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Cars / Yachts

Fairline Phantom Flying Into Asia

Arriving in Asia in spring through regional dealer Simpson Marine, Fairline’s Phantom 65 is the stunning first model in the British builder’s new sportsbridge series.

Apr 25, 2023 | By John Higginson
Phantom 65
The Phantom 65 introduces Fairline’s new sportsfly series

Following the launch of the F//Line 33 in 2019, Fairline’s introduction of the Phantom 65 late last year represents the Oundle shipyard’s second new series in three years. While the F//Line 33 provides a sexy offering in the luxury dayboat sector, the first Phantom is a sleek sportsfly that acts as a bridge between the brand’s Targa 65 GT cruiser and full-flybridge Squadron 68.

All three share the same hull, although the Phantom 65 is most like the Targa 65, with the addition of a sportsbridge-style upper deck and a staircase from the cockpit. It shares almost the same layouts on the main and lower decks, yet is distinguished by Fairline’s fresh interior décor seen on the upgraded Squadron 68 and to be included on other new models.

The flybridge is surprisingly large

Simpson Marine delivered one of the first hulls of the new Squadron 68 to Thailand last year, while a Phantom 65 for Hong Kong marks the first unit in Asia since the model premiered at the Cannes Yachting Festival last September and was displayed at the Genoa International Boat Show then Boot Dusseldorf’s return in January.

Fairline was proud to announce that the newcomer outperformed predictions during sea trials when fitted with the optional 1,622mhp Cat C32s. A top speed of 35 knots was expected, but hull one reached 37 knots with full water, fuel and a tender on board, then topped 38 knots during later media sea trials.

The Phantom 65 cuts a sleek figure

“It’s at least two knots faster than predicted, but while top speed is good, it’s more important for us to see an increase in the fast cruising speed, because that’s what owners want,” says Chris Gore, Fairline’s Head of Sales for EMEIA (Europe, Middle East, India and Africa) and Asia-Pacific.

“The sportfly market has grown hugely and a lot of orders for the Phantom have been by Targa owners. The Phantom’s flybridge space and some of the new features, like the extended VIP suite, transform the experience, without going to a full flybridge. We’ve tried to keep it as sleek as possible.”

Phantom Comes Back to Life

The Phantom 65 is Fairline’s first sportsfly offering, but it’s not the first time the builder has used the name. In 1974, the launch of the Phantom 32 led to a range that was produced for over 40 years. The current Phantom 65 is based on its Targa sister ship, so most of the outdoor and indoor furniture retains the distinctive angular corners and diagonal sides.

Phantom 65 with the optional sportsfly bimini

However, there are several upgrades, adjustments and new options on the new model, where the aft platform has a 400kg-lifting capacity and the garage can house a Williams 345 SportJet, compared to space for the 325 TurboJet on the Targa 65.

The garage door incorporates a useful fold-out bench and there’s a lift-up flap for a shower, while the starboard steps raise up to allow access into a single crew cabin with a slide-out mattress.

Symmetrical staircases lead to a teak-floored cockpit that features a large island sunpad for two to three people, part of a moulded structure that also includes a forward-facing sofa flanked on both sides by 45-degree ‘corners’.

The garage can house a Williams 345 SportJet, while the platform can lift 400kg

To starboard is an L-shaped settee and an angular folded table that can fold out into a larger, triangular table linking both sofas. When needed, low stools kept in the saloon can be used around the cockpit table.

On the foredeck, the Phantom replicates the Targa’s distinctive horseshoe design, with a C-shaped sofa extending forward on both sides to sunbathing areas flanking a centreline walkway. A central table and drinks holders on the sides and in the aft corners offer plenty of space for beverages and snacks.

However, it’s the sportsfly deck that distinguishes this model and Fairline has done a great job, managing to disguise a surprisingly roomy flybridge within the exterior’s sporty, curvy lines. Of interest to owners in Asia, Fairline offers the option of a bimini that can cover almost the entire sportsbridge and fold away neatly by the low-set windscreen.

Compared to a lot of sportfly models based on existing sport cruiser models, the flybridge on the Phantom 65 is very spacious. It starts aft with a full-width L-shaped sofa and a foldable table, an area that could easily sit six people. The port end of the sofa has a scalloped shape, so can be used as a chaise lounge.

The cockpit sunpad allows aft views, while the garage door features a fold-out sofa

On the port side is a two-panel wet bar with grill, sink, fridge and icemaker, while forward is a C-shaped sofa that can be filled in with cushions to create a full-length double sunpad.

The twin-seat helm to port — which allows the skipper to look back down the stairs — has an adjustable/tilt wheel with powered steering, allowing responsive, fingertip control. There are two Garmin screens plus a smaller GPSMAP touchscreen by the wheel, where there’s also a useful little locker for electronics and a USB cable for charging a phone.

New-Look Interior

Aside from the flybridge, the biggest difference compared to the Targa 65 is the fresh interior decor. Structurally, there’s a similar indoor-outdoor feel, as the main door slides under the flybridge stairs to port and the starboard window drops out of sight to create an almost completely open aft entrance.

Opening the sunroof allows more natural light and ventilation

As well as oak flooring inside, the unit we viewed featured satin walnut woodwork, while the builder offers other options by its in-house studio working in collaboration with Salt Design, which was founded in 2020 by Andrew Pope after he spent almost 25 years with Fairline.

On the main deck, most woodwork is only used up to waist height, such as in the open, J-shaped galley to port. The full-height fridge-freezer illustrates this, featuring fluted doors — dark walnut on the bottom door and a light colour on the top door, matching the white marble countertop and overhead storage above the cooking area to port.

The saloon features textured upholstery, natural-fibre carpeting and sofas on both sides

The dining area to starboard has a C-shaped sofa, loose stools and a fixed-height dining table that can fold out on both sides. The table looks better folded out, as it reveals the matching grain of adjacent wenge leaves and a gorgeous central strip of natural quilted maple.

A six-inch step leads up to the saloon, which is visually distinguished by natural-fibre carpeting and light, textured upholstery. Furniture includes a C-shaped sofa and an angular, glass-topped coffee table to port facing a two-seat sofa to starboard. Natural light from the big side windows is supplemented by an opening sunroof featuring three glass panels.

To starboard, the helm station has two fixed-height helm seats on top of a storage cabinet and offers views through a one-piece windscreen. The console includes three Garmin monitors, GPSMAP and a shallow locker with engine controls and hooks for keychains. As on the new Squadron 68, the Phantom 65 offers a side door, which could prove a popular option.

The twin-seat lower helm, shown without the optional side door

The saloon features Garmin’s Fusion® Apollo audio system and speakers, which are also present in the aft cockpit, sportbridge and master suite. A Sonos upgrade is available.

Rooms to Choose

Accessed by the carpeted forward staircase, the lower deck is based on the Targa 65 and includes a full-beam master suite midships, flexible twin cabin to starboard and VIP in the bow. However, there’s now more flexibility as the port side can be used as a fourth cabin, utility room, day head or the en-suite bathroom (with day head access) for an extended VIP suite.

There’s a nice continuity of design as all cabin doors feature a mid-height, horizontal strip of quilted maple, as featured in the indoor dining table.

Down three steps that also lead to a washer-drier in the hall, the master suite has a king-sized bed with slim bedside tables, which are big enough as the lamps are fixed to the aft bulkhead. To port is a sofa, forward is a TV with fluted panelling above and below, while to starboard is a large bureau with drawers on both sides of a vanity table.

The starboard area leads aft to a corner dressing room with a full-height, L-shaped storage. The en-suite bathroom occupies the rest of the beam aft of the bedroom and the cabinetry features the angular design seen elsewhere on the yacht, while the shower includes a fixed bench seat.

Forward view from the port hallway of the extended VIP suite

The starboard guest cabin has twin beds that can be electrically converted into a double, while a bed length mirror on the port bulkhead increases natural light and the feeling of space. Forward is a full-height wardrobe and en-suite bathroom. An angled TV can be fitted on the aft side of the cupboard.

The standard VIP suite has an aft-facing double, cupboards on both sides and en-suite to port. In the extended VIP layout, the bedroom door is to port, where there’s bathroom access and a long storage cabinet. At the foot of the bed is a vanity table with large bulkhead mirror beside a Samsung TV with fluted panelling above and below.

VIP suite’s vanity table, large mirror and Samsung TV

Fairline is in a happy place right now, ramping up its production by about 60 per cent last year to catch up with a strong order book for models ranging in size from the F//Line 33 to the two big newcomers: the Phantom 65 and upgraded Squadron 68.

Next up is the Squadron 58 featuring two cockpit balconies and the Targa 40 cruiser with a drop-down starboard bulwark, set to debut at this September’s Cannes Yachting Festival and Boot Dusseldorf in January 2024 respectively. However, the Phantom 65 is currently Fairline’s newest model and the pioneer of a sportsbridge series that fits seamlessly into the brand’s portfolio.

The sportbridge is discreetly layered into the superstructure

“There has been a fantastic response to the Phantom 65 so we’re really happy,” Gore says. “Fairline’s segment is the 30-70ft range, and we don’t need to push outside of that; we just need to keep being really good at what we do.”

This article first appeared on Yacht Style.

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