Fairline - Squadron 60
UK’s Fairline adds into its successful Squadron range with a new 60-footer that ticks a lot of boxes for buyers moving into the realm of crewed yachts.
Despite tough times in the yachting industry, British builder Fairline has kept a firm focus on the future. They continue to introduce new models at the rate of around two per year in a programme geared to updating and expanding their range. This new Squadron 60 is the latest addition and what a fine motor yacht it is.
Fairline originally introduced its first Squadron yacht many years ago. This marked the start of a focus on performance motor yachts that had a dignified styling to justify the title of motor yacht, yet which also had enough power to satisfy owners looking for a bit extra. A unique styling was developed with a strong vertical component, and this feature is still retained, although in this new 60 it is matched to modern flowing lines.
A 60-footer lies in a challenging sector of the market. This is where an owner starts to expect some of the super yacht features found in larger yachts while still wanting something approaching sports boat performance. It is a sector where an owner might employ a crew to handle the yacht, but equally there are owners where the yacht will be operated by just a couple working as a team. To meet the compromises involved in the 60-footer segement, Fairline has added a lot of options to this new Squadron, with the aft crew cabin probably being the main one.
Fairline has not strayed too far from convention in this design. There is the usual three-cabin layout below while in the saloon, you can start to see the larger yacht features, such as the separate lounge and dining areas. The difference is in the detail and this is what Fairline is so good at, working out many of the small features that go towards making a beautiful and stylish whole.
Starting at the top, there is a large flybridge area that is fully geared to life in the open air. It was hard to put this to the test on the trial day because of the wind and rain, but the forward helm has two supportive seats and it is surrounded by a sun bed below and behind the low reverse angle windscreen. Behind the helm, you have the barbecue counter that caters for eating and drinking, while the dining and social seating area is aft.
It is a layout that makes maximum use of space, with the arch mast raking astern rather than the vertical mast structure on earlier Squadrons. The radar on this mast is set quite low so there could be a risk that anyone standing on the flybridge would obstruct the radar beam to give a less than perfect picture on the radar screen. There is the option of a fold down Bimini up here, and this could be a good idea because the supports of the Bimini provide safety cover at a point where the side rails are a bit too low for comfort.
The saloon is wonderfully welcoming, with the main seating on the port side where it faces a rising TV coming out of a sideboard. This is the comfort zone of the yacht and the dining area and the galley are a couple of steps up and forward with the dining table to starboard and the well-equipped galley on the port side. This is a very social galley, so that the cook is directly in contact with the rest of the guests with no counter in between.
The large side windows allow a great view of the outside, but the generous space in the saloon comes at the expense of somewhat narrow side decks outside. Access to the accommodation is via steps down alongside the helm. There is some confusion as these steps divide halfway down to lead forward and aft in separate flights – aft to the master suite and forward to the guest cabins.
However, the master cabin is a delight, with large windows looking out over the sea, though the view is somewhat restricted to starboard by the ensuite bathroom. A glass division helps to maintain the view with screens allowing privacy when required. Despite the amount of bathroom area, the cabin feels spacious, and there is a great view from the bed out to port over the top of the desk/vanitory unit that runs along below the window.
Moving forward there is a twin cabin to starboard and here the beds can be moved together to form a double. The bathroom for this cabin is over to port and also forms the day head whilst the VIP forward has its own private access to this bathroom. This VIP cabin is unique in having a view forward through a high window although you do need to stand to get this view.
Outside there is a sunbed on the forward coachroof while aft there is the compact cockpit with the flybridge above offering sun protection. A transom settee is the main seating here, and a portable table and seating allows outside dining in the evenings. Access to the engine room is via a deck hatch and while the fuel tanks are on each side of the engines, there is still good access here for servicing the essentials.
Behind and below the transom settee is the optional crew cabin, which makes a great stowage space if you don’t go for the cabin option. At the transom, there is the wide swim platform that incorporates Fairline’s unique hi/lo tender launching system, which makes handling the tender really easy and encourages owners to use it at every opportunity.
The lower helm has two supportive seats with a space between them that allows access to either seat without disturbance, an excellent feature not found on many yachts. The space behind the seats is a narrow passageway to an equally narrow side door to the outside, so it is possible to move around when required. The main helm is in front of the centre seat and with its adjustable wheel and throttles on a plinth, it works well although visibility is limited at the sides and astern. Strangely, the electronic chart and radar displays are in front of the guest seat on the starboard side, and a dedicated stowage for the paper chart is on top of the dash and difficult to see particularly with its reflective plastic cover.
The power for the 60 comes from a pair of Volvo Penta D 13 800-horsepower diesels, which is adequate to give speeds up to 30 knots. There is the option of having a pair of 900-horsepower versions of the same engines to give an extra couple of knots. Both installations drive though a conventional shaft and propeller system to give reliable performance, with the propellers in semi-tunnels to help keep the draught low.
As for performance, the speed potential will be good for most owners. These days, the focus tends towards comfortable cruising rather than out-and-out performance. The hull has a 15-degree deadrise, which is unusual for a cruising yacht of this size and as always with a Fairline, the hull shape has been designed to ensure that the 60 performs well at sea. The ride in waves gives you confidence with limited pitching, yet the boat heels into turns in a satisfying way. There is a considerable change in trim as the boat comes onto the plane, with the performance lively but well controlled and this is an exciting boat to drive, unusual for what is basically a cruising yacht. Deck-head handrails are a good feature to match this lively performance but it is a pity that they have used square section handrails in some areas, which are not particularly comfortable to use.
The 60 works well at low speeds, so that with the propellers and the bow thruster, there is good control when berthing. The noise levels are moderate except at top speed and the boat feels very controllable; this is a yacht that will endear itself to you the more you use it. The test boat had over a tenth of its price in fitted options, but at least these options allow you to tailor the boat to your requirements.
Fairline has done it again with another addition to its extensive fleet that looks a winner. I am sure that there will be modifications to this prototype to correct some small items for a future Fairline classic.
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