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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

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