Cobalt 360 Performance Cruiser
Length overall  36'
Beam 10'6"
Draft  27'Drive up, 42'Drive down
Displacement 40,000 lb
Waste Water Capacity  28 gals
Water Capacity  35 gals
Bridge Clearance w/ radar  9'6"
Trailering Height w/ radar  13'3"
Deadrise  20 degrees

A V-shaped settee wraps around a triangular table. Stainless-steel rods support insert cushions that turn it into a double berth.

Cobalt factory reps and dealers were soaring at last fall's Annapolis powerboat show, thanks to the glowing results of the first-ever J.D. Power and Associates 2001 Marine Quality and Performance Study. The survey of thousands of boat owners ranked Cobalt 'Highest in Customer Satisfaction' in the runabout boat segment. The survey covered overall quality and reliability, features and controls, interior, exterior, ride and handling. Overall, Cobalt owners reported near-perfect levels of satisfaction.

Cobalt's dedication to producing quality boats is evident as well in the largest boat they've built yet, the Cobalt 360 Performance Cruiser. They even go the extra step of sending along a delivery captain to go over each boat with its new owners. I recently stopped by Tradewinds Marina on Middle River near Baltimore to take a closer look at the 360, and that's where I met Cobalt's designated delivery guy, Peter Dierks.

Usually what I want to do is spend half a day with the dealer helping to prep the boat and make sure there are no problems,' Dierks explains, 'then spend a day with the new owner, and if he needs more time, I can spend an extra day with them. It's a program that's been well received. I've done 13 deliveries world-wide, I've been to Italy, Portugal, and up and down the East Coast.'

Peter led me through the boat as if I were a new owner, carefully going over all the systems and features, starting with the swim ladder that's concealed in the integral swim platform. He pointed out the ample storage on either side of a pair of lounges facing aft,for lines, fenders, and other gear like shore power cords, snorkels, masks, and other stuff. Both compartments drain overboard. There's even a standard air compressor for all your towable toys. There's an insert to make the two lounges into one large sunpad. There's a hot and cold transom shower for hosing yourself down after a dip in the salt water. The seat backs shift back, and the arm rests fold together to form a gate.

The cockpit area has facing L-shaped settees with storage underneath. Three battery switches are hidden underneath one seat cushion, a voltage-sensitive relay module will automatically isolate batteries that are fully charged, charging just the one battery that needs it. There are positive/negative terminals right there so you can hook up a battery or charger and have power to start the engine in the case of complete battery failure.

There's a convenient entertainment console in the cockpit, with a sink, ice-maker, insulated cooler and storage. A hatch in the cockpit sole reveals an optional generator and the fuel manifold system controlling flow from the two stainless tanks. A sound shield is part of the generator package, so you can't hear the generator when you're down below with the A/C on.

Up at the helm, there's a wide, cushioned, adjustable seat large enough for two, and the seat lifts up to act as a stand-up bolster. A hatch in the sole allows access to the holding tank and water heater. The dashboard is made of a highly varnished African 'Bubinga' wood, with stainless-rimmed analog instruments. The optional Teleflex controls are extremely sensitive, with synchronizers that allow you to control both engines with one handle. There's a sub-woofer underneath the seat as part of the multiple speakers. The dash has loads of room for the Raytheon chart plotter and other electronics.

The stainless-steel curved windshield frame is standard. The canvas folds neatly against the swept-forward radar arch. Non-skid steps molded into the side of the dash console lead up through the center panel of the windshield to the foredeck. This access to the bow allows the cockpit to take full advantage of the 10' 6' beam, eliminating the need to take up space for side decks.

The windlass is neatly concealed under a hatch in the bow, along with an ample rope locker. You can lower the stainless steel anchor either from the control in the bow deck or from the helm. They've thoughtfully clamped a manual windlass handle just inside the hatch, ready for emergencies. The foredeck features an optional sunpad that that lies securely between a pair of handrails.

With the weather deck covered from stern to stem, Peter led me down the companionway, where the first impression is of the deep luster of all the cherry wood cabinetry. The elegantly curved galley console has a Corian composite countertop with a round stainless-steel sink. A microwave is hidden behind a pretty curved cherry cabinet door. The mini-fridge is underneath the curved sink console, and there's a single-burner electric stove along with a good amount of storage in drawers and cabinets.

The entertainment center includes a standard Sharp flat-screen TV, DVD, VCR player and 10-CD changer under the cushion. When you watch a DVD on the TV, the sound tracks play through the stereo system. There's a cedar-lined hanging locker. A V-shaped settee wraps around a narrow table, stainless steel rods support insert cushions that create a double berth. A second berth is aft, underneath the helm station. Overhead hatches and recessed lighting add light and air. All four eye-shaped ports open as well. It's a quite comfortable feel and an elegant faux leather for the bulkhead, headliners and settees complete the look.

A high-gloss cherry curved door leads to the head, where a cushioned seat covers the Vacu-flush toilet. A hand-held shower pulls out from the sink faucet and an access panel hinges down to access the back of the helm console. The Corian counter on the vanity has a molded-in sink.

Then it was time to take the Cobalt out for a shake-down. Peter cranked up the twin MerCruiser 496 Mag HO ('High Output') 425 HP gas engines, and we headed out Middle River and into the open area of the upper Chesapeake just south of Pooles Island. It was a calm day and the water was pretty flat, and the acceleration was so smooth that I was shocked to look at the GPS and see that we were running across the Bay in excess of 50 MPH. I backed off and found a comfortable cruising speed at about 32 MPH. 'It's a solid 55 mile-an-hour boat,' Peter noted. The MerCruisers, coupled with the Bravo III stern drives with their twin, counter-rotating props, gave the 22-degree deadrise deep-V hull a steady, yet nimble ride.

'Even though Cobalt is a production boat builder, you can have a say in the options,' Peter explained. 'One owner wanted teak-and-holly soles instead of the carpeting in the cabin, and Cobalt can provide that. They'll work with you any way they can. It's not often you'll have that kind of flexibility in this size range.' There's a vast range of power options to choose from.