Wednesday, March 14, 2007

New Boat Review: Cape Horn 21 Center Console

I have been fishing. The reports are like a broken record though with mackerel and snapper out back and at the bridges. So I thought I would give you a little boat review.

The Cape Horn 21 is great example of a well laid out center console. Cape Horn has always built a solid boat but now they are refining their design to improve fish ability with a cleaner look. One new feature is the Plexi-glass electronics box in the console. A great idea because the GPS and/or depth sounder can be mounted where they are easily viewed and accessed. When the electronics are mounted in tee top electronics boxes they are often difficult to see and adjust. The dash mount location is perfect, providing for a clean look.

The Cape Horn is a non-liner boat. With out a liner there is less weight and few parts and hardware to foul up. The lack of a liner can give a boat a flimsy flexibly at the gunwales. Not the case with the Cape Horn. A foam filled gunwale bolster, for lack of a better word, stiffens the hull along with the unique rub rail flare design. The rub rail flair is a 1 ½” counter lever molded into the gunwale cap around the boat. In the past, vertical ribs were added for stiffening the hull. While effective, the ribs were dirt catchers and toe knockers. Now the design is clean, clear and functional. This boat is built like that outhouse you have heard about.

Everything on this boat is through bolted except the deck mounted components for obvious reason. That includes the through bolted rub rail. That means less repairs in the future. The factory wiring is cleanly installed. It would be nice to have a little larger fuse block in the console. The standard fuse block has only one unused slot and one unused accessory switch (two without the spreader lights).

The 21 comes standard with 40 gallon circular live well in stern. This is becoming a must have feature in many areas if you are to have a successful fishing trip. Other standard features are: 10 Year Hull Warranty, Lifetime Transom Warranty, T-top w/electronics box, (2) spreader lights, fiberglass or aluminum leaning post, leaning post back rest, raw water wash down, Richie F-50 compass, console cushion, swim ladder, center mount hydraulic steering, bilge pump, low profile bow rail, 129 gallon fuel capacity, bronze thru hulls, 6’ - 300 qt. insulated fish box, 10 rod holders, large console storage and self-bailing cockpit. The rental version I test drove was delivered without the raw water wash down, spreader lights and T-top electronics box.

After taking the motor, a 2007 Yamaha 250 four stroke, through the five hour break-in, here is the performance scoop. 38 knots at 6000 RPM based on the GPS. At 4400 RPM, a comfortable 27 Knots. Tweaking the prop can improve performance. Depending on sea conditions and load, this should translate to about 2 miles per gallon. While the 21 is not a speed burner, this is good, economical performance for a 22 degree dead rise, deep V hull design. That deep V means a smooth ride in choppy seas. The bow flair and counter lever rub rail design provide for a dry ride.

There are not many negatives to report for the Cape Horn 21. The plastic hatch covers are one. While they are functional, they are prone to damage from ultra-violet light. From experience I know they tend to break. The anchor locker is a pain with its vertical hatch and the fish box hatches are a bit small for big fish.

The 21 has to be one of the easiest cleaning boat I have ever been aboard. The unique interior non-skid finish and lack of many hard corners makes this the case. The fish box can be a challenge to clean with the small hatches. The Cape Horn 21 is a solidly built fishing machine well worth a look if love to fish and hate boat cleaning.

Come on down and try fishing the Florida Keys in this Cape Horn for a fantastic fishing vacation.

Tight lines,

Capt. Dallas

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