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September 21, 2007

Cabo 47 Flybridge

While we were testing Cabo's new flagship 47 Flybridge off Fort Lauderdale, I felt a sudden urge to turn the wheel and steer east towards some remote Bahamas island. I have these impulses all the time, understand, but when you're cruising along at 30 knots in a state-of-the-art 47-footer that is ignoring a four-foot sea, island fever becomes almost overwhelming.

This is a boat that can take you virtually anywhere you want to go, in style and comfort, and fish with anything that floats when you get there. Similar dreams obviously inspired the trip of the South Jersey Champion, an earlier 47 that fished its way from California to the Panama Canal, then north to Mexico, the Florida Keys, and up the East Coast. Such travels are easy in this kind of boat.

Smooth, Fast and Stable

We would have to make do with Fort Lauderdale, but our test was still a blast because the ride is that good. The twin 800-hp MAN 2848LE403 diesels provided exceptional acceleration and cruised right at 30 knots at 2150 rpm. When firewalled, the 47 reached 33.5 knots at 2400 rpm, and that's with a Pipe Welders hard top and a full enclosure. Trim tabs helped lower the sharp entry on the 47's modified-vee hull to cut the waves, and the previously mentioned four-footers were simply not an issue. At trolling speeds, the boat proved very stable due to its flat transom deadrise.

From the centerline helm you can see clearly in all directions. Single-lever controls make handling effortless, and Cabo builds in two very large flat surfaces above the helm for mounting electronics. Our test boat had a Northstar 961 XD and a Furuno FCV 292 mounted there, both big machines, with plenty of room to spare. There's a tilt-out radio box to starboard, and two bench seats forward of the helm with lots of dry storage. It's a very roomy bridge.

Cabos have long been known for their roomy, ergonomic cockpits, and the one on the 47 is no exception. The boat's 50-gallon, lighted live well rests on the centerline in the transom, and there's a large transom gate to starboard that opens beneath a hinged section of the covering board. The cockpit is surrounded by coaming pads (except across the front of the live well), and features large gutters that quickly channel water to oversized scuppers.

Twin in-deck fishboxes run fore and aft, and feature double-sided hatches that open - and stay open - on gas rams. These huge boxes will hold an incredible amount of fish, while the hatches feature deep gutters and heavy-duty rubber gaskets. A centerline lazarette affords access to the aft end of the fuel tank, the rudder table and many of the boat's pumps and through-hulls, all of which are clearly labeled.

Cabo 47 Flybridge specificationsForward in the cockpit, molded-fiberglass boxes contain a freezer, a bait-prep station with sink, a cutting board and three tackle drawers. A storage box to starboard houses the cockpit's electrical panel. Access to the engine room is gained through a large hatch on the centerline. Down below you'll find all systems within easy reach. Cabo's typically exemplary job of rigging, bundling and labeling is evident everywhere you look.

Another example of Cabo's obsession with doing it right can be seen in the salon, where you'll find a tilt-out electrical panel that provides incredibly easy access to wiring. Once again, everything is clearly labeled. Cabo even provides a separate terminal block for power to a tower should you decide to add one, so you don't need to splice into the panel and possibly overload a circuit.

The 47 has a galley-up, two-stateroom, two-head layout, with lots of innovative touches. The galley, for instance, has slide-out Sub-Zero refrigerator and freezer drawers, and there's a huge storage compartment beneath the galley's teak and holly sole. The dinette is to located starboard, beneath a fully equipped entertainment center.

The master stateroom is forward, with a double berth on the centerline and a private master head to port that can only be entered from the stateroom. The guest stateroom has over-and-under berths, plus an additional double berth beneath the forward end of the salon deck. This gives the boat the capacity to sleep six comfortably, in two staterooms, and that's something most 47-footers can't claim.

Cabo's fit and finish is superb, and it's hard to find any rough edges on this boat. Quality touches abound, things like an ear-protection rack as you enter the engine room, fuel filters plumbed into the center of the boat for ease of maintenance, cedar-lined hanging lockers, and the use of top-quality fixtures and hardware throughout the boat. The 47 is yet another example of why Cabo is an industry leader.

Cabo Yachts, Inc., Adelanto, CA; (760) 246-8917; www.caboyachts.com