|Deadrise/Transom||21 deg.||Water Cap||
|Max Headroom||open||Bridge Clearance||
1.50 m W/O Bimini
|Std. Power||Not Available|
|Tested Power||Currently no test numbers|
1 x 320-hp MerCruiser 377 MAG MPI ECT B3
1 x 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG ECT B3
1 x 430-hp MerCruiser 8.1 MAG HO ECT B3
1 x 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXiC DP
1 x 400-hp Volvo Penta 8.1 GiC DP
The 26 SD is Cobalt’s sole deckboat model and it’s first since 2000.
Captain’s Report by Dan Armitage
The new 26 SD has been designed and built from the ground up to be the premier deckboat on the market. Cobalt has worked hard to build a genuine hybrid, a runabout with all the room and openness of a deckboat, the performance of a sportboat, and with plenty of power for skiing and wakeboarding. Let’s see how it did…
The most significant “fun” feature aboard the 26 SD is found at the transom.
Overall styling, execution and design. We think that Cobalt has accomplished what it set out to do with the 26 SD -- she is certainly distinctive and virtually everything on the boat is executed with top-level quality. For example the helm seat is extra large and robust. The bow is sculptured and avoids the pickle-fork look even though it has two, wide split chines. Most things that you will need such as a tow pylon come standard.
Submersible swim platform. First introduced last year on another model, Cobalt has a patent on it and it is popular.
High freeboard. The first generation of deckboats had low freeboard and were designed for small lakes. Now, 20 years later freeboards have been getting higher as consumers want to use this type of boat on bigger water and stay dry. The freeboard on the Cobalt 26 SD is about as high as we've seen in this size deckboat.
Hull color at no extra charge. Regular readers know that we like colored hulls and think they are worth the extra money most builders charge. On the 26 SD, Cobalt offers your choice of 10 colors other than white at no extra charge.
Cobalt's 26 SD has wide split chines that carry the wide beam forward but she does not have the pickle-fork deck layout that more new generation deckboats seem to have. We'd like to see the bow cleats closer to the bow so they can be used for the anchor rode as well as for mooring.
Entertainment center or bench seat option. Few companies offer consumers the option of a wet bar in the cockpit or a bench seat, your choice at no extra charge. We like this option.
Bow seating is different. Cobalt has departed from conventional wisdom and converted the starboard lounge platform/seat to a forward facing seat with the foot well extended in front. We like this and think they should do it on the port side as well.
Kevlar in the keel. A few builders are putting a layer of puncture-resistant Kevlar in the hull at the keel but not many. The 26 SD has Kevlar protection (and it also saves some weight.)
Warranty is one of the best. Cobalt has a 10-year limited warranty on its hull, deck and stringers, a five-year warranty on most items of equipment inside the boat including the engine and lower unit, and three-year warrantees on things like upholstery, canvas and components that Cobalt manufacturers. There is a three-year warranty against blistering. All of the warrantees are transferable.
The Swim Step simply folds out and down off the swim platform.
Patented Submersible Swim Platform
Cobalt designers realize that maximizing available fun on the water often involves getting into it as well. And out. To make that transition from boat to water to back on boat as easy and painless as possible, Cobalt developed the Swim Step. The integrated step panel folds down from the surface of the platform into the water to offer a step that is both broad and wide to provide a comfortable “leg-up” for passengers -- and even their water-loving canine friends.
When fully deployed it offers a welcome step into – and out of – the water off the Cobalt’s transom. (Pictured here on a Cobalt 242 model.)
A “Sof-Trac Positive Traction Mat Kit” for the swim platform and step is optional.
Broad Bow Area
In a deckboat it is all about the bow. In order to create more room in the bow cockpit the boat's 8'6" (2.59 m) beam must be taken forward. That creates the room in the bow cockpit needed to create a true deckboat. Cobalt has approached this concept in a new way and created an unusual solution.
Let’s start with those stainless steel eyebrows. The standard equipment brows at the bow shield a battery of ten LED docking lights. The in-your-face view also shows the exaggerated deep reverse chine and the blunt end to them without the typical pickle-fork bow. Note the sharp deadrise at the bow that should keep this boat from pounding.
Those bright-eyed brows flank an equally stainless boarding ladder that combines creative telescoping and folding features to allow it to extend three steps deep to easily reach the beach. An anchor locker is located under the hatch that also hides the ladder.
The 26 SD’s beam-wide, deckboat-style bow design is the most creative and multi-functional we have seen in class. Most deckboats and bowriders simply have bench seats port and starboard. The Cobalt 26 SD can be configured in the conventional way with an insert on the starboard side -- or, as shown here with a lounger to port and a seat to starboard.
The bow seating area features flip-down armrests on angled seatbacks to port and starboard that are standard. A hinged seat panel folds under the starboard seat to convert it from a lounge to offer better access from the bow when docking the boat and to eliminate foot traffic on the upholstery when boarding from the bow. Optional inserts can create a fully padded sun deck.
Since deckboats are used for all sorts of activities Cobalt has had to make its aft cockpit as versatile as possible. It has done that in a number of ways. First, it has employed a movable seat back for both the companion seat to port, and the bench seat forward of the engine box. In that way the companion can face forward and be the navigator, or reverse the seat back, sit in the lounger and keep an eye on the end of the tow rope.
By installing a large entertainment console to starboard the 26 SD is designed for those who like to party hard. If the owner will be more pre-occupied with other water sports and wants to sit as many people as possible, then the console comes out and a bench seat goes it -- at no extra charge.
The Cobalt’s console and cockpit areas offer a decent amount of leg and lounging room with extra-wide helm and passenger seats. The passenger seat backrest reclines fore or aft to create lounge seating. Underfoot is 40-ounce, snap-in marine carpeting with neoprene backing as standard equipment. Sea Grass Sisal carpeting is an option.
The wheel is wrapped in leather. On the instrument panel Cobalt uses Nautalex vinyl trim which looks like leather. It is custom stitched to surround and shade standard Medallion multi-function gauges with digital readouts for water depth, surface temperature, and compass. Below the gauges are illuminated push-button accessory controls.
The 26 footer’s passenger console hides a huge head compartment for a deckboat in this class, complete with sink and roomy enough to serve as a changing room. The Porta-Potti is standard but there are permanent facilities on the option list. Optional Sea Grass Sisal carpet is shown. Note that the door faces aft but wraps around to the side of the passageway to the bow. This makes it far easier for everyone to easily get in and out of the head.
The cockpit entertainment center, to starboard, is shown here with the optional refrigerator. Note the stitched bolster pad that surrounds the unit and the contoured shape that leads to Cobalt’s walk-through transom.
Convertible Transom Seating
The flip-flop backrest for the cockpit bench seat allows for aft-facing lounging on a double-wide sunpad. The swim deck with standard Swim Step is shown in the deployed position.
Cobalt’s Three Position Aft Lounge coverts to create various seating options and is standard on the 26 SD.
The Kevlar-reinforced hull is designed to provide a comfortable ride in waters that would keep many deckboats at bay.
The 26 SD’s progressive deadrise hull features large reverse chines to reduce spray and an extended running surface. The bottom has a 21-degree deadrise at the transom. The hull is constructed using what Cobalt refers to as a “Hydro-Lam” process that alternates eight layers of hand-laid fiberglass mat and woven roving. A Z-thane barrier coat is added between the glass and the gelcoat to reduce the chance of blistering. (All Cobalt boats are warranted against blistering for three years.)
The deckboat’s 26’7” (8.07 m) hull is rated to 430-hp. Powered by an optional 8.2 L sterndrive, Cobalt reports a top speed for the 26 SD of 51 mph at 4800 rpm. Cobalt says best cruising speed was 30 mph turning 3000 rpm. At that pace the boat burned 11.2 gph and got 2.7 mpg. We have not tested the boat so cannot independently confirm this data or give more specifics.
Power options available with the new Cobalt range from 320- to 430-hp. The 26 SD comes standard with a 320-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 L GXiC DP sterndrive with a base MSRP of $99,727. At the high end of the horsepower range is the MerCruiser 8.2 MAG HO ECT BIII 430-hp engine. With that engine the boat has a base price of $117,347.
Cobalt’s new deckboat downright beckons passengers with broad, deeply padded seats, armrests, bench seats with adjustable backrests and easy access to and from the water at the bow and the stern.
The last year or so deckboats have accounted for about 15% of the sterndrive market. Cobalt’s re-entry into the deckboat business is notable because now virtually every major sportboat builder in the U.S. has a relatively new large deckboat in its line up. That must mean that this type boat is growing in popularity.
Cobalt positions its boats at the very top level of sportboats and generally we heartily agree with that assessment. Historically its fit-and-finish, equipment, and aftermarket service have all been exceptional and we would expect all of those elements to be firmly in place with the new 26 SD as well. However, as a caveat, we have not tested this boat so we are only going on past experience with Cobalt.
Cobalt has also had a reputation for being one of the most expensive brands on the market. Yet the last year or so we have noticed that its new boats have been priced more competitively than before. Obviously Cobalt wanted to be able to offer this new 26 SD for an MSRP price under $100,000 and it has done that with a well-equipped and robustly-powered boat.
When we look at the options list and add up what we think also should be on the boat, we come up with a total figure of $106,795 which is not far above the 26's base MSRP price. The options we would put aboard are: Bimini top ($2,090), mooring cover ($1,290), bow and transom shower ($690), flagpole with flag ($621), dinette table with bow and cockpit receptacle ($923), air compressor with holder ($191), trim tabs ($1,263), plus some electronics, of course.
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc|
= Standard = Optional
|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.|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!