If you want to make a boat more spacious for its length, the solution seems simple: Make it wider. Unfortunately, it's not quite that simple. There are length-to-beam ratios that affect such things as a boat's seaworthiness and performance. Otherwise all boats would be 20' wide with huge cabins. So instead, Fairline made its new Phantom 48 taller -- a full 1' higher compared to the old Phantom 46.
This extra headroom belowdecks made room for a rare design element on a boat shorter than 50' -- a midship master stateroom. Fairline dropped the sole in the cabin slightly, which lowered the boat's center of gravity and boosted performance.
See the Light
With the midship master quarters, the berth lays athwartship. The mattress has a seam across the center so you can easily raise the base to access the stowage underneath. Even with the added height of the boat, watch your head if you stand up in the aft section of the stateroom. There's only 5'2" of clearance. I liked the extra-big opening windows, which let in morning light and allow you to glance at the stars at night.
The overall space in the stateroom is great because you have 3' to 4' between the berth and the starboard hanging locker. There's a small vanity area where you can plug in your laptop and two smaller drawers in a smartly designed chest. I didn't love the optional stacked washer/dryer ($3,560) in lieu of the second hanging locker. I'll always take stowage over appliances.
The master head has a large shower stall with a solid-feeling hinged door instead of one of those overgrown test tubes that never slide smoothly.
Comparisons? The Azimut 47 ($1 million with twin 575-bhp CAT C-9s) has the owner's quarters in the bow. The Sea Ray 47 Sedan Bridge ($982,260 with twin 575-bhp Cummins QSC 600s) comes with two master-size staterooms -- one in the bow and one amidships -- but if you want to match the Fairline's accommodations with a third stateroom, you must pay an extra $19,083.
As you exit the owner'squarters on the Phantom 48, to starboard just ahead is another cabin with two single berths set up bunk-style. Each one folds up and Fairline managed to sneak in a hanging locker.
Just across, the galley is at the base of the stairs that lead up to the helm. I'm a big fan of the drop-in Isotherm cooler because additional cold stowage is one of the hardest things to come by in any boat. There's a larger refrigerator with a door that secures with a heavy-duty latch. Although there are rails in the cabinets, the galley countertop needs to be fiddled. A pantry-style aluminum-lined drawer adds more stowage.
As you walk forward from the galley, note the day head to port. It's a replica of the master and is accessible from the third stateroom in the bow, which features an island berth with two stowage drawers in the base and the biggest hanging locker on the boat.
Up at the lower helm, I found a comfortable layout including a folding footrest. The two-person helm seat is power adjustable and the dark gray finish on the entire forward area eliminates glare. For security and an upscale feel, the instrument panel can retract into the dash.
Aft, passengers can relax on a horseshoe-shaped lounge and enjoy the entertainment system and flat-screen TV that stow in the portside console; the remote controls are easily stowed in the central table. There's also a small bar area with an icemaker.