When a boating family outgrew their first Fairline, and then the next, they doubled down with a Fairline Squadron 65 and are setting a course for distant destinations.
Third time’s a charm, right?
It all depends on the circumstances, of course, but as we get older, many of us begin to realize that aphorism comes from a grain of truth.
Consider the experience of Dwight and Laura Healey, who bought their latest boat, a Fairline Squadron 65, after six seasons in a Fairline Targa 58. Before that, they had a Fairline Targa 52 for nine seasons. Aboard these boats the Healeys have seen their three sons grow into teenagers and then young men.
If you’ve cruised the waters of southern New England and Long Island Sound, perhaps you’ve come across Wild Child, the name the Healeys have given to each of their boats. “When you go from a 52 to a 65, it’s a different experience,” Dwight says. “It’s a little more thirsty, let’s say. We still go to our same spots, though. Our favorite is Champlin’s in Block Island. We often cruise to Montauk and Newport as well, and we got out to Nantucket again this year with my parents. Those are our stomping grounds.”
Sound familiar? Loyal Power & Motoryacht readers may remember this family from their appearance in the August 2003 issue. For that feature, they invited writer George L. Petrie to come aboard and test their brand-new Fairline Targa 52 in Norwalk, Connecticut. The Healeys were first drawn to the 52 because they were ready to get out of the go-fast boats they had been cruising up until that time.
“We started with fast Cigarette boats but moved away from them because I knew with kids that would be the wrong route,” Laura says. “Then we chartered a little bit, but ultimately, we wanted to get back into our own boat. On a trip to Florida, we saw a Fairline and we loved the way it looked. So, the day we returned home we went to see Tom Caruso at Total Marine in Norwalk, who showed us the Targa 52. We loved that it was a sport cruiser and we loved the room that it had, mostly because we were going from a dayboat to a cruiser with two bathrooms. Back then, the kids were young and they were going to be with us constantly, so that space was important. We used the boat all summer, and we brought friends with us so we got to see a lot of New England, which was really an amazing adventure.”
Dwight agrees. “I used to leave that boat in Block Island and just take the ferry over to it, but I enjoyed running it. And I liked going across to Montauk.”
Families grow, and the Healey family eventually outgrew the Targa 52.
So, they went back to Caruso at Total Marine to upgrade to the next level of sport cruiser, the Targa 58. “As we started getting even more into boating, I think we wanted to go a little farther and a little bigger. Then the opportunity came up for the 58,” Laura says. “That was a whole different style for us. The galley was up and the boat had more of a European look. The master was an amazing bedroom with its own bathroom. We got on it quite a bit and we just decided to go with it.”
The Healeys were happy with the level of service they had received. That’s why, about five years after purchasing the 58, they returned to Total Marine for their next boat, the Squadron 65.
“Tommy [Caruso] from Total Marine makes the experience of having a boat easy,” says Laura. “And he’s been there through every transition with us.”
Gallery: Fairline Squadron 65
The Squadron 65 is a much different boat than the Targa models the Healeys had owned in the past, but Total Marine (along with representatives from Fairline) helped guide the Healeys through the learning curve.
“Obviously if you buy three boats from the same person you have a tremendous relationship,” Dwight says. “Tommy had the other boats in inventory. All of our Fairlines have been incredible-riding boats. The 58 was just a little bigger version of the 52, but the Squadron is a whole different animal. There’s just so much more room—it’s so much more boat and with the performance to match.”
“For the Healeys, the process of buying the Squadron has been all about the experience,” Caruso says. “With this boat, they have really enjoyed the process of buying and building it a lot more. That’s something we’re trying to make sure other people know about. Owners have an opportunity to really participate in the build; they don’t just buy the boat. It’s a very emotional connection.”
“We wanted a whole different experience because we wanted this to be a boat that we built and designed,” Dwight says. “Laura did all the colors inside. Everything was exactly as she wanted it, from the linens on up.”
The Full Fairline Experience
With Caruso’s guidance, the Healeys got the full Fairline experience, making a trip to Oundle in Northamptonshire, England, to watch the start of the build process. “They took a trip with me over to the U.K. and they actually laid in the first few brushstrokes of gelcoat to the mold,” Caruso says. “They visited the factory, selected a lot of the fabrics and colors. They enjoyed the whole process of specing and building the boat. It was cool and a lot of fun. We had a really marvelous time, and they became friendly with a lot of the staff there.”
Dwight agrees. “Anything that we wanted to change, they changed. My wife came up with some really good observations—she had them add a closet, for instance,” he says. “Basically we just customized the boat. We added a freezer, added a wine cooler. Laura made some really cool decisions. She thought of having a separate washer and dryer and they made the room for them. They did a really beautiful job.”
The Fairline Squadron 65 has been attracting serious cruisers for years.
The design has been a leader in the Fairline fleet since its introduction in 2011, but the model had a rebirth of sorts last year with a refreshed interior design and the addition of an optional hardtop. Available in a three- or four-stateroom layout, the Squadron 65 we tested in 2011 had a pair of 1,015-horsepower Caterpillar C18 Acerts that gave her speeds of better than 31 knots. A delightful surprise for the Healeys, the Squadron 65 we tested actually hit a higher top speed during our sea trial than the Targa 58 GT powered with 900-horsepower Volvo Penta D13s (read the full sea trial here). For their 65, the Healeys opted for the 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar diesels.
After the summer ended and the cruising season in the Northeast drew to a close, the Healeys agreed to let their Squadron 65 be used in the boat shows for Fairline. One benefit of the arrangment: their boat would be in Florida for the winter.
“I think they were ready for a lifestyle change,” says Caruso. “They want to spend winters with the boat, and they want to enjoy 12 months of the year onboard rather than six or eight months.”
“A lot of people buy second homes,” Laura says. “This boat is like our second home. It lets us go where we ordinarily wouldn’t be able to go. We love to visit different places, and we love the water.”
And is there a better way to enjoy the water than to cruise to the islands. “We’ve traveled the Bahamas quite extensively,” Dwight says. “Now, I can’t wait to be there on my own boat. We kept the name Wild Child for the 65 so when we pull into port people know we’re coming—that’s for sure.” Sounds like a charmed life on the water.
Layout Digrams — Fairline Squadron 65
Fairline Squadron 65 Specifications:
Dry Weight: 75,300 lb.
Fuel: 779 gal.
Water: 254 gal.
Power Options: 2/1,015-hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT; 2/1,150-hp Caterpillar C18 ACERT; 2/1,200-hp MAN V8 1200
Price: Upon request