Egg Harbor 43 Sportyacht — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca —
It’s All in the Lines
Twelve more inches and a newly designed hull bottom make the Egg Harbor 43 Sportyacht a bluewater contender.
How much difference can one foot make? In football it could mean getting in the end zone for six points vs. falling short for a goose egg, or missing the uprights on a field goal and losing three points that could’ve won the game. When it comes to boatbuilding, one foot can be the difference between a good ride and a great ride.
It had been two years since I tested the Egg Harbor 42 on the outskirts of hurricane Gustav, so when a big northeast blow came sweeping into southern New Jersey recently, I thought it serendipitous to have a test set up on the 42’s replacement, the Egg Harbor 43 Sportyacht.
The conditions on the 43’s test day, while not the 40-plus-knot “breeze” I had with the 42, were sporty, with 20-mph winds and strong four-foot seas out on the ocean, with an occasional five-or-so-footer, too. The 43’s new prop-pocketed, modified-V hull bottom parted the head seas with authority while the optional 700-hp Caterpillar C12 diesels were at 1750 rpm and the 43 was running around 28 mph. Her bow sliced knife-like, but the true “water break” is located about one-third down the hull, where the deadrise is about 28 degrees. The 43’s relatively sharp entry made for soft landings while going into the chop, and her modified-V aft section with 16-degree deadrise made for a smooth V-shape profile going downsea, enabling the vessel to track true at cruise speed. The ride is simply sweet in the slop. Compare this to the 42, which offered a strong, albeit bumpy ride in a chop and whose hull, which ended in a nine-degree transom deadrise, wasn’t as forgiving off a wave.
Of course it’s not just the sharp entry angles and running attitude that make the 43 an attractive package for the offshore angler who Egg Harbor is targeting with this boat. You need to know that her construction backs up the lines. The hull is comprised of hand-laid solid fiberglass below the waterline, with Divinycell coring used in the hull sides, decks, and hardtop.
The 43 cut the chop nicely and performed well during speed trials on calm water in the back bays. My test boat made an average top speed of 41 mph at 2333 rpm with a 64.8-gph fuel burn. At 2000 rpm she made a comfortable cruise of 34.3 mph with a fuel burn of 44 gph. I suspect that the last trickle of her top-end speed was missing, as the engines were only showing a 92-percent load at WOT on the Cat Marine Power Display (MPD). I think adding some wheel to the four-blade nibrals (27x38) could get the boat and her powerplants in synch and slightly affect fuel burn, too. The 43 still has impressive range for deep-water anglers: 440 statute miles at cruise, 359 miles at WOT.
This boat is run from the comfort of the flying-bridge helm, which I found to have quick-responding Teleflex hydraulic steering (power-assist is optional). When I turned the wheel, the 43 reacted in real time. In addition, the Kobelt single-lever electronic controls feature a solid detent and offer a smooth transition when throttling through the Cats’ rpm range. Aside from easy handling and clean sightlines at all speeds, this helm boasts a retractable electronics console (the 42’s console was fixed). There’s space here for those MPDs as well as a couple of 12-inch or larger displays, your VHF, and perhaps even a SSB. This may not be earth-shattering news to some, but Egg Harbor built the console to be spacious enough to permit eliminating the overhead electronics box from the hardtop.
This article originally appeared in the September 2004 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.