Like all the Cobalt models, the 246 looks like it’s in motion even at the dock. A combination of common sense engineering, abundant creature features and good old solid boat building technology has gone into the 246. At just 24’6” she has a roomy beam of 8’6” giving her the feel of a larger vessel.
All of these comforts ride on an exceptional hull design derived from years of boat building experience. After running the 246 I had to find out how they got a boat to handle this well. So I found a Cobalt on a trailer and crawled under for a look. The first thing I noticed was the large reverse chines and the absence of the inner planning strakes from the windshield aft. This combination, coupled with a 20-degree deadrise, allows the vessel to drop into the waves smoothly without banging in most situations. To top it all off because of the large reverse chines she had a dry ride with no water hitting the windshield.
The vessel tested did not have trim tabs and, despite this, rode surprisingly level even when the load wasn’t. The reason for this was also found under the hull. Aft, on ether side of the out drive, the hull is extended beyond the transom creating a kind of a large fixed trim tab surface. Cobalt uses this on all of its models and calls it the “Extended running surface”. The effect is much in the same as training wheels on a bicycle. When running at speed, the added surface has the effect of holding the boat steady not to mention popping up on plane quickly. The vessel also leaned into turns with a very solid feel and tracked well. This running surface is not a bolt on but the molded hull extending aft of the transom on either side of the outdrive and out to the freeboard on both sides. This hull configuration also allows for a full beam swim platform over the outdrive.
Cobalt uses Kevlar over the chines to add strength and rigidity to the hull. An other contributing factor to the vessel’s solid feel is the all fiberglass box longitudinal stringers running just about the full length of the hull. A box stringer is far stronger than traditional stringers at less the weight and the fact that they are solid fiberglass and not wood can only add to their life expectancy. The longitudinals are not fiberglassed to the hull but glued with a product called Plexus. Is this superior to fiberglass? Only time will tell.
Moving topsides we found an abundance of just plain old good ideas. Starting with gas cylinder assisted hatches. The small rubber lined anchor locker forward, and the rubber lined ski storage compartment below the deck forward as well as the engine hatch all have gas cylinder assist. These not only help lift the hatches but also keep them securely open. The engine hatch has an electric power lift as well as the ability to be opened manually, a bit heavy but double.
The U-shaped bow seat has padded bolsters below the deck line so your guests can face each other and lean back in comfort. Both seats have additional storage below. Cobalt has managed to install a head (toilet) compartment behind the port bow seat back rest that is accessible by opening the port console aft. The compartment is small for a large person but still large enough to close the door for privacy. A self-contained camper type toilet was installed having the holding tank in the base.
The seating arrangement in the cockpit area consisted of two pedestal chairs and an L-shaped lounge across the back and up the starboard side. Under the aft seat was storage extending beyond the seat area to below the step and the corner seat section on the portside. Cobalt also installed the battery selector switch in here for easy access. But this puppy also has a wet well with drain under the port seat just begging for ice and cold drinks. Cobalt calls them Flip-Lip seats. What they’ve done is, for lack of a better description, double hinged the forward half of the seat to rest on top of the aft half creating a bolster seat so you can see over the windshield. There is also an adjustable helm to make it really comfortable in all driving positions.
How many times have you bumped into or torn a shirt on a fire extinguisher? I have done both. So I liked the recessed fire extinguisher cubby located under the helm with a touch latch clear door, nice touch. The helm area was pleasing to the eye as well as functional. From the high gloss finish real rosewood dash to the double stitched vinyl covering, the area is nothing but elegant. Even the gauges, with a touch of gold and had very legible numbers, giving the helm an almost classic style.
Moving aft, was a large padded sun deck located on top of the engine hatch. The swim platform had a built-in baitwell to starboard and stainless steel folding boarding ladder with its own storage compartment to port. The vessel tested had the optional removable swim platform aft of the stock unit. All in all creating a fairly solid swim platform with minimal spring. The boarding ladder was made of two telescoping stainless steel pipes with T steps. The whole unit was tucked under the port quarter of the platform with a lever-locking device. When it was time to extend the ladder I had to kneel down and lean over to locate and reach it. Also I had to keep reminding myself when docking that it was back there, because from the helm, even when standing, I couldn’t see it.
Let’s not forget the engine room with the full beam hatch. There was no corner that was not easily reached. As a matter of fact I could have climbed in on either side of the engine to do work.
So after testing the 246 I found that she rode and handled well, looked great and had loads of creature comforts. Little things like the encapsulated backing plates used under all the solid stainless steel deck hardware, and the optional telescoping stern navigation light just gave me the feeling that this was a well-built boat. But I’m not alone in my opinion. J.D. Powers and Associates have recognized the Cobalt for two years in a row and now I can see why.
By Capt. Manny Rebelo
Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) Test Result Highlights
Top speed for the Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) is 49.9 mph (80.3 kph), burning 23.10 gallons per hour (gph) or 87.43 liters per hour (lph).
Best cruise for the Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) is 25.6 mph (41.2 kph), and the boat gets 3.22 miles per gallon (mpg) or 1.37 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 203 miles (326.7 kilometers).
Tested power is 1 x 320-hp MerCruiser MX 6.2 MPO.
For complete test results including fuel consumption, range and sound levels go to our Test Results section.
Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) Standard and Optional Equipment
Outlet: 12-Volt Acc
= Standard = Optional
Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) Warranty
Cobalt 246 (Not a Current Model) Warranty Information
Warranties change from time to time. While BoatTEST.com has tried to ensure the most up-to-date warranty offered by each builder, it does not guarantee the accuracies of the information presented below. Please check with the boat builder or your local dealer before you buy any boat.