Fairline Finds Sweet Spot With Squadron 50
The Squadron 50 sits in the ‘sweet spot’ of Fairline’s increasingly wide range, with the quick sale of the first unit in Hong Kong showing the potential of the British builder’s expanded regional partnership with Simpson Marine.
Soon after Simpson Marine’s representation of Fairline Yachts was increased to cover 10 countries and territories within Greater China and Southeast Asia, the regional dealer staged the Asian debut of the Squadron 50 at last year’s Thailand Yacht Show, just four months after the model’s world premiere at the 2019 Southampton International Boat Show.
Not long after, however, the ‘C-word’ started to spread around the region and the globe, with many Southeast Asian yachting markets retracting in the aftermath. It proved an inauspicious start for Fairline’s new relationship with Simpson Marine, but the Squadron 50 eventually arrived in Hong Kong late last year, where it was soon snapped up in the region’s most active yachting hub.
The model’s quick sale didn’t surprise Fairline, whose range of yachts has spanned in size from the F//Line 33 to the flagship Squadron 68 since those models were also launched in 2019, but which is still dominated by multiple models within the 45-53ft range, the British builder’s heartland.
“The Squadron 50 has proven to be extremely popular, hitting our market’s sweet spot perfectly when it comes to size and features,” says Miles Moorhouse, Fairline’s Head of Marketing.
“It has a combination of large exterior and interior spaces, which means owners can enjoy their boat whatever the weather. It also has an array of options including flexible accommodation, galley up or galley down, and the choice of an aft crew cabin, all of which makes it perfect for customising to owner’s preferences.”
Simpson Marine had represented the British builder in Hong Kong and the Philippines since June 2018, but in January 2020 the dealer announced its scope had increased to cover both territories plus Taiwan and seven Southeast Asian nations – Thailand, Singapore, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Myanmar.
An F//Line 33 and a Squadron 68 have since arrived in Singapore and Hong Kong, respectively. Meanwhile, scheduled deliveries to Hong Kong include a Squadron 53 in April to be followed a couple of months later by a Targa 45 GT, a model that had its world premiere at Boot Dusseldorf in 2020.
Both sit in and around Fairline’s sweet spot, where the Squadron 50 is the first of three new models sharing the same platform, along with the Targa 50’s Open and GT versions. The Fairline Yachts Design Studio is responsible for the design of these new models, which built on the brand’s well-established 48ft selection.
The new exterior styling includes an anthracite-coloured hardtop, which instantly differentiates the new 50ft range and provides a visual ‘trick’ to the eye, making for a sleeker, lower profile. “The Squadron 50 is a rebooted version of a classic Fairline, with new sporty accents,” Moorhouse explains.
Unlike Targa sports cruisers, the Squadron 50 offers a flybridge, a popular feature in Hong Kong and much of Asia. The yacht offers a relatively classic set-up, one that gives owners in Asia plenty of teak-laid outdoor areas to enjoy the region’s great weather.
The sheltered aft cockpit has a roomy sofa flanked by side gates that lead to the roomy bathing platform, just two steps down. Up front, the sleek foredeck offers a double sunpad with drinks holders.
For larger groups, the flybridge is the place to be as it offers seating for at least six on an aft L-shaped sofa around a good-sized table, while the entertainment system provides the soundtrack and meals can be knocked up at the wet bar, which has a barbecue, fridge and sink.
Forward is a double bench seat to starboard and the twin-seat helm station to port, where most of the driving is done, certainly in Hong Kong.
The Squadron 50 has the option of twin Volvo IPS650 or IPS700 engines for a top speed of 31-32 knots, as well as all the associated benefits of IPS such as user-friendly joystick controls, great manoeuvrability and performance, excellent efficiency and low emissions.
Inside, the tropical-spec air-conditioning has the desired effect in creating a cool interior that acts as a welcome refuge from time in the sun and offers the finish and detailing Fairline is renowned for.
The first Hong Kong unit features a galley-down, two-cabin layout, which offers a great saloon with a large C-shaped sofa and adjustable table to port, as well as a starboard sofa that sits in front of the 32in popup TV. Large windows all around ensure the interior is well lit, although views are frustrated by the horizontal strips running along the middle of each side window.
All the seating features elegant white upholstery, while there are numerous other choices among Fairline’s four interior décor themes: St Tropez, Capri, Amalfi and Hamptons.
The muted oak flooring contrasts with the high-gloss walnut joinery, as seen on the starboard cabinet and the raised forward area, where the helm station features the twin helm seats and the steering wheel in Italian leather.
To port, there’s a cosy L-shaped sofa with an elegant coffee table and nice views through the windscreen, as well as down the stairs to the galley and lower saloon to starboard, an area that can instead be used for a third cabin if specified. However, for owners who prefer more entertaining and dining areas, and only need two cabins for a family or two couples, this is an ideal layout.
The lower saloon has an L-shaped sofa and adjustable table that makes a nice setting for breakfast or for indoor dining when it’s too cold or wet outside, while there’s also a 22-inch TV. The facing galley is well equipped with a Carrara white marble worktop, an oven, grill and hobs, as well as cupboards, eye-level lockers and a large fridge/freezer all finished in high-gloss walnut.
Forward is the VIP with sliding scissor berths, which has private access to a starboard bathroom that also doubles as the day head.
Midships is the full-beam master cabin, which has a forward-facing bed and masses of drawers on each side, although there’s the option of a sofa to starboard by the ensuite bathroom. Both bedrooms feature New Zealand wool twist carpeting.
“The interior offers multiple spaces for modern entertaining, all featuring the handcrafted woodwork, luxurious touches and attention to detail Fairline is renowned for,” Moorhouse says.
Having worked for the brand from 2008-2012 and re-joined in early 2016, Moorhouse is among Fairline’s longer-serving managers and sees a strong future for the brand in the region as Asia’s largest yacht dealership begins its second year overseeing its enlarged remit.
“The expansion of Simpson Marine’s coverage across the region delivers significant advantages for both Fairline and customers. Working in partnership with us, Simpson Marine has showcased its experience and knowledge of the region to match the right Fairline product to the customer’s exact boating requirements. The company’s extensive aftersales coverage then ensures owners are looked after efficiently and professionally,” he says.
“There is now a steady flow of exciting new Fairline motor yachts arriving in Asia, particularly in Singapore and Hong Kong, so we look forward to this continuing as regional travel restrictions lift and we begin to enter a post-Covid world.”
The Squadron 50 is available with Fairline’s first Premium Pack, a turnkey solution that offers owners an easy route to go boating. Highlights include high-capacity air-conditioning, Onan 11Kw generator, a submersible bathing platform with 400kg lifting capacity, Sleipner bow thruster, 21kg Ultra anchor with 50m stainless steel chain, Fusion entertainment system with Bluetooth connectivity, teak-laid flybridge floor, 12in Volvo GPS Map 8612 touchscreen display, blue exterior mood lighting, and wet bar complete with griddle, fridge, icemaker and sink.
Highlights include high tea and champagne served by The Peninsula..