The edge of hurricane Gustav puts a 42-foot Jersey-built convertible to task.
Maybe I have some bad karma to work off or something, because on my recent test of the Egg Harbor 42 Sportyacht out of Jackson's Marina in Hampton Bays, New York, I was greeted by gale-force-plus winds compliments of hurricane Gustav. It was mid-September, and as the anemometer approached 40 knots, I knew this test was going to be a doozy.
Laurance and Lee Green, brothers and owners of Stalker Outfitters, a sportfishing tackle company, were kind enough to let me test their recently acquired Stalker IV on this less-than-ideal day. Prior to setting out into the maelstrom, I asked the brothers Green what brought them to the Egg Harbor 42.
"We had given up on [looking for] boats," Lee said, referring to the time leading up to seeing the 42 at last year's Atlantic City Boat Show. The Greens, who owned a 41 Hatteras prior to the 42's purchase, had searched high and low for a new sportfisherman that could troll for giants and fly kites for sailfish. Unable to find exactly what they wanted, they were actually considering repowering the Hatteras. "We wanted speed and maneuverability. We didn't want anything too big--we're owner-operators," Lee explained.
The brothers wanted a two-stateroom, one-head layout, which the Egg has, as I learned during a lengthy examination (I was in no rush to check out Gustav) of the below-decks area. The forward master has a queen-size berth with cedar-lined stowage. The backlit, etched-glass headboard in the master even displays Stalker's billfish logo, which Laurance was keen to point out. Both the master and the guest stateroom, aft to starboard with a berth for two, contain Sharp flat-screen TVs for when the bite's off and the game is on.
The Greens also wanted an attractive yet low-maintenance interior, and the teak adorning the staterooms' doors and trim and head to port is just that, as well as truly well done. It's prepared using a system called "isolante," explains Egg Harbor's chief operating officer Bob Weidhaas. To get the finish, Egg Harbor first seals the grain of the teak and then uses a polyester filler to even the surface. Finally, polyurethane varnish is applied, sanded, and buffed. The varnish is repeated until the woodwork has about 16 coats, says Weidhaas, adding that the whole system takes about 600 man-hours. I, like the Green brothers, appreciate this high-gloss, low-maintenance finish because I love to fish and hate to clean, and you can maintain the finish by simply wiping the woodwork with almost any glass cleaner. In addition, the surface is scratch-resistant, ensuring a like-new look for a long time. The black granite sole in the galley, up and to port, and head forward and to port is also attractive and low-maintenance. (Are you sensing a theme here?)
The Greens prefer a clean look, and they got it. Slowly working my way to the saloon and edging closer to the elements that waited like a lion stalking its prey, I noted that the saloon and galley cabinets were flush, with no hinges or latches visible, and were easily opened by a finger flip. Because the teak is dark, 17 overhead lights, large frameless windows to both sides, and a cockpit-facing window maintain a sense of space.
The galley, which contains a large Sharp carousel convection/microwave, two-burner Princess electric cooktop, and optional Sub-Zero drawer-type refrigerator and freezer (a single, standup unit is standard), has everything you'll need to prepare a tuna steak dinner at sea. And I'm sure more than one yellowfin or "penguin" (a long-fin tuna) will see that cooktop. After all, the Greens do own a tackle company.