Polished yet unpretentious, Fairline's Targa 48 offers Euro-styling with a traditional touch...

I've never been a big fan of Euro-styling. Those round edges and shiny surfaces and the lack of wood leave me cold. My type of boat is one you'd find cruising Maine, not the Med, which explains why when I was assigned to test Fairline's newest Targa model, I wasn't all that excited. So imagine my surprise when a few hours later I found myself lusting after this English-built yacht.

The Targa 48 is lean, sleek, and attractive, but more than anything else, she's classy. Her clean lines are set off by a gleaming navy hull; wraparound windshield; long, two-level teak cockpit; and extended teak swim platform. Topping it off are sun decks fore and aft covered with navy and white striped cushions made of durable, nonabsorbent foam.

Yet even with all that style, you can tell the 48 was designed to be easy to get around on. There are safe, wide walkways to either side of the transom and sturdy, above-the-knee rails on the side decks, at the helm along the back of the arch, around both sun lounges, at the sides and center of the swim platform, and around the wetbar. Moreover, access both from the water, via the long swim ladder, and from the land, via the swim platform (or optional telescoping passarelle), is equally easy.

Fairline Targa 48 ReviewFairline Targa 48 ReviewFairline Targa 48 ReviewFairline Targa 48 Review

Once on board you'll likely gravitate to the large, U-shape central dining area on what Fairline calls the "lower cockpit deck." Teak-soled and equipped for outdoor relaxation and entertainment with wetbar, sink, drink cooler, glass and bottle stowage, and optional electric grill, this area offers a large hi/lo table and wraparound benchseat for five. The main access to the engine room is here, through a large hatch beneath the table, although you don't need to remove the table to open the hatch; just fold and rotate it, and the hatch raises on gas-assisted hinges.

The fully equipped galley has plenty of stowage. Note the large stainless steel sink that, when covered, can do double duty as an extra workspace.

Once you climb down the ladder into the engine room, things are a little tight, though routine maintenance should be fairly easy. Engine-oil drain pumps are on centerline, as are the main seacocks and strainers. On the forward bulkhead fuel valves are easy to reach, and clear engine coolant reservoirs allow for easy inspection.

Back on deck you'll find one of the 48's nicest surprises: a garage for the optional eight-foot tender or PWC. Topped by a hydraulically activated door, this compartment may not be traditional, but I like it. It keeps the toys off the deck, serves as a huge base for the aft sunpad, and also provides direct access to nearly everything in the engine room. Surrounding the garage are lockers that are perfect for stowing shore cords, fenders, docklines and other gear you want to keep off the deck.

Beneath that deck and forward, accommodations are superb. Two identical guest staterooms are tucked under the helm, and although compact, they offer twin berths, hanging lockers, drawers, mirrors, ports, and 6'6" headroom, thanks to the dropped sole. Everything here (and in the rest of the interior) is exquisitely finished and well appointed. However, the cabin doors are narrow; I had to turn sideways to enter, something that seems to be characteristic of many European boats.

Fairline Targa 48 Performance Test

The master stateroom is fully forward. It features a large double berth flanked by two hanging lockers and small settees. The en suite head has a circular shower stall with a rotating screen to keep you from soaking the area. The guest staterooms share another identical head.

Located amidship is the spacious saloon with 6'9" headroom. Because of its traditional feel, I especially liked this area, with its huge, slate-blue settee, dark cherry table, dry bar, and built-in entertainment center. Even the galley, with its off-white cabinets, Avonite countertops, and lacquered joinerwork, felt salty.

Elegance, comfort, and spaciousness: All three describe the 48's master stateroom. The large, homey saloon conjures up images of relaxation.

The 48 felt equally salty underway. Our test boat was equipped with twin 426-hp Caterpillar 3126s, which produced a top speed of just under 36 mph. She accelerated smoothly throughout the rpm range, and when l put her hard over, she never hesitated. She just gripped the water and held on tight throughout the turn. She also took the chop easily, and I noticed little bow rise as she came onto plane, which meant that the view from the helm and companion seats was always unobstructed. At 5'7", I really appreciated that.

I also appreciated her helm. The console is well organized, with a few analog gauges set upright in molded panels forward and electronic displays for the chartplotter and radar slightly angled and close to the wheel. And even though she handled well, I welcomed the way the standard bow thruster made docking so much easier.

The Fairline 48 manages to combine style and substance without sacrificing performance. More important to me, she manages to be stylish without being glitzy, modern yet traditional. So if you're like me and thought you'd never go for a Euro-style boat, think again. Sometimes rounded edges and shiny surfaces can interest you after all.


This review/article originally appeared in Power & Motoryacht Magazine, September 1998 and is written by Amy Rapaport. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.powerandmotoryacht.com/uncategorized/subscribe-power-motoryacht

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