In no uncertain terms, the Mag Bay 42 changes everything. With a running surface designed by Michael Peters, it’s built by the family-run, center-console builder Mag Bay: a company founded by Mike Howarth, one of the original founders of Cabo, and his son Barrett. The 42 signals a new direction for the West Coast builder, who finally broke into a segment they had been cast out of 14 years ago with the sale of Cabo.
When I came across Mag Bay at the Miami boat show, there, as promised, was the finished 42 looking boat-show-ready, its Bausch tuna tower gleaming in the morning sun. The thirtysomething Barrett, on the other hand, looked spent. That had something to do with overseeing the boat’s journey east. After loading it onto a semi and transporting it more than 2,500 miles from the Mag Bay facility in California’s High Desert to South Florida, Barrett met the boat and his father in Stuart to get everything ready.
Talk, naturally, shifted to Cabo—which Mike pronounces with an emphasis on the “bow.” A point of pride for him is that down in Cabo San Lucas, the company’s namesake, Picante Sportfishing runs a fleet of older Cabos that fish almost every day. Mike said some of the boats have over 40,000 hours on them. That includes Picante Pride, a 35 Flybridge, which had 47,000 hours on the hull when it was sold, and had gone through four or five different engines. “All the nonskid on the deck had completely worn off from all the people stepping on it,” Barrett added. “The thing still went.”
On the 42, some of the Cabo influences are obvious. That includes the lift-up helm deck. First seen on the 1994 Cabo 35 Express, the entire helm deck lifts, providing easier access to the engine room (an idea that Mike claims to have thought up, which has since been copied). Open up the 42’s helm deck, and you’ll find an oversized engine room that accommodates twin 1,000-hp Volvo Penta diesels, two A/C units, a 13.5-kW Onan generator and a Seakeeper 6. They even took the idea one step further, adding a lift-up helm console, with all the main electricals organized and within reach.
The 42 has larger prop tunnels than its Cabo predecessors to accommodate bigger wheels and rudders. The keel was removed for more agility and the transom was angled to provide better maneuvering. The boat’s displacement is 43,000 pounds, in the middle-weight class for its size. Mike said that was intentional. “I don’t like to build a super lightweight boat, especially when you’ve got 1,000-hp motors in there. I’d rather have an extra layer of fiberglass.” With the 42, they laid up the entire hull in vinylester. “Most people will do a skin coat; we do the whole damn thing,” he said. “It costs twice as much. That’s why people don’t use it.” He favors the added weight because the secondary bonding characteristics make for a stronger, more stable ride.
With Mike installed behind the wheel, Barrett gave his dad some pointers. “Aim for the bridge and slam it all the way. Don’t go slow, slam it.” Mike punched it, and you could feel the torque of the 1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13s bring us quickly onto plane to a top end just north of 40 knots. —Simon Murray
Displ.: 43,000 lbs.
Top Speed: 40 knots
Fuel: 665 gal.
Water: 130 gal.
Power: 2/1,000-hp Volvo Penta D13
Price: $1.25 million
Cruise Speed: 32 knots