It was mid June and we were 1-2 mile off Wrightsville Beach. The winds were blowing a friendly 15-20 knots and the seas were 3-4 with white caps on most of the waves. Pete Horst was leaning his left arm on the port side of the windshield while sitting in the optional forward facing companion seat. Pete's friend, Joe McLeod, was along for the ride and telling funny story after funny story. Joe has a CABO and my guess is that Pete was as much interested in his opinion as mine. However, my current mission was to see if I could get Pete's arm wet or at least some water in the cockpit!

Today is the day we ride the new CABO 35 Express...the third in our series of reviewing sportfishing boats in the 32-35 foot range. Serial number CHXBO134D900 had just arrived from California earlier this week and the anticipation was high because this is the number two of the newly redesigned hull. Pete took a photo of the bottom while the boat was being launched and it only takes a second to see that this is a very different CABO 35.

The idea that I could get Pete's arm wet or to put some water in the cockpit failed. I blasted her into a head sea at 33-35 knots. You could feel her rise and expect a crash into the next wave...but instead it was more like a big hand under the boat placing it back onto the water. I tried running a quarter and dipping the bow into the wave...not luck. Broadside to swells...solid. Next came a following sea attempting to stuff the bow. Forget it! Finally, by backing hard into the largest follower I could find, a splash came over the transom. Whew, that was really hard work! What a great fishing platform.

Earlier while we were coming through the inlet we were discussing the pros, cons and history of the CABO 35. Pete, who used to be a Blackfin dealer, was at the helm and was commenting that Shi only (primary) argument in a Blackfin/CABO dispute was that the Blackfin was better in a head sea. So as he smiled, he pushed the CAT 435 HP 3208TAs throttles and hit every roller as hard as possible and my only comment is that if head seas used to be an argument, they aren't any more.

On the way to the inlet, our speed varied from idle through 35 knots. It was possible for me to lean out far enough that I could observe the bow wake while going slow, coming out of the hole and all the while up to full speed. One wishes that a video camera could record the same sequence and we somehow could show it to you in

the magazine. The wake is clean and the ride out of the hole was as fast, smooth and calculated as any boat I've ever experienced. It looks like the naval architect CABO worked with, Lou Codega, is once again working his magic. My comment to Pete was that the boat feels more like a 40 something than a 35. Of course the 24,000-pound displacement might have something to do with it!

Generally, it is worth going through how the boat is outfitted and a general discussion of the quality. Those familiar with the CABO know that they are outfitted to-the-teeth and their obsession with quality is a benchmark in American boat manufacturing. They even "line-up" the screws on all the fixtures and hinges to prove their ultimate attention to detail. Instead of writing, we're going to get as many photographs into the article as we can. After all, each picture is worth a thousand words. Of course a ride is worth a thousand photos.

In closing, allow me to encourage you to be sure to check out Pete's web site at He is committed to making the site as current as he possibly can with both new and used boat information. And, please be sure to mention that you read about his site in The Sportfishing Report magazine!