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By Thomas P.

Easy to handle, extremely comfortable and surprisingly efficient!
Salpa Soleil 42 is a mega-Rib of very high standards that has managed to combine with the best way luxurious accommodations and an excellent ride quality without lacking in performance.

Soleil 42 is the latest model and the flagship of the homonymous and well-known range of Salpa shipyard, which was unveiled at the Cannes Boat Show 2019. A week later, at the Genoa Boat Show where we had the opportunity to test it, it was proclaimed as the Rib of the Year by Vela e Motore magazine, a title that deservedly earned because it is an outstanding Sport Utility Rib (SUR) that combines quality, luxury and performance.
And of course, no distinction or success comes by accident, but it requires endless hours of study, hard work and, above all, passion and love for what you are doing. If we add to this all the knowledge of Salpa family that counts more than three decades of experience, then we can realize why Soleil 42 has really raised the bar for the entire Rib industry.

The hull of the Soleil 42, designed by specialist Adam Younger, is characterized by a vertical bow that increases the length waterline, two ventilated steps and three spray rails on each side.

The sharp bow entry and the 24 degrees of deadrise at the middle of the hull ensure smooth navigation, while the variable height of the ventilated steps improves the behavior of the boat during the tight turns at high speed.

On deck

Making life enjoyable on board!
The deck and interior layout, designed entirely by the technical team of Salpa, are focused on maximum comfort and stand out for optimal space utilization, ergonomics and, of course, excellent finishing.

Without any doubt, Soleil 42 has all the features of a luxury yacht and will be highly appreciated by families and people who enjoy living at sea for a long time with luxury and comfort.

The comfortable passageways to the port and starboard of the cabin, each of which with a width of 33cm, lead to the bow area and to the bow sundeck which, by installing the appropriate cushions, can be turned into a huge sunbathing area with dimensions of 1.97m x 2.16m x 0.90m.

Further ahead there is the hard nose with the cleats applied to its side surfaces, thus ensuring a comfortable and unobstructed entry and exit from the boat.

Its interior has a suitable space for the host of the windlass and the anchor’s chain, which is characterized by its large depth due to the vertical bow.

The two cushioned seats on the front part of the console are made of high quality fabric and will be appreciated the most, constituting an ideal place to relax while underway.

What, of course, stands out on the list of key features of Soleil 42 and constitutes the strongest point of the Rib is the presence of the two spacious cabins under the deck.
Opening the sliding door to the port of the helm station we descended the three steps leading to the headroom. The first image you see is at least striking. Wherever you turn your eyes, luxury and special attention to even in the smallest detail is evident. Having the strong feeling of being in a suite of a luxury hotel, we were moving with great comfort in the headroom whose dimensions are 2.04m x 1.20m x 0.80m.

The show, of course, is stolen by the impressive and long hull windows of the main cabin which are located beneath the tubes providing fantastic sea view.

On each side of the cabin there are four cabinets capable of storing all our clothing, while the 2.52 x 1.90m x 0.89m bed can accommodate up to three adults.
The front portion of the mattress folds up and creates a lovely sofa, forming a comfortable U-shaped lounge area.

The plenty of cabin's natural lighting is provided by both the over-sized hull windows and the large sliding hatch on its roof.
For a little extra privacy the dividing curtain at the end of the headroom allows us to isolate the main cabin from the rest of the interior.

Although there are many other 12m competitor’s Ribs with a second sleeping room, it is very difficult to find one with such a spacious aft cabin.
Behind the stairs leading to the headroom, the aft cabin of Soleil 42 extends, equipped with two single berths 1.86m of length each. It immediately stands out for its high-volume and can accommodate the children of a family as well as guests with great comfort. It is worth noting that it is a pleasant place where someone can relax, read a book or sit in bed without having to bend over to fit.

For many manufacturers, the Rib's bathroom is an under-appreciated space. For some others though, bathroom design is one of the biggest challenges.

There is no doubt that Soleil 42 has one of the most beautiful and functional bathrooms we have ever seen.
With a minimalist design, the exquisite use of wood and equipped with high quality materials, it constitutes one of the most beautiful areas of the boat where you can enjoy your shower with a magnificent sea view.

The split glass door separates the bathroom from the rest space, while the mirrors and their reflections create a clean and luxurious feel as well as a unique sense of comfort and positive mood.

The instrument panel has the space to accommodate two large navigation units, while being tilted so that the commander can instantly and easily see and read their indications, either while sitting or driving in a semi-standing position. The high windscreen embraces the entire helm and provides the necessary protection without obstructing the bow's visibility, which is excellent even when sitting.
The steering wheel is almost centrally positioned having the proper inclination, while the engines’ controls are to the starboard, at an ideal height without tiring the driver's right hand while navigating.

The helm has two individual seats, adjusted to the front surface of the large wet bar. They stand out for their excellent design while they are remarkably comfortable providing a great sense of safety and excellent lateral support even in sharp turns at high speeds.

The outdoor galley is proportional to the size of the Rib and offers a large-sized worktop. It features a high-volume refrigerator, sink, double gas stove and a large storage space that can be customized according to the owner's needs.

Despite its large size it leaves spacious passageways to its port and starboard, 53.5 cm wide, ensuring our comfortable fore and aft movement.

Soleil’s 42 passengers can enjoy the journey or an exciting sunset sitting comfortably in the aft lounge which is really huge measuring 1.92m x 2.14m of dimensions. It represents the main gathering area on board and can accommodate many people. In the center there is a large table with dimensions 1.12m x 1.26m which creates a great aft dinette.
Right behind the backrest of the aft sofa a large bench-seat with a large storage space inside is formed, which will be very useful for storing all the necessary equipment of the stern (stern lines and fenders), while it can be converted into an additional refrigerator or livewell depending on our needs.

Two transom doors to the port and starboard, which when open create passageways 0.50 cm of width, lead to the bathing platform and despite the pair of 425hp outboards there is plenty of space to walk allowing easy access to the boat as well as our safe diving into the sea.
It is worth noting to mention the two stainless ladders that very cleverly slip into its own compartments leaving totally free the swimming platform surface for all on-water activities.

At sea

What impressed us most was how effortlessly the Soleil 42's hull was moving despite the 6500kg of total estimated test weight, not only due to the abundant torque of the Yamaha XTO engines but mainly to its excellent design that allows it to accelerate instantly without requiring higher horsepower on its transom.

In the day of our test, we had a fairly smooth swell that exceeded one meter in height.
On the transom of Soleil 42 two 425hp XTO Yamaha outboards were hung turning 16΄΄ 3 / 8΄΄ x 21΄΄ stainless steel propellers through 1.79:1 gear ratio.

The Rib was passing to the planing mode very quickly without raising its bow and was standing on plane at 2500 rpm maintaining a speed of 13.5 knots. This means that it is able to travel at low speeds in hard seas with great comfort, while maximizing our autonomy.

At 3500 rpm we were running with 26 knots burning 3.5 litters per nautical mile, while at 4000 knots our speed was 31 knots with a fuel consumption of about 3.3 litters per mile.

At 31 knots we recorded the less fuel consumption which means that traveling at that particular cruising speed we get the optimum range.

At 4500 rpm we got 6 knots more reaching 37 knots, consuming 4.1 litters per mile, while at 5000 rpm we were riding at 43 knots getting the maximum stern lift from our propellers, thereby minimizing the wet surfaces and recording lower slip values.

You can see our detailed measurements in the table below:

I turned my bow into the waves and kept the speed close to 35 knots for quite long time, waiting to see the hull's behavior at that speed.
Staying as a mere spectator, without correcting the steering wheel, I was observing the sharp bow cutting and passing lightly through the waves, while even when the hull was falling from a high altitude it tended to soften our ride, giving us a great sense of comfort and safety.

Feeling that the Rib was standing high on the water, due to both the hull design and the exceptional stern lift of the Yamaha propellers which turn the abundant torque of the engines into tremendous thrust, I pushed the engines’ control forward trying to estimate the throttle response. Indeed, the acceleration was excellent and the boat handling seemed like a "toy", giving us the impression that we were driving a much smaller and lighter rigid inflatable. The flexibility of Soleil 42 was remarkable, just like its steady ride also even when running at top speed or attempting tight turns.

It was clear that Soleil 42 feels better the faster it goes and can run really effortlessly and safely at high cruising speeds for a long time even under bad weather conditions, meaning that we can travel long distances and reach our destination very quickly.

At WOT, we reached 6.000 rpm with great ease and 52 knots of top speed, quite impressive for the character of this Rib. Even at top speed, the hull of Soleil 42 was very stable and showed that it could handle comfortably even greater speeds.

Taking a look at the table of measurements, we can see that the slip numbers beyond 4000 rpm, i.e. in the rpm area where we are usually traveling, are very satisfactory and indicate a very well set-up.
Given that the behavior of the Rib was excellent in terms of handling and performance and the engines reached their maximum rpm, we consider that the propellers’ pitch is ideal for the specific test weight, allowing us thus to carry even more load without the risk of falling below 5700 rpm, which is particularly important for the longevity of the engines.

...keep Ribbing!           
  • Overall length: 12.72 m
  • Beam: 3.90 m
  • Weigth (hull-deck): 4900 kg
  • Tubes diameter: 0.82-0.70m
  • Fuel capacity: 720 lt
  • Fresh water capacity: 230 lt
  • Max power: 2x425 Yam or 3x450R Merc

Nautica Salpa s.r.l.

Cantieri ed Uffici: SP 333, Località Bovenzi 7 81041
Vitulazio, CE – Italy
Tel.: +39 0823 622207

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