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December 01, 2011

Cabo 44 HTX

Cabo Yachts’ 44 HTX blends speed and style in a solid fishing machine.

Cabo Yachts, with many years of success in the express fishing-boat market, has developed another express boat with a twist. Taking a page from cruising designs, the company’s new hardtop express is a nicely appointed and well-executed 44-footer.

I tested the 44 HTX out of Fort Lauderdale on a perfect south Florida summer morning. The advantages of this hardtop are a fully enclosed structure on three sides and large windows, skylights and good air conditioning on the helm deck, with all its seating. Our test boat was built for Mr. Arisawa of Japan — a five-time Cabo owner. With serious game-fishing off the coast of Japan in mind, Arisawa set up the boat with a tackle room below, electric teaser reels overhead and maximum storage in the cockpit and helm deck.

The 44 HTX is the first Cabo model designed and manufactured in New Bern, North Carolina, after Cabo’s move east from California. My first observation was that the noted Cabo formula for success –– attention to detail and crisp fit and finish –– remains intact.

The 44 HTX has a nice-size cockpit with everything you need for a good day’s fishing, including a 56-gallon molded-in transom livewell, a transom gate and door, two large in-deck fish boxes, four gunwale-mount rod holders, a freshwater washdown to port and a saltwater washdown to starboard, and a bait-and-tackle center with storage. A sculpted step from the cockpit to the mezzanine deck gives room to turn a fighting chair. The mezzanine has a large seat to port with integrated storage beneath.

The helm deck is expansive, with a huge L-shape settee to port and aft and lockable storage below. A centerline helm on the forward bulkhead offers great visibility all around the boat. You can see the aft corners for docking, and you experience little bow lift on acceleration. The helm dash is molded-in and plenty big for all your electronics and system-monitoring and control equipment. There is a companion seat against the starboard bulkhead and sliding windows on the port and starboard sides for good ventilation.

A sliding door just to starboard of the helm provides entrance to the cabin. There are two layout options for the 44 HTX: One has a twin-bunk stateroom to starboard, and the other, like our test boat, has an angler’s room (pictured above), which is a great place to store rods, reels and lots of other tackle. One of the downfalls of the express layout is the lack of rod, reel and tackle storage. Cabo has cured that with the angler’s room. I like the idea and look forward to seeing what can be done with the area once more owners discover and take advantage of this layout.

A spacious galley along the port aft bulkhead has three large overhead double cabinets, a microwave, a two-burner cooktop, a stainless-steel deep-basin sink, undercounter refrigerator/freezer drawers and storage drawers throughout. Forward of the galley is a table with an L-shape settee that folds out into an additional double berth. The head is just forward of the angler’s room to starboard and features a vanity with a sink, storage and a linen locker, plus a large shower stall. LED lighting keeps the heat down and lighting uniform.

The master stateroom has a large island berth with storage including large drawers underneath, cedar-lined hanging lockers, and large horizontal storage compartments with rod racks over the bunk on each side. Cabo uses premium soft goods and satin finishes on their wood panels for a rich, warm look and feel.

I enjoyed the performance of the 44 HTX. It gets on plane quickly, and the aforementioned lack of bow rise maintains good visibility. It steers easily and turns with good bite while remaining smooth throughout the speed ranges. The boat comes standard with twin 715 hp C12 Caterpillar diesels, but engine options range up to twin 1,150 hp C18 Cats. The most popular engine package to date has been twin 1,000 hp Cats. Engine options from MAN are also available.

When trolling, the 44 HTX with conventional drives has a very clean trail at bait speed and, when pushed up to lure speed, offers a nice wave pattern for your spread.

The hull drifts with little roll and is very smooth for live-baiting situations. The boat backs around very nicely, as I was able to use the rudders to steer from port to starboard in reverse, and it spins easily once the wheel is turned, letting the aft end slip around.

The 44 HTX provides solid performance, with a 28- to 34-knot cruise and impressive range, plus it’s capable of entertaining a large crowd. With trademark Cabo engineering and execution, the 44 HTX is a bankable product with great features and excellent fit and finish. This boat can fish the canyons hard-core or cruise the Bahamas on extended family trips while fishing for anything that swims.


Cabo Yachts 44 HTX

LOA: 47’7”  
Hull length: 44’7”  
Beam (extreme): 16’6”
Draft: 3’7”  
Transom deadrise: 16°  
Displacement: 43,200 lbs.
Fuel: 800 gals.  
Water: 100 gals.  
MSRP: $999,000 With twin 715 hp C12 ACERT Caterpillar diesels 

Cabo Yachts / 252-637-2226 / www.caboyachts.com