Swift Trawler 42 — By Capt. Bill Pike
— January 2004
|Part 2: Tracking was excellent, up-sea, down-sea, and side-sea, and the ride was dry.|
Open-water performance was good. With two-to three-foot seas prevailing, I recorded an average top speed of 29.9 mph. Tracking was excellent, up-sea, down-sea, and side-sea, and the ride was dry, with nary a drop of spray splashing the windshield panes. Steering was smooth, even with one main throttled back to neutral to simulate engine trouble, thanks to Lacomble & Schmitt hydraulics. At 2000 rpm and above, however, visibility forward from the lower helm became poor. At 5'11", I could barely see over the bow, even when standing. I suggested two remedies to Burdick. First, a loftier helm seat—the test boat’s was six inches too low for me. And second, larger trim tabs. Our electric Lencos were simply too small to have any effect.
My sea trial complete, I docked the 42 from the center helm station. The experience was satisfying except for one thing: The treads on the ladder to the bridge from the cockpit were bowl-shape, not flat. While such a detail may be interesting from a design standpoint, I found it impractical under real-world conditions. Otherwise, our pocketed props were near-instantaneously effective and evinced little vibration or bottom-end rumble. The 42 did not seem overly susceptible to windage, most likely thanks to her keel and deep, stabilizing forefoot. And the Volvo Penta QL bow thruster, which I used more because it was there than out of necessity, had plenty of oomph.
Burdick and I began touring the 42’s interior as soon as I’d shut the mains down. It’s a tried-and-true layout, with a saloon and galley on the main deck and a master stateroom forward, guest stateroom to starboard, and head to port, all a couple of steps down. Notable features were a separate stall shower in the head (with standing headroom), plentiful ventilation thanks to a profusion of doors, windows, and opening ports, and mahogany joinery that looks like natural cherry, thanks to a tinted varnish.
I gained access to the engine room by lifting a panel or two from the teak-and-holly sole in the saloon, although a number of panels are removable should extracting an engine for major repairs ever prove necessary. Lighting in the engine room was adequate, and the aluminum diamond-plate decking was solid underfoot, but there were some engineering details I wasn’t enthusiastic about. For example, flexible fuel lines were secured to the Volvo Penta filters forward with hose clamps. On vessels in the 42’s size range, I’d rather see hard, compression-type fittings, since they make for tighter, more positive plumbing. And the electrical wiring in the aft starboard corner looked like a big ball of spaghetti. While Burdick said this was simply an agglomeration of extra-long wires to facilitate future electrical installations and/or repairs, I much prefer crisper, more logically laid out work.
After I’d completed my test, I hung around the marina for a while, eventually returning to Jabin’s balcony for a last look at the Beneteau Swift Trawler 42. If anything, the boat seemed more engaging and romantic in the fading light than she had earlier in the day. A few defects? Yeah, but the boat’s a beauty nevertheless.
“Here’s lookin’ at you kid,” I said, nodding goodbye. Under the circumstances, the famous old line seemed fitting.
Beneteau USA Phone: (843) 805-5000. www.beneteauusa.com.
This article originally appeared in the December 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.