Boat Review: Liberty 42

The Liberty 42 has an offshore hull that you must ride to believe. If you want a rocket ship, then look elsewhere. But if you want a boat with midrange responsiveness, excellent fuel economy and an unsurpassed ride in a sea, then you owe it to yourself to inspect this boat.

July 30, 2003
Liberty 42 Express_03

Liberty 42 Express_03

Sure, Joe Corvelli inherited his love of boatbuilding from his father, Nick. But oh, what he did with that passion! A graduate of the Webb Institute, perhaps the most exclusive naval architecture and marine engineering school in the world, Corvelli was one of 16in his graduating class. However, the most intriguing part must be that he’s the only one that year (and one of very few ever) to combine design and engineering skills with actual building.

Corvelli worked closely with Charlie Jannace to refine this offshore hull that you must ride to believe. If you want a rocket ship, then look elsewhere. But if you want a boat with lots of midrange responsiveness, excellent fuel economy and an unsurpassed ride in a sea, then you owe it to yourself to inspect the Liberty42.



Both engines idling produced 6.2 knots. In trolling mode with one engine, you can get it down around 3 knots. Running out of Lake Worth Inlet heading for Sailfish Alley just off Palm Beach, the Liberty took 22 seconds to plane. That may sound like considerable time, but Corvelli has an interesting philosophy about power. He chooses larger engines and detunes them for lower horsepower, figuring that an engine that doesn’t work as hard will last longer and use less fuel. And he’s right.

I found wide-open throttle at 2,450 rpm is 28 knots. Other reports claim a top speed of 32 knots at 2,600 rpm. The boat has a nice, comfortable roll moment, and transitions are gentle rather than a snap. Left to its own devices, it drifts beam-to. I can’t get over the ride – that’s where the Liberty 42 truly shines. The midrange speed, combined with a full 20-degree transom deadrise, extremely sharp entry, those prodigious chines and unique running strakes, makes for a deliciously pleasant ride. In seas running 2to 3 feet, I tried like the dickens to get some spray up on the helm. We had no curtains up, and no matter what we did, we never once took any spray.



Believing that one rarely gets to use a blazing top speed at sea, Corvelli thinks a more moderate speed that can be attained in all conditions while using comparatively little fuel serves an owner best. To that end, Liberty put new Diamond Series Cummins diesels with Glendenning electronic controls on this 42. That way you have mechanically controlled engines but still retain the benefits of easy shifting, trolling valves and synchronization.

To keep the living quarters quieter, Liberty liberally lines the engine compartment with Soundown insulation and mounts pumps on the outer bulkheads and the generator on the aft bulkhead. I’d have to scrunch a little bit to get outboard of the engines, but once there would have plenty of working room.



The Liberty’s interior qualifies as elegant simplicity. An oversize double berth forward and plenty of headroom throughout make this an ideal boat for large fishermen like me. The berth rises on rams for an acre of storage space. The U-shaped dinette settee to starboard, straight settee to port and well-equipped galley mean you can actually entertain below rather than just hide out from the elements. All the wood is solid teak, coated with epoxy for durability.


Charlie Jannace penned this hull design for Liberty in the late’80s, originally as a convertible. The first express model came along in 1996. The old literature referred to this same hull as a39-footer. However, Liberty recently decided to count the integral bowsprit in the LOA rather than just length on deck.


If you wonder why the ride seems so much smoother than that of other comparable boats, consider the 59-degree entry, very fine forward body, 20-degree transom dead rise and strakes that carry well aft. The hull boasts a solid bottom, vacuum-bagged topside scored with Core Cell, decks with Diviny cell and all-vinyl ester resins. Deck joints receive four layers of glass. Every bulkhead is typically taped in with more glass tape than there is in the bulkhead itself. Every visible (and many invisible) surfaces are Awl gripped.

The Liberty lacks any holes in the side of the hull. No air vents, tank fills, plumbing exhausts – anything. All drains lead to two small tail pipes inboard of the engine exhaust pipes. Air-conditioning, hatch gutters, livewell overflow – everything drains there. Liberty requests the model of echo sounder prior to laminating so they can fabricate a plug that allows the transducer to be mounted flush with the bottom of the hull.


A large transom livewell drains overboard. Port and starboard removable fish boxes can be plumbed with cold plates or icemakers. You’ll find rod storage beneath each gunwale and a rigging station with a sink in the portside module. Storage can be found just about everywhere else. With wide-open scuppers, nothing is going to stay in this cockpit very long. If you travel far offshore and want a boat that will get you there and back in comfort every time, Liberty must top your list of considerations.

LOA 42’0″
BEAM 14’10”
DRAFT 3’6″
WEIGHT 22,000 pounds
FUEL 470 gallons
WATER 100 gallons
POWER T450-hp Cummins

Liberty Yachts


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