New HH42 is just Simply Fun

I was quite excited to be asked to go for a sail and do a review on the new HH42 Simply Fun.

Owned by Phil Coombes, the boat had been attracting quite a lot of attention around Port Phillip. I had viewed it from afar and it looked pretty fast. Other acquaintances who had raced against it and seen it at close quarters had commented it was pretty slippery.

I was able to jump on-board for a winter series race at Sandringham Yacht Club and despite lighter winds than I (and the boat) would have liked came away with a very favourable opinion.

Deck Layout

The first thing you notice when you approach any boat in the marina pen is the layout. The HH42 struck me at first impression as a pedigree racing yacht. An impression that stayed with me all day.

The flush deck had a no nonsense look and the layout was clean and organised with the twin wheels located well forward, with the central grinder behind. The large double spreader rig with twin running backstays to facilitate the fat head mainsail looked neat and functional.

Upon getting aboard and having a closer look you could see a lot of thought had gone into the arrangement. Purposefully placed jammers were located to accommodate multi-tasking on the winches. The genoa cars ran athwartships with loops in place for multiple outboard sheeting options. Sail controls were well sited and operated well.

A groove running through the deck to house the mainsheet as it approached the port side, clockwise-turning winch was a nice touch. The fixed bowsprit with STL set at 6.6m is not overly long but sufficient and is fitted with two tack lines for quick and effective peeling.


The interior is Spartan as you would expect from a flush decked racing craft and an IRC hull factor of 12.4 confirms this. Don’t expect to do any dancing downstairs. Simply Fun is scheduled to participate in this year’s Rolex Sydney to Hobart Race and it won’t be a leisure cruise.

The IRC basics are covered with pipe cots, a toilet and a single gas burner. The navigation table is adequate albeit perched on the end of a bunk. Standing headroom is not a feature, but this is the domain of the off-watch sleepers, the sail packers and the navigator only.


This boat is all about performance and it delivers it in spades. We sailed in a gentle breeze around a fixed mark course off Sandringham Yacht Club. With the wind only briefly peaking at fourteen knots and dropping down to eight at times, I was not really able to see the boat get up and boogie, but I am sure that it could.

Even in the light winds the acceleration was obvious with only a minimum loss through the tacks and good speed downwind. We were able to come away with a win by over a minute against a fleet that included a number of Beneteaus. I am sure this margin would have been enhanced a lot further with some surfing conditions.

The hull shape from Judel Vrolijk with its full bow sections and chined stern would be able to be pushed hard and be very fast downwind in a blow. Even in light airs it was easy to forget it was only 12.6m LOA as we sailed away from the fleet. It has a lot of a mini TP52 feel about it in its handling and performance.

Unlike a TP52 this boat would be able to be sailed without hordes of professional sailors. The systems and behaviour suggested a good level club crew would have no problems getting it around the course. The IRC handicap at 1.218 is high for a boat this size but it shows every indication it can sail to it in the right hands.

Built by Hakes Marine China from female carbon moulds, the HH42 features full carbon pre-preg construction, thermoformed foam core and a unique monocoque single-piece keel floor. With engineering by SDK Structures USA to ISAF Category 1 safety regulations and ISO Standards, the HH42 has the ability to tough it out on the ocean as well as around the cans.

The carbon, double-spreader mast and boom are from Southern Spars and sails were by Quantum. Deck gear was a combination of Harken, Spinlock and Custom.


There are quite a few boats appearing on the market in the 40-43’ full on racer genre. The HH42 stacks up well against any of them. Simply Fun is hull number three, number four has been launched and five and six are on the way.

This boat as the name implies is simply a fun racing yacht. Fast and enjoyable, it has no token gestures to pretend it can be a semi-cruiser or overnight recreational vehicle as is so prevalent on other boats, it is what it is! 


Designer: Judith Vrolijk&CO

Engineering: Gmbh

Overall length: 12.6m

Waterline length: 11.58m

Maximum beam: 4.35m

Light displacement: 4.95t

Draught: 2.8m

Ballast: fin+bulb = 2.9m

Fuel tank capacity: 42L

Water tank capacity: 50L

Engine: 30HP Yanmar

IRC rating: 1.218

Base price: $530,000



This article was first published in the August-September 2014 issue of Australian Sailing + Yachting.




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