A quick note about yacht terminology: these terms aren’t unique to the Bertram 42. In yachting parlance, there are Convertible varieties of many different models, just as there are Aft Cabin, Flybridge, etc. The Bertram 42 indicates that it is 42 feet long and has the same basic Bertram features, with hulls crafted from the same mold and the same interior materials, but the different models indicate that each Bertram 42-foot yacht is geared toward a specific purpose.
Bertram 42 Convertible
Only 329 Bertram 42 Convertible boats were built between 1973 and 1987, yet the Convertible is arguably the most sought-after model of its class. The “Convertible” term simply means that this model is used equally for fishing and cruising, and space is split evenly between the cockpit and the salon area. The Bertram 42 Convertible, also called the Bertram 42 Sportfish, is an all-purpose yacht that has been described by many as one of the best used yachts to purchase due to its durability and relatively inexpensive upkeep. While the Bertram 46 Convertible was considered a better buy in 1973 when it was released, now it is generally considered that the Bertram 42C is the smarter purchase because it uses less gas, is less expensive, and moves across the water faster for not having the extra four feet of space.
The boat initially weighed in at 34,000 lbs, and early 1970s models will likely weigh about this much. As the years went on, the 42C gained weight, eventually settling in at just under 40,000 lbs. Arguably, the later 1980s models are the ones that you want to purchase, as the extra weight tends to make them more durable and better suited to lasting.
If the model you buy doesn’t have a decent engine, you might want to look into purchasing a better one for your 42C. The 8V71 engine sacrifices some speed for durability and longevity, while the 6V92 tends to be faster but not quite as fuel-efficient. Both, however, offer excellent performance – it’s just a matter of which engine model you prefer. There are many different engines installed in Bertram 42C boats, so be sure to do your due diligence before you make a purchase.
Some of the best elements of the 42C include the fishing platform, bridge layout and cockpit, making this model clearly aimed at the sport fisherman rather than the casual cruiser. There is a reason why the 42C is often (mistakenly) called the Bertram 42 Sportfish. As far as the quality and durability of the build and engineering are concerned, the Bertram 42 Convertible is unmatched. Many reviewers say that a yacht purchaser would be better off finding a used Bertram 42C in decent condition and spending some money to fix it up than purchasing a new yacht, simply because the 42C offers far better longevity at a greatly reduced price.
The only downside to the popular Bertram 42 Convertible, according to most reviews, has been its Spartan appearance and slightly cramped interior. It’s not a boat to have a party on, in other words, unless your party is very small or everyone is very close friends. Formica interior and distinct lack of plush seating doesn’t create a luxurious feel, and unless friends are passionate about yachting, the experience of being a passenger may not be so fun.
In other words, the Bertram 42C is technically just about perfect, but it loses major style points. Still, if you’re looking for a boat that won’t fall apart over time, you couldn’t do much better than the 42 Convertible.
The Bertram 42 Aft Cabin model solves a lot of the space problems felt by owners of the Convertible and Flybridge models, but its weight is typically 2000 to 3000 lbs more than the same year’s Convertible. The Aft Cabin sacrifices speed and fuel economy for a better party boat. It sleeps eight comfortably in the master cabin, and has all the perks, with a stall shower, galley, salon and large aft deck. The interior is still bland, standard Formica, though later models of Bertram 42 Aft Cabin (models produced after 1984) have teak styling. If you’re willing to put in the investment, you can probably make the cabin a little prettier. This might be a good idea, since the main reason you’d choose the Aft Cabin model would be for the increased comfort.
Because this model is a little bit heavier than the Convertible, it doesn’t offer the same legendary status among yachters as the 42C. It doesn’t cut through the water quite as nicely, and the hull receives a bit more wear and tear each time you take it out. However, this could work to the buyer’s advantage, as the Bertram 42 Aft Cabin tends to be somewhat less expensive than the Convertible. Most of these models on the market, however need quite a bit of work done. About the same number of 42 Aft Cabin models were made, though they’re slightly rarer to find on the market now as they aren’t quite as durable and haven’t lasted as long.
The Bertram 42 Flybridge is generally bit shorter in length and taller in height than the standard 42C, but the good news is that it weighs about the same and is nearly as durable as the iconic Bertram 42C brand. It’s also cheaper, meaning that people who want the performance of the Convertible without the price should keep an eye out for a Bertram 42 Flybridge.
The only downside to the Flybridge model is that, if you thought the Convertible was a poor party boat, the Flybridge is even worse. While you might have been able to soup up the Convertible to make it feel nice, that will be much more difficult with this model. The model’s flybridge is useful for navigating, and the fishing deck on this model is just as well-equipped, but the Bertram 42 Flybridge definitely sacrifices cabin and deck space for speed and maneuverability. There were fewer Flybridge models made than Convertibles, so you won’t see many on the market. Still, if you could care less about feeling cramped or just want to take your yacht out on fishing excursions, keep your eye out for the Bertram 42 Flybridge.