42 Express Walkaround — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Back to Margaritaville
|PMY goes to Key West for the first test drive of Jimmy Buffett’s new Rybovich 42-foot Express Walkaround.|
What grabbed my attention, for starters, was the hull color—“seafoam green,” Rybovich calls it. Thanks to the unique sense of tropicality it conveys, I had no trouble spotting Jimmy Buffett’s new 42-foot Express Walkaround from the dockmaster’s office at the Galleon Marina in Key West. With further study, I could see a host of classic details as well, even from afar. While I was aware that the hull and superstructure had been fabricated in vinylester-infused, Core-Cell foam-cored fiberglass by New Orleans-based and military-patrolboat builder United States Marine (not to be confused with U.S. Marine, the Brunswick entity), the appearance of the craft still borrowed much from Rybovich’s long wooden-boatbuilding heritage.
Flawlessly finished teak toerails stretched from the bow back along a lovely, broken sheerline. Teak caprails, also flawlessly finished, surmounted exquisitely thin wingwalls on either side of the steering station. And just above the waterline, in the vicinity of the break of the bow, I noted the faint beginnings of a long, retro-looking chine log, a slight, down-angled widening along the edges of the bottom commonly used on wooden planing vessels—Rybovich sportfishermen included—to flatten and reduce spray.
I let go a soft, appreciative whistle, then hustled down the dock. Time was of the essence. Although presently tied up working on a new album in a nearby recording studio, Buffett was antsy to play with his new toy. So four hours—maybe five—was all the time he was gonna let somebody else use her—especially with sea conditions being so sweet, at least inside the reef. From where I stood, it looked just about flat-calm all the way north to Garrison Bight Channel, although seas to the south, out toward the Florida Straits, looked six-foot or better.
When I got to the boat, there were two guys aboard: Buffett’s captain, Tyler Andresen, and a local fishing guide, Scott Irvine. After we’d hefted my test gear into the Burmese-teak-planked cockpit, exchanging pleasantries in the process, I suggested we hit the trail for the high seas as soon as possible.
Andreson eased the 42 out of her slip. I passed on maneuvering the boat myself, hewing to the belief that it’s never a good idea to dock or undock a million-dollar vessel in the absence of the owner. Once the big, varnished-teak transom was clear of the protruding fingerpiers, I took over and immediately began waving magnanimously at folks in the marina while tooling along, humming Buffett’s “Margaritaville.” The tune was totally appropriate, of course. It was why Buffett was calling the boat Margaritavich, thereby blending the consultative role he’d played in developing the prototype for a new line of production-type Rybovich 42s with the talents he’s demonstrated over the years for writing popular, boat-friendly music.
The steering was ball-bearing smooth. But then, what else would you expect from a system that combines Teleflex SeaStar hydraulics with a couple of SeaStar power-assist units, one on each engine, as well as an elegant Rybovich custom wheel? Idle-speed visibility was 360-degree superb, too, whether I was standing at the helm or sitting in the doublewide Stidd. Instrumentation and electronics were simply and understandably laid out as well: Cummins multigauges flanked a Simrad AP22 autopilot and a Simrad IS12 Combi depth/speed readout on a lower tier, while above, a Simrad CR44 fishfinder/plotter and a Northstar 6000i radar/plotter rotated hydraulically up out of the steering console, pop-up style.
This article originally appeared in the February 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.