Captain's Report by Capt. Steve
The mission for "bay boats" is, well, for fishing in bays and generally protected, or skinny water. That's why they are called "bay boats." They are a great way for an angler to get out on the water at an affordable price. Add to that a 15-degree deadrise and a 150-hp engine and you will have a boat that will go fast enough for most any angler. The boat draws 13" (32 cm) with the outboard engine up.
As you can see from the photos on this page, Cobia has put a lot of thought into its re-design for 2012. The builder has taken a close look at its competition and incorporated the best ideas found elsewhere plus adding a few of its own --
Deeper cockpit forward.
Cobia has tried to add a feeling of added security in the bow casting area by slightly raising the bulwarks.
More usable space.
By carefully calibrating the necessary size of the center console and not making it too large, Cobia has been able to re-distribute several inches both forward and aft for a bit more walk-around room. By making the jump seats fold-down, a large casting platform has been created aft.
A big foredeck and casting location choices.
The redesigned bow allows an angler to cast from any one of three heights: standing on the bow and the anchor locker hatch, standing on the platform across the front of the cockpit on the side locker hatches, and from the cockpit sole itself.
Better storage and more.
By nestling the rod storage to the inside of the hull sides and providing protective tubes for 7' rods, lots of other space is left for other gear in the port and starboard lockers in the bow. This, together with the other storage forward, storage in the console, and more storage under the two jump seats, it is hard to think of a space that has not been utilized in the 21 Bay.
Construction and Design
When we compare the Cobia 21 Bay to several other boats in class we find that she has similar characteristics. She is not the lightest nor the heaviest in class. The builder prides itself on engineering the 21 Bay "smart", that is to say, light as possible most places, but very strong in key stress areas. We're told that no wood goes into the boat and that bi-axial fiberglass is used in its hand lay-up building process. All hardware aboard is 316 stainless and the boat has a ss rub rail, something we like to see. The boat has a self-draining cockpit.
Bay boats by their very nature are minimalist creations, so it is not surprising that only the bare necessities in terms of equipment are on this boat. The Cobia 21 Bay's strong suit is its bottom design and new deck.Having said that, she is equipped pretty much like most boats in class. For example, she has power steering. Bilge and live-well pumps are standard, as are pop-up cleats and courtesy lights. There is a small swim platform with boarding ladder to port of the outboard. There is a 48 qt cooler with cushion on the top forward of the console, just as you see on many boats in this class.
Performance and Price
We have not tested the 21 Bay, but the folks at Yamaha have. They report that when powered with one of their 150-hp 4-stroke engines turning a 14'1/2" x 19" ss prop, she had a top speed of 45.5 mph at 5700 rpm. They say that the boat's best cruise is at 3500 rpm, where it goes 25.8 knots, getting 4.87 mph. Is she wet or dry, does she have any uncomfortable performance habits? Is she loud or quiet? We don't know because we haven't tested her. Powered by an F150, the 21 Bay has an MSRP of $42,359. Powered by an F115, which is all you really need on this boat, her MSRP is $32,402. Street prices, particularly if you do not have a trade in are considerably less, we suspect. Check with your dealer.
Pros and Cons
Since the Cobia 21 Bay is pretty much in the middle of the bay boat fleet when it comes to basic specifications, it is hard to find any cons with the boat other than the fact that it is not loaded up with amenities such as a T-top and other items of equipment that would only drive the price north. It is rated up to 200-hp, while some other, heavier, boats in class are rated up to 250 or even 300-hp in the larger sizes. But how fast do you need to go?
The Coast Guard rates this boat for 7 persons based on their formula. We'd say it is more like 5, because there are 5 seats facing forward, the direction we want to be looking when going 45 mph. The critical measurement in bay boats is their draft and at 13" the 21 Bay's is not bad. On an equivalent length and beam hull footprint, draft is merely a factor of weight -- the boat, the engine, equipment, gear, fluids and other things aboard, plus the weight of her passengers and the owner. If you are going into really skinny water, you will want to check this important detail before you buy, remembering what a boat's actual weight will be when fully operational.Because bay boats are small and simple, there are a lot of companies making them and many of them are little more than a garage operation. While we like to encourage small businesses, as a consumer you must be concerned about warranty, quality of materials, construction, safety, and resale value. Our strongest recommendation is that you buy a recognized and respected brand, not the cheapest deal that comes along -- because in this type of boat they are out there. Remember the old story about the buyer who wanted a good deal, and ended up with a good deal less.
Standard and Optional Features
|Washdown: Fresh Water||Optional|
|Washdown: Raw Water||Optional|
Full Warranty Information on this brand coming soon!
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