Click here for a gallery of the 42 Sport Coupe in action.
Size, price point and style are often the controlling influences in the creation of a new boat. But when Regal Marine Industries set out to expand its new Sport Coupe series, the design team began with a slightly different point of reference.
“From the beginning, the 42 Sport Coupe was designed around the Volvo Penta IPS 400,” explains Regal president Duane Kuck. “We did everything possible to pack a wide range of features into a size envelope that would deliver optimum performance with these drives.”
Optimization began by determining the ideal size and hull configuration, then shifted to weight reduction and placement. Advanced composite coring methods and resin infusion techniques shaved weight from the topsides without compromising strength, and fluids and mechanical systems were carefully positioned to distribute weight, creating an optimum running attitude for the IPS drives.
Equally important was configuring interior living spaces for maximum utility and comfort. Drawing on owner feedback and lessons learned from the 46 Sport Coupe, the Regal team knew that generous sleeping areas and realistically sized heads were more important to crew comfort than an enlarged salon. Working on this premise, it shaved a few inches here and added a couple there to create a two-stateroom, two-head floor plan that includes a separate stall shower forward, more than six linear feet of counter space in the galley and a realistic helping of elbowroom throughout. Our test was conducted during a daylong cruise with four adults and four children aboard, and we never felt crowded.
When under way, most passengers prefer to remain topside, where they can see the sights and socialize. The 42 Sport Coupe supports this preference with low engine sound levels, generously sized windows and a single-level deck plan that creates a common social area from helm to the transom bench seat. There’s access to the swim pad from both port and starboard corners, while filler cushions can be added to turn the aft lounge into a conversation pit or alfresco dining area. An on-deck refrigerator, ice maker and electric grill transform the aft end into a summer kitchen with a view, while the transom shower and various storage lockers accessible from the large swim platform give the boat added potential to support water sports like diving or snorkeling.
With the full-width sunroof rolled back and the center section of the windshield open, passengers enjoy plenty of fresh air and easy access to the bow sun lounge. But should the weather turn nasty, it takes less than 30 seconds to turn the upper deck into a weatherproof, climate controlled shelter. For further weatherproofing, owners have the option of a cockpit canvas package, or even a rigid aft bulkhead that fully encloses the upper deck.
A central hatch provides fast access to the engine room, where I had no problem reaching vital systems, including the seacocks and filters. For complete access to diesels and drives, the center section of the deck raises on an electric ram to reveal a tidy mechanical space where everything is bonded, labeled and chafe-protected.
The single fuel tank sits on centerline, and almost exactly at the hull’s center of gravity. Batteries and mechanical systems such as the genset, water heater and air-conditioner compressor are also positioned to maintain a balanced running attitude, and the benefits of this careful planning became obvious during our performance tests.
As we’ve come to expect from IPS-powered boats, the 42 Sport Coupe handled turns with crisp authority and came out of the hole quickly. Though trim tabs are standard, the hull maintained a near-flat running angle with no tabs — even at lower planing speeds, where some hulls require more prop lift than levelfacing pod drives typically generate. Also as expected, fuel economy continued to increase concurrent with speed. Skippers can push the throttles toward the stops without fear of draining the fuel tanks at an exponentially greater rate — the 42 Sport Coupe delivers a 28.7 mph cruise achieving 1.36 miles-per-gallon economy.
Two boats that come close to the mark in terms of layout, features and performance are Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe ($695,180 with twin 370 hp IPS 500s), the review of which ran in October 2008, and Four Winns V435 ($621,979 with twin 370 hp IPS 500s), which we covered in February 2009. Both offer coupe tops with large sunroofs, walk-through bow access and two-stateroom, two-head layouts. Both deliver similar speeds but utilize Volvo’s larger 370 hp IPS 500 to do so, and when we tested them, each delivered solid 1 mpg economy while cruising.
When shopping, note that Regal offers a preproduction discount if you order a boat before it’s built. So, while the 42 Sport Coupe we tested lists for $631,899, it can be had for $507,672. Preproduction pricing is non-negotiable, according to Regal, unlike the deal-cutting that’s normal with traditional MSRP. That makes it especially important to get solid quotes for all three boats, as well as take each for a sea trial, before making your choice.
Comparable models: Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe, Four Winns V435