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May 20, 2003

Cabo 40 Express

Outstanding engineering and attention to detail make this sport-fishing machine handsome and functional.

Are they ragboaters or stinkpotters? How do apair of guys with a reputation for building some of the finest,deep-ocean sailing vessels and trawlers stop in midstream and startbuilding sport-fishing machines? And not just any fishing machine,but a marque that devotees and competitors alike consider to beamong the finest in the world - again. Performance

Over the years, Cabo founders Henry Morschladtand Michael Howarth have improved the running characteristics oftheir boats. Sharper entries may take a little space out of theforward cabin, but they provide a smoother and drier ride in a headsea.

Running out Miami's Government Cut in 6-foot,close-set, wind-against-tide seas tests a boat's mettle with nocompromise. We slowed down, no doubt, but stayed on plane as werounded the first buoy outside the jetties and accelerated up thebeach in a still-healthy beam sea.

Slow trolling, this Cabo rolls a fair distance ina beam sea, but with gentle transitions - no snap rolls. You'lllike the classic two clear alleys appearing in the wake; turbulencedissipates by about the third wave back.

Standard power is your choice: a pair of MAND2876LE 401s, producing 700 hp apiece. Or twin Caterpillar C-12s,also 700 hp each. Running in calm water, the 40 Express hit 41.6mph at 2,262 rpm. When we dropped back to troll, idle speed withboth engines at 600 rpm pushed us along at an ideal 9 mph. Oneengine drops that to 7.4 mph. It took a scant seven seconds toplane, and a very respectable 35-mph cruising speed at 1,800 rpmburned a total of 43 gph. Interestingly, dropping that to 25 knotsat 1,720 rpm saved only 1 1/2 gph. Backing down at 6 1/2 knots, theboat handled predictably.

The Cabo's hydraulic steering reacts instantly toany wheel action, though a hardover turn at cruising speed startsquickly, then settles into a more conservative coursechange 

Fishing

Besides the obligatory features in the cockpitsuch as the deep freeze, bait-rigging station, freshwater andsaltwater washdowns and in-gunwale rod holders, Cabo goes severalsteps farther. I've always considered good tackle to be works ofart. Cabo does, too, and provides a handsome vertical locker in thesalon for rod storage. In case that's not enough space, open thehatch in the cabin sole to discover a huge rod-storage compartmentthat accommodates six 80-wide rigs.

Even more such storage can be found in thebulkhead lockers in the forward cabin. there's additional rodstorage under the L-shaped settee on the bridge deck, under thegunwales - and if you get a tower, the rocket launchers on thestanchions. No, it's not all in one place. But if you organize yourrods by weight, style or species, tackle storage aboard thisexpress borders on an embarrassment of riches.

The cockpit's padded coaming hit me aboutmidthigh. It was a bit of a stretch to bill a sailfish and releaseit, but doable.

Other fishing features include big insulated fishboxes with macerators and a large transom door with top gate. Forthose who back down hard, all the hatches for the lazarette and thefish boxes sport heavy-duty O-ring seals to keep your fish iced andyour bilges dry.

Design and Construction

As you can readily see, this express has veryhandsome, classic lines. Those lines define a hull ofmolded-fiberglass construction that uses premium vinylester resinsand stitched, biaxial-fiberglass fabric. The solid fiberglassbottom ensures strength where it's needed most. From the upperchine to the gunwale, the hull is a cored laminate for strengthwith considerably less weight, lowering the overall center ofgravity.

Belowdecks, the palatial richness will sway eventhe most stubborn distaff mate. The 6-foot 3-inch headroom in thecabin eliminates any sense of cave dwelling. I always prefer aradius to a sharp angle, so the beautiful stand-up head with itscurved shower door and bulkhead and marblelike sole suits my tastesperfectly.

An island berth in the bow with numerous lockers,all with Cabo's signature teak grating, makes a romantic andcomfortable cabin. However, if you should happen to want to bringchildren or another couple along, the L-shaped settee to starboardhides a multitude of goodies. The seat back of the straight sectionlifts on hinges to form a Pullman berth, and the base of the Lfolds out into a hideaway single.

You'll find plenty of examples of fineengineering aboard this Cabo, but one benchmark example is theelectrical distribution panel. It has great little closure clipsthat allow you to pop the panel open, revealing the most incrediblecollection of butt blocks and perfectly executed wiringyouÕll ever see in a yacht. I can't imagine it could be doneany better. Likewise with the engine room. At the touch of abutton, the entire helm deck lifts, exposing this compartment, andsuffice it to say that no builder - custom or production -engineers an engine room better than Cabo.

This column could be twice as long and I stillcouldn't cover all the innovation and "jobs well-done" I found inthis boat. you'll just have to see it for yourself.

Engine Specifications

MAN D2876LE 401, 700-hp diesel

TYPE: 6-IL

DISPL: 781 cid

HP/LB RATIO: 0.26

GEAR RATIO: 1.5-3.5:1

WEIGHT: 2,673 lb.

ALT. OUTPUT: 100 amps

MSRP P.O.R.

MAN offers no electronic controls, so theGlendinning controls provided smooth operation and features likesynchro and low idle.

Boat Specifications

LOA: 42 ft. 10 in.

BEAM: 15 ft. 9 in.

DEADRISE: 16 1/2 deg.

DRAFT: 3 ft. 5 in.

WEIGHT: 28,000 lb.

FUEL: 600 gal.

MAX POWER: T700-hp diesel

MSRP: $641,780 (as tested)

Notable Standard Equipment

  • Amazing rod storage
  • Piano hinges on all hatches
  • Grounding/bonding system
  • 10-kW generator
  • Single-lever controls
  • Stidd helm chair
  • Hydraulic bridge-deck lift

Cabo Yachts

760-246-8917

www.caboyachts.com