Boat Review Date: Jan 2012
Author: Mike Brown
The Mk2 Caribbean 40 has the same hull the Mk 1 has had for many years, and that will make a lot of people happy: this hull has long been regarded as a bench mark in sea keeping. On the other hand the changes made to the rest of the boat are far more significant than the usual gradual Caribbean evolution.
The most striking change is the completely new fly bridge. More integrated into the rest of the upper works, it is also considerably larger: 900mm longer and usefully wider. Surprisingly it is lighter too, thanks to a reduction in the number of moulds used. Access is now through a hatch, removing the need to unzip screens for the old rear access. Access is also improved to the seat alongside the helmsman, and the feel is distinctly spacious.
Ahead of the console a dinette and settee would seat probably eight, and the set-up can convert to a double bed. A wet bar completes the upstairs social arrangements.
The cockpit is a Caribbean speciality – it has the sort of area commoner on a 50-footer. To add to it, the marlin board is a west coast special: an extra large one moulded and fitted in WA and equipped with a rear rail. Caribbeans have always attracted fishermen, and the standard platform is still available for them, but the bigger one sits well with a greater emphasis on cruising. A barbecue and even a set of deck chairs easily fit here. Combining fishing with cruising arrangements, the cockpit has a vast fridge-freezer able to hold -16 degrees, and the locker under the adjacent sink contains tackle drawers.
The review 40 had AUD $150,000-odd worth of custom equipment and fit-out. This makes it an exceptionally flash version of a boat that normally epitomises practicality. It was a case of a buyer set on a 40, but wanting more refinement than typical. This is all meat and drink to the local agents, who import Caribbeans essentially naked and do all the custom work themselves.
For this customer teak decking was laid everywhere outside, complex multiple stereo systems installed, much of the lining material changed, a CCTV camera placed under the bow to aid with picking up buoys and anchor. Even the anchor is special: a AUD $3,000+ Ultra.
The interior uses a lot more timber than the earlier 40, and talks to the outside better with a large opening rear window. The saloon is a particularly welcoming space, and laid out for maximum usability. Inside the rear door, to port is a dinette for half a dozen or so and to starboard a settee for another three or four. Ahead of the dinette is a galley set on a mezzanine level. I am not normally a fan of the mezzanine galley but here it works well, with its lower level suiting delivery of loaded plates over the serving bench.
This is a serious galley. The two burner electric stove works on induction principles, so it feels cold to any passing hands that drop on it. The microwave is a convection model, and the chest freezer and fridge, like the other three fridges aboard, is eutectic.
The sleeping accommodation is laid out on Caribbean principles that are different to other builders’. The alleyway is fairly narrow; the clear deck space in the two cabins is not over generous. The idea is that bed area is more important than deck area, and certainly this is the most comfortable 40-footer whose beds I have stretched out on. The lower of the twin beds in the second cabin could sleep two in very acceptable comfort.
The bathroom, where room counts, does have plenty of space. This compartment received a lot of customizing treatment, noticeable in its special surfaces. The standard toilet is vacuum flush – miserly on fresh water.
A pair of QSC Cummins 500hp diesels powers the 40. They have electronic throttle and shift that defends the gearboxes: smooth and crunch-free shifts every time. An option is to team this with thrusters, an option very rarely taken up. The engines are mounted well apart giving plenty of leverage when using differential thrust: tucking the 40 back into its pen was sheer pleasure.
An exceptionally well priced boat that can be as luxurious as you want. With its legendary sea going abilities and clear space it has always appealed to the serious fisherman; this new model makes the most of its cruising potential too.Lowdown
Price from AUD $626,000
Price as reviewed AUD $780,148
Hull length 12.20m
Fuel capacity 2000L
Fresh water 650L