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Legacy 42 Hardtop

Down East style takes a bow with this 42's excellent seakeeping qualities, fine turn of speed and traditional workmanship.

October 4, 2007

Fans of the Legacy Yachts line of seaworthy Down East cruisers got a lift at last fall’s shows when the builder, Freedom Yachts, debuted a hardtop version of their brand new, Mark Ellis-designed Legacy 42. Like all the Ellis designs that have come before it, the 42 mixes a beautiful sheerline with a cabin top forward, gently crowned to shed water, wide side decks that are easier to transit than a sidewalk, and high protective windows for outstanding views of beautiful cruising waters. These are elements found on many traditional Down East designs; where the Legacy 42 differs from its competitors is the shape below the waterline.

Actually, the shape starts at the stem, with a sharp V-angle entry supplemented by a spray rail. This rises up above the waterline from a point forward of amidships, turning away water climbing up as the curved foot slices into oncoming waves. The rail develops into wide chine flats aft that add excellent lateral stability in turns and increases side-to-side stability at rest. Viewed in the slings, you can see how the bottom on each side of the centerline begins to flatten to a deadrise of 25 degrees amidships, then rises with a modest amount of rocker aft, before finishing with an 18-degree deadrise at the transom. Along the way, the centerline departs from the way, the centerline departs from the planing surfaces developing aft, forming a keel that increases tracking and drops down low enough to protect the lower arc of the prop.

When this shape passes through the water, it cleaves oncoming or overtaken waves cleanly, but instead of continuing to climb on the other side, settles and parts the passing wave. The result: a wonderful motion across a wide range of wave conditions, with no untoward pitch, roll or yaw. Part of this motion is undoubtedly due to the amidships location of the engine, in this case, a single 660 hp Cummins QSM-11 diesel. We recorded 24-knot top speeds with this leading-edge, electronically controlled engine, but if your need for speed obviates your need for efficiency, there are two Yanmar twin engine options that can push the Legacy 42 closer to 30-knot top speeds.

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During our sea trial, I recorded very modest levels of noise in the saloon at the helm. Paul Petronello, the president of Legacy Yachts who was aboard for the test, told me that the company had approached the problems of vibration and noise from several different directions. First, the engine was mounted on flexible rubber isolation mounts, as are the custom oversized pot-style mufflers that help reduce backpressure and also pass exhaust underwater. The engineroom is lined with three-inch-thick SoundDown vinyl/foam composite that has a 1/4-inch-thick damping sheet in the center. Additionally, the company adds 1-1/2-inch-thick acoustic foam on the engineroom hullsides.

A quick look around the engineroom, which is accessible from the aft cockpit rather than through the saloon sole-yet another way to hold engine compartment noise down inside the boat-confirms all this acoustic dampening detail. Electrical and plumbing systems are installed with care, protected against chafe and clearly identified in case you ever have to trace down a problem. Fuel delivery lines are USCG-approved Type A; fuel tank fittings are Aeroquip, with shutoff valves accessible in the cockpit fuel hatch. A single Racor water-separating fuel filter for the main engine was supplied on our test boat, along with a 12-V DC oil change pump for convenience.

Inside the engineroom you also get a close-up view of the stout longitudinal and transverse stringers, made of high-density structural foam encased in biaxial knitted fiberglass, as well as two of the four structural bulkheads that give the Legacy 42 strength without excess weight. Even the cabin sole, a glorious teak-and-holly laminate, is laid on a fiberglass grid for rigid, lightweight support. The hull itself is a composite of long-lived ISO NPG gelcoat, outer laminates of alternating blister-resistant vinylester and polyester resins with an end-grain balsa core. Legacy and its parent company Freedom Yachts back this structure with a five-year structural warranty, and a transferable 10-year blister warranty. With over 25 years of experience building safe, seaworthy sailboat and powerboat hulls, this yacht should stand the test of time and tide.

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An 8 kW Northern Lights genset provides house power away from the dock, driving two 16,000 BTU air-conditioning systems that keep the saloon and lower deck accommodations at just the right temperature. The very complete electrical system includes four 850 amp gel-cel batteries, a 40 amp battery charger, a 120-V AC 50 amp shorepower system and a meticulously wired AC/DC circuit breaker panel.

Because Legacy Yachts are semi-custom, you can have the 42 in several different configurations and a couple of different interior layouts. Hull number one was built for an owner who likes to singlehand, yet who still wants a spacious saloon for guests. This owner selected the portside galley-up option, making it easy to fix a meal or get a drink without being too far from the helm to starboard. Instead of a double Stidd helm bench mounted on a locker, he opted for a single seat, opening up the traffic pattern leading from the saloon to the stairs and down to the accommodations below and forward. Instead of the standard guest cabin to starboard, he opted for an office/study so that he could track business matters while away. Built as a guest stateroom, this cabin can also have a private head compartment, but the better solution in terms of space, which this owner selected, was to have a larger single head compartment to port for use by a couple overnight or guests and crew during the day.

With its handcrafted interior-gloss-varnished teak-and-holly sole, satin-finished hardwood and hardwood- laminate furniture, and Herreshoff-style laminate bulkheads-the Legacy 42 will satisfy the traditionalist who appreciates fine workmanship and joinery. The owner of hull number one elected to dispense with standard bar stools and add another barrel chair for more casual guest seating. The addition of comfortable fabrics and sumptuous upholstery brings a modern theme to a saloon that is blessed with 360-degree views of your favorite cruising grounds and anchorages.

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Excellent visibility for the helmsman is complemented by a sliding door just to starboard of the helm, making it easy to step out onto the wide side decks for docking or to go forward for anchoring. Tall, stout side rails wrap the weather decks from the anchor roller to the steps leading down into the aft cockpit, and there are safety rails on the hardtop, as well. Precision Kobelt engine controls, along with optional bow and stern thrusters, take the work out of maneuvering and docking singlehanded.

Whether you elect the hardtop shown on hull number one or add a flying bridge for an elevated view of the world, the Legacy 42 will meet your expectations for a comfortable-running, seaworthy yacht that can handle coastal cruising and open water with aplomb.

Contact: Freedom Yachts, (800) 999-2909; www.legacyyachts.com.

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