Ever since their inception in 1991, the singular objective of Cat Harbor Boats co-partners Henry Mohrschladt and Mike Howarth was to build the best midsized sportfishing boat that money could buy. As former owners of Pacific SeaCraft, the lessons both partners had learned building high-tech sailboats paid immediate dividends with their Cabo lineup. Cabo was able to create an immediate quality niche as a premium builder, attracting a market segment of gold-plated anglers who are driven to posses the best products. The Cabo 35 Express and 35 SF models have taken the sport fishing world by storm over the past five seasons, and the new-for-1996 Cabo 31 Express has experienced a similar whirlwind acceptance among knowledgeable coastal anglers.

EXCEPTIONAL DESIGN.

At the heart of every successful sportfishing boat is an innovative hull design. The Cabo 31 Express is no different. I was intrigued to learn that noted naval architect Lou Codega of Virginia Beach was responsible for drawing up the plans for this new deep-vee sport fishing platform. Lou Codega has designed some of the hottest, best running, best-looking mid-sized sportfishers introduced over the past few years. Mr. Codega has once again worked his magic with the Cabo 31 Express hull design, combining a wave-taming 45-degree entry angle with an easy-planning 19-degree aft deadrise and wide, reversed chines to minimize roll when drifting or on the troll. The 31 Cabo's no-nonsense hull design support a serious primary mission, which is to offer a truly canyon-capable 31 footer to northeast, mid-Atlantic and Florida west coast bluewater anglers, who often must travel 70 miles or more each way in search of their targets of opportunity.

But the Cabo 31 Express is far from being a one-dimensional sportfishing boat that simply offers a great ride and nothing more. Mr. Codega has worked with Cat Harbor design team to build in all of the requisite support systems tackle stowage and creature comforts to make overnight trips a pleasurable experience. There's stowage for over two dozen rods in dedicated racks in both the cabin and cockpit. A huge 12.5-cubic foot fishbox insulated box in the transom cap will ice down as many fish as you can haul aboard your best day. A bait prep station with sink and cutting board is also standard issue. Tackle drawers built into the helm twin settees add to the Cabo 31's functionality. The cabin features sleeping for four; a galley; standup head and 6-foot 6-inch headroom.

QUALITY PEDIGREE

When directly compared to competitive boats in the 31 to 35 foot range, Cabo sportfishers typically exhibit superior construction standards, better fit and finish, more costly raw materials, a layout that actually builds in easy access for future maintenance, all put together by a group of dedicated, knowledgeable craftsmen. This has been the Cabo legacy, manifested by the new 31 Express, that has quickly put Cat Harbor Boats at the top of their game in only six short years.

Looking at some of the aspects of the Cabo 31 Express, the hull is formed from 100 percent vinylester resin, to non-woven biaxial fiberglass support for a high glass-to-resin ratio, to employing end-grain balsa coring above the waterline for maximum strength with minimum weight. According to Cat Harbor Sales Manager Greg Borque, there are a minimum of seven applications of BTI 24/15 biaxial stitchmat in the Cabo 31's running bottom, backing up the initial 1.5-ounce fiberglass mat skin coat. A seven-ply marine grade plywood box beam stringer system is then fully encapsulated in resin, and bonded to the hull with four additional layers of the 25/15 non-woven fiberglass reinforcement from chine to chine. For all you math majors out there, that's a total of 19 layers of solid fiberglass in the running bottom, not counting any overlap at the keep or chines. The hull sides feature alternating applications of 18/08 and 25/15 stitchmat on either side of a three-quarter-inch end grain Baltek balsa coring which combine to give the Cabo 31 a smooth and strong ripple-free fiberglass finish unrivaled by any of her peer group. There's fiberglass finish gelcoat just about everywhere in the bilge where you can sneak a glance, another sign that Cabo has spared no expense to put their 31 footer in a league of its own.

The Cabo 31 Express is offered with a wide selection of inboard engine options, ranging from twin Crusader 454 CID fuel injected gas blocks to twin Cummins or Caterpillar diesels up to 420 horsepower.

Both diesel and gas-powered generators are available, as well as numerous sportfishing options, such as coaming bolsters ($840), a livewell in lieu of the sink and tackle storage cabinet ($1,400), and an aluminum reinforcement plate for mounting a fighting chair in the cockpit ($480). Notable standard features include hydraulic steering, recessed trim tabs, three-blade nibral props for diesel power, a hot water heater, a bonding system, saltwater and freshwater washdown, a neat color-coded and labeled wiring system, and a list of hundreds of other items that are too lengthy to mention. Folks, it simply doesn't get any better than this for any 31 footer, anywhere. For more information, call CABO Yachts today.

CLICK HERE TO VIEW ALL CABO YACHTS CURRENTLY FOR SALE IN CALIFORNIA

This review/article originally appeared in The Fisherman Magazine, November 1996 and was written by Spider Anderson. For more great yacht reviews, visit their website and subscribe at: https://www.thefisherman.com/click.cfm?ID=1

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