John martino, annapolis school of seamanship and annapolis yacht         management
The following review was written by John Martino and prepared by the marketing department of Chesapeake Bay Magazine. Mr. Martino is the founder and president of Annapolis Yacht Management and Annapolis School of Seamanship. He develops and teaches hands-on training courses for recreational boaters and professional mariners, and offers yacht delivery and onboard training services for powerboaters as well as sailors.


LOA w/o swim platform  21' 4"
Deadrise at transom  20 deg.
Draft (drive up) 24"
Fuel 50 gal Beam 8' 6"
Weight (dry) 3,700 lbs
Certified Capacity 12 people
Price as Tested $48,900         

Any time I can go for a boat ride on a beautiful summer day, it’s a good day. When I really like the boat, it’s even better! This past July I took a trip up to Middle River and visited Brian Schneider at Tradewinds Marina. Brian had a brand new Cobalt 220 bow rider for us to review. After a short inspection I could tell this boat offers sleek styling and quality construction. Brian had already run the blower so we literally hopped aboard, threw off the lines and were out cruising the river in a matter of minutes.

Once under power, I immediately noticed how quiet this boat is. At no wake speed, engine noise was hardly noticeable. While Brian took the wheel, I made myself busy opening and closing all of the lockers and cubbies. This is one of the places where Cobalt’s build quality and attention to detail is really evident. Each locker is not only finished on the inside, but the locker lids are all fully gasketed to dampen hull and engine rattle. (I don’t think you really meant that there is no noise inside of a locker…)

When I began driving, we were just getting past the no wake zones. I pushed the throttle forward and the 270 horse power Volvo pushed her up onto plane effortlessly. The steering was crisp and responsive but still light enough to steer with one finger.

Even though it was a calm day out on the Middle River, we had the opportunity to take advantage of some wake from other boats. I expected to pound a little when coming off the larger boat wakes but the Cobalt’s deep-V hull handled the wake with no problem, staying smooth and steady. I cranked the wheel hard over at speed and the 220 carved a tight circle without skidding.

I turned the wheel back over to Brian and tried out all of the seats as we sped along. The 220 has a rated capacity of 12 people and there is not a bad seat. The layout was relaxed and I could easily envision a group of friends enjoying a evening cruise or towing the kids in a tube behind the boat. The Cobalt could certainly handle either situation with ease. There is also a large swim platform and boarding ladder aft.

At the end of our test ride I was sad to be back at the dock. The Cobalt 220 has a great combination of performance, style, luxury and fun. It is well suited for having fun with friends or for messing around on the water with a young family.