Captain's ReportCruiser Comfort Combined with Sportboat Performance By Capt. Bob SmithEven though this was the second year testing Cobalt boats in the Coeur d’Alene area, and the second time it rained the entire day of testing, the Cobalt family was ready and willing to weather the storm and help me bring this report to you. The first of the two new models I tested was the all new 323. This cuddy cabin cruiser satisfies the needs of a couple that primarily wants to do day boating, but finds a weekend or two to stay out on the hook. Topside amenities include large spaces for entertainment, while the cabin has the room for two to relax easily for the night. A small galley and head provide the necessary amenities for a most comfortable stay overnight, or for a weekend.Bow FeaturesForward of the windshield, the 323 has a center walkway leading to the bow pulpit and anchoring system. Twin low stainless rails give you plenty to grab onto and safely move forward even in rocking seas. The optional windlass will likely be a standard feature if you’re cruising regularly. The anchor retreats into a slot in the bow with a stainless receiver that keeps the bow in great shape and adds to the beauty. Docking lights can help you find your way into a dark slip or up on the trailer at night. Getting to the bow is simple with a unique set of stowable steps. Flip a lever and slide the stairs out of the port side of the companionway, and they lock in place for safe travel through the center walkthrough windshield. Comfortable Cockpit SeatingThe cockpit seating offers extraordinary room for relaxing at anchor or chatting while underway to your next destination. The port seat has a flip-flop backrest that creates a forward facing seat, or it becomes a lounger-back and comfortable couch along the entire port side of the cockpit. Double glove boxes in the dash on the companion side offer extensive space for keeping papers and wallets dry and organized. Stainless steel cup holders are conveniently peppered throughout the cockpit, so everyone has a place for their cool beverages. Another unique feature is the cockpit table that flips out of the bench on a hinge on the port side and locks in place. You don’t have to find where the table leg was left or put anything together, just flip and serve. Speaking of serving, you will have fun doing just that from the wet bar just behind the helm. This large station includes a Corian countertop with stainless cup organizer, sink, and refrigerator. Next to the wet bar is a handy built-in ice chest for keeping more of your beverages chilled.Stern FeaturesFlipping seems to be the order of business on the 323 as the rear bench also has a flip-flop bench back. This one gives you a forward facing bench for entertaining in the cockpit next to the wet bar, or becomes an angled headrest for the expansive sun pad on the stern.At the HelmThe helm is elegantly organized for ease of use and for comfortable driving. The stereo remote control is to the left of the wheel in the lower panel with paddle switches and night lights above. Faria gauges monitor nearly every function possible, and are arranged from left to right across the upper section of the dash. A digital depth gauge with air and water temperature readings is to the far left of the gauges and a Garmin GPS is strategically located dead center of the cluster. Power assisted hydraulic steering made handling effortless.Sun Pad and Swim PlatformThe sun pad on the back is nothing short of monstrous for the size of this boat. If you like watching the stars, you’ll find this to be a great place to sit back and relax. During the day, it is a wonderful spot for soaking up some rays. Under the center section of the pad is an insulated built-in cooler for cold beverages. Just aft is another box for storing lines, fenders and other gear needed at the stern. A swim shower is mounted in this box and has hot and cold water. Slipping through the starboard walkthrough is a large swim platform, with center mounted deployable ladder. This one is simple enough to launch from the water and has a handy flip out bottom step that’s wide enough to use even with fins on. Under the edge of the stern, just over the back of the swim platform are LED lights that will light up the platform nicely in the evenings.Cabin FeaturesYou enter the cabin through a center companionway and down steps, which can be flipped up out of the way to reach storage under the cockpit floor. The galley is mounted on the port side and has some storage, a stainless sink, single-burner cooktop and a microwave behind two doors below the sink. The V-berth takes every advantage of space and is a truly comfortable bench for relaxing inside. To convert this into a berth, simply lower the table, pull out two pins and lock in the filler cushions for a nice bed for two adults. To starboard as you enter the cabin is a functional head compartment for this size boat. This one has a vanity with toilet and telescopic faucet/shower head. Just behind the hinged steps is a wide padded hatch leading to a storage area, which has a light and an air conditioning vent.SpecificationsThis boat measures 34’9” length overall, with a beam width of 10’6”. This boat is still being finalized, so you will have to check with the dealer for the approximate dry weight. Fuel capacity is rated at 174 gallons and fresh water is 35 gallons. Draft is calculated at 24 inches with the outdrive up, and 35 inches with the outdrives in the fully extended position. Bridge clearance is 8’10” with the optional radar arch and 6’5” without it.Performance and RideWe tested this boat on an inland lake with two people on board and found her best cruise to be at 3500 rpm running 39.2 miles-per-hour. At cruise speed, she burns about 26.1 gallons-per-hour for a range of 235 miles on a full tank of fuel. She topped out at 5000 rpm at a thrilling 55.5 miles-per-hour, which translates into a range of about 143 miles. The 323 was quick to plane in only 5.2 seconds and up to 30 miles-per-hour in only 8.2 seconds. This boat ran very quiet even in the choppy water. The turns were very smooth and complete at nearly running speed with little loss of headway or steerage. Handling at all speeds was predictable both underway and at the docks.The 323 is a trailerable cruiser with the amenities of a much larger boat, and offers the comfort of casual entertaining. It may just be why Cobalt is calling this model “The Ultimate Dayboat.”
Test Result Highlights
- Top speed for the Cobalt 323 is 55.5 mph (89.3 kph), burning 60.9 gallons per hour (gph) or 230.51 liters per hour (lph).
- Best cruise for the Cobalt 323 is 39.2 mph (63.1 kph), and the boat gets 1.50 miles per gallon (mpg) or 0.64 kilometers per liter (kpl), giving the boat a cruising range of 235 miles (378.2 kilometers).
- Tested power is 2 x 375-hp MerCruiser 496 Mag.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Boats More Than 30 Feet
|10-Years 10-Year transferable protection No http://www.cobaltboats.com/info/warranty.html|
|5-Year No http://www.cobaltboats.com/info/warranty.html|
5-Year transferable protection
2-Year transferable protection
|1-2 Year Yes http://www.cobaltboats.com/info/warranty.html|
|ISO Certification NMMA Certification||Yes|
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