Beneteau Swift Trawler 42 Review

Here’s the best value on-water apartment around

Elsewhere in the magazine I called a $170,000 Whittley 2800 Cruiser a good value-for-money “caravan on water”. And she is, considering what you get for your buck from that 28ft trailable boat. But at only $800,000, the Beneteau Swift Trawler 42 has to be the best value “on-water apartment” around. Where else in Sydney could you get luxurious apartment-sized accommodation, with a water view you can change daily for less than one million dollars?

Space saving design
An LOA of 44ft 6in and a beam of 13ft 7in have given the boat’s designers plenty of space to play with and they haven’t wasted any of it. The clever design starts in the aft cockpit where all underfloor crevices are used for storage. There are twin fish boxes, a lazarette and a massive central locker that even with the Onan generator installed still has plenty of room for a swag of extra gear.

The cockpit’s teak deck adds to the luxurious feel of this vessel, as do the wide, easy-to-climb, teak stairs leading to the flybridge and high, teak cockpit handrails. But the biggest plus for this area are the port and starboard bulwark doors and flybridge overhang that enclose the aft cockpit from the elements and make it a useable area even in poor weather.

But it’s when you venture into the traditional main saloon and become immersed in the smell of fine leather and surrounded by all that quality joinery and dark timbers that you will begin to appreciate the finer things in life. (However, I did find one small flaw in the saloon roof grab rail. The screws holding it in place are countersunk, but the screw heads need to be plugged, so the workmanship throughout the entire boat is on par).

This saloon may be traditional in design and oozes old world charm, a bit like a comfy gentlemen’s club, but it offers modern functionality, has all the mod cons and quickly makes passengers feel at home when they step onboard. The helm is a beautiful wooden affair, the dual skipper’s seat is adjustable, the dash features comprehensive instrumentation, including a Raymarine E120 Chartplotter, and all-round visibility from this lower helm station is excellent.

There’s ample storage in the handcrafted cabinets and lockers to port and a stylish U-shaped lounge that converts into a double bed to starboard. But it’s the galley that’s a stand out. Again using clever design, there’s a skipper’s door on both sides of the saloon, but the port door is right in the middle of the galley. So what would normally be a single purpose space now has a dual role. The galley has a fridge/freezer, dual sinks with mixer tap, plenty of bench space and a microwave oven. Used in conjunction with a rail-mounted barbeque in the cockpit and entertaining would be a breeze.

The Swift 42 has dual helm positions, so if the weather turns bad while cruising the skipper doesn’t have to sit in the cold up on the flybridge by him or herself to make port.

Below decks
The 42’s main cabin is in the bow and has its own en-suite. The guest’s double cabin (a third bunk is optional) uses the day head. With the third bunk this boat sleeps seven in the cabins and the saloon. You could set up another double bed on the flybridge in the right weather conditions.

The flybridge has ample seating, a bar fridge and sink and a huge open area where the davit is used to remove the optional 3m RIB tender that can be stored there.

Covered bulwarks lead to the teak foredeck where an optional sunpad can be fitted for those wishing to work on their tans. The anchoring system is a beauty. It’s basically foolproof, doesn’t tangle on retrieval and utilises an anchor that is big enough to hold this almost 11-tonne vessel at rest.

Performance & handling
Out on the water this semi-displacement hull boat is a pleasure to drive. As there’s no transition to the plane, the power from the twin D4 300hp Volvo Penta common-rail diesels comes on effortlessly up to a cruise speed of 16 knots at 2400rpm. This is an ideal cruise speed offshore, but if you want more speed the 42 remains highly economical right up to 20 knots at 2800rpm. Top speed is 27 knots at 3450rpm. The 42 has a deep keel and her props are mounted in shallow tunnels, so even if you were to touch bottom the props are protected ? to an extent. Her deep keel also aids straight tracking, so in a following sea the hull has no tendencies to broach.

Want to change the view? She has a massive cruising range at 12 knots, making this “waterfront apartment” an ideal passagemaker.