Cabo should be on any serious fisherman’s short list: It’s one of the top three or four builders around. The 40 Flybridge is a nice balance between size, price and convenience – but will cost you a million nevertheless.
If you agree that a bad day of fishing beats a good day at work, you should take a close look at the Cabo 40 Flybridge. Designed for the serious offshore angler, the 40 Flybridge combines an efficient cockpit with light-but-rugged construction and a smooth-riding modified-V bottom. Powered by twin diesels up to 800 hp each, the 40 will speed you out and back, leaving more time to drag baits and boat fish. Zeus pod drives are available with twin CMD 600-hp diesels. At the end of the day, a nicely appointed salon will provide a comfortable place to unwind. In short, the Cabo 40 Flybridge is all the fishboat most of us will ever need. Find out why...
Michael Peters designed the 40 Flybridge; what he doesn’t know about fast, seaworthy offshore boats isn’t worth knowing. The hull is a modified-V with 16.5 degrees of deadrise aft, a nice balance between the comfort of a true deep-V and the speed and efficiency of a flatter hull. Photo © Forest Johnson.
The Back Story
Cabo Yachts was started in 1988 when Henry Mohrschladt and Michael Howarth either saw the light, or went over to the dark side – which one is correct depends on who you ask – and sold their sailboat company, Pacific Seacraft. Pacific Seacraft was to sailors what Rolls-Royce is to car nuts – they were boats one aspired to. The partners brought the same obsession with cutting-edge design and tugboat-tough construction to Cabo; it took them three years to design, engineer and build their first boat, a 35 Flybridge. Almost immediately, Cabo became one of the top three or four go-to boatbuilders for serious sportfishermen.
The 1991 10% luxury tax was the coup de grace for many traditional builders of 40' convertibles, companies like Post, Jersey, Blackfin, Trojan and others, but then along came Cabo to fill demand when fishermen started buying new boats again in the mid 1990s.
The long bridge overhang moves the helm seat aft so the skipper has a gull’s-eye view of action in the cockpit, a plus when fighting a big billfish: A good skipper will watch the line, and maneuver to make it easier for the angler in the chair, and in many (most?) cases use the boat to help fight a truly big fish.
Michael Peters designs Cabo yachts. He is a master of high-speed offshore boats that can keep running hard without falling apart when the going gets tough. Every Cabo is built with stitched biaxial fiberglass fabric bonded with vinylester resin, vacuum-bagged to help ensure a high-glass ratio laminate. The running bottom and molded interior module are bonded together to make a stiffer, stronger structure. When the scent of fish is in the air, real fishermen don’t baby their boats, and the Cabo can take whatever you can dish out, as far as we know.
The galley, dinette and lounge are on one level, just steps from the cockpit. Note the starboard head/shower is shared by the staterooms; the one to port serves as a day head. There’s rod stowage over the island queen berth, more under the settee in the salon.
Ideal for Apres-Fish
The 40 Flybridge is based on Cabo’s earlier 40 Express; the two boats share a hull, but the Flybridge version adds a comfortable saloon in place of the open bridge deck on the Express. Which set-up is better for fishing is an argument we won’t get into, but there’s no question the Flybridge will be more comfortable for après-fish activities.
Cabo does a good job of joinery and décor, in our opinion. The table’s a bit small for formal dining, but on a boat like the 40 Flybridge, it doesn’t matter.
The galley, dinette and L-shaped settee are all basically on one level (the galley is a step lower), with cabin-side windows to provide natural light; the cockpit is only steps away, so folks can hang out in the air conditioning waiting for a strike. Below decks, there are berths for four in two staterooms, and two heads as well. Everything is appointed and finished with standard Cabo joinerwork quality, something that is virtually identical in every model in its line.
The galley is basic, but has all you need for the care and feeding of a fishing crew. If you want a formal dinner, eat ashore. Countertops are Corian, and plenty big for making a nice lunch. (Photo © Forest Johnson)
The Heart of a Fishboat
The true heart of any sportfishing boat is the cockpit, and the 40 Flybridge has one that’s roomy, easy to work and fully equipped. Naturally, there’s a bait-prep center with a sink and rigging board, and a three-drawer tackle locker, too. Two insulated in-deck fishboxes run fore and aft; the Cabo folks say this arrangement, rather than athwartships, prevents damage to fish on the run back to the marina.
The cockpit is clean and uncluttered, with a bait station forward and large live well aft. Cabo molds in a backing plate for a fighting chair. A swim platform is optional, but why? This is a fishing boat. (Photo © Forest Johnson)
One of the boxes can be fitted with chill plates as an option. The 48-gallon livewell at the transom is filled by 16 water inlets to maintain circulation and keep the bait alive; it’s also lighted. When the last mullet is on the hook, a dump valve will empty the well in a couple of minutes. The transom door and top gate hang on heavy-duty custom hinges that should last a lifetime – or at least until it’s time to trade up to a bigger Cabo.
Out of the way, but still easy to reach, these rods live under the L-shaped settee in the salon. There are 5 gunwale rod holders, 5 more in a rocket launcher on the bridge rail. A 9-rig rocket launcher is optional. (Photo © Forest Johnson)
The most popular power option for the Cabo 40 Flybridge has been twin 800-hp MAN R6-800CRM diesels, but many dealers think that will change, now that the boat’s available with 600-hp Cummins QSC 8.3s linked to Zeus drives. We haven’t tested this boat yet, but folks who should know say the Zeus package will produce the same performance as the big MANs, but with improved fuel economy, along with all the other advantages Zeus brings to the party. Buyers who want to stick with conventional power can still opt for the MANs, or choose a pair of 715-hp Caterpillar C12 ACERTs or 720-hp Yanmar 6SY-STPs.
Now you’re talking: Tropical sun, calm sea, blue-green water, great boat. The hardest decision you have to make? What bait to use. Sign us up.
What’s the bottom line?
Our local dealer has a Cabo 40 Flybridge at the dock, ready to go. Well-equipped, with the Zeus drives, the boat lists for $1,020,000, without electronics. That price is up there with the top sportfishing boats on the market, but why not? Cabo is one of them, and this kind of quality, and Zeus pod drives with joystick, don't come cheap.
Our recommendation? If you’re serious about fishing, want a boat that will take you out where the big ones swim and can afford it, check out the Cabo 40 Flybridge. No matter what marina anywhere in the world you pull into, the fishy types will know where you're coming from. Sure, it’s pricier than some 40s, but on the other hand it is less than some others, and you get top quality construction, excellent equipment and a spotless reputation. And you’ll get back some of the extra bucks you paid when you trade it on a bigger Cabo. It would be on our short list.