Home Monday, September 22, 2008 

 The 276: Cobalt DNA Taken to a New Level

  (NEODESHA, KANSAS – NEW FOR 2009) In describing the newest incarnation of Cobalt boat-building philosophy, Cobalt engineers speak of heft, of beefiness, of strength both real and perceived. The 276 just looks substantial. At the same time, the 276’s exterior design – those long, long lines – offer a new expression of Cobalt classicism. In its combination of easy grace and masterfully channeled power, the 276 extends the definition of a large runabout in the Mediterranean mold, a transitional boat borrowing much of the style, even more of the substance of a performance cruiser.

More about those lines: aft, the transom swoops down, where a fresh design for the finned engine vents uses stainless steel to complement the illusion that this boat never really does ride at anchor. Overhead, the 276’s stainless steel arch is bold, edgy, something much more than a mere wraparound hoop, its whoosh and flow matched with the sweep of the hull. A new bimini top, extending further aft, meshes sweetly with the arch, fusing high style and high performance in all the right ways. A stainless cap accents the windshield, it too at once structural and aesthetic.

A less visible enhancement comes in the swim platform, fully integrated now, molded into the hull, not bolted on as a separate component. Polished stainless tubing protects the platform, its squared edges in keeping with the 276’s hard-nosed take on robust use weekend after weekend, season after season.

The bow threatens to steal the entire interior show. Actually elongated, looking longer still, the walkway extending all the way to the anchor and its optional windlass, the bow accentuates the overall spaciousness of the 276’s yacht-certified passenger places. In the cockpit an L-lounge welcomes guests, as a dual position fore/aft-facing seatback doubles portside seating options. The double-wide helm seat imparts all the firm, comfortable support a captain could want, looking for all the world like Cobalt’s yacht seats, the Cobalt standard flip-lip bolster along for the ride . The aft sunpad includes an adjustable headrest. The standard music system brings along an AM-FM CD with six speakers, a 200-watt amplifier, an iPod/MP3 port, and a remote at the dash. The premium system adds even more amplification, even more directional sound, with upgraded speakers, an additional subwoofer, and a remote at the transom – XM satellite radio an option as well.

The 276 is the first Cobalt model to feature double-needle diamond stitchery throughout the upholstery, a subtle distinction quietly achieved. The colors of the base vinyls have deepened as well – not just on the 276, but across the 2009 model line – whites now creams, the ivories and sands richer here, the grays more attuned to interior woods. These vinyls are softer too, more tactile, warmer. And the 276 brings teak back too, optional teak flooring in the bow, in the walk-thrus, on the swim platform.

One Cobalt designer has proclaimed the 276 dash “the most gorgeous we’ve ever built.” His argument is sound. This dash wraps around the captain, surrounding her with easy control, stainless half-round glinting against the wood. New gauges promise even greater accuracy, enhancing Cobalt’s traditional near-aeronautic performance. The instrumentation is backlit, of course, for superior night display. The leather steering wheel tilts. A GPS with plotter is optional. Covered in dark vinyl, a storage console, with an optional faucet and drain – a sink in the making – tucks just behind the helm station.

Historically, Cobalt has emphasized the all-in importance of engine power, and the big, broad choices for the 276 ensure an appropriate blend of performance and efficiency, from 300 all the way up to 425 horses in 496 Mag Bravo 3‘s, from 300 to 420 in Volvo Penta 8.1 Duo-Props. Meantime, the always-best, now-even-better warranty in the business suggests that for, at least three years after first full-power, these boats will do exactly, specifically, guaranteed, as advertised.

And here’s the market-based, the promotional word for the Cobalt 276: “Hang on.”

Hang on, you.