Boat Reviews

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There are only a small, elite handful of boat builders who can match the quality we’ve come to expect from Cobalt; and if this company were looking to leave those few elite contenders behind, they certainly made some strides in accomplishing that with the 26 SD. Not one inch of the 26 SD’s opulence has been sacrificed as she brings a distinctive luxury to a package which is watersports-ready. Dean Castle travels to the Vaal River to review the Cobalt 26 SD WSS.

 

This particular 26-foot craft is from Cobalt’s Sports Deck line-up; we managed to get our hands on the top of the range WSS (Water Sport Series) version that adds an aggressive, compelling look, while accommodating board sports. It has a tower, rotating board racks, and other cool options such as stereo-speaker pods that can be aimed directionally for maximum effect of both sound and overall boat attraction.

Deck layout

The 26 SD retains Cobalt’s signature lines and it’s not until you step aboard that you truly appreciate the extravagance of what it has on offer. Cobalt has widened the bow into a stealthy wedge which adds bow seating while blending sleek, proud chines that run the length of the craft. The 26 SD WSS also boasts, in my opinion anyway, the coolest-looking wakeboard arch, being powder-coated aluminium and colour-matched to your choice of hull colours. Cobalt’s tower also folds down electronically for compact storage.

The 26 SD shines brighter at the helm and passenger console than many boats do. Here, instruments are seamlessly blended into the sculpted dash and the helm and glove box are carefully upholstered with a tough vinyl that is so like leather you’ll have to sniff it to know otherwise. Even the foot plate below the helm, perfectly angled for comfortable piloting, boasts a beautiful stainless-steel and rubber surface, increasing traction in those hairpin turns you’ll be doing while adding pizzazz to the helm station.

Cobalt also adds the little touches others overlook — like the transom platform. At first glance you might think the company forgot to install a boarding ladder, but look a little closer and you’ll find a broad step which folds out and swivels down, offering an even easier re-entry point from the water. This step also serves as a wonderful place to sit and lounge in the water while anchored at your favourite sandbar.

Inside the cockpit, seating wraps around from the passenger console to the extra-wide captain’s chair, which I found to be extremely comfortable – and I am a bit bigger than most. A lounge seat behind the captain can be converted to an entertainment galley, and let’s be honest, on a boat like this, that will come in handy!

At the bow, seats are extra wide and boast removable cushions port and starboard which create two forwardfacing armchairs and an additional one aft-facing.

A boat of fibreglass offers all the romance to boaters, but in the factory there’s little of the traditional fun of hand‑shaping mahogany and inhaling the aroma of fresh-cut wood. Yet in Cobalt’s factory, from layup to upholstery to engine installation, the craftsmen work with commitment and enthusiasm. Cobalt’s pride in construction comes from respecting the contributions of its team. That’s what helps keep its work force stable while its products are consistently good from model to model.

You might think I’m pushing the sumptuousness of the 26 SD WSS a bit too much, but this is the pinnacle in terms of luxury, business bowriders; and dressed to be exactly that. The 26 SD, like all of Cobalt’s boats, are built with the idea that the customer is of a refined taste and is prepared to shell out a little more cash to maintain the lifestyle they already have. Besides, I’ve never met a Cobalt owner who said it wasn’t worth it…

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