F42/5 — By Capt. Bill Pike
|A solid amenity quotient and expandable cockpit make this British import a sweet ride.|
I’m into innovation–always have been, always will be. So when Sealine intro’d the F42/5 Flybridge Motor Yacht stateside a few months back, I was just a tad excited about giving the vessel and her "innovative new extending cockpit" a thorough wring-out. I say "just a tad" without irony. While I’ve always been interested in things new and improved, I’m also aware that newness is seldom a guarantee of improvement, a finding that encourages restraint–if not downright apathy–when it comes to some of the newest new things. After all, who knows when the next V-berth with giant molded-in fiberglass bathtub or the next stern-drive-powered mobile home is likely to come along?
But for some reason, maybe luck or an old seadog’s intuition, I was expecting the F42/5’s extending cockpit to be way more practical than either of the two aforementioned goofy blasts from the past (both of which actually made it into production some years ago, albeit briefly). And indeed, upon going aboard our test boat, I soon discovered I’d been right. Stretching the cockpit’s length by almost three feet at the flip of a switch has some major league virtues. For example, it allows for extra partying room, an enhancement that seriously boosts the potential of playtime options like the SMEV electric BBQ grill and the IsoTherm icemaker in the molded cockpit wetbar on the F42/5’s port side. And then, the cantilevering of the teak-planked swim platform that results when the transom/settee area glides smoothly astern creates a diving platform par excellence, unless of course there’s a dinghy and/or optional davit in the way. Anybody wanna go swimmin’?
But what really sold me on the truly innovational nature of Sealine’s invention was its seeming real-world workability, a characteristic that arises as much from elegant design as from the presence of robust mechanicals. Talk about simplicity! A transom/settee/swim platform molding at the rear of the cockpit moves fore and aft on rubber-tired wheels made of polyacetyl (a nylon-like plastic minus nylon’s tendency to expand and contract) that roll in gutsy, U-shape, flush-mounted aluminum tracks turned sideways in the sole. Energy for this movement comes from a Lenco Marine electric motor that drives a beefy worm-gear-type actuator rod. Not only are "ruggedly built" and "long-lasting" apropos here, but "weather-resistant" is, too. Since the Lenco motor is fitted on the underside of the cockpit sole in the large lazarette and connected to the movable transom molding with parts well covered by the molding itself, electrics are nicely shielded from just about anything this side of a deluge.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.