New 2013 Cobalt Boats
New 2014 Cobalt Boats
In a place where a handshake is still sufficient to the sealing of a dream.
Gamers, these guys. Every last one of them. Heads up, tails down, centered, ready to go right now. The moms and dads who make Cobalt Boats learned a long time ago the life lessons first heard on a baseball diamond: back up your buddy, hang tough against the inside pitch, hustle on and off the field no matter the score.
And while "team" is a term open to some overuse, they do work well together, these rugged individuals who share Pack St. Clair's ongoing contention that the best place to build boats happens to be in a small land-locked Kansas town. For four decades Cobalt Boats has operated on principles of individual skill, individual responsibility, and the peculiarly individual rewards to be found in purposeful chase of a long, long, ultimately uncatchable fly ball.
Cobalt Boats bring families and friends together in waterborne explorations of life's best moments. When first we went down to the water, the impulse was always, always to jump. Little kids look neither right nor left with a lake straightahead. Headlong and willy-nilly, the moment suspended in a squeal, a nine-year-old throws herself laughing against the waves.
Who can say when it fades, the childlike abandon? Too bad, this adult reluctance to run and jump, to swing for the fence everytime. Sad a bit, this grownup insistence on knowing the score, on computing beforehand the ocean's exact temperature, its unknowable depth.
The perfect runabout, the absolutely flawless performance cruiser will never be built. But every business evening, the Neodesha plant quieting down, a dozen individually crafted boats out the door, almost time for the first little batter up, and just one thing to be said. These kids, that Cobalt bunch, they came to play.
Beyond the Conception
Despite Mr. Wayne Rhodes' well-earned confidence in his colleague's abilities, Cobalt Boats research and new-product development begins and ends in practicality. Magic word, "practical." In the Cobalt Boat lexicon, it denotes functionality, of course, but also convenience and comfort and accessibility and dependability. And style. Elegant, refined, distinctive, very functional style. Practicality concerns itself with ultimate value.
Having listened to current Cobalt Boat owners, having learned from knowledgeable boaters how great watercraft might be made greater still, the discovery process begins with hand tools and building materials. As opposed to a computer screen or a set of predetermined specifications. In its hour-to-hour construction a prototype takes shape. In the practicality of actually building the new boat, its strengths emerge, its opportunities for immediate improvement shout out loud. Operating happily in reverse gear, Cobalt R&D defines the new boat on the shopfloor long before any CAD drawings might.
In the ongoing exchanges between owners and builders, Cobalt Boats has shown an entire industry exactly the way to go. For example, in what has become perhaps the most imitated component of runabout performance, the Cobalt Boats extended running surface forces more of the hull into continuous, hugging contact with the water at cruising speeds. Meaning quicker planing, firm and true turns, minimized bow rise, and enhanced lift astern. Then the extended running surface combines with the other critical elements of the Cobalt Boat hull - the deep, deep-V shape and the reversed chines most of all - to produce a design so nearly perfect that model year-to-model year changes are beside the point. It was Cobalt Boats who first built walk-thru transoms on smaller boats, Cobalt Boats who devised the flip-lip seat, with all its flexible comfort, all its multitasked convenience, Cobalt Boats who saw a way to build protection into necessarily vulnerable points of overall design - at the bow, for instance, where the now-legendary Cobalt Boats scuff plate stands guard or at the windshield where a stainless steel latch beefs the hold in the open position.
As each Cobalt Boat winds its way through the plant in Neodesha, the standards of the manufacturing process put into place the benefits of practical design. Spec'd as "the very best available," the raw materials of a Cobalt Boat undergo testing and retesting, even as Statistical Process Control guarantees accuracy, efficiency, and economy across every step of the manufacture of boats working toward total customer satisfaction. Always, always though the individual Cobalt Boat craftsman determines ultimate value. Daily, every Cobalt Boat associate decides when a job has been done right. And so it goes. Day after day, more practical applications of imagination and ingenuity, more personal accountability, more hand craftsmanship, more conviction that - airplanes aside - all things are possible.
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