The Egg and the Tempest
Part 2: Egg Harbor’s modified-V, solid-glass hull bottom held up well under these extreme conditions.
Unable to avoid the tempest any longer, I accepted the fact that it was time to leave the comfort of the 42’s saloon. The wind ripped through the double-spreader `riggers as I stepped out to the cockpit. As the bridge-deck overhang sheltered us, Lee provided a summary of this vessel’s many fishing features, which include optional gaff stowage under the gunwales and custom cutouts for the electric reels the boys will use when they go kite fishing. The in-deck, gasketed fishbox could easily handle several Allison tuna, and the in-transom livewell is functional without intruding into the deck space. If you’re fighting a fish off the stern, you won’t have to worry about sliding your toes under the livewell base and fighting the fish leaning forward; you can take yourself almost to the stern and still maintain a strong standup position. Stalker IV also has an auxiliary livewell pump to ensure those goggle-eyes don’t go belly up when the bite’s on. Salt- and freshwater washdown, a bait freezer, and tackle stowage are also here. The cockpit’s 88 square feet (usable space) are truly maximized without crowding the anglers. The engine-air intakes are also located here to reduce saltwater ingestion and clean up the 42’s profile.
One fishing feature that made your correspondent’s ears perk up like a dog hearing its name was the closed-circuit TV the Greens hooked up to the Northstar 957 GPS/chartplotter on the bridge. It lets the helmsman watch that billfish strike happen underwater via an inset picture on the plotter’s display. With accoutrements like these, Stalker IV is well equipped for day trolls as well as tournaments. I noticed yet a few more Green-specific touches during my inspection of the foredeck. The boys had the bowrail and pulpit removed to give the boat a sleeker appearance, although I prefer the feeling of security the bowrail gives me when working on the foredeck. In addition, the normally raised Bomar anchor locker hatch was replaced with a flush fiberglass hatch that provides access to the locker. With "two left feet," I appreciate the benefits of this modification.
The wind was starting to pick up as Lee started the optional twin 660-hp Caterpillar 3196s. A skillful boathandler, he worked the 42 out of her tight berth with ease, working the single-lever Mathers electronic controls like he’d owned the boat for six years, not six weeks. Noticing the eight-foot-plus breakers looming in Shinnecock inlet, I thought it prudent to run the numbers in the more sheltered but still whipped-cream-white bay, which only had three- to four-footers about four seconds apart.
Heavy, wind-driven spray repeatedly flew up and over the top of the 42 as we hit a top speed of 38.6 mph, at which the 42 has a 267-NM range on her 600-gallon fuel capacity. However, I noticed that the Cats turned only 2270 rpm at WOT, about 30 rpm less than their rated output, leading me to suspect Stalker IV was slightly over-wheeled. Nevertheless she made a comfortable cruise of 34.2 mph at 2000 rpm, offering a 277-NM range. By the time I recorded that data I was so salt-covered I felt like a giant potato chip and wondered why I hadn’t taken along a change of clothes. The brothers, who stood back from the open (optional) isinglass, just smiled wryly.
Lee offered me the wheel and, after zipping up the isinglass, I happily accepted. The Teleflex hydraulic steering turning the wedge rudders did its job, but in these conditions I felt she was a bit slow reacting to the wheel. The 42’s modified-V hull with its solid-glass bottom was plenty tough for the choppy head sea. The ride was bumpy, I suspect partly due to her 15-foot beam. A little trim tab adjustment helped. In a following sea, the 42 performed so well, for a minute I forgot about Gustav’s wicked breath beating on the boat.
Finished with my wheel time, I turned the wheel over to Laurance, who ran the 42 back to the stable. Despite the big blow, he returned her to her slip as skillfully as his brother had maneuvered her out of it.
Although a personal fan of the deep-V hull for rough water, I must say that Egg Harbor’s modified-V, solid-glass hull bottom held up well under these extreme conditions. Checking below decks I didn’t even notice any great movement in the pillows lying on the lounge. Now it’s likely you will never travel into this type of sea, but there is a comfort level in knowing that a boat like Egg Harbor’s 42 will get you home.
I packed my gear and walked up the dock ramp, and upon turning caught a final glimpse of the 42, which, like me, was bathed in salt spray. Somehow I don’t think the salt bath bothered her as much as it did me. A little water and a chamois, and I’m sure she'd be ready to head out again. As for me, call me when it’s light and variable.
Egg Harbor Yachts Phone: (609) 965-2300. Fax: (609) 965-3517. www.eggharboryacht.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.