Cobia boats are known for their bargain-basement pricing, but does that mean you should be worried about bargain-basement quality? No. Cobia's new 274 CC proves that low prices and good construction can be wrapped in the same package.
Layup includes an all-fiberglass matrix stringer system, with broad bonding surfaces that mate the liner and hull. They are bonded with Lord structural adhesive, which, the company claims, is stronger than the fiberglass parts it glues together. Traditional hull construction with gel coat, mat, and multidirectional fiberglass lamination combines strength and a nice finish. The hull and deck are mated with stainless-steel screws coated with a temperature-sensitive epoxy. When the screws are run through the glass with power drivers, Cobia claims that the heat welds them into the glass so they'll never back out. This gives the boat a solid feel from day one-and it should remain the same after years of wave jumping.
With twin 200-hp Yamaha HPDI outboards, our test boat produced better than 2 mpg at almost 40 mph. (Take that, you old low-tech, smoke-puffing, ear-rattling two-strokes.) Not only will you save on fuel, but you'll also have about the same range as big diesel boats-and you'll go a lot faster. There are no performance losses either. Acceleration was crisp-time to plane was a head-snapping 3.5 seconds-and top end was 52.1 mph. This won't put you in the running with skinny kingfish boats, but the 274 CC is faster than most of us normal folks want to drive on anything but that rare glass-calm day.
Cockpit coaming bolsters are standard, and the seat in front of the console is wide enough for two. Pop up the seat to access a 40-quart cooler. The transom door is another item not found on all boats in this price category. But it's made of Starboard rather than two-part molded fiberglass.
I found the livewell to be wanting. It's centered in the transom and is oval shaped so baits won't beat themselves to death, but it only holds 25 gallons. Serious offshore rigs need 10 or 15 gallons more. By contrast, the fishboxes in the sole hold 30 gallons each and include a macerator pump.
Check out the Robalo 2620, which costs $65,000 similarly powered. It's 1" shorter but 5" wider, allowing for more fishing room, though at some cost to performance, especially considering the 274 CC weighs 1,200 pounds less.
LAST WORD. Big, deep, fishable, and it looks nothing like bargain-basement boat.
Displacement (lbs., approx).........3,900
Minimum cockpit depth ..........2'1"
Fuel capacity (gal.)..175
Water capacity (gal.)..7
Price (w/o power) .......... $34,570
Price (w/test power) .......... $65,680
STANDARD POWER: None.
OPTIONAL POWER: Twin outboards to 400 hp total.
TEST BOAT POWER: Twin 200-hp Yamaha HPDI V-6 outboards with 158.4 cid, 3.54" bore x 2.68" stroke, swinging 14 1/4" x 19" three-bladed ss props through 1.86:1 reductions.
STANDARD EQUIPMENT (major items): Bow pulpit w/anchor roller; 25-gal. oval livewell; dual battery switches; cockpit coaming bolsters; hydraulic tilt steering; Yamaha multifunction gauges; knife/ pliers holder; ss boarding ladder; transom door; bucket seats; 2 30-gal. integrated fishboxes; integrated 40-quart cooler.