Cruising comfortably at 30 knots, the Fairline Phantom 65 has the fit and finish one would expect in a British-built yacht. She is designed for families with the owner/operator in mind.
Acceleration Times & Conditions
|Time to Plane||13.2|
|0 to 30||21.6|
|Props||38” diameter x 47” pitch x 5 blades|
|Load||7 persons; 550 US|
|Climate||84 deg., 80 humid; wind: 5-10 mph; waves 1 - 2’|
2 x 1622-hp Caterpillar C32-1622 Shaft Drive, Diesel
2 x 1,150-hp Caterpillar C18-1150 Shaft Drive, Diesel
2 x 1,622-hp Caterpillar C32-1622 Shaft Drive, Diesel
Fairline Phantom 65
Captain's Report by Capt. Gregg Clark
The Fairline Phantom 65 meets CE Category B ocean standards for performance and seakeeping, meaning she is built to navigate the open ocean in conditions below Force 8 on the Beaufort Scale wind scale, 39-46 mph/34-40 kts and handle any seas less than 13' (4 m). Cruising comfortably at 30 knots, she has the fit and finish one would expect in a British-built yacht. She is designed for families with the owner/operator in mind.
The Fairline Phantom 65 is a British-built sport flybridge yacht targeting the owner/operator. The name of this class of yacht is emerging as “sportbridge” — bringing together the best aspects of a yacht with both sport performance and a flybridge. This yacht is designed with families in mind without sacrificing performance. In support of the family mission, there are six main gathering areas, each designed to offer a specific benefit. The salon and sportsbridge offer 360° views and are equipped with all the gear and features one would expect of a proper near-coastal cruising yacht.
Test day brought light winds and relatively calm seas just outside of Port Everglades inlet. Luckily, as almost always, there was heavy traffic in the inlet between the ocean and the no-wake zone that allowed us to see how the Phantom 65 performed in 4’+ confused seas.
Despite the light winds, leaving the dock meant maneuvering in a very tight space while dealing with a .5 to .7 knot current. The responsiveness of the Caterpillar electronic throttles combined with the large and smartly pitched props with the added help of a proportional electric Sidepower bow and stern thrusters made the exit to the channel smooth and uneventful.
In the larger, pounding waves in the Port Everglades inlet, the Phantom 65 performed admirably. She seemed to barely notice 2 – 3’ waves and didn’t shutter, slow or roll in the larger waves thanks in large part to the Humphree Interceptor system. Once in the ocean, we experienced 5-10 knots of east-south-easterly winds and 1-2’ ocean rollers.
Performance Test Results*
Once offshore, our first tests were a series of runs focused on getting the speed, fuel burn and noise level (measured in decibels or dBA) at specific RPMs. The decibels were measured on the sportsbridge and at the lower helm.
Acceleration Times & Conditions*
The next test was the acceleration runs. Here, three tests were conducted and then averaged to get the time from 0 knots to select speeds. With the optional Caterpillar C32s generating 1,622 horsepower each, for a combined horsepower of 3,244, the Phantom 65 performed very well. An acceleration time of 13.2 seconds from 0 knots to planing and 21.6 seconds from 0 knots to her 30-knot cruise were impressive for a yacht the displacement of our test yacht, weighing in at just over 90,000 lbs. (41,222 kg).
Range and Optimal Cruise
During our detailed range tests, the Phantom 65 averaged 21.1 knots and had a range of 347.7 nm at 1,500 RPMs. The speed increases linearly and the range decreases linearly until 2,000 RPMs, where the speed curve slope decreases and the range curve slope increases. This is the first indicator of the Phantom 65’s optimal performance.
The next indicator of the Phantom 65’s optimal cruise is by comparing speed and gallons of fuel burned by hour. Taken together with the gallons of fuel available allows calculation of range:
The decrease of slope in the speed curve combined with the increase in slope of the GPH curve further suggests that 2,000 RPM is the optimal cruise number.
The final indication is that 2,000 RPMs, or about 31.9 knots, is the optimal cruise by looking at the engine load. The engine load at 2,000 averaged 76%, slightly above what most manufacturers feel the maximum cruise load of 75% should be. This confirms that the Fairline Phantom 65 is a true 30-knot cruise yacht.
Across the range of handling tests, the Phantom 65 performs very well. Her turn radius and stability are in line with yachts of this size. We like the tradeoff of a slightly bigger turn radius at speed with the lack of turn incline due to the Humphree Inceptor system. The ease of tight quarter maneuvering is excellent.
She is nimble and responsive when making adjustments at speed. The helm is “fly by wire” meaning all helm inputs are processed by computer as opposed to being directly connected to the rudder through either a cable system or hydraulics. Our test boat was in need of some electronic calibration of the helm feedback system. As such, she was difficult to hand steer precisely at high speeds. Fairline is aware of this challenge and is collecting data to determine optimal settings coming out of the factory.
There are two distinctive characteristics of the Phantom 65 worth noting. First, for a boat traveling at the speed where she just started planing, the turn radius is quite good compared to some other yachts of similar sizes. Second, because of the Humphree Interceptor system, our test yacht had very little lean inside the turn. This created a very smooth and comfortable ride that is sure to keep everyone’s wine glasses standing firmly on their surfaces. This flatter incline during turns may slightly impact the turn radius in a negative manner, but that trade-off is well worth it in our opinion.
Fairline Phantom 65 Turn Radius*
Docking the Phantom 65 is a breeze given the good visibility from the sportsbridge, the prop configuration, and the proportional bow and stern thrusters. Two items that would make docking even easier would be the addition of an aft-facing camera and the addition of a Dockmate controller, something any owner/operator would greatly appreciate.
Design and Construction
The Fairline Phantom 65 is designed by the Fairline Yachts Design Studio with assistance from Salt Design. The hull is a resin-infused, cored hull and deck liner with hand-laid components.
The Phantom 65’s hull has a bonded GRP floor liner that sits inside the hull and creates a rigid floor. Wooden bulkheads are bonded into the liner in specific channels molded in the liner and the superstructure deck is bonded to those bulkheads. The hull and deck are also bonded and bolted around the edge along with the liner where the rub rail is located, creating a strong exterior band. This gives the Phantom 65 an extremely sturdy and solid feel on the water. Not a single creak or groan was heard through our rigorous testing regimen.
- CE Category “B” – Ocean Certified Vessel
- Sidepower Electric proportional bow and stern thrusters
- Suite of 6 Garmin 8416s plus 2 8410 Multifunction Displays
- Garmin GMR Fantom 54” Open Array
- Sonos audio system with 21 fix-mounted speakers, four roaming speakers and three subwoofers powered by nine amplifiers
- Three 3-stateroom configurations and one 4-stateroom configuration are available.
- Sportsbridge layout with dual helm seats and two distinct seating areas
- Four distinct gathering areas on the main deck
The Phantom 65 is a sleek-looking yacht with lines that suggest she is always ready to go. She has significant volume in her hull yet doesn’t look like she is bulky or overdone. Her contrasting color scheme with thoughtful design lines make her almost appear in motion, even at rest.
Fairline refers to the Phantom 65’s uppermost deck as the “sportsbridge” — capturing the sense of this yacht's conversion of the flybridge models of the past and the sporty design of newer models in her class.
The sportsbridge features two separate seating areas. Abeam the helm with two custom seats is a seating area for five to six people to keep the captain company and have unobstructed views while underway. Aft is a cabinet with a wet bar, electric grill and refrigerator/freezer. At the far aft of the sportsbridge is a larger seating area for eight people with a fold-out table on the centerline.
The exterior features of the main deck include three more distinct gathering areas. At the bow is what will undoubtedly be one of the most popular areas while underway — a large seating area that can accommodate 10 people with a cocktail table that cantilevers under the aftmost seating bench. The two forwardmost benches do double duty as sun pads with raised backs for maximum comfort.
The aft cockpit has an innovative solution to the challenge of having access to the cockpit from both port and starboard. There is a folding table angled at 45° to connect the forward 3-person bench to the aft 6-person bench. The table folds over the round centerpiece that includes three cup holders.
Behind the aft seating area is an aft-facing sub pad for 3 to 4 people. This will make for a perfect sunbathing platform when moored or on anchor.
Access to the sportsbridge is via these floating teak stairs. The incorporation of stair lighting into the middle of the stairs is another example of Fairline’s design details and quality of finish.
Fairline’s Phantom 65 swim platform has all the features you would expect from a yacht of this caliber, and at least one surprise.
The swim platform has stairs both port and starboard to access the aft cockpit. There is a 2-3 person aft-facing seat integrated into the tender garage door.
The garage door, designed for a Williams Jet Tender, is opened by a switch on the port side in the same compartment as the power cords and swim platform controls.
The swim platform fully drops into the water for either launching and retrieving the tender or for easy access after frolicking in the water.
The surprise feature, which is innovative and handy, is a shower hatch that exposes not only the typical hand shower unit but also a stand up shower head.
There are teak walkways both port and starboard all the way from the aft cockpit to the bow. There are sturdy stainless steel railings outboard and a handrail above the salon windows on both sides. The sidedecks are 12" wide at the deck level, and 17" wide between the rail and the house. We would like to see them wider but ever boat is a compromise. And, making them wider would greatly reduce the volume in the solon. We approve of Fairline's compromise.
We would also like to see the upper hand rails extend all the way to the forward lounge area as we didn’t feel as secure as we would like walking that last 5-7 feet.
Galley and Dining
The galley up configuration, aft on the main deck, with an accompanying dining area are the first features of the interior on the main deck.
The Phantom 65 is designed to bring the outside in. The sliding door between the galley and the aft cockpit fully recesses into the bulkhead behind the galley. The remaining glass between the dining area and aft cockpit also fully recesses behind the seats. This creates a feel of continuity and openness on the main level.
The wrap-around galley includes a cooktop, range, sink, dish washer, full-size refrigerate / freeze, and an amazing amount of storage throughout.
Keeping with the owner/operator theme, the galley and dining area feel like one integrated unit. The dining area can accommodate 8-10 people. The stools are two-position, an ottoman height or, pull up and twist the top 90° and they become stool height. The same attention to wood details are in the dining table.
Just forward of the galley and dining areas is the main salon.
It features a wrap around couch to port which allows guests to be close to the captain for company and conversation. The large windows to port and starboard, combined with the large windshield, make the salon feel open and airy, almost as if you were actually outside.
Directly behind the lower helm is a 2-person couch that completes the gathering area for the salon.
Keeping with the theme of bringing the outside in, there is a retractable sunroof that opens a 6’ x 9’ opening in the salon roof. When closed, there are three separate skylights that can be covered with integrated shades.
The lower helm will be frequently used on longer passages. The helm station is clean with 3 Garmin 8216 and 1 8210 MFDs.
The visibility to the beam as well as forward is excellent from the lower helm. The custom helm seats will make long legs a breeze to endure.
One feature that taller captains will enjoy is the ability to stand fully upright at the lower helm and not touch the headliner. This shows my 6’1” height at the helm. Another enjoyable aspect of the lower helm was the ability to see forward without obstruction of view. So many yachts require a squat down to see beneath the top of the windshield frame.
And speaking of windshields, the Phantom 65’s is marvelous. It is one continuous piece of glass that allows unobstructed views through 145°. It provides the best visibility I’ve seen out of lower helm windshield.
Seen from the outside, the size of the windshield is evident. It is just over 11’ wide, spanning almost the entire width of the superstructure.
The Fairline Phantom 65’s accommodations feel like a proper yacht. Our test yacht came with the 3-cabin plus utility room configuration. The rooms felt spacious and inviting. From the doors to the latch mechanisms to the high-quality trim and cabinetry, the exceptional fit and finish of the Phantom 65 shines through.
In addition to our test yacht’s cabin configuration, there 3 other cabin configurations providing potential buyers with options to consider.
3-Cabin Plus Utility Room Configuration (Test Yacht)
Our test yacht had the 3-cabin plus utility room configuration. For those not in need of a 4th cabin, the utility room brings many useful and thoughtful features.
3-Cabin Plus Extended VIP Configuration
The 3-Cabin plus Extended VIP configuration features a larger VIP cabin with a seating area to port and a vanity station with stool on centerline.
3-Cabin Plus Day Head Configuration
The 3-cabin plus day head option adds a 4th head to the accommodations below. This gives the VIP more privacy with its own ensuite head.
4 Cabin Configuration
The 4-cabin configuration increases the berths to 8 with the addition of 2 bunk berths in the port cabin.
Underneath the aft part of the salon and the galley is the full beam master stateroom measuring 14’ wide and 9 feet fore and aft amounting to 126 square feet. There is 6’ 6” of headroom through the master.
The master feels large, airy and open. It is a den of luxury and tranquility thanks to the updated carpets and fabrics. It features large windows both port and starboard, each with a porthole for air circulation.
The port side features a two person couch perfect for relaxing or reading. In our test boat, the space between the couch and the 65” wide x 77” long berth felt a little cramped. Fairline had already identified this and new builds will have this shifted slightly further outboard. There is also an option to have a work desk in this space.
The starboard side features a vanity. The design details of the Phantom 65 shine through with the innovative under edge lighting and the craftsmanship in matching the grains in the vanity top.
The vanity top opens to reveal a large mirror and lined compartments for jewelry or other valuables.
The vanity bench is cantilevered so that it remains fully attached in both the stored and usable position.
Forward in the master is a 43” LED TV encased in a fluted wall.
The craftsmanship of this fluting is on display throughout the yacht.
Another demonstration of the craftsmanship are the burled inlays featured in all the yacht’s doors as well as in several of the tables.
Other features of all the interior doors include a rubber seal to prevent any rattling and to increase soundproofing as well as magnetically triggered latches that automatically deploy when a door is closed.
Aft in the master and just across from the entrance to the head are two wardrobes, each with a full mirrored exterior and interior light triggered by opening the wardrobe door.
The master head is 7’ 11” wide and 4’ 2” fore and aft. There is a solid surface counter top, a large sink and an electric silent-flush freshwater toilet.
The master shower is just over 4’ x 4’ and features another sizable window with a porthole.
Taller people will appreciate the 6’9” shower headroom with 6’3” of headroom under the shower head.
Our test yacht had the standard forward VIP stateroom with a 55” wide x 72” long berth on centerline. Unlike many foreward cabin berths where the berth is taper, the Phantom 65’s is truly rectangular holding those dimensions for the entirety of the berth. The colors, fabrics and lines create another sanctuary of tranquility. The integrated personal item holders on each nightstand will prove to be a welcomed feature by guests. While hopefully never required, the VIP has an escape hatch to the foredeck.
The VIP has a 31” LED TV with the same fluting detail seen throughout the accommodations.
The VIP features two wardrobes, one port and one starboard.
There is also storage as the entirety of outboard space below the headliner opens into plentiful storage compartments.
The VIP head, which on our test yacht doubled as a day head, features a sink, storage, the same electric silent-flush freshwater toilet and, while smaller than the master, a sizable shower with the same 6’2” headroom.
The guest stateroom has two single berths that are 30” and 33" wide and 78” long. There is a nightstand between the berths. A feature to accommodate couples in the guest are the adjustable berths. With a single button, the inboard berth slides outboard, making a 63” wide x 78” long berth. When the inboard berth moves, it covers the nightstand in between the berths and exposes a new night stand inboard.
The guest also has an ensuite head with a sink, an electric silent-flush freshwater head and a stand-up shower with 6’ of headroom.
Our test yacht was equipped with the Utility room accommodation option. Inside is counter space with a hard top counter, a full size refrigerator / freezer, additional storage space and, as a throwback to Fairline’s heritage, a full size ironing board which folds down from the aft bulkhead. The window has a porthole to increase ventilation.
The engine room is packed with the Phantom 65’s mechanicals. Our test yacht came with the optional Caterpillar C32 V12 diesel engine which generates 1,622 horsepower each and easily pushes the Phantom 65 to a 30-knot cruise and 35-knot top speed. All checkpoints and filters are accessible from the between engine walkway.
Stairs from the engine room hatch in the aft cockpit lead to the middle of the engine room. The space between the engines given the optional larger engine package made things quite tight between the engines. While there is 14" clearance between the engines, there are only 9" of clearance between the air filters. With the CAT C18 Engines there will be much clearance between the engines.
Outboard of both engines are double Racor fuel filters. On the bulkhead ahead of the port engine are a Victron Phoenix Inverter and a MasterVolt battery manager and charger
Closeup view of the dual Racor Fuel Filters outboard of the starboard engine.
There are starters and engine monitors on both main engines
Raw water strainers are easily accessible along the forward bulkhead of the engine room.
There is a secondary compartment behind the engines and outboard on the port side of the engine room. This contains multiple circuit breaker banks, hydraulic pumps and distribution, a large battery room and air conditioning components.
There are two Dometic chillers that handle the air conditioning needs of the Phantom 65.
While designed as an owner/operator yacht, the Phantom 65 comes optional with crew quarters under the starboard stairs from the swim platform to the aft cockpit. This was used for storage on our test yacht.
The Fairline Phantom 65 combines superb sea handling characteristics, maneuvering capability, visible quality, and impressive fit, finish and attention to detail that should make her a serious contender for any owner/operator looking for a yacht in this size range and class. Her manufacturing technique yields a stiffness and quietness while running that are top-of-the-line for yachts of this size and speed. The flexibility of accommodation design will allow any owner to get a configuration that is right for their purpose. And she has sleek, refined lines conveying a style of refined luxury.
The Fairline Phantom 65 should not disappoint anyone who steps aboard.
Remember, life is better on a boat!