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Cabo 44 HTX: comfort meets hardcore fishing

With its enclosed bridge deck and large two-stateroom cabin, the new Cabo 44 HTX (Hardtop Express) represents the latest in express sportfishing design, according to the builder.

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"We kept the core sportfishing DNA in the 44 and really advanced the boat from a comfort standpoint," Cabo vice president of sales Don Smith says.

"In the past, the boat would go to a subcontractor and they would install a hardtop or tower. By putting the hardtop on ourselves, we feel like we're offering a better package."

The front and side windshields that enclose the bridge deck extend to the hardtop. The design not only protects the crew from the elements, but it also improves visibility because there are no plastic filler curtains or hardtop framing to obstruct sightlines, Smith says. The side windows open for ventilation and the boat can be ordered with bridge deck air conditioning.

Michael Peters designed the hull, which has a sharp entry and variable deadrise. "It's an excellent boat in a head sea and in a following sea," Smith says. "It has very stable running characteristics. There are absolutely no surprises."

Peters has penned five other Cabo models from 32 to 52 feet. His other sportfishing designs include the EdgeWater 37, five models from Contender, and the Garlington 78.

With twin 1,050-hp Caterpillar C18 diesels, the 44 HTX tops out at 38 knots (2,300 rpm) and settles in at 1,900 rpm for a 30.5-knot cruise.

Wondering about pod-drive propulsion? "We certainly investigated [pods]," Smith says. "They are popular on our 40 Express and 40 Flybridge, but with the displacement of this boat the gearing of the current pods would have to be reduced, so we wouldn't gain the same type of efficiency as on the 40 Express." The builder does offer the ZF Marine Joystick Maneuvering System, which brings joystick control to inboard boats.

The 44 replaces the Cabo 45 in the company's lineup. The new boat is 10 inches beamier, which allowed a redesign of the cabin, Smith says. The galley was moved aft and from the port to the starboard side of the saloon. "You get a larger galley area and a lot more counter space," Smith says.

Cabo also moved the second stateroom, which abutted the forward master stateroom on the 45, to starboard. The head now separates the two staterooms for increased privacy. That second stateroom also can be used as an "angler's room" with a Pullman berth, rod racks and a hanging locker, Smith says.

The cockpit is equipped with a standard bait-and-tackle center, 56-gallon bait well, a mezzanine with integrated storage, and an aluminum plate in the sole for a fighting chair.

The 44 HTX's base price with the twin Cats is $1.05 million. With standard 715-hp Cummins diesels, it's $949,000. Contact: Cabo Yachts, (252) 637-2226.

This article originally appeared in the January 2011 issue.

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