Yellowfin Yachts of Bradenton, Fla., is nearing the completion of a high-tech, 42-foot center console that’s built with the light and strong materials of Kevlar and carbon fiber.
The Yellowfin 42 Offshore CE (Carbon Elite) will be 20 percent lighter (a savings of roughly 2,500 pounds) than the company’s conventional 42-footer, Yellowfin vice president Heath Daughtry said. The laminate, which consists of a proprietary matrix of Kevlar, carbon fiber and e-glass, is also 17 percent stronger.
Yellowfin launched its first carbon fiber/Kevlar boat at the 2015 Miami International Boat Show with its 24 Bay CE. Since then, the company has built more than 100 of the 2,400-pound bay boats, which are popular with anglers looking for greater fuel economy and a shallower draft, said Daughtry.
Brian Turner of Bradenton, Fla., is the owner of the first Carbon Elite version of the 42 Offshore, which is powered with triple Yamaha F350s. He wanted the carbon fiber/Kevlar craft for better performance (cruising speed, fuel economy, range) for his multi-day offshore trips in the Gulf of Mexico for big game, he said.
“I’m not looking for a higher top end, but better performance under full load,” said Turner, who previously owned a conventional Yellowfin 42. “The new boat will negate the weight of the extra fuel I take in a bladder — 250 gallons — when I go offshore.”
Yellowfin has been working on the boat for about a year, Daughtry said. The density of the laminate forced Yellowfin to customize its resin infusion process for this application. “You can’t just throw resin at a unique laminate like this,” he said. “It takes research and precision.”
Daughtry said innovation takes time and extra effort, but “you have to try and stay on the edge if you want to be successful.”
Triple F350s also powered Turner’s previous Yellowfin 42 Offshore. That boat topped out at 60 mph. This boat should certainly be faster, but its increased efficiency at cruising speeds (about 40-45 mph) is what’s important for Turner.
“I ran through 40,000 gallons of gas in my previous boat, so if I can save 10 to 20 percent on fuel, well, that’s going to be huge,” he said.
The base price of the Yellowfin 42 Offshore with triple 350s is $456,903. The Carbon Elite version adds $58,000 to the price.