Aeroyacht H42

Equipped with boards and tiller steering, the Aeroyacht H42 has a lot of zip for the trip

Aeroyacht

Catamarans tend to be either twin-hulled houseboats or cramped projectiles that wouldn't be out of place on a launch pad. The Aeroyacht H42 splits the two extremes. From design concept to finish, France's Edel Catamarans subjugates the boat's accommodations and deck layout to pragmatism and a devotion to the fun factor.

The H42 isn't a boat for those attached to elegant wood cabinetry or hives of complex cubbyholes. The structural expanse provides adequate interior space, but the detailing is unembellished, sometimes even industrial.

Stainless-steel drawers and lockers provide storage in the saloon, which also offers a large dinette, a substantial nav table, and a bench galley. In the starboard hull, double cabins fore and aft flank a midships head. This layout is mirrored by the port hull, unless it's fitted with an optional full-length owner's stateroom. The cabins all feature seats and hanging lockers. The oval hull sections flare out above the waterline to provide enough space for double berths. Because the decks mirror the bottoms, the hull joint is halfway up the topsides, lapped, glassed, and, on the outboard side, covered with a rubstrake.

The high-volume bows shouldn't dig into anything but rogue seas, from whence the wave-piercing shapes would quickly emerge. A crash box and a watertight compartment both forward and aft provide superb damage protection. In addition, built-in shock absorbers on stem and transom further protect the hull from nicks and dings. Generous wingdeck clearance will also be appreciated offshore.

The H42 we inspected was virtually right off the ship. Without full commissioning, the boat exhibited a few flaws, some requiring warranty work. We also critiqued details, such as the bin behind the windlass, which is difficult to reach in an emergency should the heap of halyard tails inside get tangled. These items are fixable, however, and the Aeroyacht's design is, overall, successful.

All of CW's Boat of the Year judges had a blast sailing the H42. With the smallest displacement-to-length and second largest sail area-to-displacement ratios of any tested cat, the boat was a sprightly sailer. It will slow down a tad when humping around a cruising load, but the large, efficient rig, the deep, angled daggerboards, and the long waterline will help the H42 maintain a swifter pace than most. Since all the accommodations are contained within the span of the bridgedeck, the ends of the boat remain light to reduce pitching. The deck is straightforward to negotiate, and access to the traveler is good. The boards were easy to operate, and the mast controls were well within reach. I champion the simplicity and efficacy of twin tillers, which, with their outboard seats, offer a good look at the sails, uncomplicated emergency steering, and a convenient position for docking.

The boat's directional stability allows a shorthanded crew time to leave the helm, make sail adjustments, and return. The H42 sparkled under power (a diesel-electric option is available) and was the only cat in the contest to turn to either port or starboard in both forward and reverse using a single engine. Flying the code zero, the H42 needs no iron spinnaker to crank off the miles, even in zephyrs. No doubt, many who prioritize sailing over sitting will order an Aeroyacht H42 to go.

AEROYACHT H42

LOA 42' 0" (12.80 m.)
LWL 42' 0" (12.80 m.)
Beam 21' 10" (6.65 m.)
Draft (down/up) 7' 4"/3' 1" (2.23/0.94 m.)
Sail Area (100%) 791 sq. ft. (73.0 sq. m.)
Displacement 14,000 lb. (6,364 kg.)
Water 114 gal. (432 l.)
Fuel 52 gal. (197 l.)
Engines Two 28-hp. Yanmar diesels with saildrives
Designers Bernard Lelievre/Edel/Aeroyacht Ltd.
Price (as sailed) $350,000

    Aeroyacht Ltd. Group  
    (631) 246-6448  
    www.aeroyacht.com  

BOTY judge and Cruising World editor at large Steve Callahan lives in Maine.