Bali 4.2 packs signature features into 42ft
A world premiere at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, the Bali 4.2 sail cat slips between the Catspace and upcoming 4.4 to offer remarkable living spaces, highlighted by an expansive foredeck, flybridge lounging and the remarkably roomy saloon created by the signature ‘Bali door’. By Emmanuel Van Deth.
The 4.2 is among five sailing models Bali has launched in the past two years
It has been seven years since Bali began to make a name for itself by debuting its first models at the 2014 Cannes Yachting Festival. The DNA of the brand remains unchanged: maximum volume and pleasure, ease of use and disappearance of the internal/external divide on demand.
As for the new models, they’re being rolled out rapidly. Aside from the flagship 5.4, the other five sailing yachts in the current range have all been released in the last two years. After the Catspace Sail (Review Issue 56) premiered at Boot Dusseldorf last year, the Bali 4.8 (Review, Issue 59) and 4.6 followed.
This year, the French shipyard has splashed the 4.2, which had its world premiere at this year’s Cannes Yachting Festival, while the 4.4 is the next addition to the modern fleet.
Bali performance is inherited from parent company Catana Group
Comparing the new 4.2 to predecessors like the 4.1 and 4.3, there have been few changes to the coachroof: the nacelle is still topped by a large roof overhang. The hulls have numerous openings integrated into a black reveal – note the double function of longitudinal reinforcement and rain shield. The hulls feature bows that are stubby and inverted.
However, for those who feel the different Balis look too alike to be easily identified, you should be able to recognise the 4.2: it’s currently the brand’s only model with a spreader-less rig. The aluminium mast is slightly bigger in fore-and-aft section to ensure optimum stiffness with a pair of cap-shrouds and lowers.
The French builder’s 4.2 measures 42ft 2in in length
This formula has the advantage, at comparable weight and cost, of simplifying the setting-up of the standing rigging and improving aerodynamics. Some might suggest that the windage of a Bali is large enough that airflow through the rig might not make much difference … well, it does.
EXPANSIVE DECK SPACE
It’s tricky to explain the aft cockpit as it’s really an integrated part of the nacelle. On the 4.2, the iconic lifting ‘Bali door’ is 11ft wide and 7ft 2in tall and opens or closes the living space on demand, depending on the conditions. In closed mode, there’s enough room to move around outside and even enjoy the bench seat.
The 4.2 has two large sugarscoops, joined by an uninterrupted platform, overhung by tilting stainless steel davits. This is also where you access the engine compartments, where the liferaft is stowed and there are lockers here, too. On the starboard side, a plancha-style barbecue can be fitted.
Options include a plancha-style barbecue in the aft cockpit
The flybridge is accessed by steps moulded into both sides. Like the side-decks – minimum 2ft wide – moving about on deck is made safe by numerous handrails and guard wires.
The sail manoeuvring station, lower down, is equipped with a battery of clutches and three winches. The two on the outside are cleverly angled to receive the gennaker or spinnaker sheets. The whole system is operational and intuitive. Only the port winch is a little bit far away.
The helm bimini is somewhat low when standing, but this helps maintain the mainsail area, which remains easily accessible. The bench seat can accommodate two adults, then there’s the central lounge pad and the aft sundeck, allowing for a total of six people up top.
Classic Bali features include the forward door and the solid foredeck
The enormous solid foredeck features a huge, almost full-beam sunbathing area plus a sunken cockpit with table that connects to the forward saloon door. The total deck area is 852sqft, almost 80sqm, which is 10 per cent more than competitors’ models of this length.
Anchoring operations are well managed with a recessed and integrated bow roller, a large chain locker and a powerful windlass. A cut-out is provided in the deck to monitor the anchor and chain. A very deep locker has been moulded out under the benches. A 5ft 5in watertight door provides direct access to the nacelle, while an 8in sill protects the interior from any unwanted water ingress
When all the doors, the forward hatch and the lateral bay windows aft are open, the living area does not give the feeling of being inside, which is one of the major appeals of Bali models.
When the ‘Bali door’ is raised, the interior enjoys extra space, natural light and ventilation
In a few seconds, however, the saloon can be enclosed. The headroom is generous, varying between 6ft 6in and 6ft 10in.
Six people can sit at the dining table – two sizes are available – without feeling crowded and eight people would still have elbow room. To starboard, there’s the option of two comfortable lounge chairs or a sofa and forward is the huge, 326-litre refrigerator/freezer unit.
Forward, down a small step, is the chart table to starboard, the foredeck door and the galley to port. The excellent galley has an L-shaped countertop forward and a long counter with sink in the centre, with enormous storage space under both.
The large fridge has a 326-litre capacity
The model presented to us in Canet-en-Roussillon, Bali’s home on France’s south coast, featured the three-cabin version with the port hull dedicated to the owner, while a four-cabin version is also available. Four wide steps on each side lead down to the hulls.
The owner’s suite includes a bench seat and a dressing table/desk, with the bathroom forward. The bed is 5ft 7in wide and it’s the same in the other aft cabin, while the bed in the forward starboard cabin is 5ft 1in wide. The two guest cabins have their own head and sink but share a shower. The forepeaks can also be fitted out, with a berth to starboard and head to port.
Situated forward of the saloon, the roomy galley features counters and storage on three sides
During our sea trial, there was no wind as we cleared port, but we had a residual swell out of the southeast, so we began by testing the engines. Our test boat was equipped with the optional 45hp Yanmars rather than the standard 30hps.
The upper deck provides plenty of lounging space
I set the speed of both engines to 2,200rpm, which gave a boat speed of just over seven knots with a consumption of 6.4 litres per hour. Counting a safety reserve of 15 per cent, the Bali 4.2 could cruise over 600 miles at this speed.
No matter how hard the Bali is sailed, whether into waves or with them on the quarter, it’s clear that the careful structure, deep hull ribs and integral deck ensure solid rigidity – and the absence of squeaking.
In the three-cabin layout, the port hull is dedicated to the owner’s suite
Passage through the water is smooth when sailing, without the nacelle making contact. The wind eventually settled in and the gennaker was unfurled to accompany the main. Despite the swell trying its best to unhook the sails from the wind, the Bali managed to make four knots in the little six-knot breeze, although obviously more wind is needed for the 4.2’s fine hulls to demonstrate their potential.
On the other hand, good passage though the water bodes well for comfortable passage making and we appreciated the direct, rather soft feel to the helm. The self-tacking jib and the double-purchase system for the mainsheet are simple and work perfectly.
The 4.2 is among Bali’s six sailing models from 40-54ft
For its 42ft length and 23ft-plus beam, the 4.2 offers remarkable space and comfort. It’s almost like being at home, with its huge social areas, spacious galley and comfortable cabins, while a rigid, safe platform and fine hulls will allow for nice sailing in medium airs.