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…
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.
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.
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.)
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.
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.
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.
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.
Convertible Transom Seating
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.
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.
Standard and Optional Features
|Outlet: 12-Volt Acc||Standard|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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