Cabo 40 Express Page 2

Cabo 40 Express — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — March 2003

High Desert to High Sea
Part 2: A well-designed boat is only as good as her build, and as far I can tell, Cabo’s is first-rate.
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• Part 1: Cabo 40
• Part 2: Cabo 40 continued
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• Cabo 40 Deck Plan
• Cabo 40 Acceleration Curve
• Cabo 40 Photo Gallery

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The 40's handling and performance are each a reflection of her hull design, which features a Carolina flare with a knife-like entry. Her entry aims to minimize banging while in a head sea, which I can't attest to on this test day, as I have flat-calm conditions in front of me. Her flare, in combination with lifting strakes, is geared to keep the 40 dry in most conditions. Sadly, I have no spray to deal with either. A 20.5-degree transom deadrise and deep prop pockets help with stability and reduce roll. In addition, the 40's keel, which runs aft from the turn of the forefoot and reaches its deepest point several feet forward of the transom before tapering back, provides some serious bite while she's underway.

Her basic hull shape is courtesy of well-known naval architect Michael Peters. Cabo's own design team took Peters' hull and developed the "deck, structure, machinery, and interior," says Phil Arnold, Cabo's chief engineer, in a phone interview after the test. Arnold adds that to optimize space and weight distribution, Cabo used 3-D modeling.

But a well-designed boat is only as good as her build, and as far I can tell, Cabo's is first-rate. My test boat, like all Cabo 40s, features a vacuum-bagged, solid-fiberglass hull and hull sides cored with PVC foam from the upper chine to the sheer. Even with the coring, the Cabo 40's no lightweight at 28,000 pounds (dry).

I maneuver the 40 to head back towards the marina as a large group of ominous storm clouds appears on the horizon. I give the wheel back to Tinkham and seize the opportunity to see if the fit and finish match her performance. I step below decks, and it seems the 40 has all her I's dotted and T's crossed. The first evidence of her fine detail is the joinerwork. The teak, which has a warm, blemish-free satin finish, is fit snugly and evenly. The wood is complementary to the standard beige carpet (teak and holly is a $3,675 option) in the saloon, which has 6'6" headroom and a leather L-shape lounge (a $5,800 option). The high-gloss dinette table to starboard is a cozy place for breakfast.

But first you'll have to rouse your crew out of the lounge, as it serves as guest quarters with an upper and lower berth. Since they're sleeping nearest the galley to port, they should have no problem starting the morning coffee with the coffee maker atop the Corian counter (also standard). If coffee isn't enough (why wouldn't it be?), the standard Kenyon two-burner cooktop and Panasonic microwave/convection oven are available. I can tell Hull No. 1's owner would rather fish than eat as I peek in the standard Norcold freezer (there's a refrigerator, too) and see a frozen pack of squid where the ice cream should be. It doesn't even look like he has slept on the queen-size pedestal berth in the forepeak master yet. However, no matter how intensely you fish, nature will eventually call, so the single head with VacuFlush MSD is just abaft the galley.

With the comforts of home below decks, the 40 reserves the cockpit for the fisherman. At 100 square feet it's complete with two five-foot-long fishboxes rigged with macerators, an in-transom livewell, a bait-prep center, an insulated icebox, and another icebox with optional ($3,680) freezer plates. Apart from the numerous rocket launchers on the tower, this owner has also ordered custom swivel rod holders and underwater lights to attract bait (squid love lights). I think he may need some more freezer space soon.

Tinkham tells me that the day before our sea trial, the owner raised a blue marlin, several king mackerel, and some mahi-mahi on his inaugural outing. That's not a bad haul for the first trip out of the box. Cabo is about 19 hulls out on the 40 Express (not a bad haul, either), and if it keeps building speedy, well-constructed, and highly finished boats like the 40 I tested, there will be many more Cabo owners and tales of successful fishing trips on the way. Even if they are built in the desert.

Cabo Yachts Phone: (760) 246-8917.

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This article originally appeared in the March 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.