This article originally appeared in our 2015 Shootout issue. If you are interested in seeing this in print along with 25 other boat reviews, click HERE to purchase the back issue.
What You Need To Know
When it comes to all Cobalt boats, the manufacturer would rather explain the price than have to apologize for the quality. Consumers are asked to pay more, but they also demand more and expect in return an extremely well-built boat. This Cobalt 26SD WSS (Water Sports Specialty) series exceeds those high standards the manufacturer has set for itself.
Compared to the company’s runabout lineup, what makes this boat different is that the bow has been widened to provide more space, while also making it possible to add the three-step beach boarding ladder. Also in the bow are two chaise lounges and the entire front section can easily be converted into a sun lounge using filler cushions that are stored below the front seats.
At the helm is a very attractive-looking console with Medallion custom gauges with digital information below. Between the two multi-function gauges is a Garmin GPS touch screen that is centrally located for easier viewing. All the stainless switches at the helm are back-lit and the Bluetooth-capable Rockford Fosgate unit completes the helm stand. With the upgraded sound system you get Rockford Fosgate speakers, a sub woofer and transom speakers.
Across from the helm is an enclosed head compartment, complete with an optional pump-out Porta Potti. If we had to be picky we’d like to see a faucet and sink included as a standard feature, but as-is we still like the setup and it is available as an option.
Adjacent to the head compartment is a large multi-use bench seat that can easily convert into a rear-facing dual lounger. The entire boat uses a diamond-pattern non-skid flooring with snap-in 60-ounce marine-grade carpet in the cockpit, which will make cleanup simple. On the swim deck there is a rubberized “sof-trac” mat, which is part of the WSS series that includes the electric wakeboard tower and rotating billet aluminum board racks. You can lower the power-assisted arch, by simply unscrewing the safety knobs and pressing the button located behind the helm. This is ideal for towing or when passing under low bridges. Also the LED-lit logo on each side of the tower is just another example of added touches that we continued to find along the way that set this boat apart.
Other amenities worth noting include the transom flip-down step that helps make boarding easy, especially for pets; a high-mounted removable stainless steel ski/tow pylon; and a stainless steel rubrail with an inch and a quarter stainless tubular bumper rail in the stern.
Yacht quality is the best way to describe the features found on this boat, which is Cobalt’s mission statement. Below deck the deep V hull with a reverse chine sets the foundation and we’ll get to the performance in a minute. It’s Yacht Certified, which means it doesn’t have a set passenger rating and that alone speaks volumes on the quality. Our inspection crew gave this boat a high rating for both fit-and-finish work as well as outstanding construction work.
As expected with the Volvo Penta V8 380 DPS, the boat quickly jumped up on plane and was capable of speeds over 50 miles per hour at full throttle. She dived beautifully into the sharp turns and overall it’s just a fun boat to drive.
When Cobalt started it didn’t want to be the biggest, just the best boat builder. However, because of that determination the company is currently the number one selling boat in the 20- to 36-foot sterndrive category and it’s easy to see why. The attention to detail and the overall quality help make it an extremely high-end dream boat.
2015 Boat Specifications
Number of Occupants Yacht Certified
Maximum Speed 50.6 mph
Wild Ponies 380 hp
No. of Gates 0
0-20 MPH 4.73 seconds
Ladder Measurement 3’ deep
Why we love this boat…The attention to detail combined with yacht-quality features translate into one amazing boat that’s also fun to drive.
Just being picky…We love the enclosed head compartment with a Porta Potti, but we’d like to see the optional faucet and sink inside the enclosure included as standard to really complete the look.
PDB Days Reader Choice Feedback
Outstanding fit and finish work; I haven’t seen anything quite like it before.
Stainless steel switches, Kevlar reinforced hull, ignition safety switch, standard sound w/ 6 speakers, Bluetooth and iPod/MP3 port, graphics molded-in gel coat, swim platform extended w/ exclusive swim step, bench seat storage (bow and cockpit), seating Varadense comfort, wrap-around bow seating w/ stbd filler cushion, stainless steel ski pylon, extended running surface, anchor locker, fiberglass cockpit liner stringer system, and composite transom, upholstered eyebrow at helm, SS switches, digital instrumentation, aluminum dash panels and black leather/SS steering wheel.
OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
Battery switch w/ acr-dual, Cesara carpet upgrade, fender clips w/ line (4), GPS (Garmin 640 w/ touch screen and maps) mooring cover w/ arch, premium sound w/ transom and twr speakers (rf), pump out Porta Potti, stainless steel foot tread (helm only), tool kit and trim tabs.
LOA 26’ 2”
Beam 8’ 6”
Hull Design Deep V
Dry Weight 5500 lbs.
Fuel Capacity 69 gallons
Engine Volvo Penta V8 380 DPS
Cylinder Type V8
Cubic-inch Displacement/Horsepower 366ci/380hp
Lower Unit Gear Ratio 9.4:1
RPM vs. SPEED vs. DB-A
640 3.5 86
1000 5.4 88
1500 6.9 84
2000 8.9 89
2500 11.4 103
3000 18.5 96
3500 27.3 104
4000 32.6 106
4500 37.3 110
5000 41.5 110
5500 46.6 111
5880 50.6 114