Outerlimits 42: Powerboat Performance Report

Outerlimits 42: Hot offshore V-bottom is lighter and tougher.

21st April 2004.
By Staff

Outerlimits has made a reputation for itself in its 10 years in business as the purveyor of fine custom V-bottoms. If you can imagine it, Mike Fiore and his team of craftsman can probably incorporate it into your boat. Now, with the purchase of a new facility in Bristol, R.I., one with full autoclave oven facilities, Outerlimits can now build with epoxy laminates.

No, the boats don’t look different from vinylester boats, which the company still builds, but they are much stronger, and more significant—lighter. How much lighter? In the 42 Legacy E Series Outerlimits Fiore brought to the Fort Myers, Fla., leg of our Performance Trials, it was roughly 1,200 pounds lighter than the same model built with vinylester lamination.

Performance

If every last mph matters to you, 1,200 pounds is important in a 42′ boat. According to Fiore, the weight savings in the 42 translated to about 4 mph, which is notable.

The test model came to us fitted with staggered twin Sterling 825-hp blower motors, BAM 1:1 transmissions bolted to 1.5:1 Mercury Racing No. 6 drives. For propellers, Outerlimits went with 18″ x 32″ five-blade Herings. The transom also featured Mercury Racing 380S K-Planes and Marine Machine steering bits, all of which were installed with breathtaking workmanship.

When we put the coals to it, the 42 Outerlimits came on plane flat in 5.5 seconds, with no loss of horizon. Once it got rolling, it hit 56 mph in 10 seconds and 80 mph in 20 seconds. Not neck-snapping mind you, but it wasn’t built for drag racing. Midrange acceleration drills were far more bracing. For instance, it took a scant 4.4 seconds to go from 30 to 50 mph and 4.8 seconds to span 40 to 60 mph. Going from 40 to 70 took 7.2 seconds.

Top speed for the brute was 109 mph on the GPS, 108.4 on the radar gun. At those speeds, the boat never wavered, chine-walked or did anything to indicate it couldn’t handle the power and speed.

As we hammered it across the Intracoastal Waterway, it became apparent how stiff the boat was. In a speed-run-friendly 1′ to 2′ chop, we could feel the “bumps,” if you will, which wasn’t at all a bad thing. It’s just that the stiff epoxy boat didn’t absorb any of the vibration from the choppy water.

But when we took it offshore, where there were 4- to 6-footers waiting for us, the boat’s rigid construction worked beautifully. The seas were angry that day, and the distinct lack of flexing or vibration as we skipped off wave tops at better than 80 mph was convincing evidence that the epoxy construction might be worth the $50,000 up-charge.

Like all Quad Steps Outerlimits builds, the first step was fed air from two NACA ducts on the gunwales amidships. None of the steps measured more than 2 inches tall. In fact, the second and fourth steps were less than 1-inch tall and the keel remained sharp all the way to the transom. The sharp, full-length keel and lack of overly aggressive steps made for more assured turning.

Workmanship

The engine hatch alone was a marvel of workmanship. Painted on top and its underside, the hatch lifted on twin hydraulic rams. It featured twin integral scoops each fitted with Plexiglas windows that showcased the Sterling power plants. The hatch fit on a deck that had a scupper to keep rainwater from running into the bilge.

Engines were staggered left forward and came mounted on Keith Eickert mounts through-bolted to the keel and outer stringers. There also were two bulkheads in the engine room, two more stringers beneath each engine to stiffen the bottom and still two more outside the engine mount stringers. Each ran the full length of the boat.

The keel stringer was fitted with two Stainless Marine sea strainers, each of which had a pop-off valve to blow off excess pressure, and quick disconnects for flushing the engines. All plumbing and wiring was wrapped in conduit and supported beyond Coast Guard standards with stainless cushion clamps. Race quality stuff, no doubt.

Wiring behind the dashboard was beyond race quality. It’s amazing to see so much work go into a place so few people will see.

Interior

The cockpit sole was nonskid and self-draining. During our inspection of the floor, we also found that the drop-in carpeting was backed with thick padding.

Up front, the 42 Outerlimits came with twin side-by-side bolsters and accommodations to slide in a third backrest between the center bolster and the port gunwale.

The helm was reconfigurable to allow for throttleman/driver operation. Just switch a valve behind the dash, which engages the center helm station, swap the steering wheel to the center position and you’re good to go. And the dash was large enough and the Livorsi Monster gauges were legible enough to read from either position.

As fast as this boat was and as sleek as it looked, it is amazing how much room there was in the cabin, which is something Fiore said is a big selling point.

The forward V-berth was large enough for overnighting. It offered plenty of headroom as did the U-shape lounges in the center of the cabin. Farther aft, there was a small galley with a carbon-fiber counter top and lots of stowage. To starboard, the full-size head came complete with a flushing toilet—not that you’d ever want to soil such a pretty boat—a sink with a spigot that doubled as a shower head and more zippered stowage compartments.

Overall

Look, the facts speak for themselves, 109 mph on twin 825-horse engines. Incredible rough-water capability. Astounding build quality. Pampering luxury. Limitless custom touches. What more do you need?

Hull and Propulsion Information

Deadrise at transom 24 degrees
Centerline 42’5″
Beam 9’2″
Hull weight 105,00 pounds
Engines (2) Sterling 825
Cylinder type V-8
Cubic-inch displacement/horsepower 572/825
Lower-unit gear ratio 1.5:1
Propellers Hering five-blade 18″ x 32″

Pricing

Base retail $690,000
Price as tested $795,000

Options on Test Boat

Custom graphics ($34,000), Big E-top exhaust system ($22,000), Hering prop upgrade ($10,200), interior upgrade with carved carpets ($9,700), full cover ($6,200), second helm with removable wheel ($5,500), custom engine hatch ($5,000), third removable bolster seat ($4,300), Latham throttle and shifter ($2,800), stereo upgrade with six speakers and sub woofer ($2,800), anodized handles and step plates ($2,000) and fender holders in bilge ($500).

Test Conditions

Location Fort Myers Fla.
Temperature 84 degrees
Humidity 53 percent
Wind speed 4-6 mph
Sea conditions 1′ to 2′ chop
Elevation Sea level

Acceleration

5 seconds 32 mph
10 seconds 56 mph
15 seconds 62 mph
20 seconds 80 mph

Midrange Acceleration

30-50 mph 4.4 seconds
40-60 mph 4.9 seconds
40-70 mph 7.2 seconds

Rpm vs. Mph

1000 12 mph
1500 15 mph
2000 34 mph
2500 48 mph
3000 57 mph
3500 68 mph
4000 77 mph
4500 89 mph
5000 95 mph
5500 105 mph

Top Speed

Radar 108.4 mph at 5900 rpm
Nordskog Performance Products GPS 109 mph at 5900 rpm

Planing

Time to plane 5.5 seconds
Minimum planing speed 18 mph

For More Information

Outerlimits Powerboats
Dept. PB
91 Broad Common Road
Bristol, RI 02809
401-253-7300
www.outerlimitspowerboats.com.


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