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Cobalt 323 Brief Review

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A small town with the Indian name Neodesha in the state of Kansas, according to official data, covers an area of exactly three square kilometers. It has a population of 3,000 people working in a factory... Cobalt Boatswhere famous boats of the same name are built. No wonder that the factory, where all workers are neighbors, has a family atmosphere. The factory itself was founded as a family business in 1968 and since then every customer of a Cobalt boat has been a part of this family. Cobalt boats are treated like living creatures and are as proud and happy for every new boat as their happy new owners.

There's something to be proud of. Cobalt boats have never been cheap, but this is the rare case when all the experts and test editors of the leading yachting magazines are unanimous - every dollar will be spent here for good reason. Compared to their competitors, «Cobal»t boats are built with an enormous safety margin and simply manic attention to detail.

The newest addition to the company's range of cabin boats is the second generation model 323. This is a classic representative of the so-called cuddy - boats with a V-shaped cabin in the nose. Most often such boats are used for a single night on the water, rather than for long voyages, so it is quite logical for Cobalt to limit itself to investment cushions in a V-shaped sofa instead of a real bed. A dinner party in this cabin is not possible, but two people can sit at the table and settle down for the night with full comfort.

Otherwise... Mirror-polished table wood, leather sofas, upholstered walls - the interior of the Cobalt 323 would be an honour for a superyacht. The wood in the cabin is real - hand-crafted cherry veneer. To the right of the entrance - a door to the bathroom, where the developers managed to fit a toilet, cosmetic table (!) with a mirror and a sink. The graceful decision - the tap in a sink is taken out of a nest and by easy movement of a hand turns to a shower head. To the left of the cabin is a small but well equipped galley with a microwave and fridge.

But no matter how beautiful the interior is, the lion's share of time on the water still goes upstairs - in the cockpit. Here the attention to details is even brighter. For example, the front panel - with Livorsi instruments, a compass, motor-hour meters and a depth and temperature indicator - is upholstered. It looks much more solid «than naked» plastic, and the panel does not shine in the bright sun. Next to it is another remarkable detail. In most other boats, the steps to the bow are moulded in plastic and take up a good third of the passage to the cabin. In the Cobalt 323, the stairs - an elegant teak and stainless steel structure - simply go left into the bulkhead, opening up a wide, comfortable passage. In general, the words «space» and «comfort» in this boat come to mind all the time - it's not a boat for a lonely egoist, but for big, funny companies.

The strength and durability of the body is another» Cobalt «dot. Up to seven layers of glass fabric are manually glued in it, and the most loaded places (cheekbones, joints, bulkheads) are reinforced with Kevlar «Dupont». Stringers and the boat floor are made of fiberglass with cellular filler, not plywood as usual - it is cheaper, but weighs more and is subject to rotting. The mighty transom section is additionally reinforced with Kevlar to reduce noise and vibration from motors.

The result of this effort is astounding. With two Volvo Penta 8.1 DP engines (420 hp each - the most powerful engine of nine possible), you can talk at a maximum speed of 90 km/h in the cockpit without raising your voice. Even on a good ripple through the bass of the engines and the hissing of the water not a single squeak - the hull is as if cut out of a solid steel billet.

It's a paradox, but someone will miss it in Cobalt 323 - adrenaline, a sense of heroism from taming. For this, after all, there are many other boats, and «calmness is the province of the strong».

Published in YACHTS magazine #37.

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