Cabo 44 HTX Express SportfishThe Best Express Sportfish Ever? Review by Loren Schweizer Behold the new Cabo 44 Hardtop Express. Could this be the best conceived and arguably the most handsome mid-sized sportfish express for our times? If not, it's certainly the best bang for the buck in the express sector. Permit a tiny digression. I am walking down the docks at Ocean Reef and pass by a sportfisherman and in the cockpit fighting chair is a geezer. The salon door suddenly opens and a babe in a bikini steps out, hands our boy a cold drink and disappears back into the salon. I guess my jaw must have dropped and the guy noticed me and said, ”Never forget, young man, it only costs a few pennies more to go first class.” Let’s begin with the looks (the HTX, not the girl). Gone is the old generic add-on two-dimensional top with canvas patches to keep out the elements, now replaced by the new integrated stylish hardtop resulting in the fully hard-enclosed bridgedeck. There’s a smooth transitional line from windshield to top to trailing edge draped over the shapely side window curve following the line of the pilaster. The end result is a design classic that looks all of one piece, something that Jack Hargrave and Emil Rybovich might have sketched over a beer. The shear break begins well aft and rises forward in a graceful manner, thus allowing low freeboard aft to suit anglers and yet with sufficient freeboard forward to yield expansive accommodations below deck. The look is one of pure power and strength. The shear—that is, the sidedeck/rubrail line—remains an important styling characteristic. There are numerous express boats out there with either no shear break at all, or worse, a combination of lines bordering on busy and confused.