Review: Caribbean 2400 hardtop

By: John Willis & Tim Van Duyl, Photography by: Ellen Dewar & Nathan Duff


We water test and rate the Caribbean 2400 hardtop, a contender in the fibreglass fishing boats category at the 2017 Australia’s Greatest Boats awards.

Caribbean 2400
Australias best boats 2017 logo

Caribbean boats like the Caribbean 2400 hardtop proudly reflect time-proven design and construction techniques that have seen many flashy newcomers floundering in their wake. There’s a lot of truth to the old saying ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ but the Caribbean philosophy modifies that mindset by constantly seeking to improve its layouts, and they feature genuine advances in boating technology. All this is evident on the Caribbean 2400.

Caribbean has always produced beautifully constructed boat packages with a touch of the KISS – Keep It Simple, Stupid – principle. Their classic lines define the grace and beauty of premium marine design. Fashions fade; style is eternal, as Yves Saint Laurent said.

Yet large trailerable fishing boats have changed dramatically with the advent of big, fuel-efficient outboard engines, and Caribbean has moved with the times, its 20-27ft range now offering outboard wells capable of carrying big horsepower to deliver extreme performance.

Caribbean 2400 rear lounge on transom

Electronics and technology have also advanced dramatically, forcing new designs to fit large multifunction screens and diagnostics. The hardtop Caribbean 2400 has found the space yet retained the timeless design that spruiks quality.

Editor Tim must have loved the Caribbean boats as he again used the ‘P’ word: "As a base platform it’s almost perfect – chuck a tower on and head out wide, or add a fridge and you’ve got the perfect family dayboat."

The internal fit-out certainly holds with the theory of simply providing essential items, yet everything you need is there. There’s also a massive V-berth, plenty of creature comforts, a practical helm, tons of storage and huge deck space, with high gunwales and a neat workstation at the transom. Kevin Smith reflected on the blank canvas, saying: "The kind of boat that’s ready to be set up to suit your style of fishing. Maintaining a simple layout provides more fishable space and makes this boat feel much larger than it is."

Twin Suzuki DF140A outboard motors

The Caribbean 2400 boat we tested at Australia’s Greatest Boats 2017 is owned by a local Caribbean customer and it was terrific of him to lend us his pride and joy for a few days to rampage around the wonderful aquatic destination. It had been fitted with the customer’s choice of engines, electronics and fittings, including a custom hardtop extension to keep the strong Queensland sun at bay for comfortable long hours on the water. Steve Starling described it as "a lovely game and sportsfisher with genuine family credentials as well as short-term live-aboard capabilities".

Everyone commented on the deep deck, especially 2m-tall Tim. Kevin Smith described it aptly: "Higher and deeper sides plus the raised dash provide exceptional headroom and a spacious, open offshore fishing platform."

Steve Starling said: "The designers have worked to minimise any sense of ‘boxiness’ on the Caribbean 2400 that might stem from the height requirements of the spacious cabin – they’ve succeeded!" Wife Joe added: "Oversize seats over icebox and cooking set-up – they feel like thrones and are a generous touch."

Behind the wheel you’re presented instantly with the feel and confidence of a much larger boat. The timeless Raymond C Hunt-designed hull feels solid and unstoppable, comfortably zipping over the spine-splintering bay chop at 20-25kt with ease. Whilst no speed demon, fitted with a pair of sensible 140hp Suzuki four-stroke she certainly has a sporty demeanour when you open her up and throw her into some tight turns.

Caribbean 2400 deck layout

You’d be surprised at how much watersports fun the whole family could enjoy with one of these, yet as a fishing boat this hull has the ability to challenge the most hazardous seas with its honest riding quality providing exceptional seaworthiness. John Ford loved the "big-boat feel that got even better at higher speeds" while Steve offered: "Lovely ride – nice and soft. Dry and handles well. The cut-out strakes give an interesting sports car feeling with no sudden grab or locking up." Tim said simply: "Very quiet and hard to unsettle."

Everyone loved the big and thickly upholstered seating as well as the large new dashboard capable of taking a 12in screen and a heap more instruments. The helm is comfortable and visibility excellent considering the depth of this big hull. The overhead console keeps the communication and entertainment headsets convenient yet out of the way when the going gets tough. The fibreglass modules provide cool storage and a kitchenette facility, and we were all taken with the single-level deck that feels as big as a dance floor.

Jo Starling commented: "Great fishing security equals confidence," and that defines the Caribbean 2400. Combine that feel of security with a wide beam creating a very stable hull that virtually ignores shifting weight or difficult beam seas and you quickly come to realise that a design that seems so simple is actually state of the art – and has been for a long, long time.

Caribbean has built 55,000 boats, and their resale values make them terrific investments, or as Tim says: "The brand is worth a million dollars!" That’s the kind of value, quality and style the Caribbean 2400 portrays, and that we’ll love forever.

 

Caribbean 2400 specs

Caribbean 2400 price: $142,480

Price as tested, ex. Melbourne

 

OPTIONS FITTED

Side clears, baitboard, berth infills, hot water, swim platforms, shade awning, HDS12, twin Suzuki outboard motors and more

 

GENERAL

MATERIAL Fibreglass

TYPE Monohull

LENGTH 7.54m

BEAM 2.7m

WEIGHT 2060kg

FUEL 450L

ENGINE 2 x Suzuki DF140 outboard motors

Twin Suzuki DF140 outboard motors on Caribbean 2400 boat

 

Rating Caribbean 2400: 84.9/100

 

Kev

Tim

John

Starlo

Jo

Fishing Suitability

9

8

9

9

9.5

Innovation

7

8

8

8.5

9

Design and Layout

8

8

8

8.5

9.5

Quality of Finish

8

8

8

8.5

9

Handling/Ride

8

8

8

9

9.5

Stability at Rest

9

8.5

8

9.5

10

Ergonomics

7.5

8

8

8

9.5

Standard Equipment

8

8

9

9

9

Value for Money

8

8

8

8.5

9.5

Wow Factor

8

8

8

9

9.5

 

More on Australia's Greatest Boats 2017

Aluminium fishing boat

Aluminium fishing boats 2017

 

Best fibreglass fishing boats

Fibreglass fishing boats 2017

 

 

 


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