Appealing to the Masses

Author: BoatingWorld Staff
Extraordinary isn’t the best adjective to describe Ocean Alexander’s 42 Sedan. The boat isn’t extraordinarily fast, like say, a Bertram convertible. It’s not extraordinarily avant garde in its styling, like say, a Riva. It’s not extraordinarily roomy, like a Hatteras motoryacht, for instance. Nor is it extraordinarily expensive — like any of these others, just take your pick. Instead, the 42 Sedan is a good-looking, comfortable, safe and versatile craft with a tried-and-true design that’s tagged with a reasonable price. It’s also one of the highest quality boats to ever come from an Asian yacht builder. The 42 Sedan, like other Ocean Alexander models, is the product of an American naval architect and a Taiwanese shipyard. The American is Ed Monk Jr., a third-generation yacht designer from Seattle. The shipyard is Alexander Marine Co. Ltd., founded in 1972 by Alexander Cheuh. For several years, the 42 Sedan was the most popular model that came from their collaboration. Built between 1985 and 1994, some 140 of the 42-footers were delivered to customers. What accounted for the boat’s success? “For one thing, it’s a really popular size,” said Jim McLaren of Orange Coast Yachts, an Ocean Alexander dealer in Newport Beach, California. “It fits what the mainstream boat buyer wants. It’s easy to handle and easy to maintain.” He also added that finding a slip for a 42-footer is often an easier task than finding accommodations for a larger boat, an important consideration in many West Coast pleasurecraft harbors. But beyond its basic overall length, the Ocean Alexander 42 has other important attributes, beginning with its styling. Not as flashy as many Mediterranean-style boats, the 42 Sedan is an example of, shall we say, sensible Euro-style. The 42’s profile, while sleek and contemporary like an Italian design, also has a certain simplicity of line — like a traditional American sportfisher — that will keep the boat from looking dated before its time. Monk gave the 42 a timeless layout inside, too. As with many other 42-footers, the Ocean Alexander has two staterooms. But unlike others, the guest or second stateroom of the Ocean Alexander has side-by-side berths, with a generous-size dressing area, as well. Most 42-footers only have room for upper and lower berths. Monk managed to create more space by raising the galley up a few feet from saloon level and slipping the second stateroom underneath the galley. Not only did this give additional area in the second stateroom, the raised galley has another advantage, McLaren said. “Because you look down on the saloon from the galley, the cook doesn’t have the feeling of being in a hole. And at the same time, people in the saloon can’t see dirty dishes and pans in the galley.” Just outside the saloon’s sliding glass doors, there’s a cockpit with a transom door and a swim platform. The cockpit is certainly large enough for partying or even some occasional fishing. The rest of the 42 Sedan’s layout, including the single head compartment with shower and the main stateroom with an island berth, is straightforward enough — with one exception. Between the two staterooms and head compartment, below the galley and saloon and in front of the engine room, there is an unusual (for a boat of this size) storage room, with an access door to the engine room. The engine compartment itself has limited headroom, though there’s plenty of space around the engines to perform maintenance tasks. The engines are, of course, twin diesels. A pair of 250 hp Cummins was standard issue, though the vast majority of Ocean Alexander 42s came with an optional pair of 375 hp Caterpillars, according to McLaren. Neither set-up will propel the 42 Sedan’s modified-V hull at blistering speeds. The Caterpillar diesels will cruise at 20 knots, top out at nearly 25 knots and deliver about .75 mpg performance at cruise speed. “The emphasis is on comfort and safe handling at (modest) cruising speeds, rather than (trying to be) an overgrown speedboat,” according to official company literature on the 42. Solid Construction The 42 Sedan’s hull sides, deck and superstructure are all built of hand-laid fiberglass resin and mat over Baltek balsa coring. The boat’s quality shows in its construction details. For instance, there are inner liners to neatly cover fiberglass surfaces that would otherwise be exposed. The plumbing and electrical systems are all routed for accessibility and color coded for easy identification. Topsides, all the railings are 3/16ths inch stainless steel. In the interior, the closets are lined with cedar. Ocean Alexander also pays great attention to interior lighting, with plenty of valance-hidden background lights as well as overhead spotlights. Finally, as we’ve come to expect of Asian-built boats, the joiner work is superb. While most 42 Sedans were trimmed in golden teak, African mahogany and a light sen wood were also available. Alas, even for a design as successful as the Ocean Alexander 42 Sedan, there comes a time for change. After nearly a decade of production, during which revisions and updates were minimal, the 42 was replaced this year by a new Monk-designed 42-footer with different exterior styling and a revised bottom for higher speeds. But the old 42’s interior layout proved hard to improve upon, and remains little changed in the new edition. The typical older Ocean Alexander 42 Sedan may have some problems with rusted holding tanks and water tanks, said yacht surveyor Gary Stevens of Maritime Consultants in Newport Beach. Beyond this, it will probably need attention to carpets, drapes and furniture — but not much else. Expect to pay from $175,000 for a 1985 model and up to $315,000 for a recent 1994 example.

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