There was a time when center console fishing boats focused purely on fishing, but that time is long past—unless you look at a boat like the new Cape Horn 32. Unlike many of its competitors, no deck space is sacrificed in order to stuff a berth into an over-sized, air-conditioned console cabin. Instead the console compartment is relatively svelte, and contains only the prerequisite head. Space in the livewell/rigging station isn’t forsaken to make room for a grill or a wet-bar. And heck no, you won’t find a dinette table cramping up the bow cockpit. Don’t look for this boats’ feminine side, because it doesn't have one—the Cape Horn 32 is a natural-born fish-killer.
Sure, there will be some boaters who insist on those “family-friendly” accoutrements. Folks, this simply isn't the boat for you. If, on the other hand, the thought of 29 standard rodholders, a seven foot long 700-quart insulated fishbox, and dual 60/13 gallon livewells gets you jazzed, then you've come to the right place.
In order to serve as a dedicated offshore fishing platform, of course, construction has to be up to snuff. And Cape Horn doesn't shrink in this department. After the hull is laid up voids get pumped full of urethane foam, and with the deck in place, another layer of foam gets injected. Hull sides are cored with a half-inch of Divinycell, and the top cap isn't just glued on, fiberglassed in place, or through-bolted—it gets all three treatments. Although this boat is far from fru-fru, Cape Horn also hand-sands the interior and then applies a layer of 100-percent NPG isophthalic HK gel coat. You think they'd go this far to make the boat look nice? Nah. Actually, this stuff is easier to clean and maintain, so your blood-stained decks don’t stay stained.
Despite the boat's no-holds-barred fishing-first attitude, there are a few measures taken to ensure comfort for you die-hards as you head for the canyons. Most notably, in the form of seating. Where you'll normally find a leaning post, instead there's a giant seat base with a pair of comfy helm chairs planted on top. They have adjustable arm-rests and are contoured to keep you and a passenger both secure and rested during the cruise. Additional crew can choose between the flip-down transom bench seat (which folds away 100-percent flush so it doesn't eat into your fishing space) and the forward console seat. Or, of course, the guys boarding this boat may well opt for the "shut up and hang on" method of cruising. That's no problem either, since the powder-coated T-top supports give you plenty to grab.
Just how hard will it be to hang on as you trounce through blue-water rollers? Match up the boat's construction with a 23-degree transom deadrise, 5,400 pounds of displacement, and a sheerline that rises far aft and stays tall right to the flared bow, and you get a solid ride in big seas plus tall sides that keep you securely inside of the boat. Those tall sides also keep spray out. Yes, some of you may think about the fact that such high gunwales mean increased windage, which can be bothersome for inshore and bay drift-fishing. What part of “dedicated offshore fishing platform” didn't you understand? And, just how much time does a guy in pursuit of billfish, tunas, mahi-mahi, and wahoo spend adrift? Not much.
Another thing you won’t spend too much time doing: cruising. Remember that 5,400 pound hull displacement? That’s pretty darn light, and most boats in this size range are going to weigh10 to 30 percent more. You know what that means: faster speeds. With a pair of F300 Yamaha V-6 outboards on the transom the Cape Horn 32 can cruise at 45 MPH and tops out a hair over 60. Want even more speed? Slap on a pair of F350’s; the transom can take a total of 700 horses without any problem.
Like most serious fishboats, the decks and side-decks are kept snag-free with the use of pull-up cleats and flush hinges. You’ll notice more of those hinges than usual, too, because Cape Horn adds stowage compartments where you don’t usually see them, inside the side-decks just aft of the anchor locker. IMHO it gives the bow an unusual look, but it also takes space that’s inaccessible and essentially wasted on other boats, and turns it into an asset.
Another look that’s a bit unusual is the low-profile bow grab rails, which run along either side from the console to the bow. Rather than being recessed they run parallel to the side-decks on an angled section of fiberglass. As a result they may grab the eye, but they’re also easier to grab. Plus, you don’t have to worry about busting a knuckle against a fiberglass in-set, which is a rather common problem with many recessed bow grab rails.
|Fuel capacity||273 gal.|
|Water capacity||20 gal.|
There are a few options you can add to the boat to dress it up a bit. Colored hullside gel coat, a vacuum-flush fixed head, and underwater lights, for example. Of course, these bits of bling will drive up the boat’s cost, which is a shame because in simple fishing form the Cape Horn is surprisingly reasonable. Priced out with a triple-axle aluminum trailer, a T-top with electronics box, and all of the aforementioned fishing features the price will be north of $150,000, but not too far north. Most competitors in this size range MSRP at over $200,000, and plenty start in the neighborhood of a quarter-mil.
These days, it's rare to find a boat with such a clearly defined mission. One that doesn't try to be all things to all people, but instead identifies a singular niche and fills it. The Cape Horn 32 says to heck with all those cross-over, SUV, do-everything platforms—and if offshore fishing is your sole passion, you've probably been waiting to hear just that.
|Test conditions: wind 5-10 knots, 2 POB|
|Power: Twin Yamaha F300 outboards, swinging 20" three-bladed stainless-steel props. Performance figures courtesy of Cape Horn Boats.|
Other Choices: A center console that tilts more towards family features and less towards hard-core angling is the Scout 320 LXF. If you want something a bit beamier and just as unique in appearance, check out the Belzona 325. And for a more traditional-looking center console with top-notch fit and finish, take a peek at the Jupiter 32 FS.
View Cape Horn 32 listings.
For more information, visit Cape Horn.