A semi-custom, luxury cruiser from Holland, the new Contest 42CS offers megayacht styling in a cruising boat for discerning couples and families.

The afternoon we sailed the 42CS was cool and gray and the winds were light as they often are in the fall on the Chesapeake Bay near Annapolis. We joined the 42 in Back Creek and motored out into the bay. The 54-horsepower Yanmar was plenty powerful to get the boat up to a hull speed of eight knots with no particular rudder vibration through the twin helms.

We hoisted the big mainsail and then rolled out the small deck sweeping jib. Both sails were built with North Sail’s new 3Di fabrics and lamination systems and were beautiful shapes for fast upwind sailing. There were quite a few boats out on the bay being test sailed that day, yet none were sailing as smartly and as close to the wind as the 42CS. This may be a cruising boat, but it is also a true thoroughbred.

We sailed close hauled through a series of tacks and the boat felt solid but very quick underfoot. In eight knots of wind we sailed upwind at an easy five knots and the boat seemed to make her own wind once we got her going. She tacked through about 42 degrees true which is a lot closer than most cruising boats.

The Jaffa steering systems for the twin wheels gives you a good, positive feel of the rudder and we found the boat was easy to get into the groove as she gathered steam upwind.

Off the wind, the breeze was a bit light for any power reaching so we slipped along peacefully making the same five knots in the eight knots of wind. An asymmetrical spinnaker or a Code Zero would have been a lot of fun to fly and certainly would have added knots to our speed.

The 42CS has a sweet cruising hull with a fairly broad transom that adds volume aft for power under sail and for extra storage space in the cockpit. The boat we sailed had a fixed transom with folding stairs as the stern ladder. You can have the design with a fold-down transom that becomes a broad swim platform and a great place to come aboard from a dinghy.

The cockpit is set up for both efficient sail handling and sheet trimming and for the comfort of the crew. The seats aft of the wheels offer great views forward when steering. The jib and main sheets lead to winches on the coamings. The main sheet is double ended so you can trim from both sides of the boat. All lines, sheets and halyards run aft to the cockpit and most run in conduits beneath the deck and cabin top so the whole deck area is uncluttered and very clean.

There are three cockpit configurations so you can set the boat up for racing, performance cruising or short handed cruising. In the racing mode, there is no central pod or table, the bench seats are minimized and the main traveler is fitted on the cockpit sole just forward of the twin wheels. For cruising, the benches are transformed into curved lounges, a central pod is added with a winch on top and the traveler has been removed.

The 42CS is a sailors’ cruising boat that will be a lot of fun to sail, will be able to race in point to point events very successfully and will be a fine and comfortable cruising home.

The 42CS, like all of the boats in the Contest line up to 72 feet, are semi-custom boats that can be configured on deck and down below to fit an owner’s special sailing and cruising needs. There are three variations for the forward and after cabins each and five variations of how you can layout the saloon.

So, mixing and matching the three areas of the interior you have 45 possible layouts to work with. And then you can select the veneers and fabrics that give the interiors a special feel. The interior of the 42CS we sailed had two quarter cabins, the aft L-shaped galley, the huge folding dinette table and a double berth and head forward. The interior is full of light from the deck hatches, port lights in the hull and the wrap-around window of the cabintop.

The saloon table doubles as the chart table in the version we sailed and has a folding top so you can store your charts, guides and navigation tools inside. The chartplotter or multi-function display is mounted in the cockpit between the wheels so most navigation will be done on deck. The chart table is really for planning and keeping an updated record on a paper chart of your progress.

The styling of the 42CS is modern, Euro elegance. You can see the high quality of the joinery and the attention to detail everywhere. Contest is known for their high end quality and customization so every boat, including the 42CS, has a truly superyacht feel about it. For a couple who wants both comfort and elegance, the 42CS has very few peers out there in the cruising fleet.

The Dutch have a long and legendary history in ship and yacht building and Holland is home to several of the world’s leading boat yards. Contest was founded in 1959 and has been building high quality boats and yachts ever since. The company is now in the hands of the third generation of the family that founded it and they have renewed the commitment to deliver only the most advanced designs and boats in the marketplace.

The 42CS’s hull and deck are cored composite moldings that are built using the Conyplex vacuum infusion system. This gives the boat stiff, light parts that can stand up to the strains of competitive sailing and offshore cruising while also being well insulated. The hull is stiffened further with a highly engineered structural grid that carries the keel, mast step and chainplates.

The main bulkheads are fully bonded to the hull, deck and longitudinal stringers creating a monocoque structure that will not rack or deflect in rough ocean conditions. Under the water the boat has a performance lead keel with a bulb to keep the center of gravity low, which enhances her sailing performance to windward. The rudder is a high aspect, fully balanced spade design that is infused around a cored interior and has an aluminum rudder post.

Beneath the surfaces, the Contest 42CS is built to last for generations, while on the surface you will find an elegant and attractive finish that transforms the boat into a family heirloom that can be handed down to the sailors who come after us.

Contest 42CS
Draft7’3”Draft (shoal)5’10”
Displ.24,251 lbs.
Mast height72’6”
Sail area1,120 sq. ft.
Water127 gals
Fuel80 gals
Engine54-hp. Diesel

Contest USA | Berthon USA
Newport, RI

Jennifer Stewart
Alan Baines


Author: Blue Water Sailing


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