Fairline Targa 65GTO Review By Dans Boat Life

“Raw Power!


Is there anything better than C18 CATs? Just listen to this, isn’t it lovely? This boat has got fin stabilisation, C18 CATs, and yacht control, and we are going to be testing all of it in the ocean, in shore, and then we’re going to do some parking practice for you. She burns a little bit of diesel too, so we’ll talk about that along the way. You’re watching Dan’s Boat Life, my name’s Dan Jones. Subscribe if you haven’t already. Let’s do this!

Not even scared about the whales this time. I feel like I’m bigger than everything out here. It’s a nice feeling. Anyway, here we are, we’re in the ocean, running at 1770 revs. It’s got a speed of around 20 knots, about the same through the water, and we are offshore. So we have moderate, really low swell, just a little bit of ocean movement today, and it’s coming in from a southeasterly direction. So, I’m going into that swell right now. The wind’s actually from a northwesterly direction, but it’s pretty light today, no more than 12 knots in parts.

And so, just cruising along there at 20 knots, fuel flow of 120 litres. And I’ve actually got the fin stabilisation on, guys. So, what I’m going to do is just roll through some of these swells here. And then once I go around and turn down 12, I’m actually going to turn the fin stabiliser station off and just let you appreciate how the stabilisation works because right now, from my perspective, the horizon is very level even though we are in confused water. It’s just rock solid out here at the moment.

“This boat has got fin stabilisation, C18 CATs, yacht control, and burns diesel.”

So, I’m just going to increase that speed from 20 knots up to 22, so 1800 revs, 1870 revs, giving me a fuel flow of 135 a side. And we’ve got about 20 percent of fuel on board. So now I’m just going to turn before these fishermen. I’ll do a nice wide turn and just head out to sea.

Okay, starting my turn now, coming through at 20 knots, 20 and a half knots. That fuel flow is still sitting there at 135, and she just feels rock solid. I have good visibility all around. For my stature, that sun lounge or the seats just forward of me block out a little bit of my visibility, but it’s not the end of the world. I could just raise my height by sitting on the chair here.

I’m just heading out to see now. So now I have the swell on my starboard bow coming in on this direction. Once again, that fin stabilisation is doing its job. Like, you could just sit offshore doing runs and be really, really comfortable right now. I’m just maintaining an average speed of 22 knots, sometimes seeing 23 at times.

So now I’m going to turn back in. How’s my line? I’m looking pretty good for going back inshore. So now I’m going to turn down swell. No waves over the bow, not even any spray. I do notice at lower speed, she kicks up a bit more water until she gets over that sort of 21, 22 knot mark. That’s when the bow starts to lift, and she creates less spray. But it wasn’t coming up and over the deck, so just a little observation there.

So increasing my power and deactivating, so I’ve just pressed the off button. So, fin stabilisation is off, and straight away you can feel the boat become a little bit more lively. It’s not an unstable boat. This is a 65 yacht, absolute beast—this thing. But you definitely notice that she wants to now lean into those turns like you would expect.

So let’s increase that speed, and now I’m going to play with my trim tabs. I had no trim tabs before. I’m just going to do a little bit of bow down and let’s flatten that boat out. And let’s give it a bit more speed, so 25 knots. This feels fantastic. I feel like with the stabilisation off, the trim tabs start to come into their own a little bit because the extra movement applied to the hull could be dampened with those tabs down a little bit. I’m going to increase the speed when we get back inshore.

And I love this rear-facing camera too. It’s a simple thing because I can’t see across the back from my current position. It just gives me a sense of control when I want to come off the plane, and I can see my wake dissipating behind me. I can just do it properly.

The driving position is great. I like being in the centre of the boat here. If I had the wheel over to that side [starboard], with this 5-metre-plus beam, I feel like I might be too far over to one side and would reduce my visibility sitting up on the seat, so this is great.

We’re going to play with this when we actually come in and practice some of the touch and go stuff at the dock, which we’ll do later in this video because right now I want to go fast!

So, 34 tons of boat. She’s a big lump of boat. And when you look at the fuel capacity at 4,600 and something litres and then you look at the thousand-plus litres of water, we’re going to be running 40 tons, fully loaded with all your guests. You know, she’s rated for 16-plus people, a boat like this. So, you definitely could be, really moving through the water with a great chunk of a vessel at that sort of displacement. So, that’s where stabilisation can be handy to you.

And I tell you what, the different drive systems really do make a difference. You know, if you’re looking at surface drives versus shaft drives versus IPS drives, having shafts for somebody who wants to day-boat and operate the boat perhaps by themselves or with minimal crew really is very possible.

Okay, let’s just focus on our speeds right now. Am I clear? I can’t see anyone ahead of me. Just going to do a little bit more trim tab down. I’m coming in at 28 knots, 2150 revs, and I’ve got a little bit of traffic around the place, so I’m just going to weave my way wide of this guy so I don’t annoy him too much. That’s what we’re going to do. All clear, all clear, and increase speed. I’m just going to raise my trim tabs. A couple of tabs there. Yeah, the boat just feels like she wants to get up and boogie here. Okay, let’s go. 28 knots, 2190 revs, at 190 litres per side. Let’s give it full power. Oh yeah, you really feel that acceleration. So, I’m coming up to 2350 revs. My speed’s hitting 31 knots and climbing, not even at full. Okay, now I’m foot to the floor. I’ve still got one-third trim tab down. Oh yeah, she just wants to rocket along. This feels fantastic. This is the closest thing to owning your own rocket like Elon Musk, I reckon. You feel like an absolute king. This is great.

Okay, let’s retract those trim tabs, and the bow does come up a little bit. We’re getting quite clearly a bit of the boat out of the water. And look at that speed, 31 and a half knots at 2330 revs consistent there, at 213 litres aside. We are drinking the juice, and this feels fantastic. I love it. You’re not going to do this all day, but I tell you what, when you do, you’re going to have a smile from ear to ear. It’s wonderful!

So let’s bring it back to a more consistent pace. You know, even though you see me driving a lot faster on many boats on my channel, the sensation you get when driving at that speed on a boat that is pushing 40 tons, is hard to beat, to be fair. It just feels fantastic. It’s a sense of raw power that only shaft drives are going to give you.


“The sensation you get when driving at 31 and a half knots on a boat that is pushing 40 tons, is hard to beat… It just feels fantastic! “

Yes, surface drives are going to give you a wonderful, exhilarating experience, but try and park a boat with surface drives at the dock, and your day is really going to be quite difficult to manage. They’re not the easiest things to reverse park; they’re not very easy to manoeuvre in close quarters.

So I think, you know, if you are someone that has experience, you really want to focus on a shaft-drive boat because you’re going to get a lot of feedback. If you’ve got no experience and you’re coming into a 60-foot boat, go for IPS every day because that really is going to give you finger-touch control. But it’s also going to give you huge maintenance bills, and even the wealthy guys talk to me about how much they notice them in a negative way. So just bear that in mind. If you want that sort of control, you’re going to pay for it.

But with the shaft drive, that sensation of acceleration that I got there, you only get that with a propeller that’s this big. So that’s fantastic! And the manoeuvrability that we get at slower speeds is also very, very good.

So keep watching, and let’s go to Manly, and I’m going to show you that manoeuvrability because we’ve got hydraulic thrusters, we have the shafts, and we’ve got the remote control. So this is a boat if you know your stuff that you can manage by yourself. Keep watching or go cut to that right now.


Okay, so guys, this is where shaft drive, surface drive, and IPS all have different advantages/disadvantages. The torque applied to twin shafts are massive. The torque applied to twin surface drives are massive too. I just find them personally quite hard to control at slow speeds.

So if you’re someone wanting to blast say from Ibiza to Formentera and you’ve got a captain, go for your surface drives, awesome.

If you’re someone who wants to go from the city to Manly and you want to run the thing possibly by yourself, consider a shaft drive. If you’re someone who’s got a bit of experience, it’s probably going to give you the best driver experience because when I click these things in and out of gear, they go. So I’m just going to do that and just watch me.

So here we go. Transverse thrusters going to starboard, and that’s just idle, guys. So I can just give it a little bit more thrust if I want to speed that turn up. But look how quickly I’m moving just in idle forward and reverse. I’ll just give it a little bit more rev in reverse. You don’t need to give it much. I still got 500 on port and 700 revs on starboard, and we are moving. Just feel that.

Okay, so now we’ve got variable-speed hydraulic thrusters, not the electric ones. So with hydraulic, I can just apply power, which I’m going to do now, and send the boat back the other direction. So with hydraulic variable speed, there’s no limit to how much I can use these thrusters. So if I just want to stay on the thruster, the thruster will continue to work because it’s taking hydraulic power from the motors. It’s not electric power from the batteries or from the alternators, which can then run low on a traditional bow thruster that many of you would be used to.

The other advantage I have is if I just need to hold station in, you know, I’ve got a blow-off wind and I want to get on into the dock, for example, or I’m blowing on, I just need to slow the thing down, I can actually just walk and stay on moderate speed on the thrusters or vary my speed, hence the name variable speed. And the thing is very, very controllable.

“With hydraulic variable speed, there’s no limit to thruster usage. It draws power directly from the motors, avoiding battery or alternator depletion common in traditional bow thrusters.”

So hopefully that’s coming up on the camera for you right now because I can slide this thing sideways, and then I can slide it back the other way using low speed, medium speed, or bucket loads of speed. You can hear them working, and so it’s just a really useful way to control the boat using a simple piece of technology.

Yes, an IPS drive, twin or triple IPS, will do that for you too, but they’re expensive. So if you’ve got no experience or little experience on a big boat like this, sure, go and get the IPS, and that is going to save the day-for you in many cases. But if you’ve got a bit of experience and you enjoy the feedback, you’re a guy that likes machines that talk back to you, this is going to do that for you, guaranteed.

Editorial Team

Our Editorial team is made up of local expert practitioners in their respective fields, such as Brokers, Dealers, Surveyors, Transporters, Delivery Captains and Skipper Trainers.