First introduced in 1973, more than 200 Valiant 40s have put to rest the myth that cruising yachts must be slow and heavy, but company President Rich Worstell saw a need for a redefined and expanded version of the original Bob Perry-designed 40-footer. With ample input from owners, the first Valiant 42RS was launched.
Starting with the OSTAR- and B.O.C.-proven double-ended lines of the 40, a short bowsprit was added to the moderate displacement hull and, along with reengineering the entire yacht, a taller cutter rig was stepped for shorthanded sailing. A new David Vacanti-designed modified fin keel improves performance in either standard (5 feet 10 inches) or shoal (5 feet 2 inches) drafts, and the rudder is skeg-hung.
Construction is conventional but sturdy, with the one piece hull hand-laminated of isopolyester resins to U.S. Navy specifications. Foam coring insulates the hull above the waterline, while the deck uses balsa and localized foam coring for strength. A six-layer epoxy barrier coat protects the bottom from blistering, the keel ballast is externally attached solid lead and the rudder has three skeg bearings.
One particularly interesting detail (as well as an answer to offshore sailors who view large salon windows warily) is the aircraft-grade Lexan salon portlights that are a half-inch thick, hard coated and set in aluminum frames with live rubber seals like those used in jet aircraft.
Externally, it’s obvious that the RS stands for Raised Salon, and this yacht is just as suitable as a liveaboard as it is crossing oceans. The galley, salon and nav station are all on one level, providing good visibility and creature comforts for passagemaking. While an inside helm is not included, an autopilot remote would serve that purpose admirably without taking up space.
A quarter berth is tucked under the cockpit aft of the nav station, and the U-shaped galley to port has generous storage, double sinks, a heavily insulated icebox and a gimballed Force 10 stove with oven. Midships, an L-shaped settee faces a convertible settee to starboard over a drop leaf table, and the bulkheads and joinerwork are traditional teak.
Just forward is a large head compartment to port with the luxury of a separate shower stall, and extensive storage and hanging lockers are to starboard. The large owner’s stateroom is forward with a queen-size island berth and double settees.
In keeping with the construction level, deck hardware is top-quality, with keel-stepped Spartech mast, Navtec rod rigging, Lewmar self-tailing winches and Edson steering. The cockpit is deep and secure, while bulwarks and solid lifelines make deckwork equally safe.
A first sail aboard the 42RS is almost guaranteed to bring a look of amazement to the face of anyone used to cruiser performance. Setting out into the Gulf Stream one morning, we clicked off 6 knots upwind in 11 knots of true wind and we easily embarrassed several boats that didn’t want to be passed by such an obvious cruising yacht.
The taller mast provides more than enough sail area for light air performance, while the cutter rig divides up the area into shorthanded comfort. Reaching is a Valiant forté, and our test boat tracked easily through the lumpy and patternless seas, yet you could work it to windward with tiny movements of the big wheel. The motion in a seaway was predictable and easy, with none of the snap-roll that you might expect from a deep and heavy (8,900 lb.) keel, and owners of the 42 are likely to sleep well at sea.
There are few yachts that are essentially ready for sea upon delivery, but the Valiant 42RS is one of them. In fact, shortly after launching, our test boat was due to sail transatlantic to join up with the America 500 Rally before starting a circumnavigation.
|Sail Area:||818 sq. ft.|
|Draft:||(std) 5′ 10″|
|(shoal) 5′ 2″|
500 Harbour View Road
Gordonville, Texas 76245