THE CARIBBEAN range of boats encompasses an array of cabin and half cabin cruisers and runabouts which are quite popular in southern states, but which aren’t as common on the water in Queensland.
Many of these Melbourne-made boats have more cabin than open deck. This suits the cooler climates but here in the Sunshine State we like more open deck area.
The latest addition to the Caribbean range is set to change that, offering boaties a spacious and well laid-out aft deck while retaining good cabin area for overnight stays. As far as good all-rounders go, this boat has a lot to offer both anglers and the family man.
The Caribbean Adventurer is just under 6m (5.83m), so it’s at the right length to handle most conditions found in the bays and estuaries and would have no trouble handling those offshore trips looking for a few snapper.
I’ll focus on the family side of things first, starting with the front cabin bunks.
If you have small children, as I do, you’ll agree that it’s important to have somewhere they can lay down for a rest. To do this with kids successfully they need to be able to see you, and of course you like to be able to keep an eye on them. The entrance to the cabin is open with no fixed bulkhead to block the view either way, making it easy to keep an eye on the kids.
An optional clip-on cover can be used to separate the helm area from the cabin for those times when you want a bit of privacy in the cabin, or when you need to keep the cool air out.
The bunks can be used as two single bunks or you can lay the centre section in to make one big bunk. The format of the cabin is pretty standard, with vinyl-covered bunk cushions and carpet-lined sides.
Below the cushions you’ll find a small amount of storage area, and along the sides there are some fairly decent side pockets, more generous in width and length rather than depth. I actually quite liked the way have they have positioned this side pocket so it extends right back alongside the driver and passenger seat.
Likewise, the aft deck side pockets extend right alongside at a lower level. Here you can lie some longer fishing rods that can feed all the way into the cabin. It’s a better alternative than laying long rods on the deck or just tossing them up the front, where one will end up getting broken somewhere along the track.
The roof of the cabin has a good size hatch so you can easily hop in and out through here and have room to move when dropping and retrieving the anchor. The same hatch can be left open during the hot months of the year. The good flow of cool air that flows through here is refreshing and helps eliminate that petrol and fishy smell cabins are prone to.
As far as the seating layout goes, I’ve always been a lover of placing the helm seats on seat boxes rather than just a pole – that way you’re not wasting any space that could otherwise be used for storage.
In the Adventurer the boxes are extended out the back to have a small bench seat behind each of the two main helm seats. This way you have seating for four under the canopy. The bench seats can be used to sit on while fishing as well.
You end up with a reasonable amount of space in the boxes, and the owner of this rig plans to convert one into a good size esky and use the other for a few tackle hatches and general storage.
Further seating is found in the fold-down bench seat across the transom. It runs the full width and has a padded back rest so there’s plenty of room to sit a few adults or a tribe of kids along it.
From a fishing point of view you really do need a reasonable amount of space for a few to move around that back deck and have a fish. There’s no point having a nice 6m boat to head out and have a fish in when all the area is occupied by a cabin that you rarely use for anything but dry storage.
The cab sides on the Adventurer cut down just past the helm seat, giving the rest of the aft length to fish out of. Realistically, you’ll usually fish two over the side and one out over one corner of the engine. If you have a fourth angler there’s always going to be someone who ends up fishing with a line going under the boat!
With the rear lounge folded down there isn’t anything to get in the road and, because of the way the transom is constructed, there’s a fair amount of space in behind this lounge – enough for tackle boxes, buckets even a Nally bin. If you opt to fit a four-stroke engine you’ll end up with a bit more room in here again, as there won’t be an oil bottle housed in here.
The owner of the boat had a bait board custom made, and you really do need something like this for cutting up baits and rigs. It’s generally not a good idea to do this on the side decks.
There are a couple of nice, deep storage hatches either side of the bait board which can be used as livebait tanks or for general storage. With a bit of ice, they aren’t bad as a small day esky either.
With the seat boxes set upright and the underfloor storage, which lies between the two helm seats, there’s no real need to throw in an esky as most catches will fit in here without much fuss – unless you get onto a few big fish.
From a captain’s point of view, the helm area and dash are smartly laid out with plenty of room to stand or drive, as well as more than enough elbow room when driving. The sounder and GPS are neatly flush mounted right in front of you so you can easily see that vital information, with the rest of the gauges and switches located right in front.
The passenger’s side features a good size glovebox for storing valuables, and there’s no shortage of leg room here either.
As far as performance goes, the 140hp engine is pretty well on the mark with that 130-150hp range ideally suited for this boat. It just depends what breed of engine you choose as far as the exact horsepower in that range goes.
I don’t think you would want to go any smaller than 130hp. With a few blokes and bit of gear onboard, you might start seeing the hull a little slow to get up and onto the plane.
A standard two-stroke 140hp Mercury outboard came fitted on this particular rig, and while it performed well you really do appreciate the quiet fume-free running of injected and four-stroke outboards. Yes, they’re more expensive than your standard two-stroke, but I do feel the benefits are worth it. The underfloor tank wasn’t that big on this boat either; 144 litres isn’t a lot when it comes to heading offshore.
There was a reasonable chop on the water when we took the boat through its paces and very little spray was thrown up, with a pretty good all-round ride.
For some reason I thought the hull was a little heavy in the tail end, though once I gave it the revs it did pull up quickly. Perhaps a set of trim tabs would help give it a bit more lift. These never go astray and benefit more boats than not with lift and side control on the lean of the boat.
As with most rigs, the canopy is an after-market option. One thing to keep in mind is allowing the canopy to extend past the windscreen, like a sun visor on a car, otherwise you’ll find that when driving into the sun you’ll have it shining right in your eyes.
Other than that, you’d have to be pretty happy with the layout and ride of the boat. It’s comfortable, has plenty of space and presents well. The basic package starts at $42,000.
Test boat supplied by Coorparoo Marine. To find your nearest dealer phone Carribean Boats on (03) 9763 7233 or visit www.caribbeanboats.com.
Make/model - Caribbean Adventurer
Style - Cuddy cab
Construction - Fibreglass
Length - 5.83m
Beam - 2.33m
Weight - 720kg (hull only)
Deadrise - 19 degrees
HP - 115 to 175
Fuel - 144L underfloor
Flotation - No
Height on trailer - 2.95m incl. targa top
Price as tested - $47,000
1) Caribbean’s new 583 Adventurer has good all-round appeal for anglers and their families.
2) Engines from 130hp to 150hp are ideally suited to this rig.
3) Well-constructed seat boxes make clever use of space.
4) A comfortable aft lounge is a nice bonus for social trips, folding down and out of the way when you want to fish.
5) From this view you can appreciate the open and spacious layout.
6) A compact yet tidy dash adds to easy driving.
7) Internal side pockets extend down into the helm, giving more length and storage area.