Hydra-Sports set out to create a center console so loaded with features they would not only keep their existing customers wanting to move up happy, but also make an attractive option for folks in large sportfish convertibles wanting to trade down. The result is the 4200 SF, a mix of size and CC functionality. Trading up is a no-brainer - all you need is lots of cash. Trading down offers the same capabilities of a larger sportfish for a lot less than half the price and a fraction of the operating expense. You don't need an expensive full-time captain, just a mate or some expert fishing buddies. About all you give up is the shelter of a cabin, and that is a fair trade-off.
Massive bait prep station-
It features a Corian countertop is, rod holders, washdown, built-in storage for gear, tackle boxes and a slide-out cooler.•
Three across helm seating
-with drop away seats. They also wrap around for sustained high-speed operation.•
Three across sleigh seating
-and optional repeaters can go on the back of the seat for viewing from the sleigh seating, or easy viewing from the bait prep station behind.•
50 gallon tournament live well
-located in the transom right next to the sink and wash down.•
Oversize helm console-
large enough to accommodate two 14”(35.6 cm) displays.•
Large bow lounge-
and there is a Frigid-Rigid coffin box underneath.•
For massive fishboxes-
between these, and the coffin box, filling the storage on this boat will ensure that you're over your limit.
Who’d Want One?
When a builder creates a boat in this class, they have to ask who would want one? In a world where single-task boats are going the way of dial-up modems, one would wonder why Hydra-Sports didn’t just make another express fish boat and load it up with family amenities. The fact is, sexist or not, there are very few women this boat will appeal to. Sure, they are out there, but this is a total “guy” boat that likely has testosterone as standard equipment. Nor is the 4200 SF made for the faint-of-heart angler who only intends to go out on clear, flat calm days and play it safe. Rather, this Hydra-Sports machine is intended for the type of big game fisherman who isn’t intimidated by a little wind and chop, but who is also not foolhardy. From the moment you step aboard and feel how solidly built this boat is, you’ll realize that she is not happy sitting at the dock -- she’s looking to compete with anything and everything in blue water and bring home the prize.
The toughness of this boat is evident in her build. Hydra-Sports took the hull from the mold and then chemically bonded in a massive one-piece stringer system with methacrylate adhesive. The result is a one-piece hull and stringer grid system that is not going to fold under the pounding of offshore tournament fishing.
There is a trade-off in this, however, and it comes in the form of weight. She’ll tip the scales at over 23,000 lbs. dry and 28,000 lbs. fully fueled and loaded for billfish. That puts her in the heavyweight category for her class. So to put it another way, when the bell goes off and everyone is running in the flat water of the channel to get offshore, some of those other boats may be leaving you behind -- even with the quad Yamaha 350-hp V8’s. However... once she gets offshore and all the competition has throttled back to reduce pounding in the three-to-four foot stuff, the 4200 will keep going and leave the others in her wake. With her 23-degree deadrise -- just one-degree less than high-performance racing-type boats -- the 4200 SF should be the envy of the battlewagons you'll be passing, much less the made-for-smooth-water center consoles.
At the bow, the 4200 has a stainless steel anchor davit, a Lewmar windlass with controls both at the bow and at the helm, a 10” pop-up cleat, plus storage for a second anchor and the anchor rode. Naturally, the anchor storage is also self draining.
As we move aft, we find the first of -- get this -- 48 rod holders. Just under the bow, we have the first four of the boat’s 18 stainless steel drink holders, as well as storage under the bow cushion. On either side of the bow are the first two of the boat’s seven fish lockers (four in the sole, two at the bow, and the coffin box ahead of the console). I’ll tell you what... you fill up all 7 of these and you’ll definitely be over your limit!
There is a multi-function non-skid platform for the bow. You can use it as a casting platform, or for the non redheads among us, add a cushion to make a sun pad. There’s also a pedestal to raise it for the addition of the optional dining table. Once you get into the habit of entertaining onboard the 4200 SF, you’ll come to appreciate the stereo remote hidden at the bow.
Under the deck hatch in the bow, there’s a huge lazarette with indentations for holding 2 five gallon buckets and secure storage for two of the boat's innovative props. The Yamaha 350’s on this boat required special props that were custom made by Yamaha. You’re not going to be able to just walk into the nearest ship's store and pick one up, so having spares onboard is a great feature.
Just forward of the center console is a Frigid Rigid coffin box with a compartment separator and an option to turn it into a freezer. Atop the coffin box is a comfy sunpad and dual ergonomic seats with flip-down armrests and drink holders in between.
The head is plenty roomy. I found 75” of head room. I’ve also seen some manufacturers make the head into a mini galley by recessing a microwave into one of the bulkheads. That wouldn’t be a bad feature on this boat. There is a sink, a shower, opening port lights and a teak sole.
Now let's move to the center console itself: it’s a unique setup. You have three wrap-around seats at the helm, followed by two sleigh seats, and then the bait station. Let's start with the helm and move aft.
The helm itself is uncluttered and uncomplicated with plenty of room for three 15" (38.1 cm) nav screens. Our test boat was equipped with two displays and in between were dual Yamaha Multi-function LED gauges. I found the helm to be a bit high for my liking. I’m 5’8” and I had a hard time even seeing the compass. A step up behind the helm wouldn’t be a bad idea. Also at the helm is a large glove box with two connections for charging cell phones, one connection for hooking up your MP3 player and even a USB outlet. The three helm seats are designed to support you for sustained high-speed operation. The flip up seat cushions are electrically actuated. And you have two-position footrests at the bottom of the helm, one for sitting and the other for leaning.
Just abaft is three-across sleigh seating. There’s an option for having a flat screen mounted on the back of the helm seats so the passengers can watch a DVD on the way out to the canyons (as if), or it can be tied to the nav system for following along with the navigation. While fishing the rigger can see the fish finder display while working the aft station.
At the working end of the bait station are two of the boat’s ten tackle drawers, in the center a “galley up” stove. Below is a Frigid Rigid cooler that pulls out to become a convenient seat for the rigger to keep an eye on the action. On the side, there are holders for four different spools, depending on which class you’re rigging for at the time. Rod holders are right in front of the rigging station, keeping gear at the ready for a quick tradeoff. Overhead, the hardtop is standard, and there’s an option for adding a tower.
The 4200 SF has two centerline mounted gas tanks. The aft tank is 412 gallons (1,559 L), the forward, 212 gallons (802 L), for a total of 624 gallons (2,362 L). I really like that there are fills for both tanks on BOTH sides of the boat. Not only do you not have to deal with which side of the boat the gas dock should be on, you can open the fills on the opposite side for additional venting for high volume pumps.
The padded cockpit bolsters start at 28” (71 cm) high in the stern of the boat, and slope upward as you move forward to a height of 38” (96.5). To add to the safety of the bolsters, there are toe rails at the deck to hook your feet under for added stability while fishing in a seaway.
There are 50 square feet of cockpit space. In the center of the aft deck is a hatch leading to a great Hydra-Sports feature, the pump room. This is a staple of every Hydra-Sports boat, and I’m continually impressed every time I see it.
Inside is easy access to the fuel filters and manifolds, bilge pumps, trim pumps, washdown pumps, and bait well pumps. There’s also additional room for storage, and if you opt for the air conditioning, the generator will go in this room also. To starboard is a tuna door with a unique hinging system to avoid contacting the door with the rigging station.
When you’re making your way out to the fishing grounds, there's a convenient rumble seat at the stern. When you arrive, it stows away as easily as it deploys. In the starboard quarter, you have two tackle drawers, two of the boat's six deck drains, and two of the boat’s four scuppers. Shipping water on this boat is the least of your concerns... if you can get it to happen. In the port quarter, you have a transom door with a positive lock, and a hot and cold shower. For working gear, you have a ballyhoo sink, a 50 gallon (189.3 L) recirculating bait well, and one of the boat’s six freshwater wash downs. When I’m on a boat that’s rigged for going offshore, I always make sure that there are grab rails in all locations so I can walk around the boat without letting go at any time. On this boat, they’re everywhere, so no worries about being tossed by a wave as long as you’re holding on.
There’s a long list of options for this boat, but two of my favorites are the FLIR, or Forward Looking Infra Red, camera, and the misters in the overhead for those impossibly hot days when there is no wind. And it’s not just for the helm: they’re also at the sleigh seats and aft for the riggers at the bait station.
Not only is this boat rigged and ready to take on anything that swims, but Hydra-Sports also prides itself on offering a completely customizable boat that you can equip to your taste. If you are big on options, the list is long and distinguished. If you like to keep it simple, that can be done as well. Hydra-Sports starts you off in the middle of the road, at least as far as standard equipment is concerned, and you can move up or down the list as desired. As you can see, whether trading up or down, there are few production boat choices that can match the Hydra-Sports 4200 SF -- she is almost in a class by herself. Over the last several years Hydra-Sports -- which has always had a great reputation -- has gotten even better. We now consider it at the top of the premium category of production open boats.
Standard and Optional Features
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