Rock Harbor 42 Page 2

Rock Harbor 42 — By Tim Clark — February 2001

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Part 2: Rock Harbor 42 continued
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• Rock Harbor 42 Acceleration Curve

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The day I tested the boat in the shadow of the Chesapeake Bay Bridge was fair indeed. Light winds out of the south hardly disturbed the water's surface, which shimmered under a cloudless sky that came right into the Rock Harbor's pilothouse. Let me explain. High and aft of amidships to afford good visibility and an agreeable distance from waves that might break over the bow in foul weather, the pilothouse is--for lack of a better expression--convertible. At the press of a button nearly half of the overhead slides quietly forward, opening the helm, as well as the portside L-shape settee and table, to the sky. If you also open the door directly aft of the helm and the 2'x2' window on the port side aft, you have the feeling of steering amid the elements.

The open pilothouse made it easy for me to record an acceleration curve. I just doffed my boat shoes, stood on the settee, aimed my radar gun forward, and literally shot through the roof. Our test boat's single 370-hp Cummins 370B-M propelled the semiplaning hull from idle to a top speed of 21.6 mph at 3000 rpm in about 23 seconds, impressive, I thought, for a single-engine 33,000-pound boat.

Skippers accustomed to the responsiveness of twin-screw vessels will have to adjust to the handling of the Rock Harbor. At cruising speed I tended, at first, to oversteer a bit. But it didn't take long to become comfortable with this passagemaker's leisurely pace. I was aided in this by the rudder indicator at the helm, which was also equipped with a Simrad GPS, depthsounder, speed log, and VHF radio. In close-quarters maneuvering, as Garret Cohen, director of Neptunus Yachts at Bay Bridge Marina, adeptly demonstrated, the 42 will respond precisely to a patient, deliberate combination of engine power and bow thruster. For added finesse, a stern thruster is optional.

A good look at the Rock Harbor's interior convinced me that her designers understand that a boat built for long voyages has to be as livable as she is sturdy. The area of the pilothouse forward of the helm--also the site of the companionway-- extends over the central space below by three feet and lends an exceptional feeling of spaciousness to the 42. If you're seated in the saloon at the forward end of the large starboard-side settee that partly encircles a richly finished table, your view extends up into the pilothouse, past the helm, and if the sunroof is open, into endless sky. Great natural light flows in through high, oblong, four-foot-long, double-pane (as are all onboard) windows above deck, and smaller oval ports at eye level provide views. It is truly a roomy space where five or six people can congregate without feeling confined.

The port-side galley aft of the saloon is also spacious, with nearly 14 square feet of Corian countertop and a Bosch Eurostyle four-burner stove above a dishwasher. Hidden behind the rich paneling you'll find a single-unit washer/dryer, convection/microwave, and Whirlpool refrigerator/freezer with almost the same volume as those in most homes.

With three staterooms--a master toward the stern, a twin-berth midcabin to starboard, and a guest stateroom at the bow--the 42 can comfortably sleep six. But for voyages of more than a few days, you probably should consider a complement of no more than four. Each stateroom has a generous hanging locker and various cabinets, but only the one at the bow provides additional stowage beneath the berth. (The 300-gallon freshwater tank claims that space in the master.) A pair of couples could use the midcabin for any overflow of personal belongings. One couple alone onboard would have scads of extra space.

For stowage of general items, the saloon is lined at head level with cherry cabinets, and space beneath four of the five large sections of the starboard settee can hold volumes. Cabinets suspended at head level above the countertops line both sides of the galley, and beneath the teak and holly sole there are three bins designed to stow 50 bottles of wine, but which can also be used for a similar volume of more practical goods.

Other features encouraging long-range voyaging in any climate include ample stowage in the single (but roomy) head with shower, a 6.5-kW Onan genset with soundshield in the storage room at the stern, a chilled-air system with four handlers, and backup freshwater pumps for both the main system and shower.

A sitting area aft of the wheelhouse and a sunpad forward large enough for three will entice you above decks in clement weather. Wide side decks and sturdy stainless steel rails at waist level make getting around up here effortless.

Although the 42 certainly has elegance--cherry varnished to a high gloss and quality details abound--certain aspects of her design will require accommodating temperaments. The main access to the engine compartment, for example, is through a 3'x5' heavily insulated pull-out panel in the galley. (Access to the starboard side of the Cummins is through screwed-on panels in the midcabin bulkhead.) Any time the engine needs maintenance, noise, smell, or a clutter of tools on the galley floor will compromise the onboard quality of life.

But I think Neptunus intends this small ship for intrepid voyagers who are unlikely to be troubled by periodic inconveniences. The 42 is a boat sure to appeal to those with an appreciation for adventure as well as comfort. She's designed for extremes. On one hand there is the storm you'll hopefully never encounter; on the other, there are the fair skies you'll enjoy again and again.

Neptunus Yachts (410) 604-3111. Fax: (410) 604-0695.

Next page > Rock Harbor 42 Specs > Page 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.

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