38 El Bravo — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca
— November 2000
El Bravo Returns
|After a four-year hiatus, Henriques’ 38 Express is popular once again.|
With 80 years on planet Earth and 62 of those spent as a boat owner, David Braunstein knows what he wants when it's time to buy a new boat. After all, he's owned two dozen that have run the gamut from houseboat to sportfisherman.
And when he makes a decision, this former Abercrombie & Fitch chairman sticks to it. Braunstein's most recent decision was to trade his 35-foot convertible for a 38 El Bravo Express sportfisherman from New Jersey semicustom boatbuilder Henriques. It was an unusual choice. The El Bravo was popular in the mid-1990s, but Henriques hadn't built one since 1996. Andy Eget, a sales representative from Integrity Marine, Henriques' exclusive distributor, says there's been a resurgence of interest in the El Bravo. As a matter of fact, he says, the last four Henriques orders have been for this 38-footer. I was anxious to get down to Margate, New Jersey, where Braunstein was keeping his barely wet boat, and find out why.
I found the 38 sitting behind Braunstein's waterfront home, and one look told me she'd been built by fishermen for fishermen. Her standard rod holders, transom door, optional livewell, and spacious cockpit all said this was a bluewater boat. It was enough to make me go back to my car and grab a fishing rod.
I stepped down to the cockpit and felt dwarfed by its 140 square feet. "The size of the cockpit was a big factor [in choosing the boat]," Braunstein told me. Standing there it was easy to picture the optional sailfish outriggers setting a spread as we trolled for a big blue. This boat featured single spreaders, but for a tournament fisherman, the 38 could easily handle the optional triple spreaders that maximize the number of baits in the water.
And where to put that live bait? On Braunstein's boat they go in the 40-gallon transom livewell, which saves room in the deck for the standard port and starboard 103-gallon fishboxes just off centerline. These puppies are large enough to hold your biggest big-eye--after you pull him through the standard starboard transom door, of course. Those fishboxes can also be converted to livewells, if you're planning an extended trip to the edge.
Below the cockpit is an engine room nearly as spacious. With the flick of a switch, a gas-assisted hatch lifts to reveal two 465-hp Yanmar diesels, which I discovered that I could maneuver around with ease. Also available are engines from Caterpillar, MAN, Volvo Penta, and Cummins. A pair of 430-hp Volvo Pentas come standard with the base price tag of $333,000; dressed to the nines, Braunstein's El Bravo came in at around $363,000.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.