Andi Robertson heads for the Bay of Palma to put the new Dehler 42 through its paces.
THE DEHLER 42 was launched at Boot in Dusseldorf earlier this year and since then has attracted considerable attention with 17 boats sold already and many more potentials in the pipeline, writes Yachting Life boat test editor Andi Robertson.
In the UK Inspiration Marine have one new 42 already sold to a previous Hanse owner and are on the point of taking deposits on another two or three.
From the design house of Judel/Vrolijk the 42 is a particularly good looking boat. The hull shows a good mix of form stability but with a low drag, a relatively slender canoe body and a low wetted surface.
The performance heritage of the Dehler marque is evident with the plumb stem and minimal overhangs, but the stern sections are modest, powerful enough, and yet there’s no fat bottom to drag around.
It is definitely a performance cruiser ideal for a couple of couples or a family with teenagers to push hard in comfort, swallowing miles with ease. I love the window line. It’s different without being too ‘in your face’ or garish, and the little letterbox windows in the hull side really add to the look.
As part of the Hanse group, Dehler enjoy the economies of scale, keeping the prices sensible, and yet for sure it remains a sought after upper mid-market marque. Their production methods and finish are arguably industry leading and the quality continues to rise steadily.
The hull is of vacuum infused foam construction with all bulkheads bonded to the hull. All the internal laminates are sealed with a topcoat. The main loads of the keel and rig are taken up by carbon reinforced floor beams.
The deck is GRP sandwich with a traditional balsa core with aluminium backings for all key fittings laminated to the principal moulding.
As such the 42 is something of a platform for owners to spec up to their own desires. You can go with 3Di sails for example and the full carbon rig, deep iron/lead competition T keel and go racing quite seriously. And you’d have an IRC/ORC regatta winner I am sure.
Or you can go fast cruising and do the occasional club race and the likes of West Highland Week or Scottish Series CYCA with the standard package that I sailed in Palma at the global press launch.
There is also a shallow L shaped keel drawing 1.9m as opposed to the 2.4m CoG race version or 2.1 standard.
The cockpit is really excellent. I loved the big, fold down transom. It is super simple to operate and gives a big swimming and boarding platform. We docked stern to in Palma and suddenly it all makes sense, loading and unloading the boat with ease.
The twin wheels are pedestal mounted, independent of the cockpit structure. That means you can sit with one leg either side of the wheel, or beside your trimmer, both with good secure footholds and seating. There is loads of space at the back of the cockpit.
The main table is of a good size, modest and workmanlike rather than massive and there are excellent slanting faces above the cockpit seats for instrument mounting.
The sail controls are all led aft. The German mainsail system is controlled by Lewmar S40 winches which are stopped just forward on the coaming while the headsail winches are conventionally sited just forward of the main.
There are ample stainless handrails on the table, on the coachroof edge and at the companionway. And there is an excellent, subtle moulded toe rail.
Our test boat which is to be based in Barcelona had the teak finish on the side decks and bow which I rather liked.
A perfect afternoon sea breeze and spring sunshine in the Bay of Palma puts a positive slant on just about everything. But the new Dehler 42 really needs no artificial sweeteners, no enhancement at all. It sailed beautifully.
Upwind it really needed no attention to the helm at all, tracking beautifully with a nice narrow line and plenty of power. And yet it felt stiff and sweet. We were fortunate to have Carl Dehler on board. Great company, but also a living, breathing reminder that the brand is true to its family roots.
Carl still races a Dehler, he has a tricked out new 38 which he campaigns in Northern Germany, but he is passionately devoted to the brand.
There are no corners cut with the 42, it works as it should and sails as it should. What is good too is that the sail controls garner an obvious response; acceleration when the sheets are eased slightly is obvious and yet the boat climbs nicely on the foils upwind, like a true thoroughbred.
We set the gennaker with ease. It would be remiss not to mention that my esteemed counterpart from Germany’s Yacht magazine failed to tie on the kite bag, dummkopf, and it went in the sea.
As such it proved a great test of the Dehler 42’s manoeuvrability. All the same the man overboard exercise was in vain and the bag is still out there somewhere…
All that drama notwithstanding, the 42 swished along with ease, cascading to double figures in the moderate breeze. There was not enough wind to really push her over but for sure the boat is quick enough to do some damage on passage races, with a nice long, effective waterline length.
There are two different interior options, two mirror image symmetrical double cabins aft with heads opposite the nav station and a second heads/shower room in the forward cabin.
Woodwork finish is mahogany and the cabin soles are Australian acacia, a nice blonde wood that enhances the feeling of light and space. Options are American cherry or teak for the furniture, and Noce nero (very dark) or teak and holly for the cabin soles. There are loads of overhead hatches and opening windows along the sides to ventilate and light the interior.
Overall it is high marks all round the for the new Dehler 42. I enjoyed the sail immensely, it is great to sail a well set up performance cruiser fresh from the wrapper, which is ready to perform. With just the three of us we could push hard or sit back and let the boat do the work.