The all-new Wider 42 offers speeds of up to 50 knots, but can fold out impressively at anchor as well
The yachting industry is littered with projects that have tried to change the basic concept of power boats into something new and different but few innovative ideas have stood the test of time. The Wider 42 is one of the most innovative designs to come onto the market in recent years and it has a sound pedigree so there is every chance that this new concept will change the face of fast boating. The idea comes from Tilli Antonelli, who until recently was the boss and founder of Pershing Yachts, the design work has been done by the highly experienced Fulvio di Simoni and the fast boat experience comes from Mark Wilson of racing boat fame. It is a powerful team and the Wider 42 is a very exciting project.
The big difference in this design is that when the boat is at rest it can be opened up and the central cockpit doubled in size to create a large floating sea sports island that equals the size of that found on some superyachts. To ensure that the boat remains stable when opened up in this way, floats also extend out on each side to effectively convert the boat into a stable trimaran platform. All of this is included into a boat that is primarily designed for high performance with a stepped vee hull that can top out at 53 knots with the more powerful optional engines.
The hull is constructed from advanced composites for lightweight and strength. The laminate has a high carbon content and it is built using vacuum infusion with the Scrimp system.
The innovation does not stop with the convertible beam and the Wider has a whole new concept of steering wheel that uses much of the technology found on Formula 1 racing cars. Virtually all the instrumentation and controls that that would normally be found on the dashboard has been moved to the centre of the steering wheel. Here you find the switches for the control of the flaps and the power trim together with their indicators. Also fitted into the hub of the steering wheel is the engine instrumentation such as the rpm, oil pressure and temperatures readings and even a steering indicator. Close to the bottom of the display there is the autopilot control.
The concept is sound because in theory you have all the information you need to monitor and control the boat right in front of you. You can adjust the trim and flaps without taking you hands off the wheel and you can monitor the systems. The problem comes from trying to put all of this information and control into one small space and there might be considerable difficulty in reading the information at high speed. To use some of the controls you also have to take your hand off the throttle which may not be a good idea at high speed. This information integration into the steering wheel may be a step to far in boat design but perhaps it is better than some of the random displays found on more conventional craft.
As far as the boat itself is concerned it should combine an exciting performance with an advanced lifestyle. The power units fitted to the prototype are a pair of 480 hp Cummins diesels. These are the high power option with a pair of 370hp Yanmar diesels being the standard units. In both cases the engines are installed in a staggered formation to improve the access and weight distribution and they are connected to a pair of Arneson Surface Drives. Also in the engine compartment is a 4.2 Kw generator.
Above the engine compartment is an angled slipway that houses a Sea Doo jet ski. This can be replaced by a more conventional tender if required but in both cases the slipway is angled down for launching with a recessed winch for recovery. Forward from this is the helm with its fixed T-top expending forward. There are two folding seats at the helm for a comfortable ride and a windscreen that can be raised for weather protection. Other passengers can be accommodated on a settee seat forward of the helm.
This settee seat can be converted into a dining area with a table that rises under electric power from the deck along with a seat at its forward side. Additional cockpit seating is provided by inflatable units that can also be used as floating ‘toys’ when at anchor and deflated and stowed away when not in use. The whole of the extended cockpit area can be sun-protected by a portable Bimini that extends out from the forward end of the T-top.
At the forward end of the cockpit there is a sliding door that gives access to a very comfortable two berth cabin. Here there is a small galley and a fully enclosed bathroom with a shower, creating very comfortable accommodation for an overnight stop. This accommodation is fully air-conditioned and above it, on the foredeck there is a sunbed.
The innovation in the Wider extends right to the bow where the designers have created a fully enclosed anchoring system. Not only does a hatch open in the bow to allow the anchor to be deployed but a camera shows the man at the helm what is happening so everything can be controlled from the helm. There is also a patented system called Candy that secures that chain when stowed to prevents it becoming tangled when underway at high speed
The highest technology has been used in the construction of the Wider with extensive use of vacuum infusion carbon fibre laminates. This combines high strength with low weight and contributes greatly to the high performance. The expanding deck system is electrically driven with a complex system of articulated levers to achieve the desired movements. The deck is made from Esthec panels with a teak like finish and the side decks concertina up to fold away into the bulwarks.
Everything about the Wider 42 represents new or the latest technology in some way, making this a very brave attempt to set new standards for fast boating. With the Cummins diesels the top speed is an exciting 53 knots but economy is also possible with the consumption just 100 litres per hour when cruising at 40 knots. At this speed the range is over 400 miles from the 1000 litre fuel tank. The Wider also boasts a bow thruster to make marina manoeuvring easy and precise.
There is so much clever design in the Wider 42 that it deserves to work but the question mark is whether the market is ready for such innovation. In addition to operating as a stand alone sports boat the Wider 42 would also work well as a superyacht tender, providing an escape for the owners from the constraints of his large yacht. The Wider 42 breaks a great deal of new ground in boat design and it is good to see an innovator of the stature of Tilli Antonelli setting the standards.