flat so I could comfortably and safely maintain fingertip contact with the knobs of the engine controls. I knew just what the boat was doing mechanically, thanks to a tiered array of VDO gauges that were properly prioritized and easy to read. I had legions of inviting four- to six-foot seas coming at me, seemingly all the way from Bermuda.
And the 47 ran like a rocket on shock absorbers, in spite of the fact that this particular boat had comparatively small powerplants in her engine room: a set of 480-mhp Volvo Penta 75P EDC diesels Fairline normally reserves for overseas customers, in keeping with the notion that North Americans are more into big engines and speed than fuel economy. Smoothness was the overriding theme. Whether blasting head seas to smithereens at a top speed of 37.1 mph; swooping tight, sea-gripping, inward-heeling curves; beelining downsea, or—once I’d begun to feel truly synched into the 47’s vivacious personality—running side-sea with her sticks slam up against the firewall, the 47 drove like a gutsy, incomparably refined limousine.
Next page > Part 2: The boat is eminently simple to maneuver, hefty enough, and deep enough—thanks to a sharp 18-degree transom deadrise—to valiantly resist the effects of wind. > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7
This article originally appeared in the October 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.