Exclusive: Cabo 32 Express — By Capt. Bill Pike —
Part 2: There’s nothin’ like blasting across the Pacific at the helm of a fast boat.
Third was equipage—tops again. Our 32 had a 5-kW Westerbeke genset without a soundshield (Cabo thinks soundshields hinder maintenance), a total of five high-dollar Optima batteries, a powerful 40-amp Newmar battery charger, and a set of cross-connected, proprietary, lip-seal-type, dripless shaft logs that can be packed conventionally should a seal break or malfunction.
I finished up by scouting interior and on-deck features as McGuire slowly conned us out of the harbor. The layout below was simple and conventional, with a diagonal berth forward, an enclosed head (with no separate shower stall, unfortunately) and galley to port, settee/dinette and hanging locker to starboard, and an open area with a teak-and-holly sole in between. Superb craftsmanship was evident everywhere. Corian countertops were crisply fitted. Matching closures, hasps, and drawer pulls were made of sculpted stainless steel. There was rod stowage overhead, and the insides of cabinets and lockers had been smoothed out with power grinders and then gelcoated.
There were numerous topside standouts, too. They included proprietary stainless steel hatch pulls that looked like they’d been case-hardened; a complete bait-prep center in the cockpit to port with sink, rigging board, and tackle cabinet; an athwartship fishbox in the cockpit sole (removable for access to steering hydraulics); and a 40-gallon livewell molded into the transom.
Once we were beyond the jetties, McGuire cranked up the stereo and in seconds put the pedal to the metal—the 32 was zooming across the four- to six-foot seas like an F18 Hornet. Banzick, Mock, Bourke, and I hung on. Beards blew. Cockpit speakers fibrillated. And one beaten-up, cherished hat whooshed aft, a victim of the wiles of the wind. In just a bit we were fishing in 200 feet of water.
And we fished. And fished. And fished. Until finally, after roughly four hours of trying our darndest with both live bait and artificials, on the surface and deep down, we had to “give ‘er up fer daid,” as Mock so colorfully put it.
I’d formed a high opinion of our 32’s fishability in the process, however—the boat tracks nicely at trolling speeds, accommodates an arsenal of fishing rods, and offers an elbowroomy cockpit with comfortably placed inwale pads and a console-style icebox big enough to keep a crowd from getting thirsty.
I drove the boat back to Santa Cruz, garnering test data en route. And lemme tell ya: There’s nothin’ like blasting across the Pacific at the helm of a fast boat, with a good day in your wake, the strains of “Sharp Dressed Man” blarin’ (for giggles and grins), and a couple of ZZ Top look-alikes aboard groovin’ and grinnin’.
And although the turning radius of our 32 was broad, likely due to relatively small rudders, and the inboard heel in hardover turns significant, likely due to top-heaviness from our optional C-Fab tower, the average top speed of 41.1 mph was flat-out exhilarating. And docking our Cabo 32 Express sealed the deal: Her hefty, low-profile maneuverability and wind-resistant heft made me a total fan.
One thing still bugs me, though. Certainly Banzick and Mock were skilled fishermen, and their story about just being local boys with a penchant for rock-star imitation seemed plausible enough, but I wonder: Is ZZ Top still a Texas band? Or have those guys maybe moved to Californy?
Cabo Yachts ( (760) 246-8917. www.caboyachts.com.
This article originally appeared in the August 2005 issue of Power & Motoryacht magazine.