Author: BoatingWorld Staff
At a recent Trawler Fest in Poulsbo, Washington, boaters from across the nation gathered to discuss the ins and outs of long-range cruising. Several of the latest trawler yachts were displayed at this rendezvous, but many participants couldn’t stop talking about a favorite older boat: the Californian 42 LRC. The LRC stands for â long-range cruiser,â and this is one boat that is worthy of its name. It could also be called a â long-revered cruiser,â because it has continued to garner loyal fans since its nine-year production run ended 17 years ago. With more trawler yachts being built today than at any other time in memory, it is somewhat surprising that so many long-distance cruising enthusiasts are snapping up Californians on the used boat market and restoring the boats to like-new condition. Perhaps they know something. The Name’s the Same The Californian name has been used by several different companies over the years, but one man has been associated with the boats since their inception: yacht designer Jule Marshall. Marshall founded the original Californian Yachts back in the 1970s. He designed the Californian line’s hulls, while Myrna Elliott designed the boats’ interiors. One of the company’s first success stories was the 42 LRC, introduced in 1976. At a time when trawler yachts built in the Far East dominated the American market, Marshall and Elliott built their 42 foot trawler in Orange County, California. From a quality standpoint, the 42 LRC was a standout â “ and a strong competitor for similar-size boats from such industry heavyweights as Grand Banks and CHB. Unlike the Asian trawlers, the Californian 42 LRC interior was crafted of mahogany, not teak. In addition, the 42 LRC was faster than other trawlers of the 1970s. The Californian 42’s engines (twin 185 hp Perkins diesels in the first boats; twin 210 hp Caterpillar diesels in later versions) were reliable and remarkably fuel efficient. The earliest models offered fuel economy of about 1 mpg and a cruising speed of around 12 knots. The twin Caterpillars boosted cruising speed to around 14 knots, while maintaining similar fuel economy. Along with offering a bit more speed than the competition, the Californian 42 LRC offered well-thought-out practicality. Wide walk-around sidedecks, a convenient two-stateroom layout and expertly installed plumbing and electrical systems won many fans. All those features added up to impressive sales figures for Californian, which at the time was a relatively small builder. Bigger companies took notice. In 1980, Californian was sold to Wellcraft Marine. Marshall continued to build the Californian 42 LRC for Wellcraft dealers until 1984. That year, he bought the Californian name back. In 1986, Marshall sold the company once more — to Carver Yachts. Carver continued to build Californians â “ although not the 42 LRC â “ until it retired the name in 1991. At that time, Marshall had already founded another company, Navigator Yachts, to build a line of raised pilothouse motoryachts. When the Californian name became available again, Marshall jumped at the opportunity to launch yet another generation of Californian yachts. In 1998, Marshall introduced the first of the new line, a Californian 39 SL raised pilothouse motoryacht. The boat offered timeless styling and all the comfortable cruising amenities boaters had come to expect from the Californian name. Today’s Californian yachts are built in a new facility adjacent to Navigator Yachts in Perris, California, where both lines are built separately. Since the introduction of the 39 SL, the company has added other models to the line — and the Californian name has again become well established in the West. Features and Quirks One of the 42 LRC’s best features is its semi-displacement hull. With a prominent bow and a long keel, the boat tracks solidly. The hull’s hard chines decrease its potential for roll, and its flattened aft section provides added lift for higher speeds. The boat’s under-14-foot beam and its wide sidedecks make for a compact saloon, but it is comfortably arranged. Thanks to abundant windows and a practical layout, it does not seem at all cramped. A galley area is located along one side of the saloon, opposite an L-shaped convertible settee. The saloon also offers a lower helm station, although most skippers will prefer the flybridge helm. The boat’s master stateroom is a huge, full-width aft cabin that originally came equipped with two side-by-side double berths â “ in a layout reminiscent of a 1970s motel room. Today’s owners often opt for a remodel, since there’s ample room for a queen-size island berth â “ or even a king. The stateroom also offers a hanging locker, a vanity and an en suite head with either a stall shower or a tub. Forward, the second stateroom comes with bunk-bed-style single berths, instead of the usual V-berth. That makes room for an en suite head with a stall shower, but it is admittedly better for kids and fishing buddies than it is for couples. With a bit of remodeling â “ including replacement of dated interior fabrics and carpet, and renewal of aging exterior brightwork â “ a Californian 42 LRC can be an excellent cruising boat for a couple. Typical used 42s are priced at between $99,500 and $160,000, so even after a small investment in renovation, this well-built trawler yacht can be remarkably affordable.