Boat Review Date: January 2012
Author: Mike Brown
To some eyes a Caribbean looks old fashioned, and that’s just how the legion of Caribbean lovers likes them. In their view, if you build a boat to suit how experienced Australian boaties want to use it then that’s how it is going to look. The evidence is there: Caribbean owners generally keep their boats longer, put more hours on them each year, and get a greater percentage of the buying price when they do sell them.
The Caribbean 27 is probably the most popular model in the range, and illustrates more emphatically even than its stable mates what is the biggest single Caribbean feature: useable open space. The cockpit has the exceptional deck area of 7.3m, and it merges with the backless saloon to give vast space for entertaining. Beam contributes a lot to this area: without pretence of being a trailable boat, beam is a generous 3.21m. This naturally also enhances stability and adds to the 27’s attraction to fishermen.
The standard 27 has upper and lower control stations, although the lower station can be a factory deletion. A local option with that deletion shifts the galley from its normal location at the saloon rear to the forward bulkhead. The released space then houses a full height moulded toilet module, complete with electric toilet coupled to a holding tank. In many people’s opinion this is a far better alternative to the standard location between the V-berths in the forward cabin.
It is a competent galley, with twin burner stove, sink and superb AC-DC eutectic fridge-freezer, although, as always, a barbecue is likely to replace it for most occasions. Another locally moulded option fitted to the review boat is an extended swim platform with extra handrail to accommodate the barbecue.
Fly bridges on this size of boat tend to be skimpy items, but the 27’s stability allows a roomy one. Sensibly, rather than individual seats an L-shaped settee is fitted. This easily takes three adults or a young family. The console it faces is an impressive one, with a full set of analogue gauges and twin lever controls for each of the twin motors. There is much to be said for twin levers: when manouvring at idling speed you can leave the throttles alone and drop in and out of gear – no accidental surges of power.
The power available is substantial: a pair of 4.3L Mercruiser sterndrives with a combined 440hp. This is good enough to nudge 40 knots; cruising at 25 knots the motors are completely unstressed. The 550L tank would take you to Geraldton with a comfortable reserve left. And why not go there? There is plenty of shelter along the way, and interesting waters inshore. Refuel in Geraldton and take in the Abrolhos: the 27 offers accommodation for four that would not cramp up over four or five days.
The dinette in the main cabin converts into a generous double, as do the forward V-berths. There is enough deck space for folding chairs for all in the cockpit, the fridge is cruising size, the fresh water tank holds 160L, and there is a hot and cold shower fed by a 16L-capacity heater. For those easily bored by fishing and snorkelling, a bulkhead-mounted flat screen TV-DVD is on offer.
It will probably not be switched on too often: the Caribbean 27 is a boat for people who enjoy the physical side of boating – getting there and doing things.
Price from $159,106
Price as reviewed $179,991
Hull length 8.23m
Fuel capacity 550L
Fresh water 160L
Motors fitted 2 x 4.3L Mercruisers @ 220hp ea