Monday, June 10, 2013
In the little Kansas town of Neodesha a huge sign hangs over the entrance to the Cobalt plant: “Through these doors walk the best boatbuilders in the world.” Simple statement of a complex fact.
For owners of Cobalt boats the word “best” passes without contradiction. Those proud owners’ confident assurance of Cobalt quality begins in the handiwork of their boats’ builders. Key word: “builders”. Not producers. Not assembly-line workers. But builders – hands-on, personally engaged, personally responsible builders. Craftspeople with demonstrated skills, an uncompromising ethic of work, and self-imposed standards of individual accountability.
Cobalt is approaching fifty years of building boats in the classic tradition. We’re a throwback of sorts, a company of the insistent belief that the very best work is done by hand. Of course, we understand the role that the tools of a digital age can play in the production of boats of immediate service and enduring value. Machines can produce. They can produce just fine. And we take rich advantage of the accuracies, the exact replications, the measurements of performance that emerging technologies make possible.
But only a knowledgeable, caring human being can build.
So we persist in the daily pursuit of the unreachable -- the design, manufacture, and ongoing support of the perfect runabout, the ideal performance cruiser. With our dealers worldwide, we give our minds and hearts to the winning of the hearts and minds of our customers.
And the results are these, tangible and unforgettable in a summer that lasts like laughter: the escaping ooohs and inescapable wows of sudden movement, a welcome if unasked amnesia, the cares of a workaday world whisked away in a nanosecond of spray, land-locked worries gone in the laughing thump to the chest that defines a good, good day.
Build on, Neodesha.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Innovative Features | Tags: Boat Builders, Boating Industry, Cobalt Boats, Luxury Boat, Neodesha
Thursday, May 16, 2013
You there at the marina, you on the beach absorbing a welcome sun, confess your fascination with arches. Acknowledge the ooh-ah power of a marine arch, its implicit ability to turn heads and open jaws.
Of course, we feel the same sort of excitement upon first glimpse of our forward-facing arch. It’s proving a spectacular, spectacularly popular add-on, forward-facing, strong in use, and so very easy to fold afterward. And of course, Cobalt seeks to make the choosing easy, the new arch available on a wide variety of our boats, optional for BR Series models stretching from the 200 to the 262, standard on the 24 and 26SDWSS boats.
The engineered, so carefully planned benefit of the arch comes in the movement of the ski line to the boat’s highest point, at the top of the arch, where wakeboarders will find better pull all around, where beginning riders will find a much easier lift out of the water on those first, jittery, exhilarating seconds aboard a board. And tubers of the world, you will love . . . guaranteed . . . love being pulled from the tower because it makes for bigger air. The elation becomes yours, yours alone at the end of a rope leading to the best boats built in America. Indeed, in the world.
Good looking and then some, the arch adds adventurous style to, say, a 220, making it, for all the world to see, like a much larger craft. Bear in mind too that the arch brings along a bimini top as part of the package.
And it folds. It folds. Easily, down to windshield height where storage becomes a non-issue. It will fold for your nine-year-old daughter, and then tomorrow at full mast it will take on the most rigorous boarding, the most difficult passage through rough water with not a bounce in sight.
Of course, rock ‘n roll speakers and hold-tight board racks come along as additional options. Look forward now, please. Add an arch to the Cobalt cruising there in your boatly dreams.
Categories: Innovative Features | Tags: Boat Builders, Boat Dealers, Cobalt Boats, Watersports
Monday, May 06, 2013
One of the revolving headlines now on the Cobalt website invites you to an in-home showing of a new video entitled “Building Dreams.” We underscore that invitation again here, asking that you gather the family for an enjoyable look at all the reasons why this coming summer will stand among your very best ever. In Building Dreams the people behind these boats emerge from the plant in Neodesha to explain the ingredients of Cobalt value, from design rationales to raw materials to manufacturing processes to quality-control methodologies. A happy blend of the technical, the historical, and the merely gorgeous, “Building Dreams” will show how fiberglass and stainless steel and leather and glass gather toward the greatness of a Cobalt, how a fundamental passion for boating can lead to more than forty years of marine imagination, to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of happy hours on the water for successive generations of Cobalt owners.
Pack St. Clair, Cobalt’s founder and guiding light, introduces the video, and you’ll find in Pack’s easy warmth and quiet confidence the basis of Cobalt’s refusal to compromise on these boats’ design or construction. Cobalt’s second generation of leaders speak to the continuation of the founding principles to every Cobalt in succeeding model years, as the design and manufacturing principles of large yachts come to the building of small runabouts.
The video offers you a personalized walk-through, bow to stern, of the best boatbuilders in the world going about their daily responsibilities. From the lamination schedule of the fiberglass to the composite miracle that is the transom to the Kevlar at critical points of boatly strength, you’ll come away with a rich understanding of why your Cobalt, with proper care and maintenance of course, will perform through a lifetime of comfort and performance. Look for fulsome discussion of Cobalt’s bill of materials, the more than 2500 individual parts which constitute a finished Cobalt. Line by line, the insistence comes on quality, quality and, later, more quality still. A number of long-time Cobalt associates -- and they are legion, generations of entire families working together here – speak to their jobs, day to day, asking always “the Pack question.” “Would Pack St. Clair approve? Would he buy off on the job I’ve just completed?’
Listen from title to credits for echoes of the Golden Rule. It’s all so simple really: friends building boats for friends to sell to friends.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Videos | Tags: Boat Builders, Cobalt Boats, Family Boating, Lifestyle, Neodesha
Monday, April 29, 2013
We’ve discussed awards here before, the recognition that comes Cobalt’s way from time to time, and we report these awards with all appropriate humility. Whether from the marine industry for innovative design, or from J.D. Power and Associates for overall customer satisfaction, or from professional associations for the magnificent record of integrity and service compiled by our Cobalt dealers, these awards serve as a top-line reminder that we need to keep on keeping on. Fact is, each of the plaques and statuettes in our trophy case represents Cobalt’s refusal to move away from our founding principles. Fact is, we continue to operate on a business model not much different from, no less sophisticated than the Golden Rule itself.
One of our more recent recognitions comes from The Wichita Business Journal, the weekly chronicle of all things commercial and industrial in South Central Kansas, where Cobalt Boats was chosen one of the five winners of the newspaper’s Best in Business competition, which assessed the companies’ revenue growth, community involvement, product innovation, and marketing prowess. We quote a few statements from the article accompanying the announcement of Cobalt’s win.
“The corporate environment at Cobalt Boats in Neodesha can be felt even before you enter the building. Founder Pack St. Clair has strived to create a sense that no one job is more important than any other at the 45-year-old boat manufacturer. And it starts in the parking lot — where there is no assigned parking for any of the company’s 520 workers. ‘The first person in gets the best spot,” says CEO Paxson St. Clair. ‘That’s the attitude we have here. That culture that has been established here over the last 45 years has been the backbone of our success.’”
“Bill Wallisch, the company’s CFO, says, “If it’s not a quality product, it’s not going out.”
“I don’t think we could build Cobalt-quality products anywhere else (than Neodesha)” CEO Paxson St. Clair says. “This city has always been extremely supportive of us. It’s a great relationship.” That in turn helps Cobalt build great relationships with its customers, both existing and prospective.”
The best rules, like the best laws, are not particularly complicated. Thomas Jefferson said so. So do the people of Cobalt. Treat everyone alike: with kindness, respect, and a wide, wide-open sense of possibility.
All so very simple really.
And when the week’s work is done, when the last April boat has been built, the awards will take care of themselves.
Categories: Industry News, Lifestyle | Tags: Award Winning Boat, Boat Dealers, Boating Industry, Luxury Boat
Friday, January 11, 2013
In the early part of this century, the already venerable J.D. Power & Associates, global market researchers, inaugurated their annual study of manufacturers in the marine industry. The studies came largely at the behest of Cobalt Boats and other top-tier manufacturers of various sorts of boats. We were interested in learning even more about the nuances of customer satisfaction and then responding with ever higher standards of design, craftsmanship, and service after the sale of the boat.
There was an industry wide goal to enhance the performance of an entire industry. The result was a runaway leader that produced results year after year. Cobalt Boats was ranked “highest in customer satisfaction” in every single year of the J.D. Power study, which – unfortunately for Cobalt – no longer exists in the stern drive industry. But it’s good to know that you still have an ideal means of comparing the features, benefits, potential for long-term enjoyment, and value unto perpetuity of boats you’re considering for purchase.
We speak, of course, of boat shows. Whose peak season is just now underway.
At a show near you, you’ll find everywhere opportunity for first-hand contrast of models competing for your discretionary dollars. All of us at Cobalt welcome your most rigorous inspection of the details of Cobalt quality, under the warm and friendly guidance of some folks who know next to everything about these boats. At a boat show you’ll meet both your local dealer and, in most cases, some members of the Cobalt factory team.
Cobalt remains a family business, and that irreplaceable kind of personal interaction with customers will soon be obvious to you after a half-hour’s conversation inside a bowrider parked on a carpeted boat show floor. No survey, no video, no brochure could hope to duplicate the exchange of information that comes in a quiet, one-on-one discussion of your needs and wishes for the boat of your warm-weather dreams. Your personal boating consultant exists in the form of a factory trained Cobalt Expert.
Plan to attend a boat show in the next few weeks, even if you’re not planning on buying right away. Watch the Cobalt Video called Building Dreams to further your confidence that Cobalt is the right company to earn your trust.
Friendships never happen on a schedule anyway.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Videos | Tags: Boat Builders, Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Luxury Boat, Neodesha
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