Cobalt's 37 is a tough boat to write about. Should I talk about the interior finish, with its walnut cabinets, real granite, and pillowtop berths? Or I should focus on its engineering, describing the advantages of its water supply manifold, the fiberglassed and fastened hull-to-deck joint, and an electrical system that includes both active and passive isolation transformers? Maybe what's most important is the excitement delivered by the 37's performance-bred deep-V hull and big-block stern drive power? One thing's for sure: This is a great boat, no matter how you look at it.
The Power and the Glory
Grab the chromed control levers. Cobalt's 37 gets up and goes with seat-squishing momentum. To the sound of roaring big-blocks winding up, your wake streams aft in a foamy streak. Trim out the drives. The rev limiters chirp. You're doing 45 mph in a blink. Ahhh.
Now that you have that out of your system, pull back to 40 mph, about 4300 rpm. As my romp through swells and over wakes attests, you can cruise like this all day. Fuel burn is 52 gph at this fast cruise, netting you 0.74 mpg and a range of about 150 miles. If it gets rough, throttle back to 30 mph. As our performance chart shows, your fuel burn will decrease, but your efficiency remains about the same. The 37 can be run as fast as conditions warrant without paying much of a penalty in fuel.
The 37's narrow beam and sharp hull ensure minimal slamming. Handling is precise, with steerable, trimmable stern drive thrust combining with lots of lean but no slide from the boat. Because my tester was equipped with the Axius Premier ($28,289 including Digital Throttle and Shift, Vessel View LCD screen diagnostics, autopilot features, and auto yaw control) and joystick docking, shuttling into a tight slip was easy. For comparison, I also docked the boat conventionally. With the deep-V providing excellent lateral resistance and the low-slung profile not giving the wind much to take hold of, the 37 is handier than many cruisers in close quarters. The Seacore engine upgrade ($6,134) is a smart choice for coastal boaters.
Thinking Man's Machine
Isolation transformers aren't sexy, but they can save your boat. Basically, electricity from shorepower is transmitted into the boat via a magnetic connection instead of through wires. This prevents stray current from bad marina wiring or poorly wired boats plugged in at the same dock from causing corrosion aboard your vessel. Also, if your boat has a leaky circuit, the current returns to the transformer, instead of grounding itself through the propshafts, drives, or other conductive underwater metals. That keeps swimmers safe from shock. Also, by smoothing out spikes and maintaining voltage during brownouts, transformers protect such onboard equipment as pumps and compressors. Isolation transformers are expensive, and many boats use cheaper, less effective galvanic isolators. Formula's 37 Cruiser ($475,440 powered like my tester) also includes isolation transformers.
There's more technical prowess under the 37's skin. Open the electric hatch. Broad and deep, the engine room step feels more like a platform underfoot. Next notice the bright, white gel coat all around. Like that aboard Sea Ray's 350 Sundancer ($387,846 with twin 375-hp MerCruiser 496 MAG MPI Seacore Axius Bravo Three stern drives) the glossy gel coat looks good and improves visibility. Batteries, filters, dipsticks, belts, plumbing, wiring...all are easily seen, traceable, and serviced. Through-hull fittings also have good access, although the intake for the air conditioner was poorly placed. I couldn't close this valve because its handle hit the genset intake, which is located right beside it. Cobalt says this will be fixed in production models. Labeling, color-coding, drainage, and chafe protection are top notch. And before you head topside, check the hull-to-deck joint. It's bonded with high-tech glue, bolted with stainless-steel fasteners, and then encased in fiberglass.
The 37's cockpit is a euro-style design combined with a seating layout found aboard domestic cruisers. It has a big semi-circular lounge aft, served by a retractable table that stows or deploys instantly by folding into the lounge. The wetbar has a sink with hot and cold running water and flush, frameless fiberglass doors below. Also check out the large, integral swim platform. Instead of seeming to hang off the back of the boat like an appendage, it's built into the cockpit. It not only looks better, but the platform now can also serve as an extension of the cockpit while the boat is anchored or docked.
On the port side forward you'll find a companion lounge that either seats three or allows one person to recline. The helm is a doublewide flip-bolster bench with headrests. Visibility was fine seated or standing, running or docking. My tester sported the hardtop ($23,075) in lieu of the standard arch. The hardtop looked great and didn't rack or rattle underway. The overhead lights in the top can burn in three colors.
The sidedecks provide adequate bow access, but if given the choice, use the molded steps on the cabin bulkhead. Once forward you'll find more top-quality boatbuilding and amenities. The nonslip is aggressive and cleanly molded. Open the anchor hatch. The locker is lit, conceals the windlass and washdown, and unlike many boats, will hold enough rode to anchor in more than just a shallow cove.
I wish there were space here to describe the two-stateroom, single-head cabin accommodations. All that teak and walnut, the porcelain sinks, the granite counters, self-closing drawers, the oh-just-so decor are truly a cut above the fleet. Make sure you check it out.
MSRP: Standard power - $441,667 Test power - $476,090
Contact: 800.468.5762 www.cobaltboats.com