The blues has B.B., basketball has Bird, and literature has the Bard. Dayboating? For power touring the lake - skiing, partying, entertaining - Cobalt has long set the standard. Why? Because of its high construction, finish, and performance criteria. The company starts off with the same raw materials - the same notes, the same ball, the same language - as everyone else. But at the end of the day what it produces is something...more. As a result, the cost of sitting at the helm of a Cobalt is akin to the price of a courtside seat during the playoffs.
But with the introduction of the 360, Cobalt's playing a different venue. The construction values are still there, along with the lofty price and performance. And though it provides overnight accommodations, it's by no means destined to be a weekend cruiser for four, despite its LOA. What's different about the 360 is that its hullform, size, and range make taking the gang say, to the Bahamas or across Lake Michigan just for lunch a viable option. It's a bluewater boat that doesn't forsake a dayboat's focus on cockpit amenities in favor of a cruiser's sleeping capacity. No, it's not perfect. But then, even B.B. misses note now and then.
NEW CATEGORY? Cobalt is not alone in recognizing the needs of amenity-oriented boaters who enjoy big water in small clips. Formula's 370 Super Sunsport ($261,450 with twin 415-hp MerCruiser 502 MAG MPI Bravo Three stern drives) is probably the most direct comparison. Like the stepped-hull 370 Super Sunsport, the Cobalt features a wave-slicing hullform and high-horsepower engine packages so you can traverse big water comfortably, confidently, and quickly.
THE HIGHS: Run it. Dayboating comes to the big water. A serendipitous mix of amenities and accommodations. Construction values are topnotch.
THE LOWS: Test boat proved sensitive to drive trim. Remote-mounted water-separating fuel filters are needed. High topsides incongruous on such a quick performance boat.
Turn the keys, slip the lines, and see for yourself. Twin 415-hp MerCruiser 502 MAG MPI Bravo Three stern drives make the 360 levitate horizontally onto plane before riding on its lines. Acceleration throughout the power band, even near its 57.6-mph top end, is exhilarating. Say "Jump!" and the 360 asks, "How high?" This is a necessary attribute for staying ahead of the big seas a bluewater dayboat like this might encounter. Ironically, as a result of not enough transom angle to allow the drives to fully tuck under, our prototype test boat had a limited trim range. Trimming up more than a skootch caused the boat to porpoise. Cobalt promises that this problem will be rectified, either in the mold or by shimming the drives on production models. Despite the glitch, the 360 held plane at just 17 mph. The ability to stay on top at low speeds is important in an open-water boat so it can maintain control in rough seas. Most boats rely on maximum negative trim to stay on plane at that slow speed. That the Cobalt could achieve this, and plane so effortlessly, is a testament to the veracity of the hullform's design and the boat's balance overall. Want further confirmation? Run it through the wake-wave, slop-chop we did at WOT. Now, tell me you wouldn't be comfortable piloting this boat offshore.