In Brief

cr38_0

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.

Specifications

LOA: 41′ 0″
LOD: 38″ 0″
LWL: 29′ 3″
Beam: 11′ 4″
Draft: 5′ 0″
Bridge Clearance: 50′
Displacement: 20,000 lbs.
Ballast: 7,800 lbs. (lead)
Sail Area: 738 sq.ft.
Year Introduced: 1977
Year Ended: –
Designer: William I. B. Crealock
Builder: Cabo Rico Custom Yachts

Buyers Notes

Teak decks were common on 1980’s and earlier models. As with any screwed down teak decks, these can be prone to leaking.

Similar Boats

Gozzard 36
Shannon 38

Links, References, and Further Reading

» Cabo Rico 38, John Kretschmer, Used Boat Notebook
» Cabo Rico 38, Earl R Hinz, Seatrials
» Cabo Rico 38 Review, Richard Jordan, Waves

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7 Responses to “Cabo Rico 38”

  1. Alan says:

    Hello, i have a cabo rico 36 tiburon and i am looking for the ownwers manual,
    can you help me find it…
    thanks.

  2. Ben says:

    I think the LWL is wrong here — I see 29’3″ on other sites.

  3. Tom Fuhs says:

    As mentioned by Daniel (and he would know), the mast is indeed stepped on the keel.  On my 1987 model, there is a very well thought out construction design for stepping the mast.  The built in fiberglass holding tank is beneath the mast step.  The holding tank has an internal cross grid structure in the area beneath the mast step.  This puts the mast step just below the cabin sole off the bottom of the bilge.  The step stays dry and any water down the inside of the mast drains down and away from the step.  No corrosion issues here.  Actually, there is nothing to corrode or rot in the bilge.  Everything beneath the cabin sole is fiberglass.  Also, although it appears that the hull is balsa cored, I’ve heard from several sources that the balsa is there for insulation only.  The outer hull is solid and stands on its own for hull integrity and strength.  The core and inner skin add sound and temperature insulation as well as some additional strength.   My boat feels very solid and is quiet and comfortable below, even at almost 25 years old.

  4. DANIEL JIMENEZ says:

    i’m daniel ..GENERAL MANAGER FOR CABO RICO IN COSTA RICA…MAST STEP IN OVER THE KEEL .NOT OVER THE “DECK)…CABO RICOS BUILT AT LEAST 320 UNITS…38..36..40..42..45..56.. 42PH..47PH..NE400..AND NE45O..PLUS CHASE 38 POWERBOATS…HOPE TO RE OPEN …TO BUILD MUCH MORE..NOW THAT MOST OF THE OTHER BUILDERS ARE GONE …

    • Anonymous says:

      Cheers for the correction Daniel, have amended the article. Good luck building more of these beautiful boats

    • Bob Livingston says:

      How was the bow sprit attached on the pre 1990 CR38. Was there a steel insert and not just the wood to support the bow sprit. Thanks

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