Charging across the water at 80 mph Cigarette 42 Tiger TS, I glanced at my inclinometer (ride-angle indicator) and was surprised by the two-degree reading. Most stepped hulls ride flat, producing a reading of zero or one. But from 3500 rpm and 54.6 mph all the way up to the top speed of 84.8 mph at 5250 rpm, the 42 Tiger TS had the meter stuck at two degrees.
Something was up - and it was the bow. Cigarette added 5" of rocker in the 42 Tiger TS' bottom aft of the second step so the boat rocks back when it gets up to speed and flies the bow over the waves rather than through them.
With a pair of 550-hp Mercury Racing HP575SCi engines ($82,080) mated to Bravo One XR drives, our test boat ran a 84.8-mph top speed, which is hyperquick for a 9,800-pound 42' boat with twin engines. And that was on a hot, humid day on sticky-smooth water. I bet if we were running in about 6 to 12 inches of chop, we would have seen a range in the high 80s.
Part of the reason the boat can make the most out of the test power is because every excess ounce of fat has been sucked out of it. Cigarette uses a vacuum-bagged balsa core that's 1" thick in the hull bottom and 3/4" in the hullsides to back up the bi- and tridirectional fiberglass and vinylester resin. Except for the engine compartment stringers, which are wood, longitudinal members are preformed foam?filled fiberglass, and the bulkheads are made with Baltek DecoLite panels. The shoebox-lid-style hull-to-deck joint is through-bolted and bonded with fiberglass for durability.
THE HIGHS: Rides as smooth as a limo through anything at 80 mph. Integrated Harwood scoops in engine hatch are way cool. Shutoff valves for strainers are smart for safety and easy maintenance.
THE LOWS: Narrow beam means a narrow cockpit and interior. Needs fold-down steps to make it easier to get down into the engine compartment. Bolsters are uncomfortable to sit in.
Because the steps are only about an inch or two tall, they put enough air under the boat to break friction with the water but not so much that the boat's ride is upset. The 42 Tiger TS' bottom has inner strakes that end at the first step, while the outer strakes run full-length. To give the boat better grip in turns, the outer strakes and the chines are reversed, or turned down a few degrees. In slalom and circle maneuvers, the tweaked strakes and chines worked to perfection, giving the boat agility that's rare in a 40-plus-foot hull. Other smooth-handling boats in this size range include Wellcraft's 43 Scarab AVS, which retails for $406,770 with the same power as our test boat and runs in the low to mid-80s. If you prefer to go nonstepped, Baja's 40 Outlaw is a bargain at $297,583 with twin 575SCi's, but it tops out at about 80 mph.