Boat Review Date: March 2010
Author: Mike Brown
At one time if you bought a Bertram in Australia, International Marine would have built it in Victoria. They are the builders of Caribbean, and for a long time the names Caribbean and Bertram were interchangeable, as were the designs. The current Caribbeans are close relatives of that generation, and the new Caribbean 27 Flybridge Sports Fisherman Mansfield Marine are displaying has evolved from a blend of the Caribbean 26 and 28 Flybridge Sports Fishermen, with acknowledgements to the Bertram 25 Flybridge.
Evolution rather than revolution is Caribbean’s trademark, and one that wins them a lot of friends: Caribbeans do not date. By their standards the 27 took a big step with 200mm more beam than the 26, a bigger cockpit (at 7.3sqm it really is big) and new curves in the styling. Fuel capacity is up too, and there are masses of detailed improvements. Incidentally, you check the fuel level with a dipstick – typical basic but effective Caribbean technology.
The 27 deserves the ‘Sports’ in its name: a pair of V6 Mercruisers delivers a combined 440hp, taking it to a maximum of 39 knots in quick time. The ‘Fisher’ goes without saying; almost every Caribbean ever built – and we are talking 50,000-odd in the past 50 years – has been a capable fishing boat.
The 27 is also a capable cruiser, not in any luxury sense but a big improvement on a trailable cuddy cabin. It has a roomy fore cabin with V-berths convertible to a double, and under the hardtop the dinette makes a part time bed. It is opposite the simple galley unit of sink and two-burner metho stove. The fresh water shower aft can become a hot one with an optional heat exchanger fitted.
Ahead of the galley is the lower control station, and on a boat of this size there will be times when you won’t want to sit upstairs. But when you do opt for al fresco driving, you get a greatly improved flybridge for the job. There is more room, more seating area and more equipment than on the predecessor. You now get duplicate everything, allowing you to keep an eye on the motors’ state of health – and to turn them on and off. The dash has extra area allowing the fitting of the bigger sounder displays that are becoming common.
The 27’s base price is AUD $161,000 for one of the slowest depreciating brands on the market.