REVIEW: CARIBBEAN 24 FBSF
Looking for launch-like characteristics without the marina fees? Caribbean Boats may have just the answer in its 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman (FBSF) – one of the smallest flybridge models on the market. It fits on a trailer, has a great sportsfishing pedigree and will keep the family more than happy for years to come.
Bigger isn’t always better, especially when capital outlay and the ongoing cost of sitting in saltwater are concerned. If you’ve got a big enough driveway, tow vehicle and suitable local ramp, you can forget about antifoul, marina fees and haul-out costs with Caribbean’s new 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman (FBSF).
CARIBBEAN FLYBRIDGE CRUISER
Based in Melbourne, International Marine has been around for more than 50 years producing in excess of 50,000 boats under its own Caribbean (and previously Bertram) brand. That’s a lot of time, a lot of boats and a lot of experience.
The 24 FBSF replaces the 23 FBSF as Caribbean’s smallest flybridge model and boasts an even more efficient hull design than its predecessor. Practical and purposeful, the Caribbean 24 FBSF prioritises functionality. "It’s not glamorous for the sake of being glamorous," says Scott White from Caribbean Boats (NZ) Ltd. This approach means you’re not forking out for unnecessary bling but are reducing fuss and maximising on-water enjoyment.
The lack of a transom door hints at this boat’s design pedigree – bluewater sportsfishing.
The step over into the cockpit is easy thanks to the removable transom seats. With 2.7m of beam the business end offers a decent 4.5m² of cockpit space, although some of that is relinquished to the enginebox. There are good toeholds along each side for secure footing and high gunwales for bracing against while hooked up. Large, lined sidepockets will keep the nets and gaffs safely stored and a rocket launcher mounted behind the flybridge allows accessible storage for five rods.
An optional baitboard can be mounted either on the transom or on the enginebox. Scott has specifically set-up the four through-gunwale rodholders so he can chase marlin without needing game poles, but they can easily be added if desired. While there’s no under-floor storage, there’s ample real estate on offer for a decent chilly bin.
It was time to climb the ladder to where the prime helm station offers unhindered 360-degree bird’s-eye views and a comfortable bench seat for two. The skipper also gets a footrest and there’s plenty of storage under the helm station and seat for all manner of refreshments, snacks and whatever else you can think of. A full set of gauges, switches and a neatly flush-mounted Lowrance HDS8 help keep the skipper in the know.
The stainless steel steering wheel, throttle and gear stick provide a classic feel befitting the boat’s traditional lines, but push the throttle forward and you’ll soon realise there’s nothing vintage about the power plant – it’s modern-day engineering at its best. With the variable geometry turbo there’s no discernible turbo-lag, just an abundance of torque which gets the Caribbean 24 FBSF on the plane quick-smart. With the turbo engaged there’s a fair bit of intake noise, so it’s not the quietest running installation of this engine that I’ve experienced.
The engine was still being run in and we had to stick to cruising revs but factory sea-trials report a top speed of 34.5kts with six occupants, 225lt of fuel, 100lt of water and 100kg of additional ballast. At this engine/hull combination’s economical best, the Mercury Diesel is using around 1.27lt/nm at 2800rpm for just over 21kts. With 300lt of diesel underfloor, she’ll cover plenty of bluewater with the lures out, using around 4.5lt/h.
We cruised comfortably at around 24kts with the quiet, heavyweight hull making light work of the chop and small swell. It gracefully parted the waves, while the flared bow pushed spray well clear and the ride was solid, predictable and downright cruisy as we sat enjoying the view from above.
To keep the height of the flybridge down and the centre of gravity low, there’s a step down into the cabin from the cockpit. This means any water in the cockpit can run forward into the cabin, but the area is self-draining and both areas are equipped with bilge pumps.
Up front the lockable cabin offers privacy while visiting the through-hull Jabsco toilet. The compact door makes it cosy within and the large V-berths should provide a comfortable night’s sleep for two.
Breakfast can be cooked on the on the run via a stove neatly housed under the lift-up bench, and the ingredients kept chilled in the insulated icebox beneath the rear seat.
No space has been underutilised and there’s plenty of storage onboard, with multiple underseat compartments and side storage pockets throughout the cabins.
The Caribbean 24 FBSF is effectively a trailerable-launch (subject to local restrictions) and comes on an Australian-made Mackay tandem-axle trailer with AL-KO Sensabrakes. At 3250kg dry tow weight and more than 2.5m in beam, it requires a sizeable tow wagon, over-width towing compliance and a suitable ramp, but there’ll be few other limitations to your boating adventures.
If you’re looking for the handling of a launch in a more compact package and like the idea of being able to tow your boat home after an enjoyable getaway on the water, then the Caribbean 24FBSF should tick plenty of boxes.
- Quality construction
- Comfortable, well-mannered ride
- Versatile, social layout
- Should keep both the fisherman and the family happy for years
- Comes with a trailer
- Not the quietest TDI installation I’ve been on
- Batteries unprotected and at floor level
CARIBBEAN 24 SBSF SPECIFICATIONS
Single Mercury Diesel 265hp TDI V6 sterndrive, Bravo 2 leg and 19¾ x 19in three-blade prop. Six people aboard, 225lt fuel, full water and 100kg ballast.
RPM SPEED FUEL BURN
1000 5.1kts 2.2lt/h
1200 6.1kts 4.5lt/h
1400 6.7kts 7.3lt/h
1600 7.3kts 9.1lt/h
1800 7.6kts 13lt/h
2000 9.4kts 17lt/h
2200 12.6kts 19.7lt/h
2400 16kts 21.5lt/h
2600 18.7kts 24.1lt/h
2800 21.3kts 27lt/h
3000 23.5kts 31.2lt/h
3200 25.3kts 35.5lt/h
3400 27.3kts 40.5lt/h
3600 28.7kts 44.6lt/h
3800 30.2kts 48.1lt/h
4000 31.6kts 54.4lt/h
4250 34.5kts 57.8lt/h
*Sea-trial data supplied by International Marine.
MATERIAL Solid GRP
TYPE Planing monohull
LENGTH 8.4m (overall); 7.2m (hull)
WEIGHT 3250kg (dry)
MAKE/MODEL Mercury Diesel TDI 3.0–265
RATED HP 265
Caribbean Boats (NZ) Limited
FOR MORE INFORMATION
See the full version of this review in Trade-A-Boat #446, November / December 2013. Why not subscribe today?
Want the latest stories delivered straight to your inbox? Sign up for the free TradeBoats e-newsletter.