Author : Barry Thompson
Open all Hours
The Fairline Squadron 65 is a stylish, although not extreme, well-crafted motor yacht with the legs of a thoroughbred.
When Fairline Boats recently won the prestigious accolade of the ‘Motor Boat of the Year’ Award 2010 in the ‘Flybridges over 50ft’ category for the new Fairline Squadron 65, the judges said, “This elegant cruiser dishes up three surprises. First, an amazing VIP cabin that is the equal of the 65’s full-beam master cabin. Surprise number two is the unprecedented use of large glass windows in the crew cabin, which has transformed the usual kids’ hideaway into a genuine fourth cabin, fit for grown-ups. And last but not least, the flybridge feels like it’s been stolen from a 70-footer. The boat also exhibits Fairline’s usual fastidious attention to no-expense-spared detailing, and is packed with luxurious home-away-from-home comforts, designed to make living aboard a genuine pleasure, however long the vacation.”
That just about sums up everything I felt when I went aboard the Squadron 65 moored outside CRS Yachts in Sydney’s Rose Bay. However, what they failed to add was that it’s also a party boat.
The Squadron 65 fills the large void between the older Squadron 58 and the Squadron 78 and while the hull length is 18.48m (60ft 8in), the overall length is 20.41m (66ft 11in). Released in September 2009, the Squadron 65 has been described as having the muscle of its Italian distant cousins, but with a more subdued profile.
With the proliferation of enclosed flybridge cruisers it is nice to see a completely open boat that places a huge emphasis on outdoor living. Whilst there is the optional soft bimini, which I feel is a must for the harsh UV infested heat in this part of the world; it is an awesome space for sun worshippers and lovers of fresh air.
The flybridge deck is completely alfresco. Were you in an environment where the weather cooperates, it would be hard to imagine spending daylight hours anywhere else. Settees and sun pads are in abundance and beg to be used. The deck has plenty of room for entertaining and of course parties! There’s a bar with fridge, icemaker and electric hotplate, plus a large table with teak inlay and seating for up to eight diners.
And let’s not forget the upper helm with a central dash and twin adjustable bolstered helm chairs. There is a chez-lounge either side, plus a full wrap-around settee forward of the helm position. Barreling along Sydney Harbour at better than 30 knots, with a cool wind in the face and temperatures heading towards 30°C, it was unquestionably the best seat in the house. There’s something about driving a 20m, 30 tonne boat in excess of 30 knots that gets the adrenaline pumping. The forward-sloping wind-deflecting screen does an effective job and in the case of our boat the bimini provided us with ample shade. However, if the weather turns sour then you can always revert to the internal helm.
The upper aft deck area is cantilevered over the cockpit and reinforced with an aluminium space frame for strength. With potentially six to eight people concentrated on the aft area of the flybridge there is likelihood for considerable weight, so Fairline engineers have made sure the whole area is structurally sound.
Slippery When Wet
The 18° deadrise (aft) Bernard Olesinski designed hull is very slippery through the water and easily driven. We were planing at speeds as low as 11 knots and there was an immediate response when I rapped the Rexroth controls all the way to their stops. Maximum reading on the digital readouts was 33 knots. Noticeable was the extremely low bow attitude, especially in the transition phase onto the plane, and also the silence as the 65 gathered speed. Mark Chapman, sales & marketing director for Fairline importers CRS Yachts Ltd, commented that he felt at around 20 knots the 65 was the quietest production motor yacht he had ever been. dBA figures at 1700 rpm @ 20.7 knots indicated a moderate 70.6 dBA at the helm and 71.8dBA in the main saloon. An extremely good application of sound insulation in the engine room has certainly achieved the desired result.
The power options available, from MAN and Caterpillar, vary slightly in horsepower from just over 1,000hp. We had a pair of MAN V10 1100hp engines through ZF gearboxes and conventional shafts to 5-blade CJR propellers. The propellers are set in semi-tunnels, enabling the engines to be located further aft, also reducing draught and improving efficiency by decreasing the shaft angle.
Fuel figures recorded during previous trials showed the 65/MAN package consumed 416L/h @ a maximum 2360 rpm for a speed of 32 knots and 335L/h @ a cruise of 2150 rpm and 28 knots. If you drop back your cruise speed to around 20 knots then there is a serious drop down to 240L/h.
At 1500rpm and 181L/h, the twin MANs push the Squadron 65 at 17.2 knots with a range of 269NM with 205 litres reserve, which is reasonably efficient, considering the size of the vessel.
The hull construction is all gel coat and fiberglass hand laid with unidirectional, biaxial and woven rovings. The deck incorporates polyurethane foam cores with thermal insulation to the forward cabin and upper deck roof spaces.
The Fairline Squadron 65 is highly specified and offers owners sophisticated, spacious living areas for relaxation and entertainment. It presents the highest standard of British craftsmanship, with luxury written in its fit-out, from the stainless anchor bowsprit to the hydraulic transom lift. It has a single-level flat floor that extends from the saloon through to the dinette and galley area, with a 6-seater table, providing an exceptional feeling of spaciousness.
Fairline is renowned for its quality of timber and as much as possible it utilises the same source to harmonise the grain patterns so that everything matches up completely. There is a choice of satin or gloss finish in American white oak, cherry or as was throughout our boat, American black walnut. Modern square finishes to furniture help to create a magnificent feeling of contemporary space when aboard and harmonise well with soft Scottish leather and New Zealand wool carpet.
Seating in the main saloon is split between the U-shaped settee, with central coffee table aft and the larger dinette/settee arrangement on the starboard side. Continuing on the party theme, the 65 saloon is fitted with the very latest Bang and Oloufsen Vision TV and sound system with the master and guest cabins having Bose Systems with Ipod docks.
Individual zones for both lighting and sound allow you to set the mood and the ambience to suit the moment.
Although the 65 is equipped with the energy saving chilled water air conditioning system, you have the added benefit of natural air cross ventilation with powerdrop side windows and the pilothouse lower helm door. Fairline has made certain that no space is left wanting, with copious storage lockers above and below. Open one up and you find the interior is finished to the same high standard as the exterior, which is further evidence of Fairline’s commitment to perfection.
Conveniently placed on the same level as the rest of the saloon, the galley is finished with Avonite work surfaces and has dual fridge/freezer combos beneath as well as a dishwasher, an electric induction hob and microwave oven combination with a separate convection oven.
The lower helm is something more akin to what you would expect to find in a luxury car such as an Aston Martin, Bentley or Range Rover. Stitched leather panels, digital instrumentation and metallic two-pack painted surfaces present a somewhat modernistic approach. Twin helm and co-pilot seats are mounted on a raised base with storage beneath. Visibility from the helm is excellent and all controls and the large Garmin display screens are conveniently placed where they are most effective.
The Squadron 65 offers the latest technology with a touch-screen console at the helm station and the Fairline Systems ‘Pilot’ that give the owner control and access to the boat’s electrical system and tank monitoring. This single user-interface gives a graphic interpretation of the electrical system and provides details such as battery and fuel levels. It also gives the user a single point of control for all domestic electrical systems and will automatically manage the boat using what power is available to it.
While it would seem at first glance that the emphasis on the Squadron 65 is all about having plenty of space for entertaining and party-time central, the accommodation areas have not been left wanting. Far from it in fact, with the design providing four cabins with five heads/ensuites.
Understanding that owners like to offer luxury to their guests, the design team has created a forward stateroom as luxuriously appointed as the mid-ships full-beam master stateroom and almost the same size. Like each of the three forward cabins it has its own ensuite and light floods into this forward stateroom through a full-length overhead window with electric blinds so the owners’ guests can enjoy an airiness previously unseen in a boat of this size. The aft cabin has also been given similar treatment with a panoramic transom window overhead and is also finished to the same high standard as the other cabins forward. Having internal deck access makes it safer and more appealing than if via a door opening onto the boarding platform. The starboard guest cabin comprises side-by-side twin berths complete with ensuite shower, hanging locker and stowage.
Casual visitors needing a bathroom don’t have to break into the privacy of any of the cabin’s ensuites, with the 65 having a separate day head opposite the lower helm on the main level. All the bathrooms are generous in size and have large shower units. Vanities are equipped to the highest standards.
The mid-ships master stateroom is generous in size, bright and modern. There is a full walk-in locker behind full glass paneling and a deep pull-out drawer under the queen size berth. Natural airflow is available through opening side ports hidden behind black aluminium venetian blinds.
Like the saloon area, the lower level doesn’t lack for storage space and even includes a long-range cruising storeroom under the accommodation stairwell. There is also a separate washer/dryer combo and linen cupboard nicely hidden away behind veneer paneling in the forward companionway.
Right to Transom
Right through to the transom and beyond, the 65 still comes up with surprises. The cockpit features a three-seat lounger, engine room access and stairway to the flybridge as well as the lift-up hatch to the aft cabin. Docking capstans and rope lockers look after all the necessary mooring lines and there’s a letterbox passarella incorporated in the transom steps that leads to the electro-mechanical tender lift. Instead of a simple hand held shower, Fairline has built in a lift-up overhead shower unit with adjustable head….just like home!
No matter where you look on board you can’t help but be impressed with the quality and attention to detail. It’s the little things that make the difference and in the case of the Fairline 65 Squadron there are too many for them all to be mentioned in this article.
- Design Name: Fairline Squadron 65
- Year Launched: 2009
- Designers: ??
- Hull: Bernard Olesinski
- Superstructure: Fairline Design Team
- Interior Designer: Fairline design team
- Builder: Fairline Boats UK
- LOA: 20.41m
- Beam: 5.24m
- Draft: 1.37m
- Deadrise: 18°
- Displacement: 30000kg (dry)
- Max Speed: 34 knots
- Cruise Speed: 23 knots
- Construction: GRP
- Fuel Capacity: 3542 litres
- Water Capacity: 1074 litres
- Engines: 2 x Man 1100 CRM
- Gearboxes: ZF
- Drivetrain: Conventional shaft
- Propellers: CJR 5-Blade
- Generator: Onan 17.5kW
- Base Price of Boat: $A3.350m (Incl. GST)
- Price As Tested: $A3.697m (Incl. GST)