Confronted with a Harem of boat designs to choose from amongst my ‘Devlin’ fleet, my own dream vessel Mate of choice lately is the Blue Fin 42. She is a long and lean version of what we have built at Devlin Boat for years, but much longer and much leaner, with all its advantages and none of the downsides, short of the most obvious fact that she is longer.
We have literally 1000 miles of water between the docks where I moor my boat in Olympia, Washington all the way north to Skagway, Alaska, most of it sheltered and protected by literally thousands of wilderness islands. These cruising grounds are unique in their remoteness and in their picturesque grandeur. That’s the good news, but you must be aware that the tides and currents are high and strong on the west coast of North America (my cruising grounds) and the combination of those two can slow the displacement cruiser down considerably. If I am cruising in a displacement speed boat and have only a limited time within my cruising budget then I am restricting myself to a much smaller radius of potential cruising grounds than if I had a boat that could do some of the passage legs at twice the speed of the slower boat. In practical terms, in my current displacement speed boat I can only do about 80 miles a day with much planning on working with and around those tides and currents and those are very long days at that!
So along comes this new design the Blue Fin 42, and with her I can cruise at an average speed almost twice that of my current cruising boat and my potential daily range extends to well over 150 miles. Given that increase in speed I can get to the objective cruising grounds quicker and start my exploring and ultimate relaxing far sooner than in our current boat where we spend many days travelling just to reach our desired objective waters.
So while musing about my ideal dream boat, I thought why not provide the interior room and design objectives that we typically accomplish with our Black Crown 30 design (a 30ft long ‘Devlin’ sedan cruiser and the boat of choice of our two favorite cruising buddies). Let’s put all those features into a package that is longer, with the increase in length only adding to the potential of the boat but not necessarily adding linear to the needs and complexity of the vessel. What I am trying to do is to keep the boat simple both in its intent and purpose, and have a vessel that slides thru the water very economically and very comfortably at a speed that might be twice as fast as the speed that a slower full displacement hull would run.
Using a single 260 hp. Diesel engine on this Blue Fin 42 hull, my calculations show this power would provide us with a top speed of 18 knots flat out and a good and economical cruise speed of 14 knots burning about 5.3 gallons of fuel per hour or if I slow her down to 10 knots she would only burn 2.4 gallons of fuel per hour. Those fuel burns compare very favorably with the Black Crown 30 design and would allow us to match the pace and speed of our friends very comfortably. So the capability of covering a fair bit of ground in a short amount of time works well with my schedule and getting into the wilderness even faster always helps to make all the preparations to go cruising that much more worthwhile.
The Blue Fin 42 has a couple of extra ‘Devlin’ wrinkles in her that attempt to solve problems we have encountered previously in other cruising boats. We typically cruise with our family dog along with us, and she needs to touch the shore every morning and evening to do her doggy things. So I need a pretty substantial dingy to handle the dog ferrying task and I want to not stow it on top of the cabin top where neither the weight nor the hassle of launching and retrieving will be much appreciated (we typically leave that cabin top for stowage of a couple of kayaks). My solution for the dingy stowage is to have the stern of the Blue Fin 42 be configured with a hinged tailgate. Much like using a pickup truck, I can lower the tailgate, and simply haul the skiff aboard. If I want to close the tailgate all I have to do is to roll the dingy up on her side and lash to the portside cockpit coaming and we are ready for just about any kind of water. That very same tailgate serves the double function of being a built in swim step allowing boarding into the aforementioned kayaks or swimming to be done without much fuss or bother. On a really warm day I can sit on the tailgate with my legs dangling in the water, my dog by my side and just plain appreciate the surroundings we are so lucky to have here in the Northwest.
One of the other features designed into the Blue Fin 42 is her capability of being a very sociable boat, with a mirror imaged dinette allowing comfortable seating, drinking, visiting with friends to be done either inside the boat or outside as the weather dictates and allows. The outside cockpit side of the seating area is covered, keeping cushions dry even when it’s raining or misty (both phenomena’s are known to occur on some rare instances in the Northwest). If I light up a fragrant cigar with my evening cocktail I can do that comfortably in the cockpit and not stink up the inside of the boat or disturb my wife with smoke odors and smells.
The rest of the interior arrangement is pretty much self-explanatory as it provides good seating for helm and co-helm in comfortable and adjustable chairs. A galley that has the space to cook up good fare to keep us fed and watered, and forward a single head and opposite that a separate shower room. For berthing the skipper and first mate can choose from both port and starboard single berths or with a filler installed a huge queen sized bed can be made up… For my own boat with my duties including waking up for anchor watch and being a bit of a morning guy I prefer the port and starboard single arrangement, we can snuggle when we want but don’t disturb each other for normal sleeping or waking calls.
One other feature of the Blue Fin 42 is that she is really not a big 42ft. boat with the freeboards above water of a typical 30ft. boat, but one of the features that I would do on my own boat is to pair this with a simple flying bridge. Being able to see 360 degrees without any restrictions really is appreciated on those rare warm and sunny Northwest days. Having this flying bridge gives the boat another zone of use without much expense and with the simple repeater electronic instruments available these days, electronic shifting, and hydraulic steering this option does not need to be either expensive or complicated.
So my friends this is my own fantasy of the day, I might hope that your own needs might be somewhat parallel to mine and the possibility of seeing a few of these sleek cruisers on the water would be a joy to my eyes… perhaps yours also?
Imagine being able to cruise at good speeds with great fuel economy and comfort, but the best vision is when we all get to our anchorage, get the hook down and engines are shut down, dog watered and walked and the drinking lamp is lit, ready for good friends to come aboard and an evening round of stories and laughter. That is high living and I only wish I had more of it in my life!