2021 Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop

Mag Bay Yachts introduces its new flagship, a 42 express sportfisher.
Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop running off the beach
The Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop easily slices through chop. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts


The lineage behind Mag Bay Yachts has coursed through three decades of sport-fishing boat history. The family that founded this brand—Mike and Barrett Howarth—also lays claim, along with Henry Mohrschladt, to the launch of the vaunted Cabo Yachts in 1991.

With the introduction of the Mag Bay 42, the Howarths reignited the spirit of Cabo Yachts, not in name, but by incorporating marine technologies that make the Mag Bay 42 an even better offshore fishing boat than the original Cabos.

“I call it a boat of details,” Barrett says. “We focus on building everything, even the smallest items, to the highest craftsmanship standards possible.” Indeed, I could not help but think of the quality of the early Cabos while examining the Mag Bay’s flawless bilge rigging, a specially designed compartment for the washdown spigots and shower hoses, and another that hides long-handled items such as deck brushes, boat hooks and gaffs.


This boat comes in two versions: an open sport express or with an integrated hardtop like the one I tested. The hardtop is supported entirely by the windshield frame structure, with the aft portion cantilevering over the cockpit for a sleek appearance. A retractable sunroof ushers in fresh air. A rack of 10 rod holders lined the aft edge on my tester.

Interior and Accessories

On the bridge deck, I discovered an L-shaped settee that stretches across the aft bulkhead and extends forward on the port side. A tackle center occupies the starboard side, with cabinets, drawers, spool racks, shelves and tackle boxes to stow a plethora of lures, leader material, terminal tackle and rigging tools. It also houses an ice maker.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop fishing tackle organizers
Tackle storage is found throughout. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

The expansive helm featured a pair of Garmin 24-inch multifunction displays for sonar, radar and other onboard systems. A flip-open compartment to port allows access to dedicated displays and controls for systems such as the standard Seakeeper 6 gyrostabilizer, Side-Power thruster joystick, autopilot and windlass. The entire dash module easily hinges upward to service the rigging. A trio of adjustable helm seats cradle the captain and two companions.


Diamond nonskid ensures traction on a wet deck, and below the cockpit sole, I discovered a pair of 70-gallon guttered fish lockers. An 80-gallon pressurized livewell resides in the middle of the transom, with toe space below and a curved viewing window. A beefy, outward-opening tuna door in the starboard quarter lets you slide aboard heavy fish. Mezzanine seating in the forward cockpit includes abundant dry storage underneath.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop helm
The helm is equipped with a pair of Garmin 24-inch multifunction displays. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

From the cockpit, you can push a button to hinge open the helm deck to access the engine room with its twin 1,000 hp Volvo Penta D13 turbo-diesel inboards, Onan 13.5 kW generator and Seakeeper. I found 6 feet of headroom and good access to the boat’s engines and ZF transmissions.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop transom livewell in cockpit
There’s an 80-gallon pressurized livewell in the middle of the transom. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

There’s supreme comfort, starting with the salon and galley area, accessible via a step-down companionway from the bridge deck. I measured 7 feet of headroom and enjoyed the bright, airy atmosphere provided by skylights and side windows, as well as overhead LED lighting. Wood cabinetry and decking lend a rich look to the quarters belowdecks.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop galley kitchen
The galley features a granite countertop, tiled backsplash, cooktop, microwave and stainless-steel sink. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

An L-shaped settee spans the aft bulkhead and port side, while the galley occupies the starboard area, with a granite countertop, tiled backsplash, cooktop and stainless-steel sink. Above is a microwave, and below is a 190-cubic-inch Isotherm fridge and freezer. The enclosed head is also to the starboard side, boasting 6 feet, 8 inches of headroom, a vanity and sink, stand-up shower and electric-flush commode. A central passageway leads forward to the master stateroom, with a queen-size, elevated island berth, wood accents, overhead LEDs, and portlight hatch for fresh air. Teak cabinets above the berth stow clothing items and other gear.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop enclosed head
The enclosed head offers a vanity and sink, stand-up shower and electric-­flush commode. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

Want to comparison-shop? Look closely at the Tiara 43 Open ($1,128,900 with twin Cummins 715 hp QSM 11 diesel inboards) with an extra foot of length than the Mag Bay 42. The Tiara’s salon is smaller, but there’s an extra private berth in addition to the main stateroom.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop berth
The master stateroom has a queen-size, elevated island berth. Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts


The 42 is no slouch when it comes to handling. The Michael Peters-designed hull proved stellar. The boat sliced smoothly through waves and cornered with confidence at speed. The Optimus electro-hydraulic steering system eased the task of controlling the rudders. At low speed, with judicial use of the throttle, I could easily spin the 42 within its own length. The Mag Bay backs down confidently and cleanly, and in the calm waters of test day, it did not take a hint of green water over the transom.

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop engine room access
Twin 1,000 hp Volvo Penta D13 turbo-diesel inboards power the 42 Hardtop Courtesy Mag Bay Yachts

The turbochargers of the Volvo Penta D13s spool up quickly, propelling the 42 to plane in 9.5 seconds and to 30 mph in 14.6 seconds. We achieved a top speed of 44.6 mph and 2,350 rpm. I recorded a best cruising fuel economy of 0.6 mpg at 1,900 rpm and 35.1 mph. Trolling valves in the ZF transmissions let you reduce speed to as low as 2.6 mph for slow-trolling live bait.

Read Next: Mag Bay Yachts 33

While the Cabo line seems to have faded away, its spirit lives on, wearing the badge of a Mag Bay 42, and incorporating technology and power that owners of the original Cabo boats could hardly imagine.

How We Tested

  • Engines: Twin Volvo Penta 1,000 hp D13 turbo- diesel inboards
  • Drive/Prop: ZF400A/ZF 29″ x 46.5″ 4-blade bronze
  • Gear Ratio: 1.98:1 Fuel Load: 665 gal. Crew Weight: 400 lb.

High Points

  • Exquisite fit-and-finish throughout the boat.
  • Seakeeper 6 gyrostabilizer is standard.
  • Three air-conditioning systems (two for the bridge deck and one for the cabin).
  • Includes an 80-gallon pressurized transom livewell with viewing window.

Low Points

  • Integral hardtop supports at each forward corner of the windshield create visual obstructions.
  • Just one private stateroom, but settees on bridge deck and salon can serve as berths.

Pricing and Specs

Price: $1,295,000
LOA: 42’3″
Beam: 15’6″
Draft: 4’0″
Displacement (approx.): 42,000 lb.
Transom Deadrise: 18 degrees
Fuel Capacity: 700 gal.
Bridge Clearance: 12’6″
Max Cabin Headroom: 7’0″
Max Horsepower: 2,600
Available Power: Twin turbo-diesel inboards up to 2,600 hp total

Speed, Efficiency, Operation

Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop performance data chart
Mag Bay Yachts 42 Hardtop Certified Test Results Boating Magazine

Mag Bay Yachts – Hesperia, California; 949-395-0437;