58 — By Tim Clark — September 2001
Style & Substance
|Part 2: Fairline 58 Squadron continued|
Although McDevitt and I both could have used goggles, the ride was relaxing enough for me to look over the flying bridge deck, which is full of novel places to recline. Forward of the console-like helm but behind a windscreen, there is a sunpad large enough for two to lay in stillness even on a day like ours. A padded bench to starboard converts to a chaise longue close enough to the steering wheel for a psychiatrist/skipper to mix business with pleasure. Because the strength and dimensions of the swim platform allow for stowage of a tender, the aft section of the flying bridge accommodates a nearly full-circle settee and table for eight. Between meals the table can be lowered and a pad put over it to transform the entire dinette into a sun worshipper's playpen. Separating this area and the helm seating, a DeDietrich grill, drinks `fridge, and bar are built into the base of an H-shape radar mast that looks vaguely Japanese in inspiration. Just as we reached the relatively placid waters of the Severn, I imagined six or more people lolling about up here in Zen-like repose.
In the Severn we made quick work of the trials, breaking 39 mph at WOT (2330 rpm) for a range of more than 360 statute miles. With the twin 800-hp Caterpillar 3406Es at 1750 rpm, we made just over 27 mph and boosted the range to 420 statute miles. The lower-helm noise level at this cruising speed was a comfortable 73 decibels on the A scale (65 dB-A is the level of normal conversation).
When we reentered the bay, I stayed below for added perspective at the lower helm. From one of a pair of electrically adjustable Recaro seats starboard of a dinette, I sat high enough above the foredeck to be able to look down upon the bow and its quarters. Heading into the weather for several miles at a cruise of around 25 mph, I only needed to use the windshield wipers for a handful of swipes, and with the windshield wrapping well aft and its mullions widely spaced, visibility forward and side-to-side was excellent. Aft, unfortunately, the perspective is a little too high, so I could only see a patch of prop wash off the transom. You'll have to rely on radar for tracking traffic astern. While electronics and gauges are smartly arrayed at this starboard helm, a third of the electrical panel that forms a port-side dash can only be reached if you climb awkwardly onto the dinette seat.
There's nothing awkward about the 58's maneuverability, however. On the way back to Bay Bridge, I pulled up to a buoy to test her close-quarters handling. Especially with the standard 11-hp Sidepower bow thruster, the yacht was responsive and stable, even in the wind. This was proved just minutes later when McDevitt docked faultlessly in the densely packed marina, where I gave the boat's accommodations my full attention.
If the 58's exterior is distinct from afar, her interior is telling up close. The form and finish of the high-gloss cherry cabinetry are sinuously stylish, and its boldness is supported by practicality and exacting craftsmanship. The polished cherry rail separating the sunken galley from the bridge/dinette deck is a good example. Where it extends astern to provide a handhold for steps down to the saloon, it bends in a corkscrewing, 360-degree loop that drops into the aft end of the galley as a handhold for steps up. As could also be said of the teak-on-chrome steps to the flying bridge, the curving sideboard housing the entertainment system, or the arc of cabinets above the well-equipped galley's stovetop, it is at once dramatically sculptural and plainly functional.
The three-stateroom configuration below includes a master forward with a walkaround king-size berth, his-and-hers hanging lockers, plenty of stowage, and an en suite head with shower. Guest cabins port and starboard amidships quarter a double berth and twins, respectively. The port yields access to the guest head with shower directly, the starboard via a vestibule.
A utility room/pantry hidden down a companionway under a galley countertop is one of several possible midcabin configurations. The only argument against the layout I saw--with washer/dryer, ironing board, freezer, and stowage-- would be where to berth crew. For the optional crew cabin at the transom is inadequate--nearly inhumane--and much better suited to stowage. The few American buyers likely to employ a captain will prefer to billet him here in the midcabin, where at least he could stand upright in his quarters.
In part, this midcabin is made possible because semitunnels for the running gear allow Fairline to mount the engines well aft, in a compartment accessed through a 5'x2' hatch in the cockpit. A deep alley between the Caterpillars is fine for general maintenance, and access to the outboard sides of the Caterpillars is possible in a pinch.
It seemed apt that I finished my scrutiny of the 58 Squadron in the engine room, shoulder to shoulder with 1,600 hp worth of engines. Style over substance? No way. On the 58 the two run neck and neck, inside and out, and at a high level. I should have insisted that the receptionist join McDevitt and me on our half-day cruise.
Fairline Phone: (843) 342-3453. Fax: (843) 342-3483. www.fairline.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.