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.
APRIL 2014
 
   
Length overall  23' 10"
(w/ swim platform)
Beam  8' 6"        
Draft  21" (drive up)
37" (drive down)
Weight  4,450 lb
Fuel  50 gals
Max Power  430 hp 
Base Price  $80,085

The basics of Cobalt’s 23-foot R3 bowrider are impressive: a carefully designed, wave-taming deep-V hull (21 degrees transom deadrise) with broad chines for stability and a dry ride; top-of-the-line engineering, tooling, lamination, upholstery and assembly; and state-of-the-art single inboard-outboard power of 300- to 430-horsepower from Mercury or Volvo Penta.

On that platform, Cobalt adds features like its patented flip-down swim step for easy re-boarding onto the broad swim platform and seating that adapts to multiple configurations. The sun pad just forward of the swim platform, for example, has a removable mount for a ski pylon, and its forward cushion lifts to create a rumble seat. The usable cockpit space is 95 inches wide, remarkable in a 23-foot boat with a 102-inch beam overall. The space has allowed Cobalt designers to create a wraparound settee to port or, with the flip of a seatback, a double companion seat opposite the helm and an L-shaped lounge behind. Forward of the stylish, ergonomic helm, the bow cockpit offers lounges port and starboard with storage beneath.

The whole setup offers comfortable seating for up to 12 people. A Rockford-Fosgate stereo with Bluetooth and six speakers provides tunes. The long options list ranges from satellite radio and a Bimini top to an oil-rubbed wood dashboard to corrosion-proofing systems for the engine and a Perfect Pass speed control system for tow sports.

Base price for the R3 is $80,085 with a Volvo Penta 300C DP engine-outdrive. Cobalt Boats, Neodesha, Kans. 800-468-5764; www.cobaltboats.com.