It has taken Fairline some time to enter this sector but it looks to have been well worth the wait. The famous Phantom name is revived for a boat that is looking to perfectly tread the line between spacious flybridge cruiser and rakish sportscruiser.
The hull and lower deck design are shared with the flagship of Fairline's flybridge range, the Squadron 68, but from there up it's all very different with swooping lines, a sleek and tightly proportioned top deck and thunderous performance. Read on to see what's it like to live with and how it feels out on the water.
Fairline Phantom 65 Key Facts
- LOA 65.486ft
- Model Year 2022
- Cabins 4
- Crew 1
- Max Speed 36 knots
- Status In Production
- Yacht Type Sport Bridge Yacht
- Use Type Cruising
Test & Review Video
Wafting to your destination on a big wave of Caterpillar-derived torque is the name of the game aboard this accomplished cruising machine. The Phantom 65 has two shaft drive engine options, the C18 1,150s or the ones we had on test, the monstrous V12 1,650hp C32s. Performance with the smaller engines is perfectly good and you can expect a top speed of around 33 knots but the C32 V12s launch the Phantom into the stratosphere. Performance is important in this market and there is no lack of it here with a top speed of 37 knots and a very comfortable cruise in the low 30s.
Builder Speed & Range Data
488 nm @ 11.0 knotseco
215 nm @ 29.1 knotscruise
179 nm @ 36.3 knotsmax
Fairline Phantom 65 version 2022. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
View Full Test Results
Around the Marina
For a big boat that weighs in at 38 tonnes, it feels light as a feather from behind the helm. The big Cat motors have so much poke that you'll be doing 6 knots with just one engine in gear so there is plenty of punch when it comes to manoeuvring the boat at slow speed. The fly-by-wire steering is so smooth you can steer with one finger and the proportional Sleipner bow and stern thrusters take the edge of berthing procedures and have a hold function so you can pin the boat to the pontoon.
IPS-powered rivals such as the Sunseeker 65 Sport Yacht and Azimut S6 probably have the edge thanks to their joystick control and the option to have Volvo's Dynamic Positioning System, which uses GPS to hold the boat in place. But the Fairline is an easy boat to handle at slow speed and feels less intimidating inside the marina than the Squadron 68 on which it is based.
With wide side decks, plenty of grab rails and chunky mooring gear the Phantom is a pretty easy boat to crew, though it lacks a side door at the lower helm.
At sea, the fly-by-wire steering is a little too light and takes 10 turns to get from lock-to-lock so the driving sensation is a bit detached, especially from the flybridge. That said, from the top deck, the Phantom is a seriously relaxed cruiser with mountains of power on tap from those fearsome V12s. At 30 knots the engines are at just 80% load and this is where you feel the real benefit over the smaller engines - they top out at just over 30 knots whereas with the twin 1650s the boat will happily cruise there.
The feeling of power is absolutely immense and you get a real sense of the potency of the engines from the lower helm where they are more audible. Not to the point of disruption, however, with sound levels hovering around the 70db(A) mark even at a fast cruise.
Despite the light steering the boat still behaves nicely when you give the wheel a bit of a spin. There's a pleasant amount of heel but it also sits very solidly in the water and tracks nice and straight when you just want to cover the distance. It feels like an effortless touring machine, which will cover over 200nm 25 knots and waft you and your guests along in comfort and style.
Conditions were kind on the day of our test so the hull didn't face much of a challenge but crossing our own wake and tackling the wash of passing ships did little to wrongfoot the big Fairline. With Fairline's reputation for quality and solidly designed hulls, the Phantom should be a confident performer if you get caught out in big seas.
Performance is superb with these motors and we achieved a top speed on test of 36.5 knots with 5 crew and full fuel, water and waste tanks. With a lighter load, it should comfortably crack 37 knots, if not more, which is pretty special for a boat of this size.
The Phantom 65 shares its platform with the flagship of Fairline's flybridge range, the Squadron 68. But this is sharing at its most subtle and intelligent because you'd have no idea that this sleek sportsbridge shared a hull and lower deck design with its bigger sibling.
The Phantom is a truly great-looking boat that strikes that difficult balance between sportiness and the elevated living of a flybridge cruiser. Not every brand gets this right and, naturally, the flybridge isn't as large as a traditional flybridge but the payoff is the sweet proportions and the added benefit of the sunroof in the saloon.
Fairline's quality appears to be back to its best, too. Take the inset maple in the tables and cabins doors, for example, the sort of attention to detail and craftsmanship upon which Fairline built its reputation. The engineering around the oily bits is equally solid and the mouldings are chunky and smooth.
It's all too easy for sportsbridges to fall into the jack of all trades, master of none trap but Fairline treads the fine line between sports yacht and flybridge brilliantly with the new Phantom.
With a sliding door and a section that drops down into the deck, the cockpit and saloon merge together well on the main deck. The galley aft arrangement makes serving the deck spaces very easy, even so, Fairline has added a fridge to the unit just outside the cockpit doors so you're never too far from a chilled drink.
The saloon, in satin walnut, oozes class and there is detailing to die for like the fluted panels on the fridge/freezer fascias and the built-in bespoke storage for the Fairline branded glassware and crockery. The dinette table is set on a hilariously thick leg and well positioned opposite the galley so it's easy to transfer plates across if dining inside.
The galley is a good size and features a domestic fridge/freezer, induction cooking, plenty of open counter top and a small dishwasher. This leaves the middle of the saloon free to deal with lounging duties where there is a pair of low-slung sofas and a stylish coffee table, though if you wanted another table like the one in the dinette you could have it. It's a lovely area to chill out in the evening and the dip in the saloon windows maintains the view when you're sitting down.
The TV pops up from the unit behind the sofa on the starboard side and it can be linked to the optional Sonos sound system (an eye-watering £27,000). It sounds superb, mind, and features a suite of built-in speakers as well as a fleet of small wireless waterproof ones that can be moved around the boat and charged via a docking station beneath the helm seat. If you treasure sound quality, it's a must-have.
One of the major attractions of a sportsbridge design is that you have a sunroof as well as an upper deck. On the Phantom, the GRP roof is inset with glass panels so even when it's shut natural light can pour down and light up the helm station and lower deck lobby. The roof has a pneumatic seal so it takes a little while to open/close but to be able to drive from the lower helm with nothing but the blue sky overhead is a real treat. In the absence of a side door, it brings some welcome natural ventilation to the main deck, as well.
Once again it's the fit and finish that stands out on the lower deck. The woodwork, the bathroom components, and the solid flooring underfoot, all combine to create a reassuringly expensive feel throughout the accommodation.
More impressive than that, though, is the variety of layout options on offer considering the boat is produced in relatively high numbers. This is where platform sharing with the Squadron 68 works so well as these layout options have been tried and tested on the flagship and have been perfectly adopted on the Phantom as well.
As standard, there are three cabins, three bathrooms and a day heads. The day heads can be replaced with a utility room with a washer/dryer, extra storage and that essential boating luxury, an ironing board. Those who plan to stay on board for extended cruises will no doubt appreciate this option that is unique to the sector.
For those who treasure sleeping space or anyone who has their eye on chartering the boat out, the four-cabin arrangement with a bunk cabin in place of the day heads is a good option but the last arrangement - and the one we had on our test boat - creates a mightily impressive forward guest cabin. The extended VIP option may have to sacrifice its ensuite's day head access but the benefit is a forward cabin with the luxury of floor space and a useful amount of extra storage. It all feels a little grander, too.
There is a twin cabin to starboard with its own ensuite and this has berths that slide at the touch of a button so you can turn this space into a double or twin in no time.
The master ensuite enjoys the boat's full width amidships and it's a cracking cabin. It is spacious, bright, packed with storage and aligns with the hull window design at its deepest so the views out over the waterline are tremendous. The private ensuite is positioned behind the bed, which not only makes it very spacious but also provides another layer of insulation between the master cabin and the potential machine noise emanating from the engine room.
Unfortunately for the Phantom 65 it's up against one of the best upper helms you'll find anywhere in the market in the shape of the Sunseeker 65 Sport Yacht's Sky Helm. But where the Fairline can't compete with the Sunseeker's theatre it's a more complete, sociable arrangement on the top deck. There is space for a compact seating area adjacent to the helm so a couple more guests can sit up front and enjoy the ride.
The helm itself is very good and has plenty of adjustment on both the seat and steering wheel and there are some decent cubby holes to keep loose items safely in place. Being elevated, the view is excellent but although that sleek windscreen looks good it doesn't do such a great job of actually deflecting the wind, so you get buffeted at higher speeds. If the breeze is a bit too keen, you can always head downstairs.
Where Fairline has helpfully mirrored the design of the upper helm so everything is in the same place and all feels very familiar. The MFDs are a little further away, but a panel of switches next to the steering wheel makes it easy to control them remotely. The driving position isn't quite as comfortable as upstairs but it's still a lovely place to sit and the dashboard is classy in design and easy to use.
The boat has a single-piece windscreen so the mullions are rather thick but by mounting the driver's seat towards the middle of the salon Fairline has managed to avoid creating what would be a pretty hefty blind spot.
The tender garage is a key part of the Phantom 65's design and with space for a Williams Sportjet 345 it means the large hydraulic bathing platform is kept clear of obstructions. This is a good space with a flip-down bench set into the transom as well as an overhead shower that pops up from a panel next to the starboard staircase. There is also access here, via the cockpit steps, to the optional crew cabin. It's not a very big space, but then this is a boat the Owner will want to drive. If it's a crewed boat you're after the Squadron 68 is a better bet. Still, it's useful to have a toilet and shower this close to the waterline that guests can use when they've been for a swim. It's handy extra storage for kit, too.
Head into the cockpit via the port side steps and there is a dedicated Seabob locker built into the sun pad, a must-have addition these days. The cockpit's layout is unusual but it's clever and maximises the available seating space to create a really large dinette. The table spans the aft corner on the starboard side so guests can sit on the transom bench and the well-protected seating that butts up against the cockpit doors. The table also folds to make it easier to access the starboard side deck.
Underneath the flybridge stairs, which have lights built into their handsome teak treads, there is a small beer fridge and well-placed safety locker with easy access to the fuel shut-offs for the engines and generator and the manual bilge pump.
With the flybridge on the small side for a 65-footer, the foredeck has an important role to play in boosting living space on the main deck and the Phantom's is really nicely designed. The central teak-laid walkway works well and the horseshoe seating with built-in sun pads provides another area for guests to relax.
The flybridge may be much smaller than that of a traditional flybridge but whereas some rivals have top decks that are just a driving position and sun pads, the Phantom 65's is a proper deck, about the same size as a Squadron 50's, if not a little larger. The space is used well, too, with a focus on seating aft, a convertible sun pad adjacent to the helm and a wet bar in between with you all you need to serve guests lunch up top. There isn't a hard top option but a hydroelectric bimini is a smart alternative that pops up and down at the touch of a button and has LED lights built into the stainless supports.
Engineroom access is via a hatch in the cockpit deck and though it's easy to drop down between the engines, the sheer size of the V12 motors and the intrusion of the tender garage means the space isn't the easiest to move around in. The installation itself is excellent, though, with neatly arranged and labelled wiring and plumbing and easy access to day-to-day service items.
The Phantom 65's price is in line with its rivals if not a little lower as a base boat than its British and Italian competitors. One thing is for sure, the Fairline feels like a quality product from stem to stern.
Our Options & Pick
It's £250,000 to upgrade to the larger engines, which is a lot of money by anybody's standards, but we think it's worth it for the extra performance. Having a top speed in the late 30s is all well and good but it's the way these motors transform the boat's cruising ability that (just about) justify the cost.
We would also add the two extra 16in Garmin MFDs at the helms (£16,000), Bimini (£20,00), proportional bow and stern thrusters (£18,000), extended VIP (£8,000) and teak side decks (£19,000).
If you spend a lot of time on anchor then the Seakeeper 18 gyroscopic stabiliser is well worth thinking about, even if it is a £140,000 option.
There is a lot to like about the Fairline Phantom 65. In a sector where striking the balance between two different genres is key to success, the Phantom appears to have achieved equilibrium better than most. If you accept that a sportsbridge yacht has a smaller top deck than a traditional flybridge then what Fairline has served up on the top deck of the 65 is an impressive feat of design. You get most of the luxuries of a fully-fledged flybridge yacht with evocative, head-turning looks.
There is substance as well as style, though, because this boat performs effortlessly out on the water, is beautifully put together and has an abundance of interior layouts that allow each customer to build a boat suited to their own style of boating.
This is not a sector that Fairline has rushed into, it's taken time to develop its sportsbridge on a proven platform and the results speak for themselves. If you're in the market for a 65ft sportsbridge, this is one of the best.
Reasons to Buy
- Fabulous looks
- Rampant performance
- High quality finish
- Versatile interior layouts
Things to Consider
- Top deck is (understandably) smaller than a traditional flybridge
- The tender garage eats in to engineroom space
- No hard top option
Rivals to Consider
The sportsbridge market has become a major focus for many brands in recent years so the Phantom 65 faces hefty competition. These craft offer the looks of a sportscruiser with the living space of a flybridge and are often full of surprises.
The Sunseeker 65 Sport Yacht is an award-winning sportsbridge with the coolest helm station in the sector. The Sky Helm brings a thrilling go-kart-like drive position to 65ft cruiser and the pop-up steering column, which allows you to stand on the top deck and use the IPS joystick for berthing, is a stroke of genius. There is more to the Sunseeker than its upper helm, though, as it's one of the best-looking boats in Sunseeker's current range and has the performance to match. It doesn't have the variety of lower deck layouts of the Fairline but it's a seriously tempting package.
The Princess S66 is probably the Phantom's most direct rival with a similar layout and equally punchy MAN V12 1,400hp engines. In good conditions, it will crack nearly 40 knots and can cruise in the early to mid-30s. It also has a four-cabin configuration with an amidships master cabin but it doesn't have the layout options of the Fairline. The flybridge isn't as big as the Fairline's, either, but it still manages to squeeze in a dinette, sun pad and wet bar. The S66 is a quality machine with barnstorming performance.
The Galeon 650 Skydeck is a feast of clever features that has the most innovative deck spaces in the sector. Based on the 640 Fly, it has folding balconies in the cockpit plus the brilliant rotating cockpit dinette, which allows you to spin the whole unit around to face out to sea. It also has a walk-through windscreen with a central door that slides into the roof moulding to allow direct access to the foredeck from the saloon. Finally, there is the top deck, which isn't quite as comfortable as the Fairline's because the furniture is set so low - but for good reason. At the touch of a button, a cover slides over the entire top deck to protect it from the elements. No messing around with covers here.
The Azimut S range was one of the first to fully embrace the sportsbridge design and the Azimut S6, though a little older than the other boats here, is still a fine-looking craft with lots of clever design elements to admire. Azimut uses carbon fibre strategically in this boat's construction to reduce its weight and lower the centre of gravity and installs triple IPS700 with 550hp for the best power-to-weight ratio. The interior is super stylish but not as spacious as the Fairline's with only three cabins on the lower deck and the top deck is a pretty simple driving position and sun pad arrangement. It's a real head-turner, though, with 35-knot performance.
Specifications & Performance
Fairline Phantom 65 version 2022. *Data supplied by the manufacturer.
Test Engines Twin Caterpillar C32 ACERT D02 - U.S. EPA Tier 3 and IMO Tier II/III
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)
Yacht Load: 100 Litres of water 100 Litres of fuel 3 members of crew air temperature of 28 °C
Sea Conditions: F1 and calm