Friday, January 11, 2013
In the early part of this century, the already venerable J.D. Power & Associates, global market researchers, inaugurated their annual study of manufacturers in the marine industry. The studies came largely at the behest of Cobalt Boats and other top-tier manufacturers of various sorts of boats. We were interested in learning even more about the nuances of customer satisfaction and then responding with ever higher standards of design, craftsmanship, and service after the sale of the boat.
There was an industry wide goal to enhance the performance of an entire industry. The result was a runaway leader that produced results year after year. Cobalt Boats was ranked “highest in customer satisfaction” in every single year of the J.D. Power study, which – unfortunately for Cobalt – no longer exists in the stern drive industry. But it’s good to know that you still have an ideal means of comparing the features, benefits, potential for long-term enjoyment, and value unto perpetuity of boats you’re considering for purchase.
We speak, of course, of boat shows. Whose peak season is just now underway.
At a show near you, you’ll find everywhere opportunity for first-hand contrast of models competing for your discretionary dollars. All of us at Cobalt welcome your most rigorous inspection of the details of Cobalt quality, under the warm and friendly guidance of some folks who know next to everything about these boats. At a boat show you’ll meet both your local dealer and, in most cases, some members of the Cobalt factory team.
Cobalt remains a family business, and that irreplaceable kind of personal interaction with customers will soon be obvious to you after a half-hour’s conversation inside a bowrider parked on a carpeted boat show floor. No survey, no video, no brochure could hope to duplicate the exchange of information that comes in a quiet, one-on-one discussion of your needs and wishes for the boat of your warm-weather dreams. Your personal boating consultant exists in the form of a factory trained Cobalt Expert.
Plan to attend a boat show in the next few weeks, even if you’re not planning on buying right away. Watch the Cobalt Video called Building Dreams to further your confidence that Cobalt is the right company to earn your trust.
Friendships never happen on a schedule anyway.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Videos | Tags: Boat Builders, Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle, Luxury Boat, Neodesha
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
In our Cobalts we go down to the water to encounter it straightforwardly, with no expectations beyond the time and the place. We go boating with uncomplicated joy.
In this frozen time of the year when for many of us a leisurely holiday cruise with family and a few old friends is meteorologically impossible, we invite you to pause at water’s edge, to look back into the remote and rarefied places where we launch our Cobalts. Most of us live among architecture, among structures capable of both rampant functionality and – sometimes – rare beauty, but still far from those untouched and inviolate, vacation places.
And so we ought to enjoy each other wherever we find ourselves this blessed season. Let’s walk among the architecture of our December circumstances. Let’s stroll the old roads, meandering long enough to find a new way to other times, other places. Those times have a head start on us, and the architecture of the old familiar places may have changed a bit.
But the doors at home are lockless. And, if we look long enough, a light shines from every window.
Happy Holidays from all of us at Cobalt Boats.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle | Tags: Boat Builders, Cobalt Boats, Family Boating, Luxury Boat
Monday, November 12, 2012
Legendary Marine of Destin, Florida was named Dealer of the Year for its rapid growth and thoughtful investments in marketing, education, and service. This accomplishment marks the first time that a Cobalt dealer has been recognized at the top Position in the Top 100.
In addition, Cobalt dealers were recognized throughout the night, partially due to the massive increases in market share and sales growth that Cobalt dealers have experienced. Action Water Sports won special recognition for its website, ranked best among all North American dealerships, as did Parks Marina of Okoboji, Iowa for the quality of its customer events. Gordy’s Lakefront Marine of Fontana, Wisconsin saw its all-important service department named the very best in North America.
Cobalt Boats congratulates these outstanding businesses for their allegiance to the highest standards of integrity, knowledge of product, and willingness to go above and beyond in the service of ever more sophisticated customers. Altogether, Cobalt dealerships accounted for a full twenty percent of the Top 100. Listed below are the Cobalt Dealerships recognized as Top 100 Dealers.
Categories: Dealer Partners, Industry News | Tags: Award Winning Boat, Boat Dealers, Boating Industry, Cobalt Boats
Friday, November 09, 2012
On the last weekend in October the Cobalt 336 said, “Hello, world.”
The introduction came at the Fort Lauderdale International Boat Show on its fifty-third iteration. The show has become a cultural phenomenon representative of the Good Life in America with displays of apparel, electronics, fishing and diving equipment, jewelry, hats and caps, vacation destinations, exotic automobiles and, yes, artwork and real estate. The show spreads over three million square feet of exhibit pace with a transportation network of bus shuttles, water taxis, and riverboats.
Easy to get lost amid all the hoopla, we suppose, easy to lose one’s marine identity among the runabouts, sportfishers, high performance boats, center consoles, cabin cruisers, flats boats, skiffs, express cruisers, sailing yachts, motor yachts, bowriders, catamarans, ski boats, jet boats, trawlers, inflatables, canoes, and Trumpesque superyachts. No problem for the 336 though, at anchor here among the planet’s various non-military floatables, no problem whatsoever. Because the 336 will mean so many different things to so many different owners, we saw the 336 assert itself in south Florida.
The 336 is, by turns, a cruiser, a bowrider, a dayboat, an overnighter, a well-mannered sportboat, and a flat-out jacked go-fast chest-thumper. Such diverse, entirely accurate describers come about because of the usual Cobalt abstractions, the qualities of design and construction that transform a boat into a very personalized dream machine. We speak of luxury and comfort and convenience and handling and ride and spaciousness and style and power. And, of course, these constructs arise from the details – the leathers of the cabin, the stainless arch and hardtop (optional), the panoramic side windows, the stainless steel of the windshield, a cabin at once snug and expansive, a sofa nine feet long, the heating and air-conditioning systems, the joystick controls, the shower seat in an enormous head compartment, the 27” LCD HD television and Blu-Ray player – all set in layback-and-loll room for a dozen old friends.
Some of the waves around the Fort Lauderdale Boat Show were man-made, and the new Cobalt 336 was responsible for more than its share.
You would have been proud.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Innovative Features | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Cruiser, Cuddy , Luxury Boat, New Boat
Friday, October 19, 2012
I think you’ll find this to be an unusual (but interesting) letter from a hard-core Cobalt owner raving about a model that is no longer in the Cobalt line-up: the 343.
I’ve always been an avid high-performance boater and have owned most of the usual suspects over the years when it comes to high performance off-shore boating (whole thoroughly enjoying my Cobalt’s – 293, etc. – for luxury boating on inland lakes). One question has always haunted me when it comes to boat designs: why do I have to give up so much in luxury, handling, and ride just to go fast? I get the whole weight vs. power thing, but as an engineer by background; I just had to believe that someone could solve that equation in a more balanced fashion than had been delivered to date. Enter the Cobalt 343 – a truly “stealth” solution to the problem I spoke of. My personal opinion is that the 343 was a great platform that was much more capable than most understood (or gave it credit for). And, it had all of the basic ingredients from the factory to begin to satisfy the luxury AND speed-minded owner (a little light on the original power choices but I’ll get to that in a moment).
When it was announced, I jumped at the chance to be on of the first 343 owners and George M. at the factory helped me spec out and build a fully loaded ’05 with basically every option box checked, including generator and air/heat (no speed top). Obviously, this boat is not a lightweight contender. When it left Neodesha, it was equipped with the top-end Mercury racing big blocks available at the time. It only took one shakedown ride to discover the phenomenal engineering done on creating the hull. It possessed the legendary Cobalt rode, carved incredibly in the turns, and had none of the normal idiosyncrasies typical of stepped hulls (skipping or skating in turns, etc.). To this day, other boating friends of mine are still amazed by this wolf in sheep’s clothing. It is truly the ultimate performance “sleeper” and now can run at GPS verified speeds that are (in their words) “amazing”. That statement sort of brings us to part two of the story.
With the expiration of my warranty, I decided to do a little “experimenting” in the power department. I’ve always found the best results by turning to the best people for help, so I turned to the proven marine power-making leaders: Mike D’Annibelle and the Sterling Performance guys in Michigan (my 343 sits on a lake in Ohio). His marching orders were simple: build me a couple of nasty blown on big blocks that make a ton of horsepower, but in a dependable, conservative EFI configuration that makes them very easy to love with on 91 octane. Now I had the pure grunt to do what I wanted to, but as you well know at Cobalt, there’s much more to do on getting the power to the water in the most efficient manner. Enter the second partner on this innovation: Art Cook of Art Cook Marine in Detroit, Michigan. Art has partnered with Sterling on many a hot-boat, and has a library of “little secrets” that go far beyond the typical speed parts catalogue approach to going fast.
Mike and Art took the challenge to heart and they personally propped, rigged, and massaged the 343 to a level that is an incredible blend of power and luxury. By their own admission, they were absolutely amazed at what it delivered. The result: a 343 that will tickle triple digits (GPS certified) at 6000 rpm with custom lab-finished BBlades props – and a hull that is just as confortable there as it is at 60 mph! And I still have all the luxury and legendary Cobalt attributes (including generator and A/C)! I have seen a few folks mess with alternate power in their 343’s, but to my knowledge no one else has engineered the complete combination that really put’s it directly in performance contention with a bunch of other hot-boat brands and models. We love to watch the expression on people’s faces as we pull away from they when they’re already at WOT – particularly on rough water when we’re riding like it’s a dead-calm in the Cobalt!
Jon J. Ricker
Well, there you have it. A fairly short story from a long time Cobalt fan and customer that continues to love our Cobalt’s (I’m thinking about getting one of the WSS-series boats for my oldest son). If there is ever a Cobalt model in the future that is a “next generation” to the 343, you can again put my name on one of the first hulls. Thanks again for your dedication in keeping the Cobalt name (and everything it stands for) consistent decade after decade.
Categories: Cobalt Boats, Lifestyle | Tags: Cobalt Boats, Cuddy , Lifestyle, Luxury Boat
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