Boat Review: Cabo 38 Convertible

The new 38 Convertible continues Cabo's legacy of building stylish, bulletproof sport-fishers with exceptional fit and finish.

March 31, 2008

Those of you concerned that the loss of Cabo’s visionary founders after Brunswick purchased the company last year might affect the quality, style or performance of these top-notch sport-fishers can rest easy ? it hasn’t. The new 38 Convertible continues Cabo’s legacy of building stylish, bulletproof sport-fishers with exceptional fit and finish.

Sea conditions during the Miami Boat Show inevitably test the mettle of all the in-water boats running sea trials. When I ran the Cabo 38, the 15-knot easterly wind pushing against the outgoing tide in Miami’s Government Cut made for an especially “sporty” passage. Close-together seas stacked up 4- to 6-feet high slowed everyone down until they passed the jetties. Nonetheless, dropping speed back to 15 knots in the worst of it made for a terrific feeling of security.

In a drift, the 38 sits directly beam-to the seas, but with such a stable and gentle roll moment that it was of no consequence. At 25 knots, a hard-over turn generates a 190-degree course change in about five boat lengths. Port turns take a tad more.


The twin 800 hp MANs make for an exceptionally quiet ride. And the Volvo QL trim tabs add to that ride admirably. Trolling at 7 knots, the Cabo 38 generated moderate whitewater on the surface and little sub-surface prop wash.

In typical fashion for a Cabo, you will never find a more organized, easily traced wiring or plumbing system on any yacht than those on the 38. Just open the distribution panel to witness a true work of art. And Cabo provides the original schematics to the owner.

The layout consists of two cabins: a master stateroom with island double on centerline forward and a portside cabin with over/under singles. One cool feature here – a “tackle showcase” locker with dark background and artistic lighting for vertical rod storage. Throughout the Cabo, each cabin comes with the company’s signature cabinet facing with latticework ventilation.


A single large head with a gorgeous shower stall serves both cabins and as a day head. Finally, the masterfully complete starboard-side galley runs almost the full length of the salon with every appliance and Corian counters.

Engine Room
You don’t realize you’re aboard a mere 38-footer until you reach the engine compartment, where admittedly, you’ll find a tight squeeze between the engines. Thankfully, Cabo doesn’t locate any equipment outboard of the engines because even Olive Oyl couldn’t fit back there. But it doesn’t matter, as all systems are right where they belong. For example, you’ll find the raw-water intakes immediately at the bottom of the ladder. Should you ever need to reach the crash-pump valve, it’s the first thing you come to in the compartment.

In addition to loads of dry storage under seats, the console and in the bow, one of the best aspects of this bridge is the visibility it affords. From the helmseat, you can see the aft-half of the cockpit as well as three-quarters of the foredeck.


The centerline engine hatch abuts a sink with cutting board and a deep freeze to port. Outboard of the salon door, an insulated drink box hides tackle drawers below. I particularly like Cabo’s now-optional transom livewell window.

Cabo provides three rod holders under each gunwale, two in each covering board and one more in the transom to augment the six across the back of the flybridge railing. Of course, you can semi-customize any Cabo 38 if you have worthy ideas for improvement.

So rather than shaving quality under the Brunswick regime, Cabo has, in fact, added extra value to an already fine line of boats.


WEIGHT……28,000 pounds
FUEL……475 gallons
WATER……95 gallons
POWER……T 800 hp MANs
BASE PRICE……$806,775**

Cabo Yachts / Adelanto, California / 760-246-8917 /


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