The last thing most people would do in a downpour is run for cover in a performance boat, but that’s exactly what we did on test day with the Revolver R42. This Italian-built new breed of go-fast has a power retracting hardtop and an aft entry hatch that closes off the cockpit. Once inside, we headed out on Miami’s Biscayne Bay and tested in the rain. We stayed dry and could talk in normal tones, two things you can’t say about most offshore go-fasts.
With power provided by a pair of 700 hp Mercury Racing HP700 SCi NXT sterndrives, we hit 74.2 mph at 5,400 rpm, an impressive number when you consider that the Revolver R42 has a maximum beam of 11 feet 7 inches (9 feet 3 inches at the waterline), weighs 15,786 pounds dry and has full stand-up headroom under the hardtop. The only other manufacturer that builds an enclosed offshore performance V-bottom is Outerlimits, but the comparison ends there. The Outerlimits SV 43 is strictly a sit-down boat made for going fast. It seats five, weighs 9,000 pounds and runs 115 mph on the same power as our test boat. It retails for $753,131. Nor-Tech’s 427 weighs 10,900 pounds and has a conventional stand-up-style offshore boat layout. It retails for $670,000 and runs 105 mph with the HP700 SCi NXTs.
Because of the foul weather conditions offshore, we ran in the bay, where there was still wind-whipped chop. The crosswinds didn’t bother the R42’s attitude at all, and I was impressed by how quiet and stable the hardtop structure remained. You’d expect it to creak, rattle or flex, but the arched carbon-fiber frame remained perfectly still, even when I ran through some cruiser wakes at 70 mph.
Carbon fiber is used to reinforce the hull bottom as well. The R42 is built with vacuum-bagging to evenly distribute the vinylester resin throughout the laminate. The transom, stringers and transverse bulkheads are cored with Corecell foam. The hull and deck joint is a butt-fit with a flange that’s bolted together on the inside and then glassed over and faired. No rub rail is needed to cover this smooth joint, so none is provided, and the look is sleek.
Noted race boat and yacht designer Michael Peters designed the Revolver R42’s twin-step bottom, and he did a stellar job. The boat came on plane easily, accelerated smoothly through the power curve and felt solid. In turns, it maneuvered predictably, and even with the hardtop closed I had good visibility. My test boat was the prototype and it has some items that need updating, such as the old white-face SmartCraft engine-monitoring instruments and the Ullman saddle-style seats that offered no lateral support in turns. On the plus side, I liked that in between each individual toggle switch for drive and tab trim there was a raised bar so you can’t accidentally break off a switch if you’re running in rough water.
The R42’s single-level layout worked well for the boat’s kind of hybrid intended use. The helm is centrally positioned so there’s easy passage on each side. Abaft is the cockpit area. The bench seat will accommodate four people, two on each side of the central teak steps that lead in from the engine hatch/sun pad. Vitrifrigo refrigerator drawers in each gunwale offer convenient access to a cold drink or snack. There’s dry stowage in the bench seat base.
When you move forward of the helm, you enter the salon area. There are touch-panel controls for the modern-looking LED pop-up lights and accessories. To starboard is a Corian countertop with two drop-in refrigerators, so the boat has a good amount of cold stowage. To port, the galley has a Miele two-burner stove, a microwave oven, a sink with a cutting board cover and plenty of stowage in drawers and cabinets.
Contained in the helm console, the head has 6 feet 7 inches of headroom, and future models will have a large diameter rain-shower-style shower like those found in luxury yachts, according to Revolver.
Forward, the power adjustable table in the dinette lowers and fills in with cushions to create a 7-foot-long berth that two people could overnight on comfortably. Four overhead deck hatches let in plenty of light and natural ventilation.
In keeping with the R42’s versatile theme, the swim platform electronically folds out of the transom when you’re ready to take a dip. Once it unfolds, stairs make it easy to reboard, and a hatch in the transom locker conceals a carbon fiber passerelle that you can manually deploy to facilitate reaching the docks when debarking.
In a decidedly non-Italian-boat move, the folks at Revolver provided exceptional access to the engines, genset, trim pumps, batteries and other mechanical accessories. With the hatches open, there isn’t anything you can’t reach, and there’s plenty of space if you wanted to put in larger engines. The HP700 SCis were mounted on robust stainless-steel backing plates that cap the stringers like an upside-down horseshoe on steroids. Access plates let you get to the backing nuts to check on tightness after a high-speed run through the ocean.
And thanks to the Revolver R42’s innovative hardtop and rear hatch, you can make that run rain or shine.
Comparable models: Outerlimits SV 43, Nor-Tech 427