Boat Review Date: June 2011
Author: Mike Brown
The first impression of the Fairline Squadron 42 is of the space it contains. Compared with the Fairline 48 of a few years ago there is little or no visible difference in elbow room in the public areas. Admittedly it has just two sleeping cabins to the 48’s three, but there are plenty of people who feel this is the right number regardless of the boat’s size. Entertain masses of people by day, but accommodate just the family at night is their view.
There is certainly room for masses of people. The deck area of the saloon is probably exceeded by the fly bridge’s, and the cockpit is far larger than we normally expect from a British-built boat. The cockpit has a possibly unique feature: a settee at the rear with a reversing back. A simple yet life-changing idea – face forwards to chat with the guests, face aft to keep an eye on the kids swimming or to watch dolphins in the wake.
The platform aft of the settee is also special. This carries the ingenious tender launching system. Most boats launch their tenders by davit; some launch by lowering the platform, but this means the platform has to be a non-buoyant extension. The Fairline’s platform is buoyant, the launching system lifting the segment of it carrying the tender aft and down to the water.
Passage from the cockpit to elsewhere is good. Broad shallow-angle steps lead to the fly bridge; more steps take you to side decks wide enough for easy passage to the foredeck – and once there you are on a deck without the excessive camber of some imports.
Wide glass doors lead to the saloon. The lower steering station effectively takes some space away from it, but a deliberately uncluttered interior visually gives a lot of it back. The only permanent furniture in it is a capacious dinette to starboard and a shallow entertainment unit to port, leaving plenty of clear deck for mobile socialising. An exceptional glass area, protected by Venetians, makes this an airy compartment.
The galley is on a mezzanine opposite the helm. Any suggestion of segregation for the cook is removed by the waist-high division being made of glass, allowing seated passengers to stay in touch. For the longer trips, when cooking can get serious, this galley will deliver the goods. Separate fridge and freezer live under the large area counter top, and actual cooking arrangements are comprehensive. A classy touch is the compartment with individual padded slots for each plate.
Half a flight beyond the galley is the sleeping accommodation, comprising two good-sized cabins each with en suite bathrooms. Abundant skylights make them seem still larger, and the aft twin cabin has a dodge that both gives it more volume and appears to give more still. The en suite has double doors that you would normally leave open, giving more air space. Lying on a bunk, the mirror on the bulkhead facing the cabin gives the illusion that you are in an immensely long room. The fit-out of the whole interior suggests a lot of thought and skill went into it. The proportions of timber and synthetic materials, and their tints and shades, are masterfully balanced.
Attractive as the interior is, most of the time the outside is more important – generally, being out in the open air is the whole point of getting on a boat. The 42 gives more open air than many of the current batch of boats that have converted their fly bridges to virtual wheelhouses. This fly bridge is completely open when it leaves the UK factory and only gains an awning to order in Australia, and any awning will be huge: the fly bridge stretches to the rear of the cockpit. There are seats, table, wet bar, entertainment module and sheer room. And, of course, there is the main driving position.
It is a very tidy one, less space age than many, with an easy dash to scan. The wheel tilts, the seats slide, the foot rests and throttles are well placed. Here is the control centre for the twin 435hp Volvos, in the mid range of motor powers offered. They are good for 30 knots flat out, and they produce an interesting set of fuel consumption figures: an almost flat graph. At 19 knots combined consumption is 5.5L/ nautical mile, at 25 knots 5.03, and at 30 knots back to 5.5. The engine room these motors inhabit has had as much attention as any other part of the boat. The layout is immaculate and logical, and the complete fibreglass liner makes it easy to keep clean.
Fairlines are considered very up-market boats in Europe, and they used to have a price tag in Australia to match. But the plummeting value of the pound has completely changed that: the 42, with almost every option in place, is on offer for AUD $830,000.
Price as reviewed AUD $830,000
Length overall 12.94m
Fuel capacity 996L
Fresh water 470L
Motors fitted 2 x Volvo D6-435hp ea