There was a day back in 2018 when Rob Parmentier, then CEO of Wisconsin-based Marquis Yachts, decided that enough was enough. Feeling that the company was stuck in a rut, Parmentier wanted to make changes—big changes—which would require some bold thinking. So to the shock of pretty much the entire boating community, he discontinued the entire product lineup. Then he announced that Marquis was going to shut down for the next year so it could focus exclusively on bringing the new yachts he envisioned to life.
Plenty of CEOs have made ballsy moves, but seldom has someone shut down the whole operation for a year or more to gamble on an unknown. Many people openly speculated that Parmentier had flipped his lid.
Today, we know better. When Marquis did once again open its doors, it’s fair to say that jaws dropped on multiple continents as the company rolled out its first new models, leading with the groundbreaking M42.
It’s still happening today as Marquis continues along its path, dazzling buyers with truly imaginative and innovative designs—now including an all-new M42 with outboard power.
To say that demand for an outboard-powered version of the big Marquis has been strong would be a massive understatement. Within days of unveiling the new variant, Marquis confirmed the outboard boat is now the standard model. So what’s so special about it?
For starters, just look at it. With its aggressive reversed bow, long, narrow cabin windows, and flared profile leading aft to a wide stern sunpad and a rack of massive outboard engines, it just doesn’t look like anything else afloat. The original concept, based on a design from Nuvolari Lenard, the famed Italian yacht designer, represents a delicately balanced fusion of exquisite Italian refinement with in-your-face American horsepower. In many respects, the yacht is like a combat veteran in full dress uniform—elegant on the surface but savage underneath.
The outboard-powered M42 shares all of the same features and accommodations of its paternal twin, including the aforementioned aft sunbed, the expansive cockpit with its U-shaped seating, the delightful wet bar, and the large helm that easily accommodates a pair of 16-inch Raymarine touch-screen displays. And it retains every detail of the original’s surprisingly spacious galley, forward seating belowdecks that converts to a comfy overnight berth, and the generously proportioned head compartment, complete with stand-up shower stall.
But there are differences in the outboard-powered M42, and they are substantial. For starters, moving the engines out of the boat frees up an enormous amount of interior space. You don’t see it above the floor, but it is unmistakable below. Where the twin Cummins diesels once resided, there is now an enormous storage locker that is more than capable of gobbling up all sorts of large, bulky gear, including goodies such as folding bikes, inflatable paddle boards, or playful water toys that would never fit aboard the original inboard-powered M42.
But beyond more storage space, moving to outboards gives the boat the ability to take more power, with triple Mercury Verado 400s replacing the original twin 480-horsepower Cummins diesels. Apart from adding another 240 ponies to the stable, the outboards are also lighter, with the three of them weighing 909 kilograms compared to 1,225 kilos for the twin diesels. That double whammy of more power and less weight gives the outboard-powered M42 quite a bit of added zip, pushing it well over 80 km/h. Beyond that, moving the engines aft of the transom gives the props more leverage in the turns. Combined with a corresponding shift in the boat’s centre of gravity, the outboard boat enjoys even better handling than the original. That’s some trick, considering the original M42 already drove more like a Jet Ski than a 10,000-kilogram luxury yacht.
And the down side? With the outboards placed at the back of the boat, the new M42 loses the original’s hydraulic swim platform. For those who prefer that arrangement, Marquis still offers the diesel version. But for my money, the multitude of advantages to the outboard model more than mitigate the loss of the power swim platform.
Although there were more than a few people questioning Rob Parmentier’s sanity when he shut down Marquis and discontinued its entire lineup, having seen the result, no one questions him now. With original and innovative designs such as the M24 Outboard, Marquis continues to raise eyebrows while its competitors scramble to catch up.