(Be sure to click through all the images in the gallery above.)
Some say a depressed economy is the precise time to double efforts toward improving products and market share. Wylie Nagler, president of Yellowfin Yachts, decided that was especially true in the boating business, and that’s exactly what he did beginning in 2008.
Each year, Yellowfin introduced a new model, continued to hunt top-quality components and materials, refined designs, and polished the rich luster of its brand. The 42 is Yellowfin’s latest milestone in that march toward dominance among luxury sport-fishing boats. And, from the absolute mirrorlike gelcoat to the precision fit of hatches, doors and hardware, the company has staked out a nearly unassailable niche.
The guys who are willing to unabashedly drop the kind of money necessary to have a boat like this expect it to be more than just pretty and practical. If the 42’s gleaming gelcoat over sweeping Carolina-style lines didn’t have some “go” to match the glow, it wouldn’t be worth the premium price paid even for the polished Gemlux rod holders.
My test boat, with triple Yamaha F350s and a stepped hull, reached 63.6 mph on a slack tide just inside the south inlet of Sarasota Bay in southwest Florida. It accelerated quickly too, but most impressively, for a boat like this with a high, spray-deflecting bow, it climbed on plane without loss of horizon. Thank the stepped hull for that — and the 1,050 total ponies on the transom.
In turns, you’d expect a stepped hull to be slippery, but with this one, I kicked in some heavy rudder with a little down trim on the motors, and it came around without tripping.
The April weather was snotty: A cold mist was punctuated by crisp winds. Offshore, seas reached 4 feet. Two of us adult men stood at the helm and two guys rode behind the leaning post during our high-speed runs. As expected, I had an easy ride. Behind the helm, the ride was still soft, but the pivot moment was more accentuated. Those passengers kept one hand on the hardtop above, with feet firmly planted.
The 42’s healthy price tag does not reflect its moderate appetite for fuel. The triple 350s can take this boat to the fishing grounds at 40 mph and 4,200 rpm, burning 40 gallons of gas per hour, or 1 mpg. Few 20,000-pound boats can make a mile on a gallon.
The 42 ran like a cheetah, but it was equipped to hunt with the viciousness of a leopard seal. The transom bait tubes on either side of the well and the pump take their water from a sea chest for maximum flow — same for the 70-gallon livewell with its clear acrylic lid. The tubes are fed by a 1,100-gallons-per-hour pump, and the livewell was replenished by another one, turning over the water 13 times per hour.
While some boatbuilders install toe rails to assist in stability when billing or gaffing, this deck was guttered from bow to stern. I curled my toes into those gutters and leaned securely far over the gunwale — a much better arrangement than screwing on rails.
Tackle storage abounds on this vessel, and some of the highlights include the utility-box compartments in the leaning post. Under-gunwale rod holders are generous in length and depth, so tackle won’t bang together on the fly. To keep the cockpit clear of unused rods, the forward lounge is flanked by seven optional rod holders on each side.
The hardtop has spots for seven rods. Four Gemlux rod holders are standard on the gunwales, but some owners order many more. My test boat featured four each on the transom, port and starboard gunwales. The forward gunwales sported eight more. Deck patterns were clear, and raw-water washdowns were convenient for clearing the slime after cutting bait or gaffing a catch.
Design and Construction
Yellowfin spares no cost in outfitting its sport-fishers. In every case, I found the procured hardware was top shelf. More impressive is the amount of work Yellowfin does in-house. Hardtop tubing is designed, bent and welded in the factory, and painted a durable, glossy epoxy finish.
Belowdecks, a combination dual berth and head compartment sport a synthetic teak sole. A hatch in the head gives access to the back of the -electronics suite.
Yellowfin offers seating options forward that include a wraparound bow lounge. Electric rams prop up the cushions, forming forward-facing lounges. The coolest comfort feature on deck, though, is the central lounge forward of the helm station. Raise the cushions, and beneath is dry storage to stow luggage for a weeklong trip.
If the 42 is a product of a stressed economy, I’d almost suggest continued recession: Boats like this one don’t come around very often.
LOA : 42 ft.
BEAM: 12 ft.
DRAFT: 22 in.
DEADRISE: 22 variable deg.
WEIGHT: 16,500 lb. (w/ power)
FUEL: 600 gal.
MAX POWER: 1,400 hp (quad Mercury or Yamaha outboards)
Yamaha F350 four-stroke
DISPLACEMENT: 325 cid
MAX RPM: 6,000
HP/LB RATIO: 0.425
FUEL SYSTEM: EFI, Dual Overhead Cam
GEAR RATIO: 1.73:1
WEIGHT: 822 lb.
ALTERNATOR OUTPUT: 50 amps
MSRP AS TESTED: $509,140
NOTABLE STANDARD FEATURES
> High-performance K Plane trim tabs
> Tinned copper wiring
> Watertight Deutsch connectors
> 530-quart macerated fish box
> Oversize 2-inch gas fills