38 El Bravo — By Capt. Patrick Sciacca — November 2000
El Bravo Returns
|Part 2: Henriques 38 continued|
Braunstein told me something else that attracted him to this boat was the fact that he could tailor it to suit his needs. For instance, he replaced the standard Henriques top with a Tower Power hardtop that has slightly larger framing and three rod holders on each side. (Henriques also offers a marlin tower.) He also had Henriques install the head and shower on the port side just inside the cabin instead of to starboard around midcabin.
As for the rest of the below-decks area, it's a fairly simple, open layout. The steps leading down to it from the bridge do not extend flush to port, leaving a three-inch gap that could cause problems if you're not minding your step. Otherwise it's very bright below, unlike the dark cabins you often find on sportfishermen, and 7'0" headroom makes the space resemble a studio apartment, a feeling Braunstein really seemed to like. A light color scheme, lots of recessed lighting, and natural light from a hatch forward add to the feeling of spaciousness.
To starboard there's a dinette with L-shape seating. It drops to form a double bunk, and a second, single bunk folds out from behind the dinette seat above. A large V-berth all the way forward can comfortably sleep two. A fully equipped galley is standard, but Braunstein, not wanting major appliances, settled for just a microwave, above the port-side sink and a full-size refrigerator forward of the head.
With the walkthrough complete and our fuel-flow gear installed, it was time to see this El Bravo dance. As Braunstein took her out of her slip, I stepped up to the helm station where a newly designed, rounded electronics console housed a Furuno FCV S82 color video sounder, Icom VHF, Furuno 64-mile radar, Northstar 952x GPS, and side-mounted Icom IC-M700 Pro sideband radio telephone. Everything was easy to read and reach from the helm.
While Braunstein concentrated on the channel, I noticed there were no fishing rods visible. After all, this was a fishing boat. Looking under the port-side seat on the step-up deck, I found room for 22 big-game rigs, and there's more stowage under the L-shape seat to starboard behind the helm.
Outside in three-foot swells I measured the 38 at a top speed of 33.9 mph on our radar gun, while burning about 50 gph and providing a 236-mile range, but during acceleration runs in flat water, the radar gun showed 36.0 mph. Either way, that's not bad for a "heavy-weather" hull that's solid fiberglass from the keel to about six inches above the waterline. Above that it's Divinycell-cored, which helps limit her displacement to 28,000 pounds. Nevertheless, that much heft and a semidisplacement hull form mean this lady doesn't exactly leap out of the hole, but rather walks, jogs, and then runs. It takes several seconds to get rolling, but once her momentum starts she pops up, and I could feel her hit stride, especially from 1750 to 2000 rpm, where there was an almost 6-mph jump. And at speed in the three-foot swells, I felt like I was riding on a flat ocean.
With the numbers in the books, it was time to put the El Bravo through her handling paces. Taking hold of the wheel, I pushed the Morse single-lever controls forward, finding them and the Teleflex hydraulic steering system a little stiff. She also took U-turns that were wide but within the normal range. Sightlines were excellent whether standing or sitting. After a few runs, twists, and turns, I handed the 38 back over to Braunstein, who brought her back to the slip. Even with only a few hours aboard her, he maneuvered her as if she was an extension of his arms.
I took a last look at the El Bravo as the late afternoon sun shined on her white hull, and it was easy to see why Braunstein fell for her. Whether it's fashion, music, art, literature, or boatbuilding, everything is cyclical. If a product is good, it never really goes away, it just gets rediscovered. And because Henriques has built a solid sporfisherman in the 38 El Bravo, she'll always have an audience.
Marine Phone: (609) 487-9700. Fax: (609) 487-1716. www.integritymarine.com.
This article originally appeared in the January 2003 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.