By Jack Hornor
Revised by BoatUS editors in October 2012
Post is not a name that you're likely to hear being bandied about boat shows, yacht club bars and cruising rendezvous but, where fisherman gather and talk about boats, it's another story. Post has been building sportfishing boats for nearly a half-century and the 42 Post is considered by many to be the benchmark for mid-sized sportfishermen. For cruisers who may just appreciate its classic look, the 42 Post offers yacht quality furnishings and accommodations as well.
The 42 Post, the first fiberglass boat built by the company, was designed by company founder Russell Post, introduced in 1974 and remained in production until 1983. More than 230 boats were built in this 10-year period, making the model not only the most successful Post ever, but one of the most successful of any mid-sized sportfisherman. Between 1984 and 1996, Post introduced 43- and 44-foot models as a replacements for the 42, although neither proved as popular. In 1997, an updated 42 Post was introduced recapturing the popularity of the earlier model and it remains in production today. The redesigned 42 Post is 10 inches longer with a foot more draft than the original but the beam of the two models is the same and the Jersey-style profile is close enough that it takes a good eye to differentiate between the two.
The hulls of all 42 Post models are solid fiberglass although there were several construction methods used for decks and cabins over the years. Although Post uses modern construction techniques for hulls and topsides, they continue to be staunchly conservative some aspects of construction. For example, all interior components are still built piece by piece, and in place. Most production boatbuilders utilize some degree of modular construction where components, and sometimes complete interiors, are built separately, off the boat, and then installed. Building in place requires a greater number of skilled craftsman and more time to precisely fit each individual piece and is more costly. But it has worked well for Post and as a result it is unusual to find problems with these boats that are not the result of normal wear or lack of good maintenance.
Photo by Fritz Grell – United Yacht Sales
The flush foredeck of the 42 Post is unobstructed, except for three deck hatches, and is surrounded by a stainless steel rail which, well above knee height at the bow, gradually sweeps down to deck level at about the middle of the cabin. This is a popular and stylish look but I prefer to see the full height of the rail carried to its end. The problem with the sweeping rail is that, at the back of the foredeck, the rail dips well below knee level rendering it useless.
Early 42 Post models had large windows at the front of the cabin house that weakened the structure, were prone to leak and were in danger of being broken by boarding seas in severe conditions. Beginning with its 1979 model, Post offered buyers the option of a solid forward cabin and all 42 Posts built since 1997 have a solid forward cabin house.
The flybridge offers plenty of seating and excellent visibility from the helm seat that is positioned at the aft portion of the bridge for a good view of what's going on in the cockpit. The cockpit of current production 42 Posts is wider by a foot but three feet shorter than 1974 - 1983 models.
The layout of both models is what is referred to as a "galley down" arrangement meaning the galley is several steps below, rather than on the same level, as the main saloon. Both models feature two private staterooms and a head on the lower level. The 1974-1983 models have a forward stateroom with bunk berths along the port hull and a master stateroom to starboard opposite the galley. Both older and new models have a single, large head with separate shower.
The main saloon features an L-shaped settee to port against the aft bulkhead and early models had two lounge chairs along the starboard side of the saloon and a high/low coffee table that could be used for dining.
The engines and machinery are located below the cabin sole of the main saloon. On the current models access to the engine room is from the cockpit. There is often a direct relationship between how difficult it is to access machinery and how well it is maintained so I consider the improved access on current models an advantage.
For the fisherman, the faster the boat the more time there is for fishing. It is no longer uncommon for sportfisherman in this size range to be capable of speeds in excess of 35 knots. By this comparison, the 42 Post is not a fast boat but her performance, particularly with larger engine options, is respectable and she has an excellent reputation for being sea kindly and maneuverable.
Although literature suggests gasoline engines were available on some early models, I have never come across a gas powered 42 Post. The majority of models built between 1974 and 1983 were delivered with General Motors model 6-71 diesel engines. Non-turbocharged engines were rated at 310 hp each while turbocharged models ranged between 410 and 485 hp each. The current models have 430 hp Volvo diesel engines as standard equipment although Volvo, Caterpillar and Cummins, diesel engine options are available ranging from 435 hp to 480 hp each.
With standard Volvo engines, the current 42 Post cruises at about 24 knots, at 2,200 rpm. At cruising speed it consumes about 31 gallons of fuel per hour and has a range of about 430 miles allowing for a 10% fuel reserve. Top speed is about 29 knots but fuel consumption jumps to more the 45 gallons an hour and cruising range drops by 20%. Performance will vary considerably depending on engines, loading, sea condition and any number of factors.
With a 14-year spread between the end of production of the original 42 Post and the start of production of the current model, there are really two distinct markets. The significant price differences between boats of the two periods make it unlikely the same customer would be interested in both models.
From its beginning, Post has been content to remain a limited production boatbuilder concentrating on sportfisherman. In 45 years, the company has built fewer than a dozen models, apparently choosing to improve on models rather than introduce new ones. Early production 42s continue to enjoy an excellent reputation for quality and performance and typically represent excellent values.
Naval architect Jack Hornor was the principal surveyor and designer for Marine Survey & Design, Co., based in Annapolis, MD. He was on the boards of the American Boat and Yacht Council, the National Association of Marine Surveyors, and the Society of Boat and Yacht Designers. He and his wife sailed their Catalina 42, Legacy, based on Maryland's Eastern Shore.