Join Date: Feb 2000
Location: Annapolis, Md
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This is a question that is a little complicated by the fact that Cabo Rico does not publish all of the data necessary to give a good answer on their website. Since I do not sailed on one and have not seen one up close under sail I am speculating a bit more than I normally would prefer.
Here''s how this looks to me. If you compare the Cabo to the Valiant 40 you find that they are nearly the same length. Cabo Rico does not publish its waterline length but scaling the profile drawing(very inaccurate at best)it appears to be slightly smaller than the Valiant 40''s 34'' LWL. The design weight on the Valiant 40 is 22,500 and the Published displacement on the Cabo Rico is 26,800. This is a very big difference. Cabo Rico tries to offset that by having nearly 50% more sail area on a boat that weighs nearly 20% more. (Some of this difference may be in how the sail area is calculated. The Valiant sail area is based on 100% foretriangle which is the traditional method and would not include the staysail, while I suspect that the Cabo''s sail area probably includes the area of the sail area. If that were the case they would ebd up with pretty close to an equal SA/Disp. ratio with the Vailant having slightly more SA/Disp).
Of course the real determinant here is ballast ratio and draft. In order to carry enough sail area to overcome the greater drag of a heavier boat you need to have more stability. The Valiant at 6 foot draft would appear to carry its ballast lower. Cabo does not include its ballast weight so its harder to tell whether it has sufficient ballast to stand up to the greater sail area that is needed to drive its greater bulk and drag.
Without data on ballast weight and the ballast material, its hard to tell why the Cabo Rico is so much heavier, but as I have said here before, weight in an of itself does absolutely nothing positive for a boat. It does not add strength, speed, stability, comfort of motion, nor does it represent higher quality construction. It is simply weight and weight adds drag and adds to the stresses on all parts of the boat. If, say 11000- 12500 of the Cabos weight is in ballast, she might be able to stand to her rig and offer decent performance. BUT without sufficient ballast stability, the Cabo would not even be a decent heavy weather boat.
This is really more important to the cruiser than to the racer. To some extent a racer can make up for lack of speed with their rating. BUT to the cruiser, poor light air performance and a hard to drive hull means longer passages (and the need for more supplies and therefore even more weight), more motoring time, harder to adjust sail controls, and higher loads on the helm. (This wears out crews, and means more battery capacity for the autopilot and more fuel to recharge the batteries and, you guessed it, more weight)
Another component of this is how and where you cruise. There are people who are distance cruisers by which they mean that they run the ICW twice a year and make a 24-38 hour passage over to the Bahamas. And there are distance cruisers who jump the Atlantic on a frequent basis. Obviously these require two different types of boats. If I were a ditch runner, performance under sail is less important than comfort and motoring ability. If I were a go to Bermuda and hang a right type, I would want a boat that really sailed well and frankly the Cabo Rico is nearly twice the weight that I would opt for. The other thing is that even distance cruisers like to daysail and cruise in their venue, a lighter boat will have an easier time and more sailing days doing that in all venues.