Boat Review Date: December 2009
Author: Mike Brown
Who would have picked earlier this year that an English boat costing $3.7m would drop to $2.85m in time for Christmas 2009? For most people it’s entirely academic, and the price is still going to change, but those few in the market would be glad they waited for the pound to collapse.
The boat in question is Fairline’s Squadron 65, a new model with vast amounts of space for its length, and effectively controlled by electronics. A simple example: you could be at say Parker point; you double tap Thomson Bay on the Garmin touch screen and the GPS will ask if you want to go there. Confirm it, and it will engage the autopilot and take you there. After reaching the destination, to shut down a system that integrates several functions normally involves pushing a sequence of buttons. Not here: a single movement turns everything off.
A computer monitors and controls almost everything else on board via another touch screen: it monitors the level in every tank, it tells you what lights are on, their power draw and what you have left in the batteries. If you are on shore power and you overload the supply, instead of tripping out it will shut down the item causing the overload. And there are endless items needing electricity. There are icemakers and fridges everywhere, including the armrests of seats; blinds open and shut at the touch of a button, flat screen TVs abound.
The electronics are impressive, but the use of space – and the quantity of it – hits the eye harder. The saloon is on one level, which increases its apparent length. And in a change of style, curves in settees are replaced by angles, adding extra deck area. Galley, dining area and sitting area are neatly defined but have no barriers between them. Some clever design went into this.
The galley is to European standards, and those people treat food preparation seriously. There is room to do complicated things and to lay out dishes and plates, there is the equipment to cook in several different ways, and freezers and fridges galore.
The saloon flows into the cockpit, a larger one than on most European boats, and on to the submersible platform. This is able to carry a 3.85m jet RIB tender, and is also the access to the crew twin cabin. Australians have friends instead of crew, and this cabin is certainly acceptable as guest accommodation with full headroom, en-suite bathroom, and a window across its entire width.
Daylight is a theme in the main sleeping accommodation; a long, overhead glazing band floods the passageway and forward VIP suite with light.
All three cabins are generous in size, the master cabin almost extravagantly so, all have high headroom with no intrusions, and each has a large en-suite. Part of the master cabin’s size is an illusion caused by the wardrobes’ mirrored doors, and it is hard to believe anyone could take enough clothes to sea to need so much wardrobe.
Half way down the stairs to the sleeping accommodation is a day head, always useful but especially on a boat likely to have a large number of daytime visitors. Instead of having semi-strangers wandering past or into bedrooms to use the facilities, they are confined to the day space.
A large share of that space is on the flybridge – larger in area than the average Rottnest cruiser, and enhanced by the mast being pushed right to the aft end. The second driving station is here, of course, but it seems subservient to the social potential. There are two double day beds with adjustable backrests, and a complete al fresco dining area as well as the informal seating. Naturally there is a wet bar complete with icemaker, and there is also a barbecue to save the chore of bringing food up from the galley.
It seems almost vulgar to mention engines in the same story as all this luxury, but the engine room is to the same standard as everything else on board. Engines are a pair of V10 MANs, with the option of C12 Caterpillars. Either package is good for 35 knots. The engine room is a real room that you can stand in and walk around to check and service everything. And there is a lot down there, taking care of the vessel’s electrical, air-conditioning and other demands. It is all logically laid out, and attractive enough in its own right to make an owner’s show piece to his guests.
One of the 65’s many charms is the easy accessibility to every part. A lot of boats in this class effectively confine those on board to the interior or the after end, the foredeck being a struggle to reach and not too rewarding when you get there. This one is designed to be used to the max.Lowdown
Price from AUD $2,850,000
Length overall 20.41m
Hull length 18.48m
Fuel capacity 3,542L
Fresh water 1,140L
Dry weight 30T
Engines 2 x MAN V10s @ 1100hp ea