Friday, October 19, 2012
I think you’ll find this to be an unusual (but interesting) letter from a hard-core Cobalt owner raving about a model that is no longer in the Cobalt line-up: the 343.
I’ve always been an avid high-performance boater and have owned most of the usual suspects over the years when it comes to high performance off-shore boating (whole thoroughly enjoying my Cobalt’s – 293, etc. – for luxury boating on inland lakes). One question has always haunted me when it comes to boat designs: why do I have to give up so much in luxury, handling, and ride just to go fast? I get the whole weight vs. power thing, but as an engineer by background; I just had to believe that someone could solve that equation in a more balanced fashion than had been delivered to date. Enter the Cobalt 343 – a truly “stealth” solution to the problem I spoke of. My personal opinion is that the 343 was a great platform that was much more capable than most understood (or gave it credit for). And, it had all of the basic ingredients from the factory to begin to satisfy the luxury AND speed-minded owner (a little light on the original power choices but I’ll get to that in a moment).
When it was announced, I jumped at the chance to be on of the first 343 owners and George M. at the factory helped me spec out and build a fully loaded ’05 with basically every option box checked, including generator and air/heat (no speed top). Obviously, this boat is not a lightweight contender. When it left Neodesha, it was equipped with the top-end Mercury racing big blocks available at the time. It only took one shakedown ride to discover the phenomenal engineering done on creating the hull. It possessed the legendary Cobalt rode, carved incredibly in the turns, and had none of the normal idiosyncrasies typical of stepped hulls (skipping or skating in turns, etc.). To this day, other boating friends of mine are still amazed by this wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is truly the ultimate performance “sleeper” and now can run at GPS verified speeds that are (in their words) “amazing”. That statement sort of brings us to part two of the story.
With the expiration of my warranty, I decided to do a little “experimenting” in the power department. I’ve always found the best results by turning to the best people for help, so I turned to the proven marine power-making leaders: Mike D’Annibelle and the Sterling Performance guys in Michigan (my 343 sits on a lake in Ohio). His marching orders were simple: build me a couple of nasty blown on big blocks that make a ton of horsepower, but in a dependable, conservative EFI configuration that makes them very easy to love with on 91 octane. Now I had the pure grunt to do what I wanted to, but as you well know at Cobalt, there’s much more to do on getting the power to the water in the most efficient manner. Enter the second partner on this innovation: Art Cook of Art Cook Marine in Detroit, Michigan. Art has partnered with Sterling on many a hot-boat, and has a library of “little secrets” that go far beyond the typical speed parts catalogue approach to going fast.
Mike and Art took the challenge to heart and they personally propped, rigged, and massaged the 343 to a level that is an incredible blend of power and luxury. By their own admission, they were absolutely amazed at what it delivered. The result: a 343 that will tickle triple digits (GPS certified) at 6000 rpm with custom lab-finished BBlades props – and a hull that is just as confortable there as it is at 60 mph! And I still have all the luxury and legendary Cobalt attributes (including generator and A/C)! I have seen a few folks mess with alternate power in their 343’s, but to my knowledge no one else has engineered the complete combination that really put’s it directly in performance contention with a bunch of other hot-boat brands and models. We love to watch the expression on people’s faces as we pull away from they when they’re already at WOT – particularly on rough water when we’re riding like it’s a dead-calm in the Cobalt!
Jon J. Ricker
Well, there you have it. A fairly short story from a long time Cobalt fan and customer that continues to love our Cobalt’s (I’m thinking about getting one of the WSS-series boats for my oldest son). If there is ever a Cobalt model in the future that is a “next generation” to the 343, you can again put my name on one of the first hulls. Thanks again for your dedication in keeping the Cobalt name (and everything it stands for) consistent decade after decade.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Cuddy , Lifestyle, Luxury Boat
Friday, October 12, 2012
My oldest friend died last week. And I have become thoughtful. About things that last and those that do not. I’m old, and my examples of life’s swift passing reflect my age. You youngsters out there, please substitute appropriately.
Now, Cobalt owners and those of you who would soon like to become such, look at your boat. Look there. And there. And over here. And here. And recognize again that genuine style operates outside of Time. Look at your Cobalt: its classic lines, its amenities, its so carefully chosen comforts, the technology that underlies every inch of its hull, the elegant simplicity of its profile, its effortless grace at cruise and anchor alike.
Mood rings and pet rocks have come and gone, and we all must continue to pray that neither earth shoes nor disco balls ever, ever return. You know, Cobalt design has not once admitted a passing whim, a fad of the moment. We build boats in long traditions of craftsmanship which in Neodesha, Kansas have come to stay.
I think of my old friend with his Beatle bangs and his bell-bottom jeans. And then I see him again, on his Harley, the bike he had bought two months before he died. And on his boat, his Cobalt another American icon, a throwback to a simpler time. A time when dreams seemed as real and attainable as the malt shop down on Main Street’s red bricks, when the latest pop record spun at 45 revolutions per minute. I think now that my old bud wanted his Cobalt 202 just for its looks, for its classic three-color graphics, glorious and unfading, beautiful today and tomorrow, just like Betty Lou in that summer we all did the Twist.
I’ll miss him, and those long, slow cruises into a summer sunset that, we thought, would not ever end.
Thanks to John Brown for contributing.
Categories: Lifestyle | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle
Friday, September 21, 2012
The rains have finally come to Neodesha, Kansas. After fifty-plus days above a hundred degrees Fahrenheit, we’ve become a bit philosophical. About our work. About its obligations and its rewards.
We’ve been thinking about you.
We believe in thoughtful fanaticism. We value enthusiasm in the pursuit of personal and collective standards of performance determined by the specific, identifiable needs and wishes of our customers. We understand the particular relationship between boats and their owners, the deeply personal nature of a product whose principal function is to introduce families to boating. The big abstractions matter: “quality,” “innovation,” “service,”.
But we understand that the such words find meaning in the ten thousand daily completions of small, carefully defined tasks. Quality begins in the integrity of a wiring circuit. Innovation is subsumed in the first flicker of an idea for a better brace for a windshield. Service is a phone call.
We build boats so that your expectations are established after the first ride in your new boat. Boating is visceral. It’s adrenalyzed, physical, full of sensations felt, first, in the middle of one’s chest. And so Cobalt builds boats that thump, subtly sometimes, but thumping nonetheless, full of your family’s best feelings about yourselves and your time together.
Cobalt builds boats for families and for friends. In the realization of individual dreams we find a corporate identity. Cobalt boats have become timeless in the terms that make them uniquely valuable: first the integrity and then the skills of our associates. To the degree that the people of Cobalt anticipate your needs, your wishes, we will succeed.
Categories: Customer Service, Lifestyle | Tags: Boat Dealers, Family Boating, Luxury Boat, New Boat
Friday, August 17, 2012
My family has just returned from an extended Fourth-of-July stay at Table Rock Lake. A group of people from back home (Wichita, Kansas) built cabins in a rugged, wooded strip of shoreline west of Shell Knob, Missouri, the Cobalts waiting at a dock called “The Have-Nots Hangout.”
Deep-down, bedrock happiness, drawn from the rock formation that serves as a scenic overlook off Highway 165, large and flat this rock, above what was to be original site for Table Rock’s dam and the heaven-sent water that backed up behind the dam’s 1.2 million cubic yards of concrete. Water that, per the younger Cobalt riders in our group, “lets you see your feet.” So clear and, in this year of such very strange weather, so warm, Table Rock’s waters are so deeply green, so often calm that the mountains reflected there mirror in a shimmer the Ozarks’ grandeur.
Even during the Independence Day frenzy, the chop was manageable in a lesser boat, simply not a factor in a Cobalt boat – Table Rock is that big, that fingered. And when a mid-afternoon thunderstorm rolled quickly through and the lake cleared of boats, the lake settled immediately into dimpled glass. Boaters love Table Rock first, last, and always for that miraculous water.
And for what it makes possible: the cliff jumping with family and friends at anchor to shoot video of the daredevils, many of them barely in junior-high school; the wakeboarding at preternatural, but survivable speed; and the quiet, smooth corner where a little kid first comes up on skis. That warm, clear Table Rock water gives rise even to retail traditions – taking the Cobalt for ice cream at Big M marina, to Shell Knob for pizza, to Kimberling City for live music.
With its winding origins in the White River, Table Rock can be a fine and private place for hundreds of people, all at once, here and there, with little coves and inlets the defining features of the lake. At the same time, massive anchorings of party-minded boaters are also a Table Rock deal from the get-go.
And did I mention that you can see your feet?
Thanks to John Brown for contributing
Categories: Lifestyle | Tags: Boat Dealers, Destination, Luxury Boat, New Boat
Saturday, July 14, 2012
Your ownership of a Cobalt boat entitles you to use loud and often nautical terms of every stripe: those that have come fully into the vernacular — “learn the ropes,” for example – and those that remain damp and obscure — the onomatopoetic “garbling,” for example, “the illegal practice of mixing cargo with garbage.” No garbling around here. None whatsoever, as we invite you to talk the talk just as confidently as your Cobalt . . . er . . . walks the walk. Do be careful then, as nautical terms do sometimes make for unworkable metaphors.
Anchor’s aweigh fer sure, me hearties! And the scuttlebutt is that the skipper is just about to stand abeam and order an extra ration of grog for the entire ship’s company.
Categories: Lifestyle, Tips and Hints | Tags: Boating Industry, Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Luxury Boat, Saltwater
Tuesday, July 03, 2012
Lake Norman stretches for more than 30 miles, with a surface area of 32,500 acres and a shoreline of more than 520 miles, earning thereby its nickname of the “Inland Sea.” Located just north of Charlotte, North Carolina, Lake Norman has become a favorite of boaters throughout the southeastern United States, both for weekend excursions and for extended vacations in which enjoyment of a new Cobalt comes amid other splendid leisure opportunities, both urban and rural. The mountains and the coast wait just a short drive away, in opposite directions of course.
Cornelius, Davidson, and Huntersville are the nearest North Carolina Communities, each with big-name hotels and bed-and-breakfast inns, most of the former located just off I-77, 20 minutes from Charlotte. Please be advised, however, that lake-front rentals remain scarce and difficult to obtain. The temperatures on Lake Norman – this unprecedented early season heat notwithstanding — will float in the upper 80s this summer. Oddly, July is the wettest month in the region. But enough of these dry facts. Enough, we say!
Let’s turn quickly to what might be. As you cruise the main channel of Lake Norman and you notice another Cobalt keeping pace several boat-lengths over, you might want to look a bit closer at the captain across the way. Because Charlotte is ground-zero of the cultural phenomenon that is NASCAR, there is a concrete possibility that a car-driver very comfortable at 200 miles per hour will be more than comfortable driving a Cobalt at 55. You do not want to race on Lake Norman! Despite the lake’s lack of a speed limit, a North Carolina Class B misdemeanor waits for recklessness of any sort. And besides who back home will believe that you shut down Joe Gibbs Racing? A strict no-wake policy applies around all man-made structures.
It’s also quite possible that you will see perched atop a buoy a bird you believe to be an eagle. It’s not. It’s an osprey. It’s somewhat possible that you will see a marine creature of huge bulk with significant dentition. And scales. Green scales, reportedly. With, as we say, many, many teeth. That would be Normie. Normie, the Lake Norman Monster. With, of course, a website: www.lakenormanmoster.com. And coloring books for children, the more contrarian of whom may color Normie’s scales purple.
And, by all means, drop in to say hello to Mark Kale, general manager, at Lake Norman Marina, your Cobalt dealer, at 6965 Highway 150 East, just over nine miles west of I-77, three miles east of Highway 16. (704-483-5546).
Normie can wait.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Dealer Partners, Lifestyle | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Destination, Family Boating, Lifestyle
Friday, May 18, 2012
A boat is not a boat is not a boat and, at Cobalt, will never be just a boat.
Which is to say, we design our boats every model year to meet the evolving needs of ever more sophisticated owners, luxury boats that incorporate the latest technology and the very best of our most recent thinking, boats adapted to specific recreational opportunities. Which is not to say that we don’t build boats which adapt very well indeed to multiple recreational opportunities.
None more than the 26SD, a veritable Swiss Army knife among boats. With the 26SD we designed to a single over-riding principle, one unchanging truth. Fun follows function.
We know that the good times roll when a family boat has been built to answer your every demand for performance, for adaptability, for genuine innovation in the service of a happy, carefree day on the water. The 26SD is every bit as much about skiing and waterboarding as about quiet conversation on a leisurely cruise. The ride on the 26SD is dry and smooth – even on coastal chop. The coming on plane is sudden, the seating expanded, the choice of powertrains complete and specific.
The 26SD of course continues the recent Cobalt innovations of the water-level swim platform and its patented swim-step, flipped down for safe, quick, easy movement in and out of the water. A beach boarding ladder serves a similar function.
We’ve intentionally created a list of optional equipment essentially twice the number of standard features. Intentionally, so that buyers are free to come to Cobalt at an affordable base price, and then to decide for themselves what options will best serve the 26SD’s intended fun. From the look of the boat itself – with three-color hull graphics, for example – to the choice of carpet fibers, from the reach and heft of the sound system to cool functionality of a refrigerator to the addition of a stainless-steel arch with a bimini top, the 26SD waits to serve – functionally now, functionally — the fun of the moment.
Which is to say, the 26SD is a boat that can and will be the boat.
For you, the boat.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Innovative Features, Lifestyle | Tags: Award Winning Boat, Bowrider, Cobalt Boats, Family Boating, Luxury Boat, New Boat
Thursday, May 03, 2012
It never, ever hurts to dream. To dream huge, fine, and faraway. And so today’s cruise to fantasyland involves land belonging to three different countries – Germany, Austria, and Switzerland – about 250 miles of shoreline surrounding Lake Constance. The Swiss Alps jut above, stunning in their vistadom, the ideal backdrop for life to be lived for a time on a Cobalt of European extraction, one of the cuddies in the line probably, a 273 let’s say, the 273 an amalgam of luxury, utility, convenience, comfort, and performance that speaks to the needs of essentially every owner, its broad beam welcoming to you, your traveling companions, and the sunset about to explode in this old, old part of Western civilization, where reconstructed dwellings from the Stone and Bronze Ages wait ashore.
As do other beacons of culture when you leave your Cobalt for a day trip to the vineyards, quite odd museums, historic town squares, ornate churches, and – yes, Virginia — castles surrounding Lake Constance. Maybe you’ll slip into Friedrichshafen, Germany, the city which gave the world the zeppelin, the cigar-shaped hot-air balloon invented there by old Count Ferdinand von Z. himself. Or maybe you’ll listen to /Tosca/ performed on the Constance-borne floating stage at the town of Bergenz in Austria. A lake festival in Arbon, Switzerland in June culminates in a massive fireworks display like unto that a few days later on the Grand Lake of the Cherokees. The German town of Konstanz gave the lake its name and its principal picnic item, Muenster so outrageously good that an accompanying wine is routinely forgotten.
Angling is prolific, and the lake serves up several species of incredibly edible fish, varieties of perch, pike, and trout at the top of the list – staples of the restaurants in every shore-town. Perfect beaches, both sand and pebble, punctuate the lake, made picturesque not just by the sleek Mediterranean lines of your luxury Cobalt boat, but also by the frequent regattas and sailing competitions throughout the summer months.
As the third largest lake in Europe, and the biggest lake in the region of the Black Forest, Constance is popular, and then some. By no means overcrowded, the area is nonetheless aflutter with leisure activity of every sort, and you’ll share Lake Constance with laughing, friendly people – locals and tourists alike – all attuned to a healthful outdoor lifestyle.
Please be advised that a license, easily enough obtained, is required to captain a Cobalt on the lake. For additional information about a dreamy vacation centered around a pre-alpine lake of pristine beauty with German airships overhead, you simply cannot find more informed, more helpful people than the happy folks at our Cobalt dealerships: Brunnert-Grimm AG Espen 9, CH-8274 Gottlieben Tel 0041 71 669 11 77 Fax 0041 71 669 15 56
Categories: Dealer Partners, Lifestyle | Tags: Boat Dealers, Destination, Lifestyle
Monday, April 30, 2012
Those of you boating along the Gulf Coast will surely have noticed more and more Cobalt boat owners waving back at you on open water. Over the past several years here in Neodesha, Kansas we’ve seen Cobalts obviously intended for saltwater use grow as a percentage of total sales, most especially in Florida’s coastal waters. You should know too that these sales increases have not been confined to our larger boats. Far from it, in fact, as even the 200 has shown itself particularly adaptable to big water.
Cobalt hull design, our legendary exteneded running surface, give our smaller models huge advantages over competitive models of similar length. Advantages in smoothness of ride and overall manageability of the boat in rough ocean chop. Those of you who frequent the on-line boating chatrooms – The Hull Truth, for example – will hear all sorts of discussion about the saltwater usage of boats of all sizes and configurations. A bottom-line value runs through that commentary: the quality of the manufacturer.
Regardless of add-ons, special saltwater-options packages, or particular preventive maintenance procedures, the craftsmanship of the boatbuilders and the seaworthiness of the boat’s raw materials determine your long-term satisfaction. End of song.
In this regard, as you continue to think about a boat for coastal ocean use, trot out the roster of Cobalt standards of construction applicable to your contentment today, to your sense of your wise self a decade from now: the Kevlar in the hull maybe with its Hydrolam processs, the profligate use of stainless steel – electropolished stainless steel, the tightly engineered integrity of the electrical system, the deep-V design, the closed cooling systems in all available powertrains.
In this last regard, our new owners in Florida and other Gulf States are fully engaged with revolutionary new responses to the corrosive effects of salt water on engines and drives – the Ocean-X option from Volvo Penta and Seacore from MerCruiser. A visit with your nearest Cobalt dealer begins the details of the discussion. Matey.
Categories: Boating Safety, Innovative Features | Tags: Boat Builders, Cobalt Boats, Destination, Saltwater
Friday, March 30, 2012
A blue norther has been gathering up in Nebraska, the wind cranking it another knot or two, and I’ve come inside just now with thick fingers and wet eyes to think about spring. About my first bold Cobalt trek across an unfrozen lake. About the memories that wait for all of us on our boats, as we go back to the water again.
I’m feeling right now the thump of a Cobalt hole-shot, the middle-of-the-chest certainty that a bunch of Mercruiser power is under some very tight control. I’m resting easy in wrap-around, deep-down comfort and security of the captain’s chair, listening to the squeals of my grandson riding happy portside, his face lifted into the breeze. He is learning the thrill that comes with command, the unmistakable satisfaction of a new boat responding just as directed. His strong suggestion that “we go fast, grandpa” is not to be taken lightly, but our Cobalt — he’s coming to understand — is about performance beyond speed. At nine years of age he can appreciate the trueness of our turns, the ease and smoothness of our cruising.
He, like his elders, loves this boat, because of the way it makes him feel. And not just the exhilaration that our Cobalt brings, not just the visceral stuff, but the quiet times as well, those perfect minutes with the engine off, rocking just a little on waves that invite a nap, him telling one silly story after another. Those good times are coming, I tell myself. But nothing like a Cobalt in the last days of winter to make a kid impatient.
Thanks to John Brown for contributing
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Luxury Boat, New Boat
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