Home » This Speedy 42-Foot Boat Combines a Classic Wooden Interior With a Modern Fiberglass Hull

This Speedy 42-Foot Boat Combines a Classic Wooden Interior With a Modern Fiberglass Hull

by multimill
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The sandy shores of Shelter Island’s Sunset Beach were lined with all manner of restomod cars when I visited Long Island at the end of the summer—Ford Bronco this, Corvette Stingray that. You get the picture. The classic lines of these vehicles harkened to a past the owner may be trying to regain, or maybe never even actually had at all. But the throaty roars of restored engines and the pristine interiors pointed to something much more forward-thinking.

It was a fitting place to step aboard the J Craft 42 Torpedo, a boat that exquisitely blends La Dolce Vita aesthetics with high build quality and legitimate performance. The J Craft 42 also served, fittingly, as official tenders during September’s tony Monaco Yacht Show and last week’s Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show, the world’s largest in-water event. It made its U.S. debut last year at the Palm Beach International Boat Show.

JCraft Torpedo 42

The classic wooden topside is mated to a fiberglass hull.

JCraft

“Our sweet spot is people who have a real connection to old boats,” says Radenko Milakovic, the brand’s owner. “As children, they perceived these boats as something they loved and it reminds them of their childhood. Or else they were kids when those boats were popular and they didn’t have access to one, but now they want one because it shows that they have made it.”

J Craft’s factory is in Gotland, Sweden, on the notoriously fickle Baltic Sea. Its boats may look like the wooden runabouts that slide happily across Lakes Tahoe and Como, but this is a far different beast. The 42 Torpedo is built of fiberglass with a resin-infused hull.

JCraft 42 Torpedo

Vintage-looking pinstripes on the mahogany bow with beautiful chrome work.

JCraft

The idea is to produce a boat that looks wooden without the mountainous maintenance needs of one, particularly when plying a saltwater environment. Two other almost contradictory requirements: The Torpedo has to look elegant and be able to stand up to the Baltic’s often-rough seas.

The 42 has a hull designed specifically for Volvo Penta pod-drives, with 17.2 degrees of deadrise at the transom. There’s also flare at the bow and a Zipwake trim system for a dry, smooth ride.

JCraft 42 Torpedo

A great view of the boat’s long, elegant profile and seakeeping abilities.

JCraft

At the helm, zipping around the Peconic Bay, I was pleased with the Torpedo’s performance, even though we didn’t encounter any scary Baltic-like conditions. It handled the light swell and passing wakes with noticeable rigidity. Top speed was 42 knots, a knot shy of the reported 43-knot top end but still exhilarating in an open boat. At 36 knots, I slalomed the 42 through S-turns and tight loops, and it behaved like a roadster, very responsive to the wheel, with athletic pickup coming out of the turns.

That wheel is made by the Italian manufacturer Nardi, an elevated automotive touch that’s a good indicator of the fit and finish on this model. Upholstery on the boat is fully customizable, and customers have gone with everything from Ralph Lauren’s iconic tartan to Loro Piana to Hermés.

JCraft 42 Torpedo

Details like these chrome vents, and dozens of other nice touches, are what make JCraft unique in the motoryacht world.

JCraft

The woodwork, particularly in the cabin, was also to a megayacht-tender level, with rich grains and snug joinery. Notably, on my test boat, there was a teak chair built over the toilet—a playful nod to the King of Sweden. He’s a client.

So are many other rich-and-famous boaters. J Craft’s aesthetic appeal and onboard attention to detail, in fact, has attracted seriously well-heeled clientele from King Carl XVI Gustaf to the owner of one of the world’s very largest gigayachts.

JCraft 42 throttles.

Surrounded by mahogany, the detailing includes old-school switches beside leather-covered throttles.

JCraft

But these A-list customers aren’t just attracted to J Craft’s tangibles. When you can have anything, it’s the intangibles that become paramount. In this case, that means scarcity. The builder only turns out one or two boats per year—which makes for a strong seller’s market.

However for Milakovic, J Craft, which he bought in 2008, is about more than selling boats. “I want to leave something behind when I am gone,” he said reflectively, as we sat at the Torpedo’s transom, watching the sun set over the bay at Shelter Island. “Something material, something to be proud of.”



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