BOAT REVIEW Caribbean 35 Mk III Night Hawk II

September 2016 Launch Reviews
Words John Eichelsheim Photos Bryce Taylor
Build Quality
MODEL Caribbean 35 Mk III
DESIGNER International Marine
BUILDER International Marine
BEAM 4.03M
ENGINE 2 x Cummins QSB 350hp
Maximum Speed 31 knots
Cruise Speed 25 knots
DEADRISE 21 degrees
  • New engines boost performance
  • New interior in line with premium Express models
  • Improved flybridge layout and specification
  • Premium electronics
  • Nimble handling
  • Worthy upgrade on a popular model
  • Direct descent from Raymond C Hunt Bertrams
  • Dependable seaworthy hull
  • Suitable for cruising as well as fishing

Proving that there is always room for improvement, the new Caribbean 35 Mk III expands her fishing-focus and now incorporates a lot more comfort and family cruising features.

Caribbean’s 35 Mk III was released in 2010 and in June 2012 I reviewed the first boat to arrive in New Zealand
for this magazine. Night Hawk II is the first newly upgraded Caribbean 35 Mk III to reach these shores
and it will star at the 2016 Auckland On Water Boat Show.
Exclusive New Zealand Caribbean agent Scott White has equipped Night Hawk II for his own use. He’s specified a deluxe Simrad electronics package that reflects his interest in gamefishing. He has worked closely with Advance Trident Ltd for many years, installing Simrad electronics into new and used Caribbeans.
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The most immediately noticeable upgrade to the new vessel is to her interior. The internal layout is unchanged but the presentation has been tweaked to fall into line with Caribbean’s premium Express models, previously available only in 40-feet and larger. It’s a step up in quality and presentation compared to earlier versions of the model. Changes include new high-quality fabrics, vinyl and leather, plus extensive use of polished timber trim. Timber joinery and trim, as well as tables and the polished timber counter top in the galley, have squared-off corners for an edgier, more modern look and sliding side windows feature insect screens – also fitted to the overhead skylight hatches in the forward cabins.
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Although the 35 remains a sport fishing-oriented model with a generous-sized cockpit, the air-conditioned saloon is spacious enough for comfort. The dinette occupies the rear corner on the port side next to the saloon door. The saloon table is fixed with wraparound seating for four or five. Opposite, a bench-style settee converts into bunk berths for up to three in the saloon, the seat back suspended from the ceiling to make the single berth and the settee base pulling out become a double.
The compact galley is forward, a half-step lower than the saloon sole, but this doesn’t isolate the cook. Galley worktops are Corian, there’s an under-bench fridge, a microwave oven and a two-element electric stovetop. All appliances are 240-volt, running off the genset or shore power.
Opposite the galley, inside the large polished teak cabinet supporting the large screen Panasonic TV, is an icemaker, the head unit for a fully-featured Fusion entertainment system, controls for the Onan genset and the vessel’s main switchboard. Night Hawk II is fitted with Intellian satellite television so Scott can catch the Chiefs when they’re playing.
The Simrad electronics package aboard Night Hawk II is comprehensive, reflecting Scott’s passion for game fishing. It includes a Simrad 4G radar for superb target detection, useful for locating work-ups and the fish associated with them.
Night Hawk II has three MFDs, two Simrad NSS evo2 12-inch touch-screen displays on the bridge and a 7-inch MFDin the cockpit. Simrad’s autopilot function is integrated with the MFDs and the system utilises Simrad’s GoFree wireless functionality, allowing you to view data and control your Simrad NSS from your iPad or iPhone.
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The CHIRP fishfinder module features a 1kW through-hull transducer providing excellent bottom lock at 25 knots, and StructureScan HD. Navionics charting offers Compressed Bathy Charting, and a pair of Panasonic engine room cameras to keep an eye on the engines.
The VHF at the Flybridge is a Simrad RS35, with a wireless second station inside the saloon on a cradle in the
Visual entertainment is via an Intellian I2, Satellite TV Antenna providing satellite TV at sea – the only way to go.
The complete system was installed and commissioned by Scott Bailey of Advance Trident Ltd.
Down the companionway the Caribbean 35 has a two-cabin layout, plus a shared bathroom. The master cabin is in the bows with the angled double berth on the port side and a dressing area with a seat to starboard. There’s a hanging locker, drawers and good storage under the bed.
The guest cabin is fairly tight but the bunk berths are full size, so they are comfortable for adults. The bathroom features a separate shower box, vanity and an electric toilet.
Overall, accommodation is comfortable and well-appointed, the saloon berths providing sleeping options for up to seven adults, though in a 12m boat seven would feel pretty crowded.
The flybridge is another area Caribbean has upgraded. The fabrics are new and all the cushions now timber backed. The hardtop lid is moulded GRP, supported on stainless steel columns and fully enclosed with Strataglass plastic clears.
Access to the cockpit is via an aluminium ladder from the cockpit on the starboard side, through a hatch. When closed it prevents anyone accidentally falling through and also reduces noise from the cockpit area when the boat’s underway, though it’s pretty quiet on the flybridge anyway.
A moulded helm console offers plenty of real estate for large screen multi-function displays, in this case a pair of Simrad 12-inch units (see electronics sidebar), Cummins digital engine data displays, Fusion sound system controls, and the usual complement of switches and controls for the anchor, trim tabs, lighting, horn and much more.
A pair of upholstered swiveling helm seats provide excellent all-round vision, including aft into the cockpit. Rolling up the clears across the back of the flybridge makes communication with the cockpit easier when berthing or playing a marlin, but there’s a second helm station in the cockpit if the skipper wants to be closer to the action. Rather than using a separate controller, the autopilot is controlled by any one of the three Simrad MFDs, including the cockpit’s 7-inch Simrad MFD.
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Scott and his two boys love game fishing and Night Hawk II is a fast, nimble sportfisher well-equipped for chasing game fish in blue water.
The Caribbean 35 has a useful, uncluttered cockpit with enclosed side pockets for gaffs, poles and lines. Under the cockpit sole there’s plenty of room for bulky items and good access to the lazarette, steering gear and fuel tank sender via a second underfloor hatch near the transom.
The cockpit self-drains though scuppers, the transom door closes inwards so there’s no chance of it coming open when backing up, and the pair of live-wells moulded into the transom are of a decent size. One’s plumbed and one isn’t, but Scott intends fitting it with a pair of tuna tubes.