Cabo Rico started building their sturdy boats from a corner of British Leyland’s Rover assembly plant in Costa Rica. Among their success stories has been the Cabo Rico 38 which has won a reputation for legendary soft motion and stout offshore performance. The design came from Bill Crealock who had previously designed the Tiburon 36 for Cabo Rico. Not many 36s were built but the 38 on the other hand found popularity in a time when Taiwanese manufacturers were beginning to dominate the US market.
The lines of the Cabo Rico 38 are timeless with a full keeled underbody which follows the design lineage of Crealock’s Tiburon. She’s configured as a true cutter with a bowsprit mounted foresail. Her sheerline is sweet which swings low (as is often the case for older seaworthy designs), with traditional trailboards and teak trim.
The construction is a balsa cored deck paired with a thick skinned balsa sandwich hull. Ballast is internal and changed from iron to lead at around hull 40. The mast is keel stepped. The Costa Rican craftsmen take tremendous pride in the quality of work, and it shows with the spectacular honey colored teak interiors that define these yachts. In fact on older versions, it is hard to find a single spot of gelcoat down below. While on most engine access is through the companionway, the engine location was moved forward on recent models to underneath the centerline galley.
Costa Rican craftsmen hand laid the first hull in 1977, and from there Cabo Rico Custom Yachts has delivered hulls are a steady clip. In fact for a long time, Cabo Rico was a one-boat manufacturer pumping out the 38 with an incredible variety of configurations. You name it, and a 38 will have a layout to suit: two heads, single cabin, v-berth, and so forth. In 1990, they introduced a popular pilothouse version.
There have been over 200 boats built to date, the last hull was built in 2005. Cabo Rico is currently reorganizing according to legal fillings in the state of Florida, USA.
Teak decks were common on 1980’s and earlier models. As with any screwed down teak decks, these can be prone to leaking.