- The helm set-up is great, offering very good visibility forward and over the beams.
- The Hardy 42 is a boat with a timeless design, which, like its siblings, never seems to lack in popularity …
- It would be fair to say that there is near-perfect access from the saloon to the flybridge for children and pets.
The Hardy 42 comes from a yard with a zero compromise approach to boatbuilding and has a reputation for offering a high degree of comfort, practicality and performance. Greg Copp seeks to find out if you can believe everything you hear …
Semi-displacement boats have always had fans in both camps. Consequently both powerboaters and yachtsmen alike have dipped into their pockets to own a Hardy 42. This tough and practical boat, whose mildly commercial appearance is a Hardy trademark, seems just as popular today as it was at its launch, 16 years ago. Tall bulwarks, wide walk-around side decks and heavy-duty deck hardware leave you in no doubt what this boat is about. To date, 29 have been built, and few seem to come on the second-hand market today, probably for good reason.
Hardy’s customers have not all been pleasure boaters, as the RNLI have seen fit to buy Hardy 42s for crew training, just as Raymarine’s Hardy 42 Raymariner serves to test their latest electronics. Raymarine, like the RNLI, have used their boat in all conditions, with thousands of hours logged, and without the slightest complaint. In particular, they find the boat very stable at displacement speed, with little tendency to roll, which is important when focused on display screens when working.
However, most boats have been bought by private skippers like Pete Harper, with their eyes set on the horizon. Pete, whom I met some years back, took his boat from his Portsmouth berth around a good chunk of the British Isles. Having had a ‘glossy planing sports boat’ for many years, Pete told me he ‘finally got religion’ following a small windfall and bought a used Hardy 42. Like many, he started first off by pushing west, initially intending to do a week’s cruising down to Dartmouth. With a patchy weather window he had factored in plenty of time, but as the Hardy had no problems smashing through the Portland Race at the wrong time, and then across a tempestuous Lyme Bay, he found himself in Torquay by lunchtime. His then girlfriend was less than impressed and disembarked, leaving him to push on the next day single-crewed. For a devil-may-care sort of guy, this was not an issue, so what was a one-week passage became a two-week cruise, taking in Plymouth, Fowey and Falmouth before crossing to the Channel Islands, and then finally heading home.
Pete’s boat is fitted with twin 420hp Yanmar 6LY2 STEs, which have been trouble free since he has owned the boat. They came with a good service history, and when he first bought the boat it had just been scrubbed, so the hull was good and slippery. Consequently the boat was capable of hitting around 24 knots on his return passage from Guernsey, when he was outrunning a weather front coming in from the west.
The best cruising speed for the Hardy 42 is around 18 knots, at which point the boat returns just about 0.8mpg in the case of a MAN/Catterpillar-powered boat. You can certainly push up into the early 20s, but like any semi-displacement boat, the moment you start getting towards wide-open throttle there is a fuel penalty to pay. Flat out at 24 knots, a Yanmar-powered 42 will drink around 40gph, which equates to 0.6mpg, while the later common-rail injected MAN/Cat engines will improve on this slightly. There is a flip side inasmuch as, time permitting, you can settle down to an 8-knot cruise at 2.7 mpg and, with the autopilot on, descend into the galley for brews and butties, something Pete would never have dreamed of in his old Cranchi. The galley is the traditional enclosed U shape, which works well if there is any seaway as you can wedge yourself in. This earlier galley design enabled a third, single-berth cabin opposite under the helm/dash area. This is great if you need it, but many people preferred the later galley design, which gave you an extra utility space for a full-size fridge/freezer and extra storage in place of this small cabin. This design change, as far as I am aware, took place in 2005. It is also worth noting that the early boats had a second fridge in the saloon, so were hardly lacking in this department.
The helm set-up is great, offering very good visibility forward and over the beams. Being an aft cabin boat, you have a wide blind spot looking aft, so a rear-view camera is a good idea if you intend to berth her from below. The twin helm seats are sprung, and sufficiently elevated to look over the bow easily when seated. For the first few years of the boat’s production, the helm accommodated just one 12″ plotter. In 2005, this changed to a double-display design, which was a sensible move, as not only did it give the navigator something to play with, but it also meant you could have an infrared camera watching over your engines, among other things. A total systems display panel sits above the windscreen, making it easy to keep a check on everything at a glance.
The forward guest cabin has a convertible V berth with a reasonable amount of storage and en suite access to the day heads. For a 42ft boat it is a touch on the small side, but to enlarge it would be to reduce the day heads or galley, which is not a realistic option. The later post-2005 boats have an optional bigger day heads with a separate shower compartment, as a result of losing the third cabin.
As the 42 is a beamy boat, the saloon loses little in real terms to the wide side decks. This large living space will seat six at a pinch, while four can slumber in total luxury. From 2005 it lost the second fridge, which sat next to the aft cabin stairwell, and as a result there is more seating. What sells this boat to many, not surprisingly, is its aft cabin. If you are used to forepeak cabins you will understand this the moment you descend into this great space of luxury. Storage is in abundance, as is full standing headroom around the large double bed. Needless to say, there is a generous en suite with a separate shower compartment.
Like the aft cabin, life on deck is also a key selling point. Few boats match it in terms of total accessibility. There are two side doors opening onto wide side decks, which feed forward to an enclosed foredeck housing a giant windlass. Going aft you can walk all the way around the stern, or step up onto the cockpit on both sides. One of the bonuses of having a full walk-around lower deck is that you only have a couple of easy steps down to the bathing platform and the tender. Like the deck below, the cockpit has substantially tall guard rails, even for this type of boat. Access to the flybridge is always easy on an aft cabin boat, in this case just two steps. It would be fair to say that there is near-perfect access from the saloon to the flybridge for children and pets.
The Hardy 42 is a boat with a timeless design, which, like its siblings, never seems to lack in popularity – possibly due to the ever-changing British weather. It does, of course, have many capable rivals, but few boats offer such a degree of comfort, practicality and performance in such a capable seagoing boat.
- Build period: 2002 to present
- Designer: Andrew Wolstenholme
- Berths: 4 or 5 (permanent)
- Cabins: 2 or 3
- Hull type: Semi-displacement
- RCD category: B for 8
- Length overall: 14.2m (46ft 0in)
- Beam: 4.36m (14ft 4in)
- Draught: 1.16m (3ft 10in)
- Displacement: 12.7 tonnes (light)
- Fuel capacity: 1728 litres (300 gal)
- Water capacity: 546 litres (120 gal)
- Cruising range: Approx. 270 miles at 18 knots with a 20% reserve
- Performance: 24–26 knots
- Current value: From £250,000
Points to Consider
This boat was initially built with mechanically injected 420/440hp Yanmar 6LY2 STEs, which are a tough reliable power plant, and simple to service. However, emission regulations rendered them redundant in 2006. From 2005, the 450hp MAN D08 was offered, which, like the 460hp Catterpillar C7 that replaced it in 2010, is a common-rail injected engine. All engines have a good track record for reliability and will provide similar performance. The common-rail injected engines will be more economical on fuel, but their spare part costs are higher.
Servicing costs can vary from around £1,400 for a pair of Yanmar 6LY2 STEs to £2,500 for a pair of MAN D08s. Catterpillar C7s, as fitted to the last and current boats, will cost slightly less than the MANs to service. Of the three brands, Catterpillar will have the best global spares/servicing network.
The Hardy, like many boats, loses its main depreciation initially, then levels out to a much slower drop in value. As a result, the older boats are often great value for money in real terms, and will tend to hold on to their value well.
Build quality/fit & finish
‘Tough as old boots’ is an apt phrase to describe how these sea warriors are built. This, along with their seakeeping, is one of the reasons why the RNLI have used them as training vessels, and why Raymarine use one as a test bed for their new kit.
Twin MAN D08s will return around 0.8–0.9 mpg at 18 knots, decreasing to about 0.7 at 24 knots. If you feel the need to push the boat to wide-open throttle, this figure will certainly drop further. The older mechanically injected Yanmars will burn around 10% more fuel, and the Catterpillar C7 will be very similar in consumption to the MAN.
2002 price: £250,000 (VAT paid)
Achates has recently undergone a thorough cosmetic refit and full service. She is upholstered in blue Alcantara, as were most boats of her build period, and her joinery, true to form, is still in top condition. Being an earlier-generation 42 she has the second fridge in the saloon, as well as a well-equipped galley and a full-size washer dryer. Her Yanmar engines have done 1,000 hours, are fitted with Vetus electronic controls and have rope cutters on her shafts. She also has the benefit of hydraulic bow and stern thrusters – not often found on 42ft boats. In the absence of shore power there is a Mace 6.5kw generator, which is complemented by diesel central heating. Her Raymarine suite is pretty substantial, and includes satellite TV, a 12″ plotter, autopilot, AIS and a 10kw open scanner radar, as well as a second plotter and a repeater on the flybridge. Finally, she is the only one on the market in the UK at the moment, and looks keenly priced.
I have watched the Hardy range develop over the years since the 80s and seen their initial outboard-powered range of tough little boats develop into serious offshore, all-weather cruising motor yachts. This is a company with modern boatbuilding experience that produces a reliable and good-quality motor yacht. I have looked through the reports from Hardy 42s that I have surveyed and, fairly predictably, there have been no show-stoppers. I have yet to discover a hull with osmosis or any structural defects, and the condition of the engineering, having been installed to a good standard, depends only on the maintenance received. There is good access to all systems and equipment, and so maintenance is that bit easier to carry out than on some other motor yachts where the equipment has been shoehorned in. This is a generally well-built and good all-round offshore cruiser.
Jim Pritchard BSc CEng MRINA MIIMS