Not Just a Dayboat
Americans like their yachts crammed with berths, but Med-style express yachts are usually more for day-boating than cruising; the cabins are more for changing out of wet swimsuits and for naps than for sleeping a bunch of folks. Traditionally, Italian, French and Spanish yachtsmen go home at night, or moor near a comfortable hotel and sleep ashore. With such owners, only the crew stayed aboard. But the last decade things have been changing in the Med. The Fairline Targa 52 GT is a good example of that evolution. Like most top-line Med boats today, it has sumptuous accommodations below, with a big cockpit for relaxing and entertaining on deck. The helm is covered with a sliding sunroof, so even the helmsman can work on his tan.
A New Generation
The Targa 52 GT isn’t a new model, but Fairline has recently updated it with what the company says are “significant interior and exterior modifications” that create a New Generation Targa 52. Compared with earlier models, the new 52 GT has redesigned heads, a new saloon table, more décor options (fabrics and woods) and an optional cockpit wet bar with refrigerator.
Design and Construction
Bernard Olesinski did the Targa’s design and structural engineering; he’s one of the U.K.’s top naval architects, and has drawn some of that country’s finest yachts. To ensure a smooth ride and efficiency, he combined sharp forward sections with 20 degree deadrise aft. By integrating the swim platform, Olesinski gave the boat a longer waterline length for improved performance, especially at lower power settings. Propeller tunnels permit mounting the engines further aft while also maintaining efficiency by reducing the shaft angle. Lower draft is also a side benefit, not as important in the deep Mediterranean, but handy in the shallow coastal waters of England at low tide or the U.S. and Bahamas. Full-length molded spray deflectors keep things dry on deck. Interior design, layout and detailing is by the Fairline Design Team.
Construction is rugged. Isophthalic gelcoat backed by fiberglass mat in isophthalic resin protects against osmosis, important in areas where the boat will stay overboard all year. The main laminate is uni- and bi-directional glass fabric and traditional woven roving. Polyurethane foam coring stiffens the deck; integrally molded stringers support the bottom. The hull and deck are both bolted and bonded to create a strong almost-monocoque structure. In short, this is a boat that will hang together whether in the balmy summertime Med or the boisterous North Sea off Scotland.
The Targa sleeps six in three staterooms, a master forward with a queen pedestal berth and two twin cabins, side by side, amidships. We like cabins with twin beds as it is a convenient setup for families who might not be able to pair up at night, as so many interior designers seem to expect. The beam of the boat is 14' which means the cabins are not that wide, but nevertheless Fairline has been able to shoehorn in four beds. Both heads are forward of the open saloon, which is unusual but not unworkable – folks sleeping in the twins will have to live without ensuite heads, not that big a deal. However, their comings and goings at night might disrupt the owner sleeping in the master, adjacent to the guest head. The heads utilize the space-saving "beam-me-up-Scotty" shower tubes which allow the builder to efficiently use space and are certainly preferable to a wet head. Remember, Fairline has packed a lot of accommodation into this boat.Since Fairline has had this layout for sometime, we assume it has stood the test of time with owners.Fairline has an alternative layout in which the port mid cabin has an "L"-shaped arrange for the bunks. Regular readers know that we prefer this over and under plan for small cabins. If it is good in one of the cabins, why not put it in both?
The Targa 52 is available with a range of engine options, including twin Volvo Penta D12-715s or D12-800s, and twin Caterpillar C12-710s. We haven’t tested the boat ourselves, but Fairline says it tops out at 36 knots with the D12-800 Volvos, and is only a knot slower with the smaller diesels.
No matter what engines you choose, Fairline rigs them with dripless shaft seals, stainless alloy shafts and bronze props. But also included, and too often omitted from modern yachts, is a useable, high-capacity manual bilge pumping system with changeover valves to handle various compartments. Electric pumps are reliable, but if the power goes out and the water rises, a manual pump can come in very handy.
So what’s the bottom line? The price of the Targa 52 is set in pounds Sterling, and therefore varies with the exchange rate in other currencies. There may also be taxes. In the U.K., figure on spending around GBP 600,000 and up for a new boat. However, the base price includes everything, even crockery and flatware for the galley. There are also some new 2009 models still available: At press time the Fairline dealer in Norwalk, CT, USA, for example, had in stock a new 2009 model Targa 52 GT with the Volvo D12-800 engines. Asking price was $1,149,000. To find your nearest Fairline dealer, check the company’s website.
If you’re looking for a large Euro-style express cruiser coupe with three sleeping cabins and plenty of room topside, then the Fairline Targa 52 should be on your short list. The price is certainly competitive with other European-built boats in class.At 32,380 lbs. (14,718 kgs.) the boat is relatively light for a 52-footer. That light weight, together with its 14' beam should make this boat fast in class with any given engine combination. The cabin arrangement won’t please everyone, with the heads forward and guest cabins aft, but that is the major compromise in this boat. (All boats have a compromise or two, remember?) On the other hand, the layout is fine for kids and family.As we said at the outset, many boaters will want the vessel primarily for dayboating, water sports, sunbathing and zipping from port to port to see and be seen. It’s certainly an ideal Med dayboat, with ample bunny pads for and aft, an ample galley where lunch can be prepared and plenty of air conditioned places for guests to take a nap and recharge for an active evening at night.
Standard and Optional Features
Boats More Than 30 Feet
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!