About Tiki Trek

Picture of the Perfect Cruising Yacht

Designed by William Crealock and built in Costa Rica at the British Leyland motorcar company yard (not Asia as most assume when they see her) she was, for a short time, one of a few “Gold Standard” boats for blue water cruising. The CR’s standard equipment package was very good (and still is) for the period. Although small inside compared to modern cruisers, she is still considered one of the most sturdy and motion comfortable blue water boats ever made and as we have settled into her have discovered she is not as small as she first appears. In fact, we have found that being smaller and having lots of robust handholds helps in a seaway when you need to move about the cabin.


Cabo Rico 38 Plan B Layout

Tiki Trek is a 1987 semi-custom “Plan B” Cabo Rico model 38 Cutter Rig hull #117. She is 38 feet on deck but with our bow sprit and dinghy davits, she is about 45 feet Length-Over-All. She has a beam of 11.5 feet and a draft of 5’7″ when loaded for cruising. Fully laden she weighs in at about 24,000 pounds. She is a “cut-away” keel with a “Barn Door Rudder” that protects the propeller.


Below the Water

The prop sits behind the keel and in front of the rudder which has an aperture that allows you to remove the shaft without having to remove the rudder. The prop shipped with the vessel was a three-blade 18×11 but when we replaced it we put on a 17×9. The prop is mounted on a 1.25″ shaft.

The boat came equipped with two large sacrificial zincs on the hull mounted in the stern corners.


Her decks are fiberglass sandwich balsa-cored but this is only for insulation. The fiberglass sandwiching is 3/8″ thick on top followed by over an inch of balsa and then 1/4″ fiberglass. We have found her balsa to be bone dry. Where bolts (or other items that go through the deck) have been placed through the deck, the balsa is tapered out and replaced with solid fiberglass – mating the 3/8″ and the 1/4″ fiberglass to provide both strength and avoid water intrusion. All items on deck have thick 3/16″ or thicker stainless steel backing plates.

Her decks are wide with a high bulwark running stem-to-stern which makes her easy to move about on deck in rough conditions. Each of the six horn cleats is is backed by a thick backing plate and equipped with its own hawsepipe which allows you to run your lines neatly. The deck is bolted to the hull and glued in place using either 5200 or Dolphinite. So far, she has been very leakproof except for areas where the teak cap rail was damaged during a hurricane many years ago. This is on the fix list.

She has two large scuppers at the low-section of the mid-deck in addition to the hawsepipes.

Her lifelines are almost at mid-thigh height making them more effective compared to many modern cruisers where they are knee-thigh. The stern is wrapped with a stainless steel rail at waist height.


Tiki Trek is a “cutaway” full keel with a hull about 2″ thick (or more), basically the generation after full-keels. Her ballast is “fully-enclosed” lead meaning it is formed into the hull then sealed with epoxy and fiberglass, not bolted on the bottom, so no worrying about the keel falling off. During the worst weather she has motion but never pounds or shudders, which means she remains relatively comfortable and quiet inside. The downside to this hull design is three-fold: (a) she can hobby-horse under the right conditions, meaning her bow rises and falls like a hobby-horse. This can be a little unnerving at first but mostly it just affects our speed and can make it a little bouncy when working way-up at the bow. However, her wide, clear, flat deck in that area makes it easy to work; (b) she does not like to back up in a straight line [in fact, its pure luck if we do]; and (c) we lose a little bit of storage and speed because it shortens the water-line length. This is why she is a little smaller inside compared to other vessels her length.

Picture of Cabo Rico Sailing

She is not a slow boat, her hull speed is 7.25 knots and we regularly sail her on a beam reach with little heeling at 6.8 knots. However, Lisa and I prefer comfort over speed most of the time and we will reef the sails to keep her between 6 and 7 knots in order to limit stress on the rigging and bring her more up-right. 6 knots get us where we are going just fine. Being a heavier boat she does her best in 20 knots true wind but will sail OK in 12 knots of wind. Under 12 knots of wind and we just ghost along at 3 or maybe 4 knots. We have to get suit of sails for low-wind sailing and that will help a lot.


Although she has no blisters, we soda blasted the hull down to bare fiberglass and applied 12 mils of new epoxy barrier coat. We then painted her with alternating colors of red and black Pettit Trinidad SR hard anti-fouling. When we paint her again, we will use Pettit Hydrocoat SR on top of the hard anti-fouling, to avoid paint build up, being sure to burnish her to get the hull smooth.


We replaced all her thru hulls above and below the waterline and they are now all Groco bronze or stainless steel.


The normal bronze prop for this boat is a 3-Blade 18×11 but Tiki Trek is equipped with a 17×9 3-blade. We switched to this prop based on the recommendation of the Digital Prop Shop in Herrington Harbor but wish we had stuck with the 18×11. We may switch back when we next haul out. Her prop is first treated with metal etcher and then a coating of zinc barnacle barrier is applied. On top of that we apply several coats of Pettit Hydrocoat SR, which we anticipate will last about a season. If it does wear through then we have the zinc below to protect it until we haul out.

Cabo Rico Cockpit View

She has a stern cockpit long enough for two to sleep in full length, a cockpit shower, Edson chain-wire steering, full electronics suite with a remote VHF, a fully-enclosable dodger and bimini for when it gets cold, rainy, breezy, or buggy. She is equipped with self-tailing winches, which was rare standard equipment for a 1987 boat. She came equipped with four 2.5″ scuppers and Whale Gusher manual emergency bilge pump accessible to the helmsman so they can steer and pump at the same time. We have Fusion cockpit speakers, 4 USB plugs, and a 12 volt accessory plug. Interestingly, there is a huge integrated cooler under the starboard lazarette seat. We have not used that for a cooler (storage!) but I would like to try and see how well it works. All the engine gauges are located next to the pilot seat.


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