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Fairline Targa 38 Review

Fairline Targa 38 Review

This is the boat that sets the benchmark for the modern luxury power cruiser. The Fairline Targa 38 is renowned for sparkling performance and handling, clean contemporary styling, and large, luxuriously equipped living areas. It has been one of the fastest-selling models in the Fairline range and, in 2007, won the prestigious ‘European Powerboat of the Year’ in the 30ft to 40ft category. That pedigree should put it top of any list for someone looking to buy a second-hand power boat.

Who and what was this boat designed for?

The Fairline Targa 38 is a luxury power cruiser, equally at home cruising round the headland or setting the pace in open waters. Think of it as a sports utility vessel that Motor Boats Monthly says has “a perfectionist attitude to outdoor life”. It offers sporting performance and handling, practical space and comfort for entertaining, generous accommodation for longer trips and superb attention to detail.

What commentators say about this power cruiser

Fairline has always been at the forefront of luxury by giving you a craft that offers far more than just something a little bit special. The Targa 38 fits in perfectly with the company’s name.

A Fairline Targa 38 owner is a proud owner. They know that their Targa is part of a world-renowned range that sets the benchmark for the modern power cruiser.

The Fairline Targa 38 OPEN, with its sophisticated retractable hard top design, is a Targa at its best when open wide to the world around it.

Model variations

The Fairline Targa 38 was launched at the London Boat Show in 2006, followed by the Targa 38 GT, which launched at the Southampton Boat Show in 2011. The Targa 38 Open replaced the GT and was launched in 2013 at the London Boat Show. The differences between the model variations include:

  • Targa 38 has no hardtop and a radar arch in its place.
  • Targa 38 GT has a sealed hardtop option added and an improved interior. It features a patio door and furnished upper saloon (not available on the Targa 38).
  • Targa 38 OPEN has a hardtop with fabric sliding roof and an open cockpit, but no patio door. This model offers an optional hi-low bathing platform.


  • Length overall (including pulpit): 39ft 10in (12.13m)
  • Length overall (including pulpit): 40ft 9in (12.43m) with submersible platform
  • Length overall (excluding pulpit): 38ft 1in (11.61m)
  • Beam (including gunwale): 11ft 11in (3.64m)
  • Number of berths: 4 - 7
  • Draught: 3ft 4in (1.02m) unloaded
  • Height above waterline (including arch and navigation light mast): 12ft 10in (3.91m)
  • Transport height: 11ft 3in (3.44m)
  • Dry weight (approximate): 7.57 tons (7,687kg)
  • Fuel capacity: 140 gallonss/168 US gallons (636 litres)
  • Water capacity (including calorifier): 65 gallons/78 US gallons (296 litres)

What’s great about the Fairline Targa 38

  • Very strong hull design gives probably the best handling of any comparable boat in its class.
  • Good driving position - no need to stand while driving to see where you’re going.
  • Good all round visibility from the helm position.
  • Well laid out, feels much larger than it actually is.
  • Abundance of storage.
  • Good size heads.
  • Large galley fridge.
  • Huge aft cabin with twin bunks that convert to double bed.

What to look out for on a pre-owned Fairline Targa 38

If you’re buying a used Targa 38, our engineers have reported some things to watch out for and potential faults that might occur on this boat from time to time.

  • Occasional windscreen leaks resulting in water on the galley work surface or water ingress to the aft cabin.
  • The side decks can drain into the aft cockpit area in heavy rain.
  • The original Volvo DPH outdrives suffered with hydraulic pipe degradation and steering ram leaks.
  • The cockpit table can suffer from water damage when stowed.
  • The sliding door between the cockpit and the saloon can get sticky.

Keeping your Fairline Targa 38 in shape

When buying a used Fairline Targa 38, regular scheduled servicing and attention to some minor points will keep your craft in top condition.

Regular servicing

Carry out regular engine and drive servicing in line with Fairline’s recommended intervals for the Targa 38.


  • Clean and lubricate door runners with a dry silicone lubricant.
  • Clean the GT roof runners as dust/dirt can cause this to operate slowly and noisily.
  • Leave the cockpit table in the upright position to avoid any moisture damage it’s also a good idea to apply an oil treatment to the table and the barbecue lid once every 6 months to keep them in tip top condition.
  • Lubricate zips and press-studs on the canopy to prolong the life of the covers.
  • Treat the fuel tanks with a good chemical conditioner on every other fill up.
  • Don’t sand the teak too often, it’s better to use a two-part teak cleaner and brightener.
  • Drop a water purifier tablet into the water tank on every fill up to avoid "smelly water".

Laying up

  • Remove the gear selector cover on the outdrive legs, clean growth from the gear cable where it slides in and out of the sleeve then apply some marine grease, this will save the electronic actuators for the gear shift being overloaded and damaged.
  • When winterizing remove and store the transom shower head.
  • Release pressure from the screen washers to avoid frost damage to the small pipework.

Model-specific repairs

The Fairline Targa 38 is not known for needing specific repairs more frequently than other boats.

Why buy a pre-owned Fairline Targa 38?

This is yet another great boat from Fairline, and its perfectionist attitude to on board life makes it one of the best in its class. So, in our opinion, if you’re considering buying a second-hand power cruiser, the Fairline Targa 38 has to be a strong contender.

Written By: Samantha Wilson

Samantha Wilson has spent her entire life on and around boats, from tiny sailing dinghies all the way up to superyachts. She writes for many boating and yachting publications, top charter agencies, and some of the largest travel businesses in the industry, combining her knowledge and passion of boating, travel and writing to create topical, useful and engaging content.

More from: Samantha Wilson

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