IN THEIR WORDS
Gary Riggio’s passion for boats goes back to an old Brockway skiff he bought as a kid with paper-route money. “I used it for flounder fishing, crabbing, doing whatever,” says the 52-year-old general contractor from Essex, Conn. “It was a great way to grow up, and I had a lot of fun with that boat.”
Other small craft included a 16-foot runabout with a 35-hp Johnson and a ski boat with “a big black Mercury on the back that could do 55 mph,” Riggio recalls.
As an adult he graduated to sportfishing boats, moving up in size from a 26-foot wooden lapstrake Trojan to a 36-foot Chris-Craft, “a real Montauk-style fishing boat,” he says.
So when he came across a 1977 42-foot Post in 1988, he again was interested in moving up. He looked the boat over at the Old Saybrook, Conn., marina where it was berthed and found that, despite showing some benign neglect, the boat was sound. He made the move, paying about $120,000.
It turned out that all the Post needed was a little TLC … and some hard use. As Riggio set about taking the boat out to his favorite fishing grounds and fixing things here and there, the boat began to grow on him. “I realized I was getting the boat the way I wanted it by changing this and that, doing different things, and I found that I really enjoyed the work,” he says. “I thought at first I’d keep it three or four years, then move up to a 46-footer. After a while, I realized this boat was doing everything I wanted.”
The Post 42 was designed by Russell Post, founder of Post Marine, and it remains the builder’s “hottest-selling” yacht, according to the company. Riding a relatively flat modified-vee hull (6 degrees of deadrise aft), it’s a twin-engine New Jersey-style sportfisherman known for its rugged construction, large cockpit (115 square feet), and spacious two-cabin interior, elements that define the type.
In the past 17 years Riggio has tackled just about every system in the vessel from the flybridge to the engine room. Among the major projects: fiberglassing the windshield over and adding a half-tower, refinishing the interior wood trim and cabinetry, installing a teak-and-holly sole in the galley and re-equipping the area with a new stove, full-size refrigerator and built-in microwave.
Some ideas for modifications come from looking at brochures and going to boat shows, while others are Riggio’s. In one clever modification, he designed and built a third berth tucked into the forepeak, so the cabin could accommodate his three young kids at the time. In the master stateroom, he recently turned side-by-side bunks into a double berth and installed a flat-screen television in a specially made cabinet.
Riggio is proudest of his spotless, spacious, carpeted engine room, located beneath the saloon. It’s home to his two new Marine Power 502 gas engines, along with the generator, pumps, filters and other systems.
Still an avid angler, he’s also content to cruise. “I don’t fish as much as I used to,” says Riggio. “And this is turning out to be a nice cruising boat — seaworthy and comfortable.”
Cruising speed with the new power is about 25 mph, with a top end of around 30 mph. His favorite destinations include Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket, Mass., and Long Island, N.Y.
Does Riggio ever think of a new boat, something flashy off the showroom floor? Not on your life, he says. “I can’t imagine getting another boat. After all these years of doing things to it, I’ve got it the way I want it.”
Riggio’s Post 42 sportfisherman was produced in that configuration from 1975 to 1983, coming between a wooden 40-foot version and the 42-footer that debuted in 1997 and is still produced. It features a large open cockpit with more than 100 square feet of space thanks to the boat’s 15-plus-foot beam. It’s well-protected by side wings and a flybridge overhang. A fighting chair and optional tackle center with sink was available, the latter placed to port along the saloon bulkhead.
Accessed by ladder, the flybridge has a centerline semi-island steering station and bench seating that wraps around forward of the command console.
The interior layout starts with a large saloon with a convertible couch to port, and room for lounge chairs and a cocktail table to starboard. The U-shaped galley, outfitted with all the requisites, is down and to port but maintains easy access to the saloon. The master stateroom is amidships and to starboard, and the adjacent head compartment forward is shared with the forward cabin, which features stacked single berths to port.
The boat’s flat after sections give it peppy performance. It’s quick to plane, and known for a dry ride, thanks to the high, flared Jersey-style bow and ample freeboard maintained well aft. The 42 sportfisherman has a solid fiberglass hull and was built with a combination wood/fiberglass deck and superstructure through mid-1976, according to Mark Parker and Ed McKnew’s Powerboat Guide.
Engine access is through the saloon sole, and standard power was a pair of 310-hp diesels, rendering a speed range of 20 to 25 mph. Post offered optional 410-hp diesels that pushed the top end to around 28 mph.
There are plenty of Post 42s on the used-boat market, as a look through the classifieds or a bit of Web-surfing will show. Most are on the East Coast, with southern New England, New Jersey and Florida active preowned Post markets. They also can be found in the Great Lakes. Prices generally are in the $150,000-plus range, though an occasional five-figure boat can be found. Here’s a sampling of what’s on the market:
A 1981 model in New York with 450-hp diesels (low hours), new bottom paint, fighting chair, tackle center and outriggers for around $185,000; a 1980 model in New Jersey with 310-hp rebuilt diesels, new exterior paint, generator, and full galley for around $155,000; and a 1978 model in Detroit with twin 410-hp diesels (1,650 hours), full electronics with overhead box, flybridge enclosure, tower, and custom engine room with tool box and work space for about $170,000. A search also turned up two models priced less than $100,000: a 1975 New Jersey boat with twin 410-hp diesels for $84,000, and a 1976 Florida boat with twin 330-hp gas engines for around $93,000.
For almost 50 years, Post Marine has been synonymous with Jersey coast sportfishing boats. Russell Post founded the company after selling his car to buy the wood to build his first Post in 1957. (He also was co-founder of Egg Harbor Yachts.) He designed the early Post models, forging his reputation with distinctive, lapstrake vessels known for seaworthiness in some of the toughest fishing grounds on the Eastern Seaboard.
With the fishing-friendly qualities of its wooden forebears, the fiberglass 42 quickly became one of the most popular midrange sportfishing boats of its era. The big bow, strongsheer, swept-back flybridge and blanked-out windshield (beginning in 1979) became the distinctive visual elements of the New Jersey look.
The 42-footer was replaced by the William Nickerson-
designed Post 43 in 1984, which in turn was supplanted by the Post-designed 42, reintroduced in 1997. In addition to the 42, Post builds 47-, 50-, 53- and 56-foot sportfishermen in Mays Landing, N.J.
LOA: 42 feet
BEAM: 15 feet, 9 inches
DRAFT: 3 feet
WEIGHT: 33,000 pounds
HULL type: modified-vee
twin 310-hp diesels
TANKAGE: 500 gallons fuel, 120gallons water
BUILDER: Post Marine Co., Mays Landing, N.J. Phone: (609) 625-2434. www.postyachts.com