There was not a breath of wind as we departed the marina on the new Fairline Targa 62. The builder's latest launch certainly gave the early morning dog walkers along the breakwater something to stare at. She was not only the biggest boat in the Dutch marina, but her very stylish shape and sleek lines stood in stark contrast with the static windmills reflected in the mirror-calm water.
After two hours of navigating through the Delta system's tortuous channels, locks and bridges, which prevent Holland from being invaded from the sea, we were in open water and heading toward England. With gales that rush in from the Atlantic, the North Sea is usually not a place to take lightly in winter. On this trip, however, we were greeted with an unnaturally calm sea. The biggest waves were from the many passing ships that ply these waters. This allowed the Fairline to maintain an average speed of more than 32 knots for the five-hour passage.
The Targa 62 is very much a fast cruiser. She's big enough to cope with adverse sea conditions and fast enough to cover well over 200 miles a day. And when you get into the harbor, she has all the comfort, amenities and space you need for a quick recovery.
This was a winter cruise, though, so we needed the heat turned up and the deck saloon closed tight. Fairline offers several options for this area. Air-conditioning is standard, so you can batten down and stay cool in hot weather. Alternatively, if you like fresh air, a huge sunroof slides back to create an almost open cockpit. Electric side windows and a wide aft door, both optional, also open. You can specify the open-ended deck saloon if you prefer a more sporting feel.
Outside in the cockpit are sunpads on both sides of a narrow sunken passageway. This leads aft to the passerelle and the steps to the narrow swim platform. A raised deck runs behind the sunpads to integrate with the side decks. I was a bit concerned by the low height of the rails here; they do not give a sense of security as you move around, and are too low to form a convenient handhold. The same happens along the side decks until you reach the higher rails at the bow. There was no gate across the gap created by the steps. I suspect Fairline will have another look at the layout after evaluating this prototype. A highlight, however, was the dedicated liferaft stowage in a cockpit locker.
The deep-V hull runs right aft to the extremity of the swim platform, with the rudders and trim tabs tucked in just under the hull. Props are recessed into semi-tunnels to keep the draft down to a modest 41/2 feet, and the hull follows the well-proven lines developed over the years by Bernard Olesinski. With a 20-degree transom deadrise and a fine entry forward, this hull is shaped for performance. On my long passage, it certainly coped well with the waves we found.
In addition to performing well, the Targa 62 looks good. You can specify an all-white finish, but the dark blue topsides of our test boat gave an air of sophistication and helped create a lower, leaner look that hints at the 62's performance. The deck saloon integrates well into the style, and three vertical oval side ports produce a balanced contrast.
The prototype we tested was powered by twin 1,050 hp MAN diesels. Even with full fuel and water, she topped out at over 35 knots, which is the sort of performance that will keep most people happy. There is powerful acceleration to match, but what really impresses is not so much the top speed but the responsiveness of the boat. She just seems eager to get up and go. Even with plenty of raw power at hand, harbor maneuvering is quite docile; with help from the powerful bowthruster, you can nudge this big boat into tight corners with ease.
Driving the 62 is also a pleasure because most items are in the right place. The two helm seats are the most adjustable I have seen. You can raise them one foot, and they slide backward and forward, so you should have no trouble finding the best position for driving.
The windscreen, however, is a long way forward from the helm. The area's strong points include the adjustable wheel, the good location of the throttles on the driver's right side and the clear separation of the various instruments, with the navigation screens down in front of the second seat.
I did like the compact, built-in seating area on the port side. Here, there are two more forward-facing seats, which are perfect for use at sea. With two more opposite, you have a cozy place for casual dining. You could use the U-shape settee in the rear of the deck saloon for dining, but this is more of a social area-it has a bar counter complete with an icemaker and a fridge, with a TV above. The bar can be converted into a secondary galley when a grill is added.
The real galley is below, in the main saloon. It comes complete with a four-burner cooktop, microwave/oven, double sink and fridge/freezer. There are no excuses for poor cooking here, and the facilities are matched by a very large eight-person dining table that is served by the settee and portable stools. Forward of this saloon is the double guest cabin with en suite access to a head that also serves as the day head. Aft is the full-width master stateroom, which includes an angled double berth, generous stowage spaces and the second head.
These high-quality heads have large shower stalls equipped with teak seats and floor gratings. They have an interesting deck covering made from American black walnut, which is laid out like deck planking. The same treatment serves as a practical finish in the galley and deck saloon.
A third cabin, primarily designed for children, is squeezed on the starboard side between the galley and master stateroom and has two bunks. The space can instead serve as a utility room with laundry facilities and additional freezer space. On our test boat, the area was designed as a single-crew cabin with access from under the starboard sunpad. There is direct access to the engine compartment from here, and the matching space on the port side is used as the tender garage.
In addition to enjoying her brilliant performance and styling, I felt very comfortable on board the 62. It is obvious the Fairline design team has given a great deal of thought to the way this boat will be used at sea. On the whole, the Targa 62 is a well-balanced yacht that seems to offer just the right mix of practicality and style.
Contact: Fairline Boats of North America, (954) 525-7430; www.fairline.com. For more information, contact: (866) 922-4877