John page williams
The following review was written by John Page Williams, Editor-at-large, Chesapeake Bay Magazine. John, senior naturalist for the Chesapeake Bay Foundation, has been a regular contributor to Chesapeake Bay Magazine for 30 years, specializing in environmental issues, nature, wildlife, fishing and boats. He has been testing new and used boats for the magazine's Time-Tested and New Boat News departments since 1998.

JULY 2013
LOA  34' 9" (w/platform)
Beam  10' 7"
Draft 24"/35"
Deadrise 22 deg.
Fuel 154 gal
Power Range 600-860 hp

What is a “Day Cruiser”? Well, when a top-of-the-line sportboat builder like Cobalt pulls out all the stops, it’s a big, twin-engine-powerful, sumptuous vessel with enough space for a big family or 8 to 10 friends to spend an exciting but comfortable day on the water together. The company’s 323 offers a large cockpit with wraparound seating, space to move around, and a well appointed wet bar/galley. Several seats have pivoting backs that allow a range of lounge arrangements. Forward of the cockpit, the full-width cabin provides a full-size head with shower, a full galley and a dinette that seats six or converts to a large V-berth for naps or weekend explorations. Aft of the cockpit is a sunpad over the engines with a step down to a large swim platform.

Those are the generalities. Where Cobalt excels, though, is in the details. They range from meticulously laminated hulls that reproduce the designed performance characteristics through interior details like sturdy cockpit tables that stow under cushions and a disappearing companionway leading to the foredeck to cabinetwork like a cedar-lined hanging locker in the cabin and an oil-rubbed wood dash at the helm. That ingenious foredeck companionway, by the way, makes it possible for Cobalt to have both cockpit and deck extend full-width and still offer safe passage forward for line handling.

Base price for the 323 Day Cruiser with twin 300-hp Volvo 300C DP inboard/outboards is $257,930. Larger engines from both Volvo and MerCruiser are available, along with either company’s independently-articulated sterndrives (Joystick Sterndrive and Axius Premier, respectively). Cobalt Boats, Neodesha, Kans. 620-325-2653, 800-468-5764;