Harbor 42 — By Tim Clark
|Comfort and Stability Encourage Adventure on the Rock Harbor 42.|
When Jan Van De Pas, Neptunus' director of operations, told me he'd piloted the Rock Harbor 42 in seas as high as 20 feet, I concluded, "Here is a man who stands--on good sea legs--behind his product." I had already noted many impressive features on this thoughtfully designed long-range cruiser. Now I was really intrigued.
I sat scores of wheel watches in all kinds of weather during 10 years of commercial fishing on the North Pacific off Kodiak Island, Alaska. But the watches I remember best--and most ruefully--were those that started fair and turned foul. For some reason, whenever the Pacific decided to break its back on my watch, I took it personally. Standing bandy-legged between moments of zero gravity, I'd wear an expression as grim and resentful as Ahab's.
So why was I disappointed to learn that time constraints necessitated testing the Rock Harbor 42 in the sheltered waters of Chesapeake Bay? Well, perverse as it may seem, and despite all the nail biting, there is something satisfying in being in a little weather on a boat you know can take it. From what I've learned about the 42, she seems like just such a craft.
According to Neptunus, her construction surpasses the European Community's rigorous CE A-ocean rating for Force 8 winds (39 to 46 mph on the Beaufort Scale) and 13-foot seas. While these standards take into account hatches, ports, fuel tanks, steering systems, and more, particular consideration is given to structural strength. The 42's fiberglass hull is reinforced with Twaron, a chemical fiber with an energy-absorption capacity higher than that of Kevlar.
Neptunus compares the stability of the beamy (nearly 14 feet) 42 to that of a lifeboat. According to Van De Pas, tank testing of a scale model at the University of Southampton in England showed that even if a broadside wave heels the boat over as much as 85 degrees, she will still right herself. In fact, Van De Pas maintains, her righting lever is so high that as long as she stays watertight, she will correct even after a 180-degree roll.
Do I really believe that in pursuit of pleasure a significant number of boaters will ever encounter such conditions? Certainly not. But it is my opinion that an able craft--because of the peace of mind she provides--brings greater pleasure even in fair weather.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.