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Cabo Rico Yachts

Cabo Rico 38

Cabo Rico Yachts is a small semi-custom manufacturer of fiberglass sailboats located in Costa Rica and designed by W.I.B. Crealock and Chuck Paine. [1] Sizes range from 34 to 56 feet. In 1965, the company started building boats in the corner of a British Leyland assembly plant in the San José area.[1]


Miami Vice
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Cabo Rico Logo

In the 1960s, John Schofield started building power boats in the corner of the British Leyland assembly plant in Costa Rica.[1] In the early 1970s, their first sail boat was a 36-foot ketch designed by W.I.B. Crealock, the Tiburon 36. In 1977, the 36-foot design became the now legendary Cabo Rico 38.[2] Some company literature erroneously credited Dennis M. Garrett, general manager of the company Fibro Tecnica S.A., as the designer of the 38. In 1983 a separate company, Cabo Rico USA, Inc., opened in Fort Lauderdale, FL to offer sales of new Cabo Rico boats.[2] 1986 saw the introduction of the Chase 38 sport fishing boat designed by C. Raymond Hunt and Associates of Boston. In 1987, two Canadians, Fraser and Edi Smith, purchased the factory in Costa Rica. They also arranged for a corporation in Ontario, Canada to purchase the sales company in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.[3] First, the new owners introduced the XL version of the 38 and then a smaller 34-foot Crealock designed sistership to the 38 the following year.[4] This was the first new sailboat design in ten years and long anticipated.[5]

The first European dealer came on board in Oslo, Norway in 1988. Other foreign dealers were added over the years in: Antebes France; Osaka, Japan; Toronto, Canada; Port Zelande, Holland; South Hampton, UK; and Istanbul, Turkey. The Smith's legacy has been one of producing elegant, ocean-going yachts of the highest quality. The Cabo Rico 38 Pilot premiered in 1989. They re-introduced the Rhode Island built Cambria 44/46 in 1992 and the Cambria 40 in '94. That year also saw the introduction of the remarkable, Mark Ellis designed, Northeast 37+, later renamed the NE400. It proved to be a very fast motorsailer, under both motor and sail. In 1995, Bill Crealock designed the new Cabo Rico 45, his largest design for the company at the time. Due to a designer conflict with a similar size boat for a competitor, in 1998 Cabo Rico went to Chuck Paine and Associates of Maine for the new Cabo Rico 40. This was later stretched to a 42 footer in 2000. That vessel was named the "ultimate bluewater boat" by SAIL Magazine. That same year the wonderful Cabo 34 was stretched to 36 feet as well. In 2003, the first Paine designed Cabo Rico 56 was launched. Later, that fully loaded, live-aboard yacht would enter the 2005 Trans Pacific race and placed 2nd in PERF class to a 74 footer and be seventh overall into the harbor in Hawaii! 2004 saw the introduction of the very pretty Cabo Rico 42 Pilot and in 2006 the spectacular, Crealock designed, Cabo Rico 47 Pilot based on his 45 design. The market slow down in 2007 and economic collapse of 2008 made it necessary to shut down the Cabo Rico factory in Costa Rica by September of 2009 for an extended time. It also ruined Cabo Rico's plans for its full sales, service and repair facility in Rhode Island that was scheduled for early 2009. The small, three person Florida corporation was forced into Bankruptcy in 2010 and closed, resulting in two lawsuits, one of which was ruled by the court to have no merit and was dismissed, while the other was not pursued. In 2013-14 market and economic conditions were showing signs of improvement. Facilities will be in a new location in the San José Central Valley. 2015 will see Cabo Rico models being built with completely new financial participation and a new management team. The first boat to ship will be a new model, the Northeast 450, a bigger sister ship for the NE400. A Cabo Rico 47 Pilot on the shop floor can be completed and the new 56 Center Cockpit model will go into production. The company's motto, "a passage to perfection" will now be able to be fulfilled once again, much to the satisfaction of Cabo Rico yacht owners and new customers alike.

Cabo Rico produces 34/36, 40/42, 42 Pilot, 45/47, 47 Pilot, and 54/56-foot cruising designs along with Cambria 40, 44, 46, 48 cruiser/racers, Northeast 400 and 450 motorsailers, and Chase 38 Sport fishing yacht.
Model Designer Notes
54/56 Chuck Paine In production
45/47 William Crealock In production, has Pilot version
40/42 Chuck Paine In production, comes in Pilot [3]
38 William Crealock, Out of production, came in Pilot version
36 Tiburon William Crealock Out of production
34/36 William Crealock In production
NE400 Mark Ellis In production
NE450 Sparkman and Stephens In production, new model
Cambria 40 In production, rare
Cambria 44/46/48 In production, rare
Chase 38 C. Raymond Hunt & Associates In production, rare
Miami ViceEdit

In the popular 80's TV show Miami vice, a 38-foot Cabo Rico was used in the pilot episode. The boat was called the St. Vitus Dance and it was the home of the main character, Sonny Crockett (Don Johnson) and his pet alligator Elvis. The Cabo Rico was only seen in the pilot episode and an Endeavour was used for the rest of the show.
See alsoEdit

List of sailboat designers and manufacturers
List of boat builders


Cabo Rico Custom Yachts,, retrieved 2010-04-10
Hinz, Earl (May 1981), "Cabo Rico 38", Unknown
Kretschmer, John, The Best Used Boat Notebook, pp. 139-143, 209-212
Henkel, Steve (May 1989), "Cabo Rico 34", Sail Magazine
Spurr, Dan (1989), "Cabo Rico 34", Cruising World
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