My first thought when I took my initial look at Cabo's new 43 was: What a pretty boat! Somehow, the Cabo design team has managed to blend the classic, old-style Rybovich/Merritt grace with modern-day lines, and in the process was able to create an astonishing amount of living space.
Make no mistake, this is a very large 43-footer boasting two staterooms and two heads - and the guest stateroom actually feels much larger than the master. The master, though, is indeed bigger, with clever utilization of space and an en suite head and stall shower. The guest quarters have three real bunks, with the lower one on the starboard side big enough for two, and a very cool berth up high on the port side. Hanging lockers, vented storage lockers and drawers are numerous and attractively finished inside and out. You'll find that Cabo is still using top-quality hardware and performing exceptional joinery.
As mentioned, there's lots of innovative use of space. I saw a tab sticking out of the bottom of the companionway steps, lifted it, and was delighted to find a combo washer/dryer. It's a little awkward to get at, but it works. The galley has a large freezer and a Sub-Zero two-drawer pull-out refrigerator, and below the sole is a cavernous hold into which I could easily lower myself. The main salon is large and comfortable, with all the standard accoutrements. There is good under-sofa rod storage, replete with easy pop-up access without having to remove any cushions, and our test boat featured a Bose stereo sound system, dinette, flat-screen TV, central vac, and an icemaker. The electrical panel is superb.
Access to the engine room from the cockpit is easy, and there was plenty of room to move around the pair of optional 800-hp MAN diesels. Dual fuel filters with a throw valve come as standard equipment, as does a crash valve that converts the starboard engine to an emergency pump via a bilge pickup protected by a strainer. Electric fuel-primer pumps are standard, and the oil-exchange system services both engines and transmissions, as well as the generator. Other standards items include a fire-extinguishing system and high-water alarm.
The cockpit is 136 square feet of battleground, more space than just about any other 43 convertible offers. The 40-gallon live well has a unique remote drain-plug release. The well doubles as a fishbox on days when you don't want to bring live bait. Two 52-gallon, in-deck fishboxes are sealed with gaskets and have large macerator pumps for cleanout. Large, shallow side lockers are ideal for gaffs, mops, and tag sticks.
The tuna door has a top gate and, in traditional Cabo style, the mounting hardware and fasteners are massive, of aircraft quality and chrome-plated. The tackle-prep station has a good-size sink and rigging area, and the deck freezer boasts three cubic feet of space. The lazarette is mammoth and beautifully finished inside. All fuel shut-offs are mounted at the top forward end of the lazarette hatch or on the top aft end of the 700-gallon fuel tank, for easy access. Three tackle drawers and four gunwale rod holders come standard, as do the coaming bolsters. An aluminum plate is laminated into the deck for mounting a fighting chair. As always, Cabo's cleats and deck hardware are larger and of better quality than need be, and a 24-volt windlass is standard.
The layout of the outsized bridge is typical of a boat in this class, with plenty of storage space and a neat icebox built into the forward seat. All switches are mounted above or beside the console for easy access.
The 43's nimble hull lacks strakes and maintains a constant 18 degrees all the way aft, which provides an unusually dry ride with impressive seakeeping abilities. We ran our test boat off Cape Cod, Massachusetts, on a windy day that kicked up moderate seas, and found that it rode softly on all points of sea. The 43 backed and spun superbly, and with the power steering was exceptionally agile at high speed. With full fuel and water, a full tower with enclosure, and four people aboard, it ran 22 knots at 1600 rpm, 27 knots at 1850 rpm, 29 knots at 1950 rpm, and topped out at 36 knots at 2300 rpm.
If you're in the market for a high-performance, two-stateroom, two-head sportfisherman in the $800,000 range, you'll have to look long and hard to find one that'll top the Cabo 43.
Cabo Yachts, Adelanto, CA; (760) 246-8917; www.caboyachts.com.