In today’s marine world, expanding a product line can be an offensive play designed to move the game forward for boaters, or it can be a defensive move just to keep another boat-builder out of the backfield. The new Cobalt A25 is totally offensive, like an 80-yard touchdown pass or a half-court shot at the buzzer. In one fell swoop, Cobalt changed the standards for dramatic design, function and style in luxury boats.
The game play was immediately visible as I stepped up to the A25 in the showroom. Its sides were deeply scalloped for visual effect, and sharp, crisp lines were so deep it must have been laminated in a two-piece mold. Then Gavan Hunt, vice president of marketing for Cobalt, pointed out that the “fins” of the wide platform were likewise molded in place. “We had to design a five-piece mold or we wouldn’t have been able to remove the hull from it when it cured,” Hunt said. “It’s a technique we developed in our yacht designs.”
Dramatic as the integrated platform is, I thought it narrow, and an extended platform appeared to be bolted to it. Turns out, there was more than met the eye.
“Step back,” said Hunt, and after he twisted a key in a safety lock in the starboard coaming, the extended platform lowered on a hydraulic system to form a seat that would be 10 inches beneath the waterline. It would ease re-entry for swimmers and give a cool place to sit and relax when at anchor. Safety interfaces between the ignition and the lift system cause the outdrive to lower first so it doesn’t damage the platform. A warning tone alerts boaters to platform activation, helping to prevent injury as the platform moves. Very clever, and it offers a distinct advantage — though at a price — over luxury competitors like Formula’s 260 Bowrider ($124,920 with a 496 mag) with its fixed platform. Still, Formula’s aft lounges offer convertibility that we think rival our next favorite feature on the A25.