All Eyes On Me
The Wider 42 is a one-of-a-kind boat that’s perfect for a short cruise down Key Largo way.
By Kevin Koenig
The Wider 42 is the brainchild of Tilli Antonelli, the famed founder of Pershing, who left his former company in 2010 to launch Wider. His vision for the boat, which first saw the light of day—wait for it—drawn on a cocktail napkin, was unlike anything the world had ever seen.
In repose, the Wider 42 looks a lot like various other near-go-fast boats on the market. Her lines are low profile, her copper-and-black coloring commensurately flashy. However the 42 has a very big trick up her sleeve. Basically, she’s a Decepticon. She can transform from an ordinary boat into something wholly other. At rest, at the push of a button, her hull can flare out like the hood of a cobra. The effect is to make her onboard entertaining space significantly larger, to the tune of about 60 square feet total. That’s the denotative effect anyway. The connotative effect is that now you are the guy who every single person on the water is looking at. It doesn’t matter who or what you’re moored next to, when those hull sides pop out, the Wider 42 is the star of any show.
She’s also got a cabin with a V-berth large enough for two that is a suitable spot to lay down for a nap or spend a night or two onboard. And a single-burner cooktop, microwave, refrigerator, and freezer make the boat even more amenable to an overnight.
A boat with so many moving parts might strike some as flimsy, so I wanted to get a good feel for how sturdy her terraces were, since at first glance that could be of concern.Turns out they’re rock solid thanks to 2,000-pound buoyancy compensators under each wing. Good to know. Elsewhere onboard, there’s carbon fiber all over the place. The Wider is, in fact, 70-percent carbon fiber (which accounts for her featherweight 18,700-pound displacement), and the remainder is fiberglass. So if you’re into that sharp-looking, black-thatched carbon look, rejoice! Even the toilet is carbon fiber. It looks like it should be on a rocket ship, which, considering the 42’s heady speeds, it sort of already is.
The boat’s stepped hull, which was designed by Wider in conjunction with world-champion offshore racer Mark Wilson, is slippery, nimble, and also sturdy in comparison to some other similarly designed hulls I’ve tested. Hull performance was of high importance to Antonelli, who wisely foresaw that if his boat didn’t run well, it might easily be denounced as gimmickry—which I promise you, it is not. The twin 480-horsepower Cummins QSB 5.9s matched to Arneson surface drives made the 42 sheer fun to drive. She rocketed through S turns with a pleasing amount of bite, and screamed down straightaways at 48 freakin’ knots. It’s a gusty ride though, that’s for sure, since the Wider’s console lacks much wind protection below the windshield. It’s also incontrovertibly loud. Decibel levels cresting 100 at the helm are a concern Wider has identified, and the company is installing mufflers on its builds in the future.
Wider Yachts, 954-347-6771; www.wideryachtsusa.com