The Cabo 35 we tested topped out at 41 mph at 2750 rpm. The 17.5-degree deadrise hull throws spray almost horizontally and leaves a flat wake, allowing surface trolling lures to be run at a wide variety of speeds.

Taking the new Cabo 35 out fishing was actually the final step of an in-depth look at this new sportfisher that had begun several months earlier in the middle of the California Desert. That's when I first saw the Cabo 35, at the facility of Cat Harbor boats near the high-desert town of Victorville, some two hours east of Los Angeles. Still under construction and less than half assembled, the innards of hold number one were almost completely exposed. They couldn't hide anything. Now at the helm of the finished product, heading passed in the Newport Beach Jetty, I had a rare opportunity to test the same boat I had seen built from the keel up.

The man behind the Cabo 35 is Henry Mohrschladt, and his reputation had preceded him. His previous company -- Pacific Seacraft, a maker of sailboats -- was one of Fortune magazine's top 100 highest-quality manufacturers in the U.S. He has since sold Pacific Seacraft and started Cat Harbor. The Cabo 35 sportfisher is the new company's first model.

Built around a pit

Mohrschladt knows his market -- sport fishermen -- so he engineered the cockpit before anything else. With 130 square feet of fish-fighting space, there is plenty of room to fish without rubbing elbows. For storing tackle and setting up lines, we used the two built-in reading stations on the port and starboard sides of the cabin bulkhead. Each is replete with custom teak tackle lockers and covering boards that quickly drop down to become cutting boards.

A rugged duel-action transom door -- with massive stainless steel hinges -- makes it easier to slide big tuna into the cockpit. For smaller fish, however, there are twin 16-by-60-inch insulated fish lockers below the cockpit soul, each with its own overboard prompt. Padded bolsters, for the flush-mount rod holders, and a fresh and salt water washdowns made fishing aboard the Cabo 35 clean and comfortable.

Cabo 35

LOA...... 37' 6" w/pulpit 
Beam..... 13' 
Draft.... 2' 6" 
Weight (With Cat 3116TAs in trend).. 18,800 lbs.

Height above water line... 
Eleven foot 11' 3" 
Fuel.... 420 gal. 
Water.... 80 gal.

Cat Harbor Boats, Inc.
9780 Rancho Road, Dept. SWS
Adelanto, CA 92301
(760) 246-8917

(above) There's plenty of room to maneuver in the Cabo 35's 130-square-foot cockpit. Two built-in rigging stations keep tackle handy, but out of the way. (top left) The combination salon/galley is comfortable and practical. Ten rod and reel outfits can be stored behind the backrest of the settee. (lower left) Access to the engines is quick and easy.

The Hull Story

The basis for this 34 1/2-footer is a William Crealock-designed hull, with 17.5 degrees of deadrise at the transom and a beam of 13 feet. The engineering beauty of the hull and placement of chines did not really emerge until the sea trials. That was when we discovered the three remarkable traits of the Cabo 35.

For one, the boat tracks to at practically any speed -- even on one engine -- and answers to the helm with amazing speed. Secondly, I noticed that the hull throws spray almost horizontally, a decided advantage in keeping you and the crew dry in a cross wind. Thirdly, and very importantly from an offshore fishing point of view, the Cabo 35 lays down one of the cleanest, flattest wakes I've seen. With minimal turbulence behind the twin props, the surface trolling lures ran exceptionally well at a wide range of speeds -- from 1,000 rpm (10 mph) all the way up to 1500 rpm (16 mph).

Our test boat was equipped with twin 3208TA Caterpillar diesels, which crank out 375 hp each. With the throttle wide-open the engines turned about 2750 rpm, which produced 40 to 41 mph on a flat sea. I found a comfortable cruising rpm to be 2100, which provides a speed of around 27 to 28 prosper hour, depending upon the load and sea conditions. Asset-backed rates we were burning about 20 gph, or 1.4 mpg. With a maximum of 420 gallons of fuel, cruising range is roughly 588 miles.

Although the Pacific was tame on our trip, the Cabo felt as if it could handle the biggest of swell. In an attempt to duplicate of the field of heavy seas, we ran her through some big wakes from passing boats. She sliced through the cresting waves with graceful ease.

In poking around the boat (in both its uncompleted and completed states), I could see that Mohrschladt spared little in building this hull as strong and durable as possible while also minimizing weight. States-of-the-art boat-building technology played a key role. For example, vinylester resins -- although they cost more than other resins -- were used throughout the boat. And although vinylester is also 10 percent lighter than other resins, it is also 15 percent stronger and has a water permeability factor of near zero.

Adding rigidity is a laminate of lightweight Airex core from the top chine of the hull up to the gunwale. Below decks are balsa glass-encapsulated stringers, running virtually the entire length of the hull. The decks are all balsa cored and topped with a unique non-skid pattern that Mohrschladt imported from England.

A Big Bridge

Even before the boat was finished, I could sense the thoughtfulness of the design, and nowhere is in this more evident than on the flying bridge.

A nice touch on the bridge is in the non-skid footrest, molded in below the console, for the skipper. In another thoughtful move, a welded stainless steel grab rail is positioned well in boards on the bridge, so that it remains functional even with an enclosure.

Moving toward the bow, the Cabo 35 has one of the cleverest anchor pulpit designs I've seen. The pass-through for the chain and rode is recessed, so that nearly all of the anchor shank is tucked neatly away. I appreciated this when I walked forward to make some casts from the pulpit. The move forward, incidentally, is made easy by the extra-wide catwalks and grab rails that run the full length of the cabin.

The Pacific Seacraft line was known for it's impeccably detailed, yet highly functional, interiors. Mohrschladt has carried that tradition over to the Cabo 35. Accented with custom teak, the interior is designed for the angler who likes creature comforts and practicality.

For example, the combined salon/galley features a beautifully upholstered settee. Snap off the backrest, however, and behind it you'll find stowage for up to ten rod-and-reel outfits. Similarly, in the forward stateroom there's one closet devoted entirely to stowage of rod and reels and another cedar-lined closet for clothes.

Other standard interior amenities include an electric cook-top, microwave, refrigerator/freezer, Corian countertop, double sink, the pile carpeting, halogen overhead lighting and mini blinds.

Mohrschladt builds his reputation on sound designs, quality construction and attention to details. From my look at the Cabo 35 sport fish or -- both in desert and at sea -- it appears as if he's stayed the course.