My first statement to serious anglers is: Don't worry! Despite the fact that the iconic brand Hydra-Sports was purchased from Genmar - which also owned Wellcraft and Aquasport, among others - by MasterCraft, a water-ski boatbuilder, the Hydra-Sports quality and innovation have never been better. They aren't turning them into ski boats.
I ran the mammoth, outboard-powered 4200 SF flagship of the Hydra-Sports line in the Florida Keys, and admit to being very surprised by its performance and handling.
As you'd expect with four 350 hp Yamaha four-strokes hanging on the transom, this boat is no tortoise despite its size. The engineers are still fine-tuning props and mounts, etc. So at the time of our printing, no performance figures are publishable. However, you'll find complete information soon at sportfishingmag.com. I will say that at cruising speed, the 4200 exhibited quite spry handling - virtually like a 28- or 30-footer.
It turns on a dime with little centrifugal force, handles every point of sea in a stately fashion, and is very quiet and dry throughout. What makes this truly amazing is that with fuel, gear and people aboard, it tips the scales at about 28,000 pounds. Remember, however, that in a rough sea, weight constitutes one of the three factors contributing to a smooth ride. The other two are the design of the running surface (this has a 23-degree deadrise) and the waterline length.
The Side-Power bow thruster on this boat might be gilding the lily, but it makes docking in any adverse condition a breeze. It's also cool to be able to slide your boat sideways up to or away from a dock.
Hydra-Sports has always been about hard-core fishing. Fanatical anglers will still find the 4200 every bit as equipped and capable as ever.
Our test boat had more rod storage than I could list here, including rod holders around the entire vessel perimeter. The tackle center and helm area both provide loads of storage for lines, leaders and lures.
Whether riding or fishing, you always have a convenient, secure handhold close at hand. You can ask the factory to install as many rod holders as you like. Our test boat sported 48. Fish storage is handled by seven large fish boxes, both in-deck and under forward seating, as well as a Frigid Rigid coffin box with a sun pad forward of the console. A dry-storage locker forward has indents to fit a pair of 5-gallon pails for cast nets, washdown, etc. The 4200 boasts a total of 10 tackle-storage drawers, leader and line spool holders, more rod holders and, should you want some added height to better see fish, the factory offers a tower for the hardtop.
Design and Construction
This 42 is a huge center-console. Standard storage forward of the console includes a coffin box with sun pad, as well as space under gunwales and under forward seating boxes. The console itself qualifies as cavernous too.
On deck, Hydra-Sports builds great, heavily padded helm and companion seats with fold-up bolsters as standard equipment. And speaking of seating, H-S has done a masterful job with its innovative transom seat with a back that automatically rises up when the seat folds down for vastly increased back support underway.
The expansive dashboard provides more than enough space to flush-mount three 15-inch displays and still have room for an autopilot, VHF, tab indicator and more.
Hydra-Sports bonds a massive one-piece stringer grid into the hull that assures this boat will take more punishment than its human occupants. However, that bulletproof construction generates the hefty weight I mentioned earlier.
An on-deck feature I particularly appreciate is the hull-side diving door. A new hinge design allows the door to fold inboard far enough to lie flush against the gunwale rather than stick out at an angle into the walkway. This new side-door design lets swimmers enter and return from the water easily without ever having to go near the engines. In addition, alongside a dock, your guests will have a much easier time boarding your boat by stepping through rather than climbing over the rail.
Hydra-Sports now refers to its offshore boats as "The Customs," since you can customize each to more exactly fit your personal requirements.
Other available features include powder-coated towers and your choice of gel coat and trim colors.
Finally, if you'd like to spec out your own boat with the features and colors of your choice (without having to hear from a dealer five minutes later), visit Hydra-Sports' new Design-A-Boat application at hydrasports.com. It's very cool.
LOA......41 ft. 7 in.
BEAM......12 ft. 2 in.
HULL DRAFT......2 ft.
WEIGHT......23,000 lb. (dry)
MAX HP......(4) 350 hp OB
MSRP......$383,155 (w/ triple 350 hp OB)
Hydra-Sports / Vonore, Tennessee / 800-443-8774 / www.hydrasports.com