Issue: July/August 2005
The Capricorn Classic 38 first appeared at the Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show two years ago and was an instant hit.
Here was a flybridge cruiser with features that appealed to a mature husband and wife team. It was sporty enough to satisfy the male need for performance and yet had those creature comforts that women look for in a boat.
Since then, Capricorn Cruisers and its small factory in Redcliffe, north of Brisbane, has been working to capacity.
Anthony Skillen, who also owns Sundown Marine in Redcliffe, is the head of Capricorn Cruisers. He bought the hull moulds of an existing boat and set about building his concept of a mid-range luxury flybridge cruiser.
The moulds were re-engineered and used as a base for the Capricorn 38. The underwater lines were left untouched, but 100mm was added to the sheerline. The extra height of the sheerline now gives 1.8 (6ft ) headroom in the cabins below. It also added extra space in the engine room and made it easier to get to the twin Volvo Penta TAMD, 63P, 370hp diesels for maintenance and daily pre-start checks.
Although Volvo Penta engines were fitted in the test boat, Capricorn is now installing fully electronic Cummins 380 engines in the current boats.
The lines are distinctive and there is no mistaking the boat for another brand. Built to DNV survey the hull is solid, sea-kindly and the flared bow works well, literally throwing the water away from the sides.
At speed on North Moreton Bay into a south-easterly chop, very little water splashed onto the windscreen. The ride was comfortable and at 25 knots cruising speed passengers would not be thrown about or spill the Chardy, especially sitting up on the flybridge.
At full throttle and 3000rpm the GPS speed was 31 knots, although most people would probably sit on the cruising speed of 25 knots. It’s also a bit more economical.
She also felt like she would be a hard boat to break and I wouldn’t have second thoughts about turning left at the Seaway and heading up to the Whitsundays for a few weeks, or months.
The first boat went to Cairns and the owner of the second boat drove it all the way to Vanuatu without problem.
Even though the main cabin is light and airy it has a homely feeling about it. The decor is a product of NV Designs, who have come up with some very striking fit outs over the past few years, but although stylish, it is not overdone.
Very good use has been made of the main cabin space with the galley situated aft. It is U-shaped like those on a sailing yacht and would be very easy to work in. It comes with a fridge, microwave/convection oven and a big double sink. A feature is the stainless dish rack that sits in one of the sinks.
Looking around the cabin it seems that the designers have used some of the best ideas from a number of different boats. There is an icemaker, wine cabinet, a lined-cabinet for glasses, even a couple of wire baskets on rollers under the sink to store those odd and ends people tend to keep. The fl at TV/DVD screen swings down from the roof like those on some commercial aircraft. There is also a pullout bunk under the port side lounge, which makes a double-berth in the cabin.
The teak timberwork is beautifully finished in gloss and, it too, is not overdone. From the main cabin it is down four teak steps to the accommodation. And here is another innovation. The handrail is clear acrylic with tube lights at either end. It is something found on much larger luxury cruisers and can be used as a very effective nightlight.
The owners cabin is cosy with an innerspring, mattress island berth, plus a huge hanging locker with six deep storage lockers, all with their own internal lights on either side.
The second cabin is on the port side with two bunks and a foldaway insert that turns the bottom bunk into a double-berth. There is plenty of draw and storage space in here as well. Opposite is the shower and toilet and because the way the hull space has been used, it is one of the biggest seen on a boat of this size. All up, with the main cabin berth, the boat will sleep seven people ‘ if necessary.
There are also some very good ideas in the cockpit. The transom is rounded so that the boat doesn’t push a wall of water when backing down on a fi sh or into a berth. The keen fisherman is also well catered for; there is a live bait tank with a glass front, a freezer and sink. There are six rod holders in the right places on the gunwales and there is room for a Reelax 130lb lightweight gamechair. Over on the starboard side is an electric Miele Barbie with a stainless splash-back.
The stairs to the flybridge curve out and there is an innovative clear canopy over the stairwell so that in wet weather people coming and going from up top don’t get wet. And being in clears it does not detract from the lines of the boat.
The flybridge will accommodate eight, with two at the island helm station that comes with Pompanette seats and a well laid out dash. There are all the Furuno electronics you need and because the Volvo Penta TAMDs are not electronically controlled, Morse electronic controls have been installed.
The Capricorn 38, measuring 13.04m (42ft 9in) overall, is a lot of boat for the $537,000 (including GST) price tag and compares very favourably with boats of a similar length, especially the imports.
It is also unique in that it starts with all the options included in the price and the owner has the option of not including some of them, with the price tag falling down accordingly.
But most people go for the lot. The only extra on the test boat was the davit on the bow and the Quicksilver dinghy.
Capricorn Cruisers unveiled a 40-foot version of the cruiser at the Sanctuary Cove Boat Show.
The aft section of the boat has been extended, which creates a larger cockpit, but everything else remains the same.
The Capricorn 38 Sports Flybridge was designed with style, grace and comfort in mind, ensuring the final product is first Class. But it’s her stability and high-speed performance that gives her a perfect seaworthiness combination. The superior quality of the product from the hull to the bridge will accommodate even the most discerning buyer. Plus there is flexibility for those people who wish to customise their boat’s layout and furnishing to their own individual taste.
The test boat was fitted with Volvo Penta TAMD 63P, 370hp diesel engines. Current versions use fully electronic, 380hp, Cummins diesels.
With three adults onboard the Capricorn 38 cruised comfortably at 25 knots and hit a top speed of 31 knots at 3000rpm. Most people would choose the economical 25-knot cruise speed for most running around.
SLEEPING CAPACITY: Four-seven
+ Extra sheerline height
– Nothing to report