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BOATS

BOAT TESTS

Fairline Targa 64

Once our test-boat's captain deftly maneuvered the Fairline Targa 64 Gran Turismo around the crewless and sinking sportfisherman, I knew things had to get better. One of the reasons our 64's crew, which also consisted of Fairline rep Steve Leeson and me, easily spotted the low-in-the-water vessel while cruising by at 36 mph was the 64's running angle. Many express-style cruisers tend to run bow high (I've seen trim angles in the six- and seven-degree range), but this boat never rose above four degrees. Even as her modified-V hull form, with 18 degrees of transom deadrise, popped up onto plane, her running attitude remained relatively flat. The unobstructed visibility over her foredeck, enhanced by a bridge-deck-spanning, mullion-free windshield, was welcome, especially with that semi-submerged boat sitting just outside Fort Lauderdale's Port Everglades inlet.

Soon after our arrival near the sinking boat, the Coast Guard was on-site and off we went to see what the 64 had in the way of performance and maneuverability. She's a sporty, low-profile yacht, that's a bit on the lean side, with a svelte 15'7" beam for her 62'1" LOA. Compared to similar-size and-class vessels like the Pershing 64 and Uniesse Sport 65, this 64 is narrow. Only Sunseeker's 62 Predator has a lower beam-to-length ratio.

Fairline's 64 also has plenty of muscle thanks to standard-issue 1,015-mhp C18 Caterpillars that rapidly propelled her out of the hole. And at WOT she sprinted to an average top speed of 41.8 mph at 2350 rpm. Dialing the single-lever Cat controls back to 2000 rpm resulted in a comfortable cruise speed of 35.7 mph (see "Our Numbers," this story for complete test data). At all speeds, this boat crossed the two-footers with poise and self-assurance.

During my wheel time, I found the boat instantly responsive to the standard power-assisted SeaStar hydraulic steering. Her 32x44.5 four-blade wheels and 1.97:1 ZF tranny allowed her to spin within her length by just opposing the controls. While the 64 comes with a standard 13.5-hp Side Power bow thruster, I suspect it will be needed only when dealing with a wicked current or high winds. At speed our boat exhibited a moderate inboard heel when put hard over. This heel causes a blind spot to inboard from about midway through her two-boat-length, 360-degree turn until she straightens out.

One thing I didn't notice during her speed runs were any creaks, groans, or rattles, most likely attributable to Fairline's monocoque construction, which starts with a hand-laid fiberglass hull. Next, the hull is latticed with foam stringers encapsulated with fiberglass to make the structure rigid. A fiberglass liner follows the contours of the hull up to the rubrail/superstructure joint, sitting atop these stringers, and is joined to the hull via adhesive and bonding. Her superstructure overlaps the hull like a shoebox, a joint that is affixed with adhesive, machine screws, and resin. A final step involves bonding the internal bulkheads to the superstructure and internal liner.

Such speed and solid construction are hallmarks of this builder, but so is the desire to improve its product by making modifications whenever it sees the opportunity. This was evident on the 64, as Leeson pointed out several items on the boat that Fairline will soon be changing.

For instance, the transom garage/aft sunpad area that's currently large enough to handle a ten-foot tender will be getting trimmed to accommodate a PWC, while also being moved aft several feet. This will open up the now-compact cockpit space and result in the replacement of the existing benchseat arrangement with U-shape seating surrounding a table. In addition, the bimini top that currently stretches out of the hardtop overhang will be supplemented with a second cover that will run from the tender garage forward.

Other cockpit updates include moving the port-side outside galley to starboard. It's also being reconfigured from its current L-shape design to a straighter and narrower fore-to-aft setup, enhancing cockpit square footage, too.

The linear nature of the new outside galley will reflect 64's interior arrangement, which being driven by both style and function, is dominated by straight lines and 90-degree angles. The look is contemporary, including the adjustable high-gloss, hi-lo square table and its light-tone U-shape seating. The saloon's bright feel, which benefits from cabin-length side windows and an electrically retractable sunroof (see "Retractable Hardtop," this story), is accented by a standard and dark wenge sole that extends from the saloon to the galley-down to starboard.

That galley is offered in two layouts. The standard arrangement, as on my test boat, has a half galley with a two-burner electric cooktop, Avonite countertops, optional Fisher & Paykel dishwasher (in lieu of a standard freezer), and a Vitrifrigo refrigerator. Just aft of this is L-shape seating, which due to its low profile and lack of a table, isn't practical as a dining space. For this reason some owners will opt for the full galley, a $3,500 option that results in the removal of the seating area and extends the galley, and thereby the counter space, along the starboard side. You can then eat your meals in either the saloon or at the cockpit table.

While the galley is down, you don't get that cave-like feeling because of the NBA-player headroom, and the light coming from that large raked windshield on the bridge deck. And there's headroom everywhere: The engine room has 6'4" vertical clearance, as do the three staterooms.

One place that space doesn't abound is in the crew quarters, which can also be set up as a stowage area, accessed via the cockpit. At 5'7" I could barely fit into it (or for that matter, into the berth), which offers only a few inches of clearance between where you rest your head and the deck above. I suspect most American buyers will keep this a stowage area.

Fortunately her small crew quarters don't matter much because the 64 is really for an owner-operator. Bringing together admirable speed, agile handling, an easy-running nature, and a spacious three-stateroom layout, she's a great vessel for a voyaging family. Her low-profile design and sturdy build should make operating in a seaway more comfortable, while entertaining on the hook will be welcome thanks to her updated outdoor entertainment space.

And with that wide-open windshield and level running attitude, it'll be real easy to spot the next horizon, which is good, since that's where this vessel wants to take you.

For more information on Fairline, including contact information, click here.

The master stateroom's en suite head, which resides on the port side just a few feet from the athwartships berth, offers privacy thanks to its transforming door.

Flick a switch on the head bulkhead near the sliding-glass door and gas inside changes from transparent into an opaque green. The now-green door prevents anyone in the master from seeing inside the head and reduces the amount of light coming in from the nearly five-foot-wide frameless window in the hull sides, a great idea for those sleep-in mornings. —P.S.

This article originally appeared in the December 2008 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.