Caribbean 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman

By: Geoff Middleton, Photography by: Ellen Dewar


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One of the smallest flybridge cruisers on the Australasian market is the Caribbean 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman. Trade-A-Boat puts it to the test…

Caribbean 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman
Caribbiean 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman
  • The only trailerable flybridge on the market (check local legislation)
  • Sturdy and strong feel
  • Good all-weather boat
  • Big on room for the family and more
  • Good reputation should lead to good resale value

Though it bears a striking resemblance to its forebears, International Marine says the Caribbean 24 Flybridge Sports Fisherman is an entirely new hull and shares little with previous models. What it does share is a similar layout with a cosy dinette, galley, double berth forward and enough of the comforts of home for a weekend away.

But the big news for this Caribbean is that it’s trailerable. And it’s the only trailerable flybridge cruiser on the market today.

Tipping the scales at 3250kg on its dual axle trailer and with a beam of 2.69m, you will require the correct tow vehicle, an HT licence, and tow flags.

Step aboard

The fully optioned version includes the trailer, electronics (including a Garmin 178C colour combination unit with GPS, plotter, sounder and fishfinder), a VHF radio and Clarion CD stereo. You also get marine-grade carpets, flybridge clears and cockpit storm cover, fenders and fender baskets, safety gear, and registration for the boat and trailer.

The cockpit measures 4.5m² and it offers storage compartments for rods and other equipment plus a handy deck shower. The engine box sits aft flanked by two removable cockpit seats.

The engine box folds forward to reveal a 5.0L MerCruiser V8 MPI sterndrive, which delivers 260hp through a Bravo II leg. A more economical option would be the Cummins QSD 220hp common-rail diesel.

Under the cockpit is the big 300L fuel tank, but no killtanks or bait tanks – a curious omission for a boat with the Sports Fisherman moniker.

Forward in the main cabin are the dinette to port and the galley to starboard; the latter includes a sink with pressurised water, a two-burner stove and storage cupboards. I would have liked to see a fridge in the galley but one can be optioned in.

Forward of the galley is the lower helm station, which offers an icebox under the seat.

The lower helm station can be deleted with a cost saving of around $2500. Personally, I’d keep it for those days when the weather turns nasty.

The lower helm has basic instruments and controls for the anchor winch. The side windows slide for ventilation and the seat, although not adjustable, is quite comfortable.

The forward cabin is accessed via a lockable door and has a double bed. Under the infill I found a marine pump-out loo.

There’s plenty of storage under the bunks as well as upholstered side storage strays. There’s also an opening hatch for ventilation or to access the foredeck. Lighting is provided in the form of a single 12V halogen lamp. Under the floor resides the 1000L water tank.

Up on top

Up in the flybridge is a full set of MerCruiser instruments providing engine info such as revs, temperature, volts, trim, oil pressure and fuel. The helm itself is centrally located with plenty of room for a passenger to port. I did find it a tad squeezy, but there is a cut-away footwell for the skipper and the bench seat was well padded. The view from the flybridge is great, with bow, foredeck and aft extremities visible.

The cable steering is light and the controls are easy to use. There are forward stowage lockers with hinged doors in the dash and more storage under the seat.

The stainless steel targa-style bimini is a sturdy item and I found the clears were a necessary inclusion with about a 15-knot sou’easter blowing.

The Garmin combination combo unit up here is the VHF. I’d like to see a hard-wired remote for the stereo as it would be nice to be able to adjust the volume from above.

Up on top you also have the switch panel for the lighting and other electrical systems on the boat as well as a second switch for the anchor winch. The owner of this boat had added a rocket launcher on the flybridge and a cockpit spotlight.

Access to the foredeck can be gained from the cockpit via the narrow sidedecks, which are topped with non-skid. There’s a stainless steel rail on the cabin side to the journey forward.

The anchor sits on a broad bowsprit and is controlled by the anchor winch. The foredeck is quite broad for a trailerable boat; you could actually sit up there and wet a line or kick back in the sun.

On the water

The Caribbean made short work of the chop as we glided up on to the plane. The 260hp provided by the Merc delivered plenty of grunt and we were soon sitting on a comfortable cruise of 22kts on the GPS at 3400rpm. Drop it back to 3000rpm and the SOG showed 20kts for a very economical cruise.

For trolling, a smidge under 2000rpm showed seven knots. Although we didn’t achieve it on the day, we were informed that the top speed on flat water is 31kts at 4600rpm.

The Caribbean 24 flicked nicely into turns but I did notice some cavitation as I powered on through them. I reckon this could be dialled out with some experimentation in the prop department, but it remained my only gripe with a pretty well-balanced boat-and-motor package.

Very little spray came aboard, no doubt due to the nicely flared bow and the chines. Into the breeze and slop the boat performed admirably with hardly any slamming and a nice, smooth ride.

Overall, I liked the Caribbean 24. The classic styling impressed, and it has plenty of room for up to six or seven adults. It has a strong and seaworthy feel. I think it’s a great entry into the bigger-boat market if you’re stepping up from an open fishing boat into something more substantial.

See Caribbean boats for sale.

Specifications

Engine MerCruiser 5.0 MPI sterndrive or Cummins QSD 220hp diesel LOA 7.32m Beam 2.69m Weight 3250kg (approx on trailer) Fuel 300L Water 100L People (day) Seven People (berthed) 2 + 1

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