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Brief Summary

Cabo has never been known for doing anything halfway. They have a success story on their hands with the Cabo 40 Express, but that didn’t stop them from improving on the model. The next step was to make a new model by adding a flybridge. Not surprisingly, it was another hit. But still not willing to sit on their laurels, Cabo correctly surmised that the convertible market is not entirely dominated by fishermen alone. Time and again, these boats are being bought by Baby Boomers wanting to use them as both hard-core fishing machines and utilitarian cruising platforms, largely due to the breed’s outstanding capacity to handle blue water so well. This led Cabo to redecorate the interior of the 40 Flybridge (which wasn’t too shabby to begin with) and add a more elegant, yacht-like decor that will only help close the deal both with you-know-who, as well as the angler.


Length Overall 42' 10'' /
Beam 15' 9''
Dry Weight 32,000 lbs.
Draft 3' 5''
Deadrise/Transom 16.5 deg.
Max Headroom 6' 3''
Bridge Clearance N/A
Fuel Capacity 550 gal.
Water Capacity 95 gal.


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Captain's Report

Cabo 40 FB

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...

Cabo 40 FB

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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.

Built Tugboat-Tough

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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 40 FB

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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)

Power Options

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.

Cabo 40 FB

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.Cabo 40 Flybridge

The new Cabo 40 convertible has an interior that looks like a fine motoryacht rather than a the interior of a Malibu beach house.

A Comfortable Layout

The makings of a successful dual role convertible start with the layout. It either works or it doesn’t, and the 40 Flybridge layout has a time-proven history of working quite well. The entry to the main salon is via a door that is offset to starboard, and unless the fish are cleaned and ready for cooking, this would be the dividing line that an owner with a discriminating wife dare not let them cross.
The layout has not changed in the current model year, but like the rest of the interior, it’s the finish work that has received the major share of the overhaul. The L-shaped sofa lies aft and to port, with an L-shaped settee forward and to starboard. Cabo also favors the galley up arrangement, keeping with their design scheme of spending the days on deck and the nights below.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The Cabo 40 Flybridge layout features a galley up, main salon and dining area, while below are the two staterooms, two heads, and one shower stall. The head to port also doubles as a day head.

The Old Salon and the New

Cabo took an already good interior design and managed to make it better. Previously, the main salon featured the beautiful teak and holly sole with teak continuing up some of the bulkheads and the cabinetry as well. Window valances and treatments were fabric that blended in nicely to the furniture as well as the overhead. Cabinet doors were ventilated, in some cases framed, and mounted externally to the cabinet itself.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The old interior brought a lot of white into the room that brightened things up, but also added a sterile feel to the room.

The new salon drastically cut back on the amount of “white space” in the room, and went to the more traditional, and yacht-like, teak for a more appealing look as well as feel. Now, gone are the fabric window treatments, replaced with woodwork that shows the attention to detail in fit and finish that Cabo represents.
The window valances and cabinetry, as well as the dinette table, are both finished a bit darker than the teak and holly sole, which results in a pleasing offset while still complimenting each other nicely. Gone too are both the teak table pedestal, now replaced with a stainless steel pedestal, and the leather dinette bottom, now made from teak matching the upper woodwork. The flat screen TV is now framed in black that blends in to the teak finish very nicely. The cabinetry is also redone, and now is finished in flush mounted doors that appear to be cut from the same piece of wood as the surrounding cabinets. Granite counters are a touch darker and the backsplash, which was previously wood, is now a continuation of granite.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The new salon is a pleasing blend of differing shades of teak finish that gives a more yacht-like appearance.

The Galley

The old 40 Flybridge galley seemed to have the look of being added to the boat as an afterthought. While utilitarian, it didn’t match the surroundings and served to satisfy function rather than form. The white Corian counters were patterned but didn’t blend with anything around them, and were also a different shade than the white cabinets below.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The old galley was just too white, and not matching anything around it. Notice the popular in-deck storage pantry.

The new galley décor is a study in elegance that can only be found in the rich finish that blends in so well with the surroundings. The new granite counters are a few shades darker and have a pattern that hides any temporary muss and clutter that so easily accumulates on a galley counter. Looking closely, you can now clearly see that the cabinets and doors are indeed all cut from the same piece of wood, with the grains matching perfectly.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The new galley is more artful and elegant. Note the grain in the cabinets matching the doors. We’d still like to see the stove top have sea rails as well as having fiddles on the counters to keep pots and dishes from sliding onto the deck.

Old and New Head

Changes continue in the 40 Flybridge head. Previously, the head was little more than a continuation of the white-on-white that prevailed in the rest of the boat. There was a small mirror/medicine cabinet above the single basin sink and storage under the sink was accessed via a pair of doors that appeared as if they were simply roto-tooled from the material that surrounds them.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The old head was plain and oh-so-white. A simple mirror and medicine cabinet was mounted over the sink. Note the round, non-textured faucet knobs, which are so hard to turn on and off with wet or soapy hands.

The new head is much more elegant and reflecting the woodwork and joinery found in the rest of the new 40 Flybridge. A tasteful combination of wood and granite counters that continue up to include the backsplash, are complimented by the full width mirror mounted above. A medicine cabinet is cut into the mirror.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

Now the woodwork seen throughout the boat is continued here. Note the full-width mirror and the faucet handles which can be more easily turned on and off with wet hands. We like the pushed out counter around the vanity sink which is a popular design touch on motoryachts these days.

Master Stateroom

The master certainly wasn’t left off the improvements list with teak seen both high and low, and clearly also having the cabinets and doors cut from the same piece of wood. The upper and lower cabinets are offset with a white panel that, again, compliments nicely.

Cabo 40 Flybridge

The new master stateroom is also a study in teak offset with white trim and overhead. Note the cabinets port and starboard that make use of the bow flare for added storage.

Clearly, the design team at Cabo knew what they were doing when they decided to step up and improve on the interior of their 40 Flybridge. They took a successful model, and brought it to the forefront of modern décor while still retaining a yacht-like finish that is usually reserved for much larger, and stately boats. Given that fishing boats are not “all about the guys” anymore, we think this is a definite step in the right direction. -->

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