The love affair begins, of course, because she’s beautiful. Your Cobalt, or maybe the Cobalt you’re considering for purchase, has stolen your heart clean away because of the clean, classic lines of the hull, because of a gelcoat that deepens and deepens some more, the graphics molded therein in perfect luster.
But our subject today, here in the fading hours of an unforgettable summer, is strength, strength of the sort that will carry your boat through the winter directly into a springtime of immediate and reliable use. Because beneath the gelcoat lie features of Cobalt design and construction that go way, way beyond the merely acceptable.
Only Cobalt insists on seven layers of hand-laid glass mat and woven roving with generous overlaps at the chines and keel.
Only Cobalt’s is a totally hand-laid hull. We use no chopped gun glass. Other manufacturers are content with cheaper, easier methods of hull construction; we choose never to compromise.
Cobalt goes a long extra mile with our xycon barrier coat — yet another Cobalt exclusive. It’s an extra layer of protection between the structural fiberglass and the gloss and beauty of the attention-hog, the gelcoat. The xycon layer is critical to the prevention of cracks and blisters in the gel above. Once again, no other manufacturer is willing to assume this extra cost, but we think it’s an unmistakable occasion for additional strength.
Your Cobalt cruises on an all-fiberglass stringer system. Where other manufacturers settle for plywood, we want the strength and longevity of fiberglass for your boat.
In action, these structural enhancements disappear beneath Cobalt’s extended running surface for superior stability and rapid planing. Don’t be fooled by claims of extended surfaces made by some manufacturers whose superfluous extensions contribute nothing to the boat’s handling characteristics.
Cobalt decks contribute substantially to overall structural integrity. With their composite construction, they eliminate any worries about rot—worries that too often prove true with boats willing to use plywood decking. Cobalt has taken the wood out of today’s models, preferring to use next-generation materials for their strength, durability, and trouble-free performance.
So love your Cobalt for aesthetics at first. But then settle down for a steady ride, some true turns – all the reasons why this boat will be yours for years to come.
Pour yourself a nice glass of tea. Feeling comfortable? Good.
We’re about to build your confidence in your Cobalt, in its ongoing ability to serve you and your family for a generation and more. Riding there with you across a chop that your Cobalt turns into glass come the skill and the conscientiousness of the best boat-builders in the world. Imagine them there with you: big Tim in fiberglass layup, the perfectionist Aubrey over in upholstery, the relentless Ms. Deborah watching quality-control at every step of your boat’s construction. While they were crafting you a boat, our associates in Neodesha have also built you an umbrella, the best and broadest insurance of quality in the industry, a warranty that stretches a full decade into your family’s best days together.
You have the St. Clair family standing squarely behind your Cobalt, just as you may rest assured of the integrity of Cobalt’s top managers and the skills of the hands-on, good-hearted, oh so capable doers on the Cobalt dealer team. You may relax.
The Cobalt warranty stands alone, out there on the horizon where no other marine manufacturer dares to cruise: ten-year protection on the hull and deck structure; five years on the engine, the drive, the electrical and fuel systems, the controls and instrumentation, the electronics, and every accessory stem to stern; three years of protection on the gelcoat, upholstery and canvas, and every component made by Cobalt.
Maybe you know this. Maybe your appreciation of the Cobalt warranty is rich and full.
Then again, maybe you don’t know the full story. Did you know that the warranty also covers towing, dockside assistance, pick-up and delivery of your Cobalt, or hoist and lift-out if you wish? Are you happily aware that, on every covered repair, we’re going to take care of taxes, shop supplies, lubricants, coolants, filters, spark plugs, hoses, clamps, belts, tuning of the engine and, as necessary, lake or sea trials? Did you know that you can transfer the warranty on your Cobalt to a new owner? Did you know that you can transfer the warranty on your Cobalt to a new owner with the easy completion of a short form?
We trust that we’ve given you some comfort. Your Cobalt is waiting, and you haven’t a single, solitary worry in the world.
In these days of endless sun and perpetual youth, the water holds a particular attraction for the athletic and the less-inhibited among us. Cobalt’s Water Sports Series (WSS) boats have been built for friends and families who enjoy each other at speed, in the air, occasionally upside-down.
In addition to all the expected, all the traditional advantages of Cobalt design and manufacture – raw power, quickness to plane, and stability in the turns, for example – the WSS boats bring along some special features sure to catch the practiced eye of marine athletes and the good-hearted people who pull them around.
Let’s begin with the unglamorous but utterly necessary: Cobalt wakeboard racks from industry pioneer Roswell stash up to four boards safely up, up and out of the way, preserving precious interior storage space. Proven Roswell design meshes maximized functionality with clean chromed lines in a package at once fashionable and efficient. Look for cast-aluminum tines machined to exceptionally close tolerances with a reinforcing backing plate and protective rubber gaskets mechanically positioned, all to ensure lifetime strength, lifetime ease of use. A three-position swivel comes standard on all Cobalt racks for convenient loading and unloading of boards – no damaging drops, no more leaning out over the gunnels to retrieve a board.
Okay. Time to jump up and down. Here comes the ski tower, ready to deliver the vertical lift necessary for airborne antics. Made of superstrong stainless-steel tubing (2” O.D.) all around – no aluminum whatsoever, the tower rises from backing plates structurally embedded in the fiberglass for rugged, durable, failsafe mounting. Welded grab handles emerge on each side. A bimini top creates generous headroom under a fully protective sunshade.
Let the acrobatics begin.
Accurate and consistent in its performance, easy and straightforward in its use, the Wakeboard Pro cruise control from PerfectPass helps even inexperienced drivers deliver smooth, predictable, essentially perfect rides to skiers and boarders. The Wakeboard Pro makes water sports more enjoyable, and simply so: just by preselecting a speed on the in-dash display and pulling the rider up as usual. At the chosen speed, the Wakeboard Pro takes firm, precise control.
And get this!
A personalized screen shows riders’ names and preferred speeds, in addition to all the expected data from a digital speedometer and tach.
And up, down, and all around the WSS boats mean that famous Cobalt ride.
In the little Kansas town of Neodesha a huge sign hangs over the entrance to the Cobalt plant: “Through these doors walk the best boatbuilders in the world.” Simple statement of a complex fact.
For owners of Cobalt boats the word “best” passes without contradiction. Those proud owners’ confident assurance of Cobalt quality begins in the handiwork of their boats’ builders. Key word: “builders”. Not producers. Not assembly-line workers. But builders – hands-on, personally engaged, personally responsible builders. Craftspeople with demonstrated skills, an uncompromising ethic of work, and self-imposed standards of individual accountability.
Cobalt is approaching fifty years of building boats in the classic tradition. We’re a throwback of sorts, a company of the insistent belief that the very best work is done by hand. Of course, we understand the role that the tools of a digital age can play in the production of boats of immediate service and enduring value. Machines can produce. They can produce just fine. And we take rich advantage of the accuracies, the exact replications, the measurements of performance that emerging technologies make possible.
But only a knowledgeable, caring human being can build.
So we persist in the daily pursuit of the unreachable — the design, manufacture, and ongoing support of the perfect runabout, the ideal performance cruiser. With our dealers worldwide, we give our minds and hearts to the winning of the hearts and minds of our customers.
And the results are these, tangible and unforgettable in a summer that lasts like laughter: the escaping ooohs and inescapable wows of sudden movement, a welcome if unasked amnesia, the cares of a workaday world whisked away in a nanosecond of spray, land-locked worries gone in the laughing thump to the chest that defines a good, good day.
You there at the marina, you on the beach absorbing a welcome sun, confess your fascination with arches. Acknowledge the ooh-ah power of a marine arch, its implicit ability to turn heads and open jaws.
Of course, we feel the same sort of excitement upon first glimpse of our forward-facing arch. It’s proving a spectacular, spectacularly popular add-on, forward-facing, strong in use, and so very easy to fold afterward. And of course, Cobalt seeks to make the choosing easy, the new arch available on a wide variety of our boats, optional for BR Series models stretching from the 200 to the 262, standard on the 24 and 26SDWSS boats.
The engineered, so carefully planned benefit of the arch comes in the movement of the ski line to the boat’s highest point, at the top of the arch, where wakeboarders will find better pull all around, where beginning riders will find a much easier lift out of the water on those first, jittery, exhilarating seconds aboard a board. And tubers of the world, you will love . . . guaranteed . . . love being pulled from the tower because it makes for bigger air. The elation becomes yours, yours alone at the end of a rope leading to the best boats built in America. Indeed, in the world.
Good looking and then some, the arch adds adventurous style to, say, a 220, making it, for all the world to see, like a much larger craft. Bear in mind too that the arch brings along a bimini top as part of the package.
And it folds. It folds. Easily, down to windshield height where storage becomes a non-issue. It will fold for your nine-year-old daughter, and then tomorrow at full mast it will take on the most rigorous boarding, the most difficult passage through rough water with not a bounce in sight.
Of course, rock ‘n roll speakers and hold-tight board racks come along as additional options. Look forward now, please. Add an arch to the Cobalt cruising there in your boatly dreams.
One of the revolving headlines now on the Cobalt website invites you to an in-home showing of a new video entitled “Building Dreams.” We underscore that invitation again here, asking that you gather the family for an enjoyable look at all the reasons why this coming summer will stand among your very best ever. In “Building Dreams” the people behind these boats emerge from the plant in Neodesha to explain the ingredients of Cobalt value, from design rationales to raw materials to manufacturing processes to quality-control methodologies. A happy blend of the technical, the historical, and the merely gorgeous, “Building Dreams” will show how fiberglass and stainless steel and leather and glass gather toward the greatness of a Cobalt, how a fundamental passion for boating can lead to more than forty years of marine imagination, to thousands upon thousands upon thousands of happy hours on the water for successive generations of Cobalt owners.
Pack St. Clair, Cobalt’s founder and guiding light, introduces the video, and you’ll find in Pack’s easy warmth and quiet confidence the basis of Cobalt’s refusal to compromise on these boats’ design or construction. Cobalt’s second generation of leaders speak to the continuation of the founding principles to every Cobalt in succeeding model years, as the design and manufacturing principles of large yachts come to the building of small runabouts.
The video offers you a personalized walk-through, bow to stern, of the best boatbuilders in the world going about their daily responsibilities. From the lamination schedule of the fiberglass to the composite miracle that is the transom to the Kevlar at critical points of boatly strength, you’ll come away with a rich understanding of why your Cobalt, with proper care and maintenance of course, will perform through a lifetime of comfort and performance. Look for fulsome discussion of Cobalt’s bill of materials, the more than 2500 individual parts which constitute a finished Cobalt. Line by line, the insistence comes on quality, quality and, later, more quality still. A number of long-time Cobalt associates — and they are legion, generations of entire families working together here – speak to their jobs, day to day, asking always “the Pack question.” “Would Pack St. Clair approve? Would he buy off on the job I’ve just completed?’
Listen from title to credits for echoes of the Golden Rule. It’s all so simple really: friends building boats for friends to sell to friends.
Plan to take a test drive soon in a dream of your own.
We’ve discussed awards here before, the recognition that comes Cobalt’s way from time to time, and we report these awards with all appropriate humility. Whether from the marine industry for innovative design, or from J.D. Power and Associates for overall customer satisfaction, or from professional associations for the magnificent record of integrity and service compiled by our Cobalt dealers, these awards serve as a top-line reminder that we need to keep on keeping on. Fact is, each of the plaques and statuettes in our trophy case represents Cobalt’s refusal to move away from our founding principles. Fact is, we continue to operate on a business model not much different from, no less sophisticated than the Golden Rule itself.
One of our more recent recognitions comes from The Wichita Business Journal, the weekly chronicle of all things commercial and industrial in South Central Kansas, where Cobalt Boats was chosen one of the five winners of the newspaper’s Best in Business competition, which assessed the companies’ revenue growth, community involvement, product innovation, and marketing prowess. We quote a few statements from the article accompanying the announcement of Cobalt’s win.
“The corporate environment at Cobalt Boats in Neodesha can be felt even before you enter the building. Founder Pack St. Clair has strived to create a sense that no one job is more important than any other at the 45-year-old boat manufacturer. And it starts in the parking lot — where there is no assigned parking for any of the company’s 520 workers. ‘The first person in gets the best spot,” says CEO Paxson St. Clair. ‘That’s the attitude we have here. That culture that has been established here over the last 45 years has been the backbone of our success.’”
“Bill Wallisch, the company’s CFO, says, “If it’s not a quality product, it’s not going out.”
“I don’t think we could build Cobalt-quality products anywhere else [than Neodesha],” CEO Paxson St. Clair says. “This city has always been extremely supportive of us. It’s a great relationship.” That in turn helps Cobalt build great relationships with its customers, both existing and prospective.”
The best rules, like the best laws, are not particularly complicated. Thomas Jefferson said so. So do the people of Cobalt. Treat everyone alike: with kindness, respect, and a wide, wide-open sense of possibility.
Look for the good in others.
Do your best. Day in. Day out.
Be true to your friends. Love your family.
All so very simple really.
And when the week’s work is done, when the last April boat has been built, the awards will take care of themselves.
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.
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.
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.
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With the first slow sip, the Cobalt 2006 vintage speaks of the best of times. A big Cabernet brought from Spring Mountain, up in the good weather above Napa Valley, up where the care and craftsmanship of the Sherwin family pay off in a nuanced appeal to the best in all of us. Up where the Sherwin’s gravity-flow winery transforms Cobalt founder Pack St. Clair’s good grapes into something like laughter.
Like the boat-builder who gave the vintage its name, like the vintners who brought it to fruition, this rich red table wine is all conversational. Straightforward. Open to new possibilities among folks who know the value of now, the joy of the moment, the promise of more such days to come.
Here’s to old friends. Here’s to family. Here’s to what matters.
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