Boat Review: 35 Cabo Express | Denison Yacht Sales

31 Янв 2014 | Author: | No comments yet »
Ferretti 35 boat

Boat Review: 35 Cabo Express

Source: Rick Gaffney,

Cabo Yachts has continued its torrid love affair with game fishing vessels with the reinvention of its practical yet enigmatic classes, the 35 Express Los Suenos Edition

There is no tougher duty in the boating magazine business than having to travel to the Los Suenos Resort and Marina in Costa Rica to sea trial a new Cabo. Damn I hate this job. Just kidding

It is always a pleasure to return to the extraordinary new marina and resort at Los Suenos on the edge of Playa Herradura on Costa Rica s beautiful southwest coast. It is a dynamic place, and changes occur so quickly there that they are almost as hard to keep up with as the skyrocketing real estate values.

We first visited Los Suenos when the marina was not yet finished only a comparatively small portion of the accommodations were complete and the real estate was relatively affordable. On our latest visit, the marina was not only flawlessly completed, but was also packed with high-end vessels.

Above it stood the exquisite new Marbella condominiums and the framework for some very upscale villas.

We returned to Los Suenos this time to test three new Cabo Express boats, including the Cabo 35 Express Los Suenos Edition. We came away impressed once again by both the boats and their home.


The Cabo 35 Express Los Suenos Edition, is one of three unique manifestations of the standard Cabo Express, which was specially configured by Central America Yacht Sales for sale out of its Los Suenos Marina-based business.

We have previously reported on the Cabo 40 and 45 Los Suenos Editions, describing the unique modifications specified by Los Suenos honcho, Bill Royster, including the removal of the front windshield, customized electronics pods at the helm and various other thoughtfully upgraded amenities.

We ve made the point that the Los Suenos Edition may not be for everyone; but in the generally calm fishing waters and tropical climate off Costa Rica s west coast, the removal of the windscreen provides for a very welcome cooling airflow across the command bridge.

We liked the 2004 Cabo 35 Express Los Suenos Edition at first glance because its delightful aqua mist-green hull makes it really stand out among the sea of glistening white production boats that fill the marina. Its dark green bottom paint and green boot-stripe offsets the colour nicely. In the eye of this beholder, it was a boating photographer s dream.

We also loved it because it was our first close look at the completely retooled version of the classic of Cabo Yachts production line. The original 35s date back to the early 1990s, and their unique profile and quality construction keep them looking good year after year.

However, Cabo s relentless pursuit of perfection caused the boat builder to retool the classic design to improve its strengths and eliminate a couple of weaknesses. The Cabo 35 we tested is one of the new-era vessels, although you d have a hard time knowing it just by looking at it.


The Cabo 35 is probably the most practical gamefishing machine in the company s growing range, and it has become an industry a benchmark in design, construction and performance for this size of boat.

I dub it most practical because it s big enough to handle the rough stuff and fish tournaments seriously with six (or more) people onboard, yet small enough to be easily operated and maintained by a family.

It is first and foremost a fishing machine, so let s start with the utilitarian 100-square-foot cockpit, around which the Cabo s design team reportedly planned the vessel.

Two five-foot fishboxes in the cockpit sole have over sized drains and macerators to clear away the gunk quickly. Each box is fully insulated, has a gasket to protect against water intrusion and is securely latched to prevent annoying rattles.

Drop any Cabo fish box lid and you hear a whomp as air escapes from a perfectly fitted hatch. Each lid uses long piano hinges through-bolted for durability. The transom door, complete with top gate and Cabo s massive stainless-steel hinges, is also a utilitarian thing of beauty, both for boating a big fish or entering and exiting the water after a dive.

The bait-prep area at the forward end of the cockpit has space equal to that found on much larger boats, with four deep tackle storage drawers, a sink, rigging board and even an icebox for the convenience of those hangin in the cockpit.

There s also locking storage for 17 rods, fresh- and saltwater wash downs, an aluminum reinforcing plate for mounting the fighting chair, a 40-gallon bait tank moulded into transom, courtesy lighting under the gunwales and helm deck overhang, cockpit coaming padding, rod/gaff racks port and starboard under the gunwales and self bailing cockpit scuppers. Cabo s superb non-skid deck finishes off this very functional work space.

It is always a pleasure to review Cabo s precision engineering, and being aboard this Los Suenos-based Cabo 35 Express allowed us to spend some time poking into all of those nooks and crannies again. Every hose, wire bundle and pipe is clearly labeled, and they are also rubber-chafe protected where they pass through a bulkhead.

All systems are nicely segregated: electrical on one side, plumbing on the other, and service items like filters are easily accessible on the boat s center line.


Below the waterline, all through-hull fittings and the trim tabs have been recessed to reduce drag. Everything from the rudder posts to the fuel manifold system is readily accessible.

The fuel tanks are fabricated from vinylester resins, and aviation-style fuel fittings move the fuel from tank to engines. Even normally hidden areas such as bilges and locker bottoms are smoothed and gelcoated. Cabo s attention to detail in this regard is legendary, and it is always a pleasure to rediscover.

The hull design of the Cabo 35 Express provides a wider stance for the engines and unparalleled maneuvrability compared to other boats this size. With its fine bow and 17.5° of deadrise at the transom, we found that the 35 ran easily in choppy seas. When we were lying broadside to light Pacific swells off Los Suenos, the hull s reversed double chines seemed to dampen the roll effectively, giving this Cabo a comfortable motion.

Cabo Yachts specifies quality materials including biaxially stitched fibreglass roving, which is then bonded with vinylester resins that are not only lighter and stronger, but also provide good protection against osmotic blistering.

The hull is solid fibreglass below the waterline for strength and low maintenance, while topsides and deck are a composite of Baltec balsa core, glass and vinylester resin to reduce weight and provide additional sound insulation.

Cabo yachts are also built with a reinforced fiber glass interior module, and the hull and interior are actually bonded together into a stiff monolithic structure.


The clean layout of the helm console on the Cabo 35 Express allows ample room for today s sophisticated electronics, but on the Los Suenos Edition the console electronics have been recessed into very practical weather-resistant boxes.

Clear, easy-to-read aircraft gauges and positive-acting rocker switches are a Cabo standard.

From the helm, visibility is excellent in every direction; especially with the windshield and its supporting hardware out of the way. The twin helm chairs specified on the Los Suenos Edition allow for an easy conversation with the skipper.

The command bridge area also includes an L-shaped lounge on the port side with practical rod storage below, a moulded fibreglass helm deck, a safety cabinet for the first-aid kit and fire extinguisher, a sliding companionway door with opaque white acrylic panel and a tackle centre with six drawers.

The interior of the Cabo 35 Express is comfortable, compact and utilitarian. Accented with Cabo s signature satin-finished golden teak cabinetry, the interior provides plenty of room for overnight fishing buddies or a weekend getaway with the family. Standard features include a head with shower, recessed electric cooktop stove, microwave/convection oven, refrigerator/freezer, Corian counters (with sea rails to keep things from sliding off) and ample storage.

The forward cabin includes a comfortable double berth, a bureau and settee, while the L-shaped lounge converts to upper/lower bunks. There is deep pile carpeting and recessed halogen lighting, which adds to the luxury and ambiance, as do Cabo s fine joinery, finishes, and the lovely interior decor packages.


Idling out of the marina s channel toward Herradura Bay I was impressed by how quiet the Cabo 35 Express was. As the big Cat 3126s were throttled up after we passed the breakwater, my impression remained.

Listening to music on the superb sound system was easy. I suspect the new C7 Cat engine option may prove to be even quieter. Wanna fly? Select the C9 Cat power package.

The Cabo 35 Express climbs onto the plane effortlessly, trims out relatively easily and, although we could find no rough water to test it on, it ran comfortably enough in the light Pacific swells to suggest that rougher waters wouldn t be a problem.

Although we didn t actually get to fish this boat, we did put it through its paces with our back to the helm for long enough to decide that even the most agile billfish would be hard pressed to escape the tangoing transom of a Cabo 35 Express in hot pursuit.

The C-Fab tower and hardtop on our test boat were both functional and a true work of art. The Cabo Express towers are strong, practical sculptures that do not impede vision; and all the tops, antennas, teaser reels, seats and other paraphernalia are neatly included. Los Suenos Edition towers have the engine controls, gauges and electronics necessary to live upstairs all day while vigilantly pursuing fish. What didn t we like about this boat? Not much. Great boat; nuff said.

Boat Specifications: 35 Cabo Express

Cabo 35 Express

OPTIONS FITTED Coloured hull, C-Fab tower, cockpit freezers, genset, icemaker, oil change system, Rupp outriggers, Furuno electronics and much more


Material: Composite FRP

Type: Modified-vee monohull

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