Ocean 42 Super SportBy Capt. Bill Pike
Ocean Yachts mounts a big, standard Shakespeare VHF antenna on the starboard flying bridge cowling of the new 42 Super Sport, and when folded down to accommodate bridges and other low-slung obstacles, the darn thing hangs over the transom a good ways and tends to slightly complicate close-quarters maneuvering. Not that I’m complaining. Extra antenna altitude is generally good since it extends radio range, a biggie on vessels built to fish well offshore. But adding a five-foot skewer to the rear of a 42-footer when wiggle room forward is cut short by a bristling array of pulpits certainly puts a telling, if exciting, finishing touch to a sea trial.
Our Super Sport performed admirably, though. In fact, with Ed Morris of Florida Yacht Sales, Ocean’s dealer in St. Petersburg, Florida, relaxing in the copilot’s seat, which he’d rotated aft to watchdog the antenna, I smoothly twin-screwed the 42 in the little basin behind the dealership’s offices and backed her into her slip with about as much fanfare as a yawn would warrant.
Two factors contributed to this. First up came the wide, centerline notch molded into the upper edge of the cowling that fronts the flying bridge—it made it easy for a 5’11” guy like me to keep tabs on the 42’s pulpit while standing at the steering console. And then there was the 42’s extra-responsive propulsion system—a nifty combo of deep gears, big props, torquey diesel horsepower, and smooth but precisely detented Hynautic hydraulic engine controls. When teamed up with the billfish-chasing panache Ocean’s famous for, it facilitated backing the boat down Palm Beach-style, with my hands behind my back, my butt against the console, and my fingers effortlessly bump-ing the clutches into and out of gear. Never had to touch the throttles once!
Morris was as happy with the boat as I was. The wring-out we’d just returned from had gone as mellifluously as our maneuvering, despite the profusion of confused six- to eight-foot seas then roughing up the Gulf of Mexico. We’d started the morning on the comparatively flat water of nearby Boca Ciega Bay, where I’d recorded speed, acceleration, and other readings (and done a little fishing with the fly rod I’d taken along for the pure livin’ hell of it). Then we’d headed offshore.
Of course, conditions out there were too rough to run wide-open throttle, but I managed to do a little hard-charging anyway. In fact, while outbound in Pass-A-Grille channel, I went so far as to drop the boat into an eight-foot hole at something like 26 mph, a bone-jarring move that prompted me to ease off on the throttles and Morris to emit a faint gasp. We soon discovered, however, that the 42 could deal quite nicely with the closely spaced, steep mess of seas prevailing once I’d dialed her throttles down into the 1500-rpm range, a setting that engendered speeds between 16 and 18 mph.
The ride was dry and true-tracking, even when surfing down-sea. More to the point, not long after pouring on a little extra power to re-enter the Pass-A-Grille toward the end of the wringout, I was shocked to discover I’d failed to remember the dogleg to the right, a dicey goof considering the passel of big, broachy seas bearing down from astern. Not wanting to compensate too radically and get broadside to the rollers, I used the wheel alone to angle the bow off to starboard and make the boat go where she needed to go. Radically throttling up on one or both engines was absolutely unnecessary.
“Fine-runnin’ machine,” I told Morris, as we zoomed past a fizzing sandbar. “Those rudders back there are big enough to do the job.”
Once we’d got his brand new 42 Super Sport back to the dealership unscathed and properly moored, Morris suggested we toast the remains of the day with a couple of soothing Diet Cokes, open the console-type hatches in the cockpit to let the engine room cool off, and examine the boat’s interior.
It’s huge. Not only is there an expansive, comfortable, sumptuously equipped saloon/dinette/galley area up top, there’s an equally expansive master and a guest stateroom on the lower deck. Our master had an athwartships queen and an en suite head with separate shower stall in the forepeak, while the guest stateroom had across-the-hall access to the day head, which also had a separate stall shower. Fit and finish was excellent throughout, and so was the quality of equipage, with top-shelfers like Sub-Zero and VacuFlush represented. I especially liked the utility room I crawled into by lifting the stairway that communicates between the main and lower decks. Although headroom was only three feet and several components—including a couple of Cruisair condenser units, a 19-gallon water heater, water manifold, and robust, swimming-pool-recirculating-type, 1?3-hp Sta-Rite water pump—took up one end, there was still plenty of space for tools and maybe even a work bench.
We hit the engine room last. It was crisply laid out, with Racors and other ancillaries forward, genset aft, and fiberglass battery boxes outboard of the mains. Although the maximum headroom of four feet and width between the mains of 2’3” was reasonable for a 42-footer, the distance between the forward bulkhead and engines was only 1’2”, tight for us semi-porky middle-agers. And then there was a spot on the starboard side where some fiberglass tab material joining the surface of the forward firewall with a glass-encapsulated plywood frame had separated. During the week following the test, I called Ocean about the problem after sending a digital photo. The engineer on the 42 project, Terrence Watson, explained that the firewall in way of the tabbing had been insufficiently roughed up to form a good secondary bond. “We’re going to secure it immediately,” he said, adding his opinion that the glitch was more cosmetic than structural.
We ended the day on an equally affirmative note. “Wicked offshore, I bet,” chided a dockwalker as Morris and I lugged 50 pounds of test gear to my rental car.
“Not bad,” Morris replied.
Given the size of our Ocean 42 Super Sport’s sumptuous interior and all the cruise-friendly and fish-fighting features that complement it, the response qualified as an understatement in my book. A big understatement.
This article originally appeared in the February 2006 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.