Test: Fairway 37 Flybridge

By: James Dumergue, Photography by: Nathan Jacobs

Fairway 37 Flybridge The Fairway 37's interior is clean and stylish Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Second cabin is a twin single with decent-size bunks Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge The bathroom includes a separate shower stall. Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge The open flybridge is the perfect spot to drive and entertain on fair-weather days. Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Bi-fold doors bring the inside out and vice versa. Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge The narrowing of the coach house has allowed for walkaround decks. Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Fairway 37 Flybridge
Fairway 37 Flybridge Fairway 37 Flybridge

Boasting a heritage stretching back to 1980 and a loyal following, James Durmegue notes the Fairway 37 is a serious contender in the mid-sized flybridge cruiser market.

The Fairway 37 now replaces the ever-popular 36 and David Wright and Stewart Smith of United Motor Yachts have done a fabulous job of continuing the legacy.

Starting with such a successful platform, they set about lengthening the hull by 300mm and completely redesigning the flybridge. By integrating current boating desires with all necessary modern refinements, the all-new Fairway 37 is a nice culmination of experience with tradition and practicality.

Fairway's new and improved ECO Cruise Hull sees better performance – the fine-entry bow slicing through the water with a wake more reminiscent of a well-trimmed sailing yacht. It pushes a thin veil of translucent water closer to the sides of the hull rather than an air-filled mass of water pushed more outward.

The dark blue of the Fairway 37’s hull gives it an elegant look and, by bringing the sides of the coach house in by 280mm, you can now enjoy safe passage to the foredeck along walkaround decks. 

Fairway 36 owners will notice the increased liveability, too. A couple of corner L-shaped settees allowing seating for up to six adults and the extension of the hardtop over the cockpit gives welcome additional sun protection.

increased hull length combined with the aesthetically pleasing curvature of the transom have also enabled the inclusion of decent-sized storage lockers either side of the central-entry split gate.

Fairway 37 Flybridge

Living on the Fairway 37

On trend with the Fairway 37 Sedan, the Flybridge model has all the living on one level and does a great job of bringing the outside in and the inside out. The sliding doors of old have been replaced with bi-fold stainless steel doors and a pop-up stainless steel window at the end of the galley bench.

To port of the saloon is an L-shaped settee finished in quality leather, while the table has an appropriately-angled cutaway allowing two people to pass each other comfortably.

Opposite the saloon and running forward the full length of the starboard side is the galley. A light-coloured Corian benchtop with the often overlooked lip, has an expansive amount of bench space for food preparation.

The lower helm is to port, with a comfortable seat for two adults or an adult and two children. The wheel feels a touch small but allows good visual access of the instruments. A sliding helm window offers welcoming fresh air.

Forward of the saloon and down are the accommodations. To port is the twin cabin with over-and-under bunks. The light textured panelling is accentuated by particularly good joinery.

The bathroom is clean and functional and the surprise here is the size of the separate shower area, equal to that on a vessel of much greater size.

Compared to the 36, the forward master cabin has been extended aft 100mm and the deck above raised, making this area simple for occupants to move around with the door closed. This room features an island double bed that lifts to reveal cavernous storage below.

With the additional hanging storage on both sides, the owners of these vessels will have more freedom in what they carry with them. Meanwhile, for those hot, calm nights it's reassuring to know that the 18,000 BTU air-conditioning unit will cool the boat down for comfortable dining and sleeping.

The Flyway 37’s engine

The business end features a well-finished engineroom, a day hatch on the floor just inside the saloon allowing for quick checks of the essentials. When more room is required the floor of the saloon lifts hydraulically, revealing the uncluttered and easily accessible single engine.

The engineroom also houses the 4kVa Mase genset against the aft bulkhead, while the standard 240hp Yanmar six-cylinder engine sits in the centre – if you want more power, the 315hp engine is an option.

Fairway 37 Flybridge

The arc of the new ladder improves climbing and the slightly closed-in arrangement of the 36's flybridge has been replaced with a contemporary J-shaped lounge to port. The rolled backrest of this lounge prevents one's back from sticking to the seat on hot days. 

For those of us who cruise in craypot infested or tidal areas with ever-changing sand bank locations, it is reassuring to have the prop and rudder protected by the shoe of the full-length keel. Extending past the prop and rudder, the shoe represents the deepest part of the hull, so if the occasion arises it should be a simple matter of reversing out of the situation.

The full-length keel, as well as offering protection, does add to stability, reducing leeway and roll with a beam sea. The fully protected prop and rudder will save on costly haul-outs and repairs to the shaft and rudder should a sand bank rise up from a location it wasn't charted to be in.

The verdict

Fairway Motor Cruiser's new 37 Flybridge is a surprisingly voluminous vessel suited to both experienced boaters and those gaining experience. She is great in close-quarters situations and safe with the walkaround decks and simple to manoeuvre with bow and stern thrusters.

Comfortable shaded seating in the 37 Flybridge’s cockpit creates a liveable space, enhanced by the blurry line between indoors and out. Couples, retirees, families, sailing converts and even pet owners will all appreciate the benefits these boats have to offer.

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