Boat Review Date: February 2016
Author: Mike Brown
The 27 is Caribbean’s most-built hull, over the long lifetime typical of the brand. They have been built in a range of layouts but the review boat is in a class of one: the first to be powered by outboards.
The owner specifying a unique vessel had good reasons for his choice. Close to the end of a love affair with fishing, he was deeply into family days at Rottnest. Not wanting the expense – not to mention the difficulty of acquiring – a mooring, he wanted a beachable boat. He also wanted a boat that could sit in his yacht club pen with no contact between legs and water, removing corrosion problems. These needs decreed outboards, which he believed could also give him more useable deck room.
Local Caribbean agents Mansfield are also shipwrights; they arranged with Caribbean to undertake the conversion of a bare 27 hull to outboard power, incorporating a wish list of owner’s desirables.
A moulded pod incorporating a swim platform sites the motors outboard of the transom, giving an almost unbelievable increase in deck space. The impression is of something more like a 32 than a 27. The owner, who is replacing a 32 with this boat, agrees. The whole of the cockpit area is covered by a canopy mounted on a symphony of stainless steel. The skill that went into the cutting and welding of that structure blended technology with artwork. Unusually for a soft top, moving forward on the side decks is not a precarious operation. Penetrations through the fabric have allowed grab lines to be fitted.
The deck beneath it has been raised slightly above standard height. This allows under deck lockers below most of its area. Skis, gear for fishing, diving, camping and most other activities disappears with room left for more. The domestic side of stowage is well taken care of by the drawers and lockers of the custom galley. Additionally self closing drawers are below all the seating. If anything more needs to be stowed, a pair of the longest side pockets afloat will absorb it. The standard of the custom joinery and cabinet work is first class. It is impossible to tell where Mansfield takes over from Caribbean.
Fitted with a Corian top the galley features an enormous icebox, a sink – which shares a 140 litre fresh water tank with the transom shower – and all the other cookery components except a stove. This is displaced by a transom barbeque. The swim platform has been made large enough to allow space for the cook to operate between motors and transom. For obvious reasons the fuel inlet was moved from mid transom to the side deck; the remaining opening now takes a drop-in ski pole.
Seating comprises a dinette opposite the helm position and a settee across the transom. That leaves enough room for deck chairs or bean bags to total two families plus a few friends. The settee can fold or be removed, when it exposes a lid over grouped motor accessories, switches and the water heater. Ahead of this, where the sterndrive would have been, is easy access to the four batteries.
The fore cabin is as Caribbean originally designed it. That is to say it sleeps two Australian sized adults and has a flushing toilet – one of the vitals for a family boat.
Power comes from a pair of 250hp Mercury Verados. Under test with a clean bottom they produced a top speed 48 knots; anti fouling and a fuller tank took a knot and a bit off this but left a fierce performer. Mostly, though, passages will be at far more modest speeds. At 20 knots, probably slower than typical cruising but still delivering a Rottnest crossing in around half an hour, fuel consumption is two and a quarter litres per mile. Desirable in a family boat, the Mercurys were surprisingly quiet at full speed and barely noticeable at cruising.
At speed during hard manoeuvres there was not the slightest sound from hull or interior. This is effectively a one piece boat. And a very desirable one.
Price as reviewed AUD $218,000
Hull length 8.23m
Fuel capacity 600L
Fresh water 140L
Motors 2x250hp Mercury Verado four-strokes