PRICE FROM £225,000 YEAR 1999-PRESENT
The gorgeous-looking Rustler 42 is an obvious choice for this category in that she sails beautifully, is easy to handle with her cutter rig on furlers, is no sluggard in light airs and has sumptuous hand-built accommodation.
A well-maintained five-year-old R42, ready to go with all the kit, can cost up to £400K but a 10 or even 15-year-old model would easily suffice if looked after and loved. Luckily, most Rustler owners do just that.
Typical of designer Stephen
Jones, she has comparatively shallow fore and aft sections for speed and agility, yet also boasts a load-absorbing GRP/ foam hull framework beneath the sole. Bulkheads are also bonded in and full-width frames dissipate the rig loads. Her balsa sandwich deck is bolted and bonded on to the hull, then capped with teak. Her encapsulated lead-filled keel makes keel bolts unnecessary and her fuel and water tanks, positioned directly above, improve stability further. Her prop shaft log is less prone to damage than a P-bracket and a chunky skeg both supports the rudder and protects it from flotsam.
Although available as a Bermudan sloop, most owners chose the cutter rig option.
In a gale, a triple-reefed main and staysail can often keep you making way without endangering the rig or crew, while in a really bad storm, this can be further reduced to a trysail and storm staysail.
On deck, the R42’s cockpit is properly seaworthy – deep, dry and narrow enough to brace your feet. Seatbacks
are comfortably contoured and her wide teak-capped coamings make an excellent seat or step. A high bridge-deck also helps prevent the sea from venturing below.
Winches and other deck gear were all substantial, although being semi-custom, the equipment and layout often differ from boat to boat. A cutaway allows easy passage around the wheel and the mainsheet traveller is directly ahead of the pedestal.
Those with a machinery compartment aft have two shallow lockers in the cockpit, otherwise there’s a full-depth locker to starboard. There’s also two deep lazarettes, plus a large gas locker under the helm seat.
Below, a generous beam and practical layout make her a spacious and comfortable boat to live aboard long term. She has two double cabins with adjacent heads/shower compartments and a roomy quarterberth behind the chart table. Her L-shaped galley is huge, accessible and well equipped. There are handy grabrails all around and lockers galore, with deeply fiddled shelves and doors with proper catches, plus plenty of extra stowage behind and under the seating.
The saloon is very warm, woody and comfy and the solid teak table large enough for six to dine with ample elbowroom.
An impressively powerful passagemaker, the R42 is built to make good passage times whilst looking after the crew along the way. She’s well balanced, drama free and has a wonderful gently rocking motion when beating to windward in a choppy seaway. Downwind, she tracks as if on rails and is impressively quick – especially if equipped with a code zero on the bowsprit.
A comfortable cruiser, the R42 has enough power to give satisfying performance
The R42’s hull gives her an extremely comfortable motion in a seaway
Plenty of light and acres of wood below make her feel very homely