Legacy 42

The Legacy 42 combines heirloom quality fit and finish with scorching performance.

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Every boat has a personality, a soul. In the most basic form, this soul begins to take form the moment a handful of buddies run through their wish lists over a few beers at the yacht club. More complex personalities begin their development when a client and his designer meet for the first time to discuss the dream. Somewhere between lies Jim Fucile and the first of the Legacy 42s to be equipped with the Volvo Penta IPS drives.

Fucile has been boating for more than 30 years, and during that time has fully digested more experience and knowledge than most of us could even taste. His wife enjoys boating, too, and they often take their teenage daughters on jaunts up and down the coast of New England. Along their course to the perfect boat-the one they'd love and use probably more than any boat they'd owned in the past-they fell for a Fortier 33. It was a great sea boat in the New England tradition but small for its length, and they soon grew tired of shuffling things on and off every time they were needed. The Legacy 40, predecessor of the 42 and no longer in the line, captured their fancy next. Designed by Mark Ellis, this boat's features pushed most of the right buttons-especially its comfortable motion and fuel economy-but it, too, began to feel small, as their daughters grew. Now what?

When the Fuciles decided to look for a new boat, Jim gave his wife a budget and told her to find something she liked, and they'd talk about it. Already fans ofthe Legacy brand and the Mark Ellis hull, the Fuciles could hardly resist the lure of the 42 IPS: its extra space inside, made possible by scaling up the 40 and the use of IPS; the maneuverability and the miserly fuel consumption IPS gives the 42; and Legacy's solid construction. When they factored in the company's willingness to please its customers, all the parties involved had a happy beginning.

I had the privilege of driving the new boat in the company of Jim Fucile, a few days before he took delivery, and his enthusiasm seasoned every minute of our sea trial. Although this boat gave him his first experience with IPS drives, he enthusiastically explained the cause for each effect we experienced in our maneuvers. Hard-over left, hard-over right, she responded with the agility of a Lotus Elise set up for track day. When we banked into a turn at full chat, Fucile made sure I knew that Ellis's design for the bottom kept the 42 at a modest angle of heel. When we ran off downwind and seas- which, by the way weren't a big deal in the Sakonnet River that day-he demonstrated how uncannily the boat tracked in a straight line, absent human interference. Ellis's designs track well downwind, regardless of the drive system employed, but the IPS transports this characteristic into the realm of spooky.

The hull has another trick up its keel. When you slow from cruising speed, for example, the Legacy 42 stays on plane down to 10 or 12 knots, depending on the sea state. This keeps the running angle reasonably low, allows the boat to burn less fuel, and eases its motion in the snottiest seas. It doesn't squat, so it doesn't yaw in following seas. It also accelerates into planing mode at a comfortably low angle-no rearing her decidedly lovely bow as though she were an agitated horse.

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All other things being equal, I suspect that the boat's general arrangement plan and beautifully finished joinery will go a long way toward endearing the Legacy to the Fuciles for many years to come. The design is straightforward, conservative in the Yankee way, but it works very well. The lounge area on the bridge deck welcomed me with bright natural light flooding through massive windows. The ambience reminded me of a solarium. A pair of barrel chairs to port coaxed me to relax with a cool drink and a good book, so I sat briefly-for a test, mind you-and discovered that I could enjoy the view from the chair. Those big windows also give the helmsman a nearly unobstructed, 360-degree view of the world outside.

Anyone who buys a Legacy 42 IPS may choose to have the galley on the bridge deck or below. The Fuciles wisely selected the galley-down option where the two-place dinette ought to encourage folks to linger over coffee at breakfast or take that second stack of pancakes. The galley has a builtin coffeemaker, two refrigerated drawers and a freezer, a two-burner electric cooktop, a convection/microwave oven and lots of stowage space-everything you need for a week or so on the water. Opposite the galley is a private cabin for guests.

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Competition in the market for 40-something motoryachts has become fierce as builders hone their skills and plumb the prospective buyers for the desires enumerated on their wish lists. The success of any model, traditionally styled or mainstream, depends on the builder's ability to get the details right. Legacy, under the umbrella of its parent, Freedom Yachts, has known the importance of the details since the days of Freedom sailing yachts. Aboard the Legacy 42 IPS, I found highquality cherry joinery, topnotch hardware on deck and in the systems, fair surfaces on the topsides and superstructure. Adjustable Stidd seats on the bridge deck are standard, air-conditioning outlets hide behind cherry valances throughout the salon. The engineroom is spacious and very well organized, encouraging the skipper to make the routine checks.

Legacy's 42 has already been successful in its original iteration-inboard power with shafts and struts-and the IPS option ought to make it attractive to an even wider audience. One look at the interior and one hour behind the wheel should capture most hearts, but especially those of women, and-let's face it-we all know that the woman in the family makes the final decision.

Legacy Yachts, (401) 848-2900; www.legacyyachts.com