The approach to Portsmouth Harbour is not the ideal location for a photo shoot but try telling that to a snapper who wants an interesting backdrop.
Not only have you got leisure craft of various sizes streaming out on their merry way but also the constant threat of crisscrossing commercial craft as cross-Solent and cross-Channel ferries negotiate the main fairway and the somewhat unpredictable hovercraft offering itself as a persistent curveball for good measure.
Not to mention the odd Royal Navy ship surging through the melee like a blue whale through a mass of plankton. It pays to be alert and at the helm of a craft capable of shrugging off the challenging sea state that materialises in the shallows when a stiff breeze and busy tide meet the wash of all this traffic.
The Sasga Menorquin 42 may be a long way from its Balearic home waters, but it is faring well in the foaming seas of the Solent. The resin-infused, semi-displacement hull comfortably absorbs and dispenses with the confused wave pattern as the upright forefoot works in conjunction with the attractive flared bow to maintain a soft ride that is commendably dry.
Naval architect Inigo Toledo had ride comfort and fuel efficiency in mind when designing the hull, which has a fine entry and shallower aft sections to increase lift at the stern. A stubby keel aids directional stability and stops the boat becoming wayward within the marina – all the more important given that this particular boat isn’t fitted with a bowthruster.
No matter, with a beefy pair of Volvo Penta D4 300hp diesels on straight shafts the 42 is a dream to spin about in the marina and reacts obediently to inputs on the stubby, tactile throttles.
Out at sea and perched on the optional flybridge (there is a coupé version, too) the 42 picks up gamely as I bury the throttles to the stops. The D4s come on boost and the boat surges up into an easy 18-knot fast cruise and a top speed of 22 knots, peeling through the wave tops and batting larger waves aside as they attempt to slow its progress. Read the full report in the November 2018 edition of MBY.