WORDS + PHOTOS: ANDREW RICHARDSON
“To improve your quality of life you must first invest in two things, quality and life.”
Cobalt Boats, a US company based in Neodesha, Kansas, doesn’t do things by halves, and nor does its Australian distributor JD’s Boatshed, judging by JD’s preparation for this boat test. JD’s Boatshed gathered together a realistic combination of guys and girls as you would find on a typical weekend outing. Not my typical weekend outing, perhaps, but I think most of us could picture ourselves on the boat!
It was clear from the onset that the 272 would suit an uncompromising buyer with specific needs. The ability to take a crowd out in luxury for the day is the brief and the 272 fulfils it just fine. The vessel has a small head located portside midships, but the rest of the craft is dedicated to seating, swimming and sun pads.
Cobalt’s catchphrase is “To improve your quality of life you must first invest in two things, quality and life”. It may be clever marketing but they’re right because the vessel’s quality would quickly captivate those not in the market for an open runabout. Once you’re on the boat your mind starts drifting and thinking … hmmm I could see myself in one of these!
PERFORMANCE & HANDLING
Cobalt doesn’t cut corners when it comes to performance. A hefty 8.1lt 375hp MerCruiser powers the 272 and at full noise the DuoProps delivered a satisfying 53mph, enabling her to cut through all that came her way. As we headed toward the big blue beyond Port Hacking she just wanted to go out for more.
The high topsides assured a dry ride and once the reins were pulled in the Cobalt found a fast cruise speed of 43mph at 4000rpm. Her efficient useful cruise speed is 30mph at 3000rpm.
At wakeboard speeds the engine would work well below 3000rpm and with her 2300kg weight would wall-up an impressive wake.
She boasts a stainless steel ski pole, the transom has storage for wet items and there’s a handheld shower located at the swim platform.
The uncompromising helm was built to automotive standards using stitched fabric and stainless steel and timber finishes. The craft has a good array of engine instruments, but the most impressive switch is the “burbling” captain’s call button that reminds the skipper and onlookers that he has 8.1lt and 375 horses under his control.
I had trouble working out exactly how many people would fit into this boat, but a crowd of 10 would be easily spread across the bow seating, helm seats and L-shaped aft lounge. In fact, the vessel is rated for 12 adults.
The Bimini offers good protection from the sun around the helm and it seemed to hold up to the big speeds without needing to be taken down. Some nifty features include the swim ladder that folds into the bow and the solid side-mounted cockpit table that’s stowed behind the helm seat. The clip-in carpets are removable for easy cleaning and the dash stowage area with mirror is almost large enough to fit a poodle. Of course, for some, the most important feature would be the iPod input socket on the stereo!
There is a head situated under the dash on the portside. It’s amazing where they can fit these things. We tried to coax the girls to use it when they asked where the toilet was, but for some reason they opted out! I guess it could be a bit awkward in the company of strangers. But after a few wines in the company of family and friends this place would start looking like a valid solution for relief. And if the kids misbehave it could serve as the naughty room!
The Modern Boating team have tested quite a few Cobalts over the past few years and they have all displayed uncompromising build quality. Established in the late 1960s, the company attained quite a reputation for making tri hull sports boats one of which featured in the 1973 Bond film Live and Let Die. In the US, they are a benchmark boat.
The luxury finish Cobalt isn’t a knockabout boat (at least, not in the way Roger Moore knocked it about), but its Kevlar reinforced hull will handle everything it gets. The vessels are supported by a 10-year hull warranty and five-year drive train warranty. The craft we tested would cost $198,000, but the base model vessel starts at around $150,000.