The Squadron 58 is a brand new design from Fairline Yachts and the big headline is that it's the first Fairline - and the first British boat of this size - to adopt drop-down balconies in the cockpit.
There's more to the 58 than the fun and games in the cockpit, though. It features an all-new design language, which is likely to be rolled out across the Squadron range as new models emerge and a fresh hull design mated to twin Volvo Penta D13 900hp or 1,000hp engines on shaft drives. On board, there is an aft galley arrangement on deck with three guest cabins, two bathrooms and an optional single crew cabin on the lower deck.
Fairline Squadron 58 Key Facts
- LOA 58.99ft
- Model Year 2022
- Cabins 3
- Crew 2
- Max Speed 34 knots
- Status In Production
- Generations 3
- Yacht Type Flybridge
- Use Type Cruising
Around the Marina
The 58 is available with two engine options: twin Volvo Penta D13 900hp or the same block with 1,000hp, the latter likely to prove the most popular. The engines are mated to traditional shafts and a proportional bow thruster is standard with the option to upgrade to a stern thruster or, for £29,000, the Volvo Penta joystick. The joystick, like most of its kind, combines the engine and thrusters to move the boat in the required direction but there is quite a hefty delay between the input from the joystick and the engines and thrusters sparking into life.
Ultimately, unless you feel the need for joystick control the boat is so controllable with the throttles and thrusters the stick can probably be left on the options list. Snapping the dinky Volvo throttles in and out of gear provokes a firm change of direction at slow speed and Sleipner's thrusters have the power and longevity to pin the boat to the dock if needed.
Most docking procedures will probably be undertaken from the flybridge, though the big window at the lower helm and good all-around view mean berthing from the main is doable. Anyone mooring stern-to should probably opt for the third control station in the cockpit, though.
It soon becomes apparent the weight of the gizmos in the cockpit does very little to hinder the performance of the Squadron 58. Bury throttles and those meaty D13 diesels surge the boat onto the plane with ease and it quickly settles into its stride at around 25 knots. Push the throttles to the stops and the big Squaddie will be charging along at around 32 knots.
Though we only had the wash from other boats in the Solent to challenge the hull on test day, it handled everything we came across with aplomb, ramping over wash with ease and landing softly and quietly. Quietness and refinement shine through, especially at the lower helm where sound levels are very well contained and there are no disruptive squeaks or rattles coming from the interior.
Fairline explained that it planned to address a vagueness to the steering but aside from it being very light and requiring a few turns from lock-to-lock we found the handling sharp and engaging. Fewer turns between the locks would be welcome but the fly-by-wire system requires very little effort to turn the boat at high speed and it reacts smoothly and predictably to the wheel.
The boat felt like it was running a little too bow high at times but Fairline plans to address this by adding buoyancy at the stern on future models. It wasn't bad, though, and the Humphree trim blades give plenty of wiggle room when it comes to adjusting the running attitude of the boat. They can be adjusted manually but the auto trim function works brilliantly, allowing the system to adjust the blades in reaction to speed and sea conditions. It takes a lot of the thinking out for the person behind the helm.
When all is said and done, the 58 provides a refined, rewarding driving experience.
Our Test Speed & Range Data
561 nm @ 9.5 knotseco
250 nm @ 24.1 knotscruise
232 nm @ 32.1 knotsmax
Fairline Squadron 58 version 2022. *Data collected by Yacht Buyer during testing.
View Full Test Results
Fairline started with a clean slate for the design of the Squadron 58 including a brand-new hull and fresh styling, which will likely set the blueprint for the next generations of Squadrons large and small. It's an important boat for Fairline. At the time of testing, there were no plans to share the platform to create a Targa sportscruiser version but a Phantom sportsbridge will likely emerge off the same underpinnings soon. Now that should be a handsome boat.
The Squadron looks great in the flesh, all sharp angles and muscular mouldings. You don't have to have a hard top but pretty much every boat that leaves the factory will have one and the designers have done an admirable job of incorporating it into the overall profile of the boat.
It's taken quite a while for one of the British "big three" to embrace cockpit balconies but Fairline is first to the punch, certainly at this size. European shipyards - namely Galeon - have been doing this sort of thing for years now but Fairline has its own take on the arrangement and some lovely additions, which we'll cover more thoroughly in the On Deck section below.
Considering we were testing hull number one the build quality and finish were impressive. Fairline insisted there were a handful of tweaks to make to the test boat but it certainly didn't feel like the first hull out of the shed, which has been hurriedly transported to make its debut at the Southampton Boat Show.
The boat runs on twin diesel engines with traditional shaft drives. The engine room is accessed through a hatch in the cockpit deck and once inside the space is roomy enough, though there isn't standing headroom. It's a well-engineered space, though, and it's nice to see things like twin fuel filters so it's easy to switch to a new one on the go if one becomes blocked. Day-to-day checks such as raw water filter and oil inspection are easy to manage, too.
The deck spaces are pretty remarkable but let's begin with what the Squadron 58 is like on the inside.
There is so much glass in the saloon, much of it big panes, so the views out are excellent. It also makes for a very bright space, the open-plan nature giving a great sense of roominess and also a really strong connection between the saloon and cockpit. It's all well and good having the folding bits at the back but it's the way they connect to the interior that makes the space so appealing. It's something Galeon has been leading the way in for some time.
Interestingly, the threshold between the cockpit and the saloon runs at a diagonal to the deck, best illustrated by the deck plans of the main deck at the bottom of this page. It's the first time we've seen this and the thinking is to improve space in the cockpit around the flybridge steps and the galley area. It works and you soon get used to the fact that the cockpit doors slide across at an angle.
Inside, it's the familiar aft galley layout - with a twist. With the beach club option, the window next to the galley drops down to link to the outside and create a bar on the port side balcony. It's a great effect, though the person in the galley has to duck down to see out of the window. The window behind the galley also drops down at the touch of a button and there are mounting points in the deck for the bar stools to create a bar here too.
The galley is a good size and it's the first spot where you really notice the quality of Fairline's high-gloss walnut joinery. It's beautiful and it's a stand-out feature of what is a high-class interior. The galley has the usual array of domestic appliances but there isn't space for a standing fridge/freezer so Fairline has fitted two programmable fridge/freezer drawers, which is a good solution. As a cost option, you can fit two more in the unit opposite the galley.
Amidships is the internal dinette and seating area, which is upholstered in a wool-like material that is designed to be comfortable, hard-wearing and resistant to temperature changes. It looks good but things like upholstery and colours are very personal and Fairine will indulge you with a wide range of material and colour options. The gloss walnut table with maple inlay is a centrepiece and it's almost too gorgeous to even consider putting hot plates on. It moves up and down to convert between coffee and dining table and has folding leaves to the tabletop that can be adjusted in size. It's a beautiful thing that exemplifies Fairline's craftsmanship.
Fairline has taken AV quite seriously. There is a 50in TV hidden away behind the sofa opposite the dinette which pops up via remote control and, as an option, you can spec the Sonos audio system (for £20,000), which includes fixed and roaming speakers with a dedicated charging station mounted beneath the helm seats.
Things are more rigid regarding layout, however. Other boats in the range have galley up and down options and lots of flexibility in the layout of the lower deck. On the 58, which Fairline will build in (relatively) big numbers, a fixed layout smooths the production process so the lower deck comprises three cabins and two bathrooms. The VIP is forward and it's a well-proportioned cabin with a useful amount of space at the end of the bed so that a couple can get changed at the same time without bumping into each other.
Storage is good and includes a big hanging locker plus some deep drawers beneath the bed and though the ensuite is shared with the twin cabin, the VIP does have private access from inside the cabin and it's a spacious bathroom with a big separate shower stall. The twin is as you'd expect but it does have some added functionality like the electric sliding berths, which handily convert from a pair of twins to a double bed in a matter of seconds.
The owner's cabin is amidships and there's some fabulous attention to detail to enjoy before you even get inside the cabin. The door handles are beautiful but chunky so Fairline has hollowed a section of the bulkhead so that the handle can go into that recess, allowing the cabin door to sit flush. Equally, the ensuite door uses a flush push catch so you don't get the door handles clanking into each other. It's thoughtful stuff.
Inside there is well over 6ft (1.82m) of standing headroom and the big hull windows do a great job of pumping natural light into the space. The bed is large and there's a bureau to port with a small sofa on the starboard side. Storage is excellent, too, with a huge wardrobe built into the bulkhead opposite the bed, next to the flatscreen TV. It's a cracker of a cabin.
The crea space is accessed via a door on the transom and there are some options here. It can be left empty as a vast storage space or you can option it (for £20,000) with the crew cabin. Alternatively, you can have the cabin as storage but leave the wet room in place, giving guests a toilet and shower very close to the water, which could be handy after a swim.
It's on the borderline for requiring crew but if you did want a single crew member the cabin space is pretty good but it's not somewhere you'd want to live for an extended period. For us, the storage room with a bathroom is a better use of space.
Up top, the clean, attractive dash is matched with an equally handsome pair of helm seats, which should prove to be supportive and comfortable for longer stints at the wheel. They're adjustable, too, so if you like to get close to the dash to operate the controls it isn't an issue. The navigator's seat is outboard of the skipper's, though, so they can't move in and out without the skipper having to leave their chair.
The wheel and throttles are in a great position but the twin MFDs are a bit of a stretch from the helm seat to interact with; the view of them is great, though. The main Garmin screens take care of navigation and there's brilliant functionality from the smaller Volvo screen lower on the dash, which is home to a plethora of engine information. It's not all digital, either, there's a smart run of backlit hard switches on the edge of the dash to control things like nav lights, the horn and anchor windlass.
There isn't a huge amount of wind deflection from the windscreen, which is set quite low, but of course, there is a lower helm station to insulate you from the elements...
It's quiet here, very quiet. At 25 knots the engines are barely noticeable making for relaxed progress if you just want to knuckle down and cover some sea miles. The other striking element of this helm position is the single-piece windscreen, which is compound curved (curved in both directions) to maintain strength; it is an extraordinary piece of glass. Fairline has done well to avoid large windscreen millions and big blind spots, which can often be the compromise of a single pane of glass.
The design of the dashboard is almost identical to upstairs but the seats, although electronically adjustable for slide and height, don't move quite as much as their counterparts on the top deck and even those at 6ft (1.82m) might find the steering wheel a little bit far away when sitting back in the seat. It does at least adjust up and down, however.
The larger MFDs are mounted at a shallower angle than upstairs, so it's a little harder to see the displays, but a control pad to the left of the wheel makes them easier to use from the comfort of the helm seat.
There is no side door at the lower helm, something you get on rivals from Absolute and Galeon, for example, but it does have electric windows on both sides. It's also possible to stand and drive at the helm, which many skippers will appreciate, especially for slow-speed work.
We must start at the back because this is the first Fairline to have a proper "Beach Club" package. You have to pay £175,000 for the full effect but that includes the specially designed Opacmare hydraulic bathing platform (which also launches/recovers the tender), pop-out BBQ, glass transom with modular seating and, of course, the drop-down terraces on either side. You can have parts of the package without going all in, too. Just the hydraulic platform, perhaps, or the platform and the glass transom. No platform but the folding balconies. It's up to you but it's all of these components that make for such a strong (if expensive) package.
There are some very clever additions. The BBQ slides on a cassette from the transom complete with a sink so it's easy to clean up and there are deep, drained bins on either side that can either be used for rubbish, to stow kit or packed with ice and used as waterside coolers. The platform, which Fairline developed with Opacmare specifically for the 58 first extends out to increase deck space aft before sinking into the water.
Lighting plays a big role aboard the 58, too, and it starts from the moment you step on board with "Welcome Home" mode, a switch by the transom gate which illuminates the cockpit lights so you can easily find your way on board after dark.
The modular seating can be arranged facing into the boat or aft looking over the transom. The free-standing chairs on our test boat were held in place with friction and they remained in situ throughout but on future boats, they will be pinned to the deck with release bolts. If you don't have the modular seating you get a fixed bench facing into the boat but being able to face the seating either way elevates the usability of the area and creates that terrace-on-the-sea vibe that the designers are desperate to achieve.
The balconies aren't all that remarkable in themselves but, again, there's some great detail here. Fairline has used strip lighting on the deck and this includes the balconies, so they have a ribbon of illumination even when deployed and there is a hatch set within them to store the rope railings, which are usually a pain to stow away and take up space in other deck lockers. The amount of deck space is impressive when the balconies are down and it creates, according to Fairline, the same amount of cockpit space as an 80ft yacht.
There is enough space on the starboard balcony for a couple of chairs and a small table and the stools mounted in the cockpit can be put in place on the port side to create a waterside bar outside the galley. All of this is quite quick to achieve, too, so it doesn't feel like a painful process to get into "beach mode" once the boat is at anchor.
Moving forward is easy on the Squadron 58 and even with the balconies up there is enough space to pass comfortably up and down the wide side decks. There aren't any guardrails where the balconies are, though, so even though it feels perfectly safe, you have to use fender sockets to hang the fenders, rather than tying them on. The railings sprout up as you make your way amidships but they felt a little bit low to us and quite a long stretch down if you're average height.
The foredeck features the now familiar sofa and sun pad arrangement; the latter have pop-up backrests so you can admire the view forward when the boat's moving along at displacement speeds. Instead of a table here, there is a neat pop-out drinks/snacks tray that tucks away underneath the sun pad backrest when not in use to leave the area clear when crewing.
We've mentioned the hard top and how popular it's likely to be, despite being a £95,000 option. It does at least include a fabric sunroof and some lighting for that money but charging an extra £17,000 for the aft sun shade seems a bit much. The layout comprises a dinette amidships with wet bar opposite and sunbathing space at the aft end of the deck. Forward, a bench to port creates space for two more passengers to sit and enjoy the ride when the boat is on passage but it also converts into a small sun pad with the help of a sliding base and in-full cushion. It doesn't feel quite as spacious up here as it does on the Sunseeker Manhattan 55 or Absolute 60 Fly but it's a well-designed and nicely finished deck area.
The base price of the Fairline Squadron 58 is £1,550,000 ex VAT (all prices correct at the time of writing). On the face of it, that seems like good value in this market but the boat we tested had around £800,000 of extras fitted to get it up to what you might term a "turn-key" spec, so you're knocking on the door of £2.5 million before VAT. It's a hefty options lift, though, and some items are must-haves and others that are nice to have, as we'll detail below.
Our Options & Pick
Two of the most expensive options are the beach club package (£175,000) and the Seakeeper (£106,950). As pricey as they are, we would opt for them both. Though the boat will be perfectly good without the beach club, it would be missing one of its key elements and when everything is deployed and the sun is shining it is a truly brilliant deck space that will undoubtedly become the heart of the boat. And if you want to enjoy time on anchor with beach club engaged then the Seakeeper gyro will make that a lot more comfortable.
The cost of the twin 1,000hp engines is negligible over the standard motors and secondhand buyers will be looking for them; the same can probably be said for the hard top. Yes, it's £90,000 and a bimini would work well but boats without the top may be overlooked if they do go on to the second-hand market.
The full crew cabin fit-out is £20,000 but, as mentioned above, it may work better for you to have the storage space but keep the bathroom, the extra single berth for occasional use will be attractive for some. The Humphree Interceptor trim blades are another £20,000 option but they're very good and take all of the thought out of trimming the boat.
The joysticks at both helms are a £30,000 option but we'd save £10,000 and opt for the proportional bow and stern thrusters, which, if anything, give you greater fine control of the shaft drive setup.
Having twin Garmin 16in MFDs at both helms will cost you around £25,000 but the added functionality this arrangement provides is worth the rather steep outlay.
This is quite subjective but we would opt for the gloss walnut interior finish. It's a £17,000 option but it really does elevate the feeling of quality inside the interior and demonstrates the very best of Fairline's craftsmanship.
Fairline knows that it can’t compete with its British rivals at the top end of the market so it has thrown everything at the Squadron 58 and it shows. It’s a very well-thought-out boat above and beyond the obvious attractions of the options you can pick in the cockpit. You pay the price for some of these options but the execution is outstanding. With the gadgetry, Fairline hasn’t lost sight of what it’s known for, either. The quality of build, performance and seakeeping are all there. The Squadron name carries a hefty reputation but this all-new 58 is more than up to the challenge.
Reasons to Buy
- Handsome styling
- Outstanding cockpit
- Strong performance
- Quality of fit-out
Things to Consider
- Pricey options
- No side door
- Rigid lower deck layout
Rivals to Consider
Homegrown rivals include the Princess F55 and Sunseeker Manhattan 55. Both are a little shorter in length than the Fairline but the use of space is clever and they have impressive interior volume. Both share the same three-cabin, two-bathroom arrangement as the Squadron with a similar aft galley layout on the main deck. The Princess's saloon feels the largest but its flybridge is smaller than the other two and if crew space matters to you then the Sunseeker fares best there. They both use versions of the Volvo Penta D13 block with either 800hp or 900hp per side for similar performance to the Fairline. There's little to split these three, in truth, aside from the Fairline's expanding cockpit.
It's not the only boat in the class with this sort of functionality and it was Galeon who started this craze. The 560 Fly is the closest competitor to the Fairline from the Polish outfit and it's a deeply impressive boat. It's the only other boat in the class with the balcony arrangement but Galeon has gone one step further and added glass panels so you can see the water through them when deployed. Inside, it has a similar three-cabin, two-bathroom arrangement, though smaller engine options mean it can quite match the performance of the Brits. The quality of fit and finish is outstanding, though.
The Pearl 62 offers something a little different. It's a striking Bill Dixon design that cleverly incorporates four cabins plus crew accommodation on the lower deck. If cabin space is a priority or you're looking for a boat to run as a charter vessel at this size then the Pearl makes a good case. It's also an IPS boat, which will appeal to those who like the idea of joystick control. It's marginally larger than the Fairline but Pearls tend to be very competitively priced.
The Italians build good boats of this size, too. The IPS-powered Absolute 60 Fly is finished to a very high standard and boasts extraordinary interior volume. The Ferretti 580 feels small in comparison but its engineering is outstanding and it's one of the best-looking boats in the class. The Azimut 60 is a classy operator with excellent deck spaces and a stylish three-cabin interior.
Specifications & Performance
Fairline Squadron 58 version 2022. *Data collected by Yacht Buyer during testing.
Test Engines Twin Volvo Penta D13-1000
- Liters Per Hour
- Liters Per Mile
- Range (nm)
Yacht Load: 50 Litres of water 50 Litres of fuel 4 members of crew air temperature of 18 °C