Leaving Its Mark
Designed with help from Alberto Mancini, the Fairline Targa 63 GTO is a bold new addition to the builder’s fleet.
Crowds gathered around the stern of the Fairline Targa 63 GTO in earnest. Designer Alberto Mancini was handed a black magic marker, and, laughing, he was pushed to sign his name on the transom along with other members of the Fairline executive team. It was a symbolic moment and, as he flicked his wrist and left a neat, elegant signature on the white fiberglass, the crowd cheered. The boat owner in me prayed it was an erasable marker and wanted to leap on board to scrub it off before it settled in.
He’s one of the most in-demand Italian designers today, yet Mancini’s path toward helping create the 63 was not straightforward. Fairline Yachts, looking to inject a fresh design language into its brand, invited different designers to a competition. Each was given the same brief: Design a flagship in the 60-foot range and a smaller model that could serve as an entry-level boat.
Gallery: Fairline 63 GTO
I don’t know about you, but I couldn’t help but think this competition would make for much better television than the dime-a-dozen singing shows out there.
Mancini was second to last to present in this competition. And rumor has it he won the judges over before the final designer could even present.
His entry for the competition would morph into the Targa 63 GTO that debuted in Cannes in September and in the U.S. at the Annapolis show in October.
Speaking of morphing, the first thing I noticed about the Targa 63 GTO—the O stands for Open—is how she performs double duty as an enclosed motoryacht and an open express boat. The salon door simply slides to starboard then drops, along with the salon window, down into the deck. This is a trick I’ve seen before, but considering the size of the door and window on the 63 it’s impressive.
The feeling of openness continues into the salon where deck-level windows and an expansive sunroof fill the space with light, even on a cloudy day. A smart touch that you won’t notice is that the windows are enhanced with a film that reduces harmful UV rays by as much as 50 percent. That’s forward thinking you really can’t put a price on.
It’s pretty rare that onboard furniture impresses me, but looking at the table in the salon prompted one of those why-didn’t-I-think-of-that moments. Built on an angular pedestal, when it’s lowered to coffee-table level there’s an appropriate amount of space to walk around it. When dinner’s ready the table raises up to the perfect forearm-resting height at which you don’t have to hunch forward. And that’s not its only trick. The center section of the table folds up and allows the guest, or antsy children, to escape from the center of the C-shaped settee without having to slide under it or ask the other four to five guests to get up and out of the way. Those are the kinds of details that make the 63 special.
The galley on our test boat was to port of the helm. I like its location there. It easily services the salon, and, thanks to a single-level layout, is only a few paces to the cockpit. But because Fairline has become such a global builder it offers no fewer than five other galley options.
“We’re building a global boat so we need to design what the customer wants,” says Fairline’s Head of Design Andrew Pope, “not what we want for the customer.”
The three-stateroom layout (a four-staterom version is available) is conventional in its accommodations placement, but little else. The near-water-level windows in the staterooms not only bring in light and ventilation but an oddly mesmerizing view of the water flying by while under way.
As a marine journalist I try not to seem overly impressed by any one feature when walking through a boat for the first time. [Oh, you launch a submarine from the cockpit with an app on your phone, OK, that makes sense.] Then I learned that the mosaic details in the head were actually from thinly sliced seashells. Yes. Really.
Finally, after the conclusion of the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, it was my time to take the 63 away from the dock and into open water. The 1,150-horsepower Caterpillar C18s quickly brought the boat to about 28 knots. The builder is hoping to gain a few extra knots from a different set of props.
Despite some of the sleekest, sportiest lines I’ve seen on a Fairline, the boat has very little heel in turns. And even though I thought the turns would be sharper, they were quite comfortable.
Comfort. That’s the high point of this boat’s ride. With naval architecture from Vripack, the 63 was stable and surefooted when running through its own wake. Part of that comfort equation is the hull design, of course—the 63 has a double-chine hull, with one chine under the water to provide lift and the second out of the water to eliminate chine slap.
But comfort is also courtesy of sound attenuation. Fairline gave this feature a lot of attention. Flexible couplings on the shafts and flexible engine mounts add up to one of the quietest rides I’ve encountered. I registered 71 decibels of sound at the helm at WOT; for comparison sake, 65 decibels is the standard noise level of a normal conversation.
“With this boat we focused on comfort, not just in the living spaces but in reducing noise and vibration,” says Pope. “Our bulkhead is 24 millimeters thick, our doors are 48 millimeters thick with acoustic layering inside, and we have noise-canceling materials in the deck. It’s our quietest Fairline to date. In fact it’s so quiet you can’t hear if the generator is even running.”
Another result the sound-attenuating materials is added weight. Was it worth the weight addition? I asked. “Removing sound and vibration is kind of like having stabilizers. It’s hard to justify unless you feel it,” Pope explains. “Then once you do you can’t live without it.”
To create a truly comfortable yacht, it also has to be easy to use. To that end, Fairline unveiled an onboard control system at the helm of the 63 called f-Drive, which allows you to control all of your boat’s systems with the swipe of a finger. I’ve fumbled with such systems on other boats in the past but I found the f-Drive to be extremely intuitive.
Reflecting on my test, and the distinction the 63 has earned from Cannes to Ft. Lauderdale, I thought back to Mancini signing the boat’s transom. It turned out, of course, that he did sign it with an erasable marker, but even without his signature it’s clear that he left his mark on the 63 and that he’ll be helping Fairline pen one hell of an exciting future.
Fairline 63 GTO Layout diagrams
Test Conditions: Air temperature: 78°F; seas: 2'; wind: 10 knots.
Fairline 63 GTO — Final Boat Test Numbers:
Speeds are two-way averages measured w/ Raymarine GPS. GPH taken via Caterpillar display. Range is based on 90% of advertised fuel capacity. Sound levels measured at the helm. 65 dB(A) is the level of normal conversation.
Displ.: 74,940 lb.
Fuel: 1,100 gal.
Water: 285 gal.
Standard Power: 2/1,150-hp Cat C18s
Optional Power: 2/1,200-hp MAN V8-1200
Base Price: $1,820,000