Caribbean 49 FC

Boating NZ - - Contents - BY JOHN EICHELSHEIM

In­ter­na­tional Marine’s new C49 Fly­bridge Cruiser is the largest Caribbean to date.

The lat­est fly­bridge model from In­ter­na­tional Marine in Mel­bourne, Aus­tralia main­tains com­pany’s tra­di­tion of build­ing hon­est blue-wa­ter ves­sels that take sport-fish­ing se­ri­ously. The lat­est model might be big­ger, but the fam­ily re­sem­blance to its smaller sib­lings is un­mis­tak­able.

The new C49 is Caribbean’s flag­ship model, a suc­ces­sor to the C47, adds a me­tre to the cock­pit and a to­tally restyled fly­bridge hard top. In­clud­ing bowsprit and stern plat­form, the C49 is al­most 55 feet long. The ex­tra wa­ter­line length re­sults in a bet­ter shaft an­gle, for bet­ter fuel ef­fi­ciency and a drier ride.

Night Hawk II is the first C49 in New Zealand and Caribbean agent Scott White’s demon­stra­tor. Scott and wife Kim have a 30-year busi­ness part­ner­ship with Scott’s brother Paul and his wife Donna. They name all their boats Night Hawk after Scott’s late fa­ther Bill’s launch, which sunk after he sold it.

Scott has equipped his lat­est Night Hawk II as he ex­pects most Kiwi cus­tomers will spec­ify the C49. He might add teak to the plain moulded Gr­p­cock­pit at some point.

FISH­ING COCK­PIT

At 165ft2 (15.33m2) the cock­pit is vast! It’s a game-fisher’s dream, deep and wide with de­cent toe-room and three prop­erly po­si­tioned rod hold­ers on ei­ther side. The rocket launcher can hold 15 rods, Ree­lax game poles are a fac­tory op­tion while game chairs, tuna tubes, cock­pit con­trols, cock­pit elec­tron­ics can be fit­ted with ease.

The ex­tra-wide tran­som door opens out­wards, which is what you want back­ing up on a charg­ing mar­lin, and the cock­pit self-

drains through scup­pers. The swim plat­form is stan­dard, but it can be left off if de­sired. Un­der­wa­ter lights are op­tional.

There are two good-sized live bait wells in the tran­som and the side lock­ers are a use­ful size. The cock­pit is equipped with a hot and cold fresh­wa­ter shower, salt­wa­ter wash-down and a sink unit with tackle draw­ers against the sa­loon bulk­head. To store the catch, or sup­plies for a multi-day cruise, there’s a large cock­pit freezer un­der the fly­bridge lad­der.

As well as a huge cock­pit, the C49 has two lazarettes un­der the cock­pit sole, sep­a­rated by the 3200-litre fuel tank. The aft laz pro­vides plenty of stor­age with ac­cess to the steer­ing gear and pumps, while the for­ward space is big enough for bulky items, in­clud­ing deck fur­ni­ture, dive and fish­ing gear, a roll-up in­flat­able dinghy and all the usual gear that needs to find a home. The C49 is well en­dowed with stor­age.

TIDY EN­GI­NEER­ING

The well-lit en­gine room is ac­cessed by pulling away the sa­loon car­pet and lift­ing a sec­tion of floor. Twin Cum­mins QSM 11 715hp diesels fill the en­gine room, but there’s plenty of room left over for U-TEC re­frig­er­a­tion equip­ment, an Onan 13.5KVA genset, bat­ter­ies, in­vert­ers, A/C units, wa­ter heater, vacu­flush toi­let sys­tem and Salt Away en­gine flush unit. The ves­sel is 24 volts.

Ev­ery­thing be­low decks is tidy and easy to reach, with plenty of room around the out­board side of the en­gines. There isn’t stand­ing head­room, but nor do you need to crawl around the space. Fac­tory stan­dard high-wa­ter alarms in the en­gine room and aft lazarette make the boat easy to put into sur­vey.

Should the en­gines ever need to come out, the sa­loon sole un­bolts so the en­gines can be swung out through the sa­loon doors.

UPSCALE IN­TE­RIOR

Step in­side the C49’s sa­loon and it could be mis­taken for a C47 or even a C40, ex­cept for the scale. The lay­out is vir­tu­ally iden­ti­cal. The ex­tra vol­ume is wel­come, though, and the sa­loon feels quite spa­cious. In­ter­na­tional Marine has raised the bar with the C49’s in­te­rior, which feels their most lux­u­ri­ous to date. Lash­ings of lac­quered teak add some shiny high­lights and pale leather up­hol­stery works well with the ceil­ings and wall pan­els.

In typ­i­cal Caribbean style, the set­tee on the star­board side con­verts into a bunk-style triple berth, the sin­gle up­per bunk se­cured from the ceil­ing by a sim­ple strap. It’s a well proven

ar­range­ment that’s quick to set up and put away – a great way to ac­com­mo­date ex­tra crew overnight.

Op­po­site, a leather up­hol­stered C-shaped seat­ing area wraps around the shiny pol­ished teak sa­loon ta­ble, while the gal­ley is for­ward, half a step down.

This C49 has no front sa­loon win­dows (front win­dows are a fac­tory op­tion), which al­lows for a row of gal­ley cab­i­nets at eye level to pro­vide ex­tra stor­age. All the ap­pli­ances are elec­tric and in­clude a dish-drawer, full-size un­der-bench con­vec­tion/mi­crowave oven, in­duc­tion hob and two-door U-TEC fridge-freezer. Counter tops are stone-look moulded fi­bre­glass.

Op­po­site the gal­ley on the port side is the ves­sel’s en­ter­tain­ment hub, with a large flat-screen TV, in­te­grated satel­lite TV box, Fu­sion stereo head unit, wire­less VHF hand­set and the main switch pan­els, neatly tucked away in­side the teak cab­i­netry. Also tucked away is an ice maker and a washer-drier or bar fridge, depend­ing on which op­tion you choose. Scott has up­graded Night Hawk II’S satel­lite an­tenna with an In­tel­lian unit to en­sure good re­cep­tion al­most any­where.

The lack of front win­dows im­pact on the amount of nat­u­ral light avail­able, but slid­ing rear doors and side win­dows, plus plenty of LED light­ing en­sure the space doesn’t feel dark. On the con­trary, it feels com­fort­able and lux­u­ri­ous, with­out be­ing os­ten­ta­tious. The sa­loon and mas­ter cabin are air-con­di­tioned.

Be­low, the ac­com­mo­da­tion is split into three large

cab­ins and two bath­rooms. A guest cabin to star­board is con­fig­ured with two com­fort­able bunks suit­able for adults, while the port cabin has a queen-sized berth. Both cab­ins are well served by hang­ing lock­ers, draw­ers and stor­age un­der the beds.

The day head, shared be­tween the guest cab­ins, is on the star­board side. It’s roomy with a sep­a­rate shower box, moulded van­ity and an over­head hatch for ven­ti­la­tion and light. All the Bo­mar over­head hatches – ev­ery cabin has at least one – and slid­ing win­dows have in­sect screens, so you can safely open them at night.

The air-con­di­tioned mas­ter cabin fea­tures an LCD TV, Fu­sion sound sys­tem, is­land queen berth, a pair of hang­ing lock­ers and plenty of un­der-bed stor­age. It’s served by an en­suite bath­room with sep­a­rate shower.

FLY­BRIDGE PLUS

Where you most no­tice the C49’s ex­tra size, after the cock­pit, is up on the fly­bridge.

Ac­cess is via an alu­minium tread lad­der and hatch in the fly­bridge floor, which can be closed to re­duce noise while the boat’s un­der­way. Again, the bridge lay­out would be fa­mil­iar to own­ers of a Caribbean 40 or a 47, but it ben­e­fits from more space.

A pair of sub­stan­tial leather cap­tain’s chairs pro­vide com­fort and good all-round vi­sion. The C49 sports a moulded hard­top sup­ported by FRP pil­lars and win­dow frame struc­tures. It’s open to the rear but has slid­ing glass sidewin­dows and a deep three-pane wind­screen. With the aft clears zipped up and the hatch se­cured, the fly­bridge is com­pletely en­closed.

There’s plenty of space on the fly­bridge for the whole crew, or a party, with com­fort­able

seat­ing and a wet bar to ac­com­mo­date ev­ery­one. A sec­ond sta­tion in the cock­pit is an op­tion.

Night Hawk II has just the stan­dard sin­gle Side Power bow-thruster, but adding a stern­thruster, or the Cum­mins joy­stick con­trol sys­tem, are fac­tory op­tions.

The ADC elec­tric davit on the fore­deck will de­ploy Night Hawk II’S Aquapro RIB ten­der.

STRONG PER­FORMER

Weigh­ing in at 25 tonnes fully loaded, the C49 is no lightweight, but it car­ries the same sea­keep­ing DNA as all the boats in the Caribbean range: the C49 can claim di­rect de­scent from a Ray­mond C. Hunt de­sign.

Un­der­way, the ves­sel feels sub­stan­tial and very ca­pa­ble. I’m guess­ing it will be the best sea boat in the whole range and, ac­cord­ing to White, it’s also the dri­est, with its ex­tra hull length al­low­ing for a bet­ter shaft an­gle.

Push the throt­tles for­ward and the big Caribbean gets up and boo­gies, but bow lift is min­i­mal and on the plane the hull rides nicely level. It’s plan­ing at 12 knots. In a flat sea, we made lit­tle use of the trim tabs, but they are there when you need them.

Cruis­ing at a very serene 21 knots, to­tal fuel burn is 126 litres per hour (both en­gines com­bined), climb­ing to 150lph at 2100rpm and 25 knots. At wide open throt­tle – 2550rpm and 31 knots – the big QSMS to­gether drink 224lph.

Of more rel­e­vance for a boat of this pedi­gree, trolling at 7 knots Night Hawk II sips a miserly 12lph com­bined, which rises to 24lph at a fast trolling speed of 9 knots – pretty de­cent num­bers.

HON­EST VALUE

The Caribbean 49 might not be as flashy or stylis­ti­cally ground-break­ing as some of its com­peti­tors, but it is a strongly built fly­bridge cruiser with time­less styling that will still look good in 20 years. And, like the rest of the Caribbean range, the C49 of­fers great value for money.

All of those at­tributes ap­peal to Kiwi boaters.

ABOVE Scott White is the New Zealand agent for Caribbean boats. RIGHT A mas­sive cock­pit and plenty of rod stor­age are fea­tures of the C49. FAR RIGHT There’s good ac­cess around the Cum­mins en­gines.

The lat­est model might be big­ger, but the fam­ily re­sem­blance to its smaller sib­lings is un­mis­tak­able.

Night Hawk II will be on dis­play at the Auck­land On Wa­ter Boat Show, 27-30 Septem­ber. BE­LOW The C49 may have the best sea-go­ing cre­den­tials of the whole Caribbean range.

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