Author: Mike Whitehead
Cabo Yachts Inc. builds its high-quality Cabo Sportfishers in Adelanto, California, a high desert community located slightly less than 100 miles inland from the Pacific Ocean. The company — which has over 30 years of experience building boats — introduced Cabo Yachts in 1991, and the Cabo 43 Flybridge Sportfisher is its most recent addition.
With excellent workmanship that shows in the detail finish, the Cabo 43 Flybridge Sportfisher is constructed with all the attention to detail you’d find on a custom yacht.
We tested the Cabo 43 at Stan Miller Yachts in Long Beach, California, where Tracy Merrill, Ian McGhie and Brent Lindstrom greeted us for a walk-through and test ride. We were boarding hull number one of the new Cabo 43, introduced just this year.
Looking at the 43 from the dock, you will notice the boat’s attractive lines and how well it sits in the water. Moreover, the 43 seems to have inherited the excellent stability of its larger Cabo kin.
The hull — designed by David Napier — is constructed of molded fiberglass using polyester resin and bi-axial stitched fabric reinforcement. Vacuum-bagged core-cell construction is utilized from the upper chine to the sheer. With a 15 foot, 1 inch beam and a transom deadrise of 18 degrees, the hull is designed to give a stable ride in all types of seas.
The openness of the Cabo 43 is impressive. You get the feeling that you might be aboard a 50-footer.
The cockpit is more than large enough to accommodate you and your fishing buddies. A transom door is located starboard of the cockpit’s center, where there is a molded-in transom bait tank. The bait tank features a built-in cutting board and tackle storage compartments.
Insulated fishboxes are located in the cockpit’s deck, and the boxes have macerator pumpout systems — a nice touch. Rod holders are standard, as are freshwater and saltwater washdowns. The 50 foot shore power cord (220v, 50 amps) uses a Glendinning Cablemaster to automatically roll up the cord under the deck.
From the cockpit, you can gain access to the main saloon, the engine room or the flybridge.
The main saloon can be entered through a single door located starboard of the large aft window, which offers an excellent view aft over the cockpit area. The dual-zone air-conditioned and heated saloon is comfortable, with ample space for entertaining guests.
A raised settee and table let you watch the fishing action out the windows while still seated. The entertainment center includes a flat-screen television recessed high in the bulkhead, and the circuit-breaker panels are enclosed in cabinets by the saloon door.
The galley — located a step down, just forward of amidships — is packed with all the amenities of home, including Corian countertops, a built-in two-burner electric ceramic cooktop with a recessed cover, a microwave oven and a huge storage area in the bilge that is accessible through a hatch on the galley deck. The Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer are standard, as is the garbage disposal (an uncommon appliance on a boat of this size).
As you continue forward, a few steps lead down the companionway to the master and guest staterooms (with a queen-size berth and a V-berth, respectively), as well as to the boat’s two heads. Lift the companionway steps to reveal the 43’s washer and dryer unit, which is a nice option for those planning extended voyages.
Before getting under way, I entered the engine room to watch the twin 800 hp MAN diesels fire up. I could almost stand up in the engine room. The room has excellent access (for servicing the engines on both sides), an automatic fire suppression system and metal fire-retardant fuel lines.
The engine room is so well insulated that the main engines and the 10 kW generator were noticeably quiet. With a top end of 36 knots at 2,350 rpm and an average cruising speed of 32 knots at 2,000 rpm, the test boat’s twin 800 hp MAN diesels offered impressive performance. Three types of MAN engines (from 680 to 800 hp) and Caterpillar 700 hp diesels are available as options, and any of the four choices will give you plenty of speed to get to your favorite fishing spot.
As we eased the boat out of a tight docking area, I watched from the flybridge to see how well the boat handled in a close-quarters situation, with the props grabbing clean water each time.
The flybridge’s navigation lights and aft rod holders are incorporated into the stainless steel supports of the hardtop. Two pedestal-mounted helm seats are abaft the helm, and there is bench seating forward of the helm and to the port side (including storage underneath).
No electronics were yet installed on our test boat, but the console was large enough to have an excellent electronics layout. There were also several compartments for the VHF radio and other necessities.
The access door on the port side of the console is for storage, but it also gives you complete access to the inside of the console — so you can get behind the electronics for installation and service without having to pull the equipment. The instrument panel is equipped with VDO gauges, and the Glendinning engine controls use a single level for each engine, tied into an engine synchronizer that has a trolling mode.
There is a three-second delay from neutral to in-gear. This is common with most electronic controls, but it may take a new boat owner a little more time to dock at first, if he or she hasn’t had experience with it. The power steering is very smooth, but a much-needed rudder angle indicator was not included in the gauge package.
Once we were able to throttle up, we could feel the horsepower and hear the turbos kick in. The boat ran very smoothly, creating very little wake, and the wake lines showed how well the hull was up on plane with the trim tabs being lowered to their proper position.
Hard over with the wheel at full throttle, the boat carved a perfect circle, with a slight list to the inbound side. We hardly noticed a difference as the boat sliced through our just-created wake; it rode like a much larger boat.
Turning through a few circles and figure eights, I never had the feeling of being out of control. There was no hull skipping or chine walking.
One word sums up the ride — smooth — and I bet this boat would handle going north around Point Conception better than some larger boats.
From full ahead to neutral, the vessel glided to a quick stop; it didn’t throw any of us forward or take on any water over the transom. Backing down, the props bite the water with force, showing off the boat’s maneuvering power. When someone yells ‘hookup,” you’ll have the control you need.
As the boat building industry strives to bring the luxuries of our homes to our boats, it’s being forced to be more creative. However, in the process, Cabo has still managed to hold onto tradition and build a midsize offshore sportfisher that exceeds expectations.
CONTACT: Cabo Yachts Inc., Adelanto, CA; (760) 246-8917; fax (760) 246-8970; www.caboyachts.com.