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Cobia 211 Bay Skiff Review

Cobia has undergone massive improvements under the aegis of Yamaha Marine over the past decade or so...

July 3, 2006

Cobia has undergone massive improvements under the aegis of Yamaha Marine over the past decade or so. Recently, Scott Deal, owner of Hewes and Maverick flats boats as well as Pathfinder bay boats, purchased Cobia and has built a state-of-the-art factory in North Carolina to make the line. If you thought Cobia made good boats before, hold on tight – you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. Scott Deal is nothing if not a perfectionist.

Performance
I knew as I drove over the causeway toward The Anchorage, one of the last deepwater marinas in the Melbourne, Florida, area, that the Intracoastal Waterway would offer more than most families would want to venture forth in. The west wind blew 20 to 25 knots as a late-season front roared through, headed toward the Bahamas. I discovered that even a family with little tykes needn’t worry, as this 211 bay boat never bounced, never pounded and never took a drop of water on the windshield.

The Yamaha F150 four-stroke outboard generated a top speed of 49.4 mph along the most sheltered lee shore I could find. I’m sure that in ideal circumstances, I could top 50 mph, but I must admit that I found 30 to 35 mph a very comfortable speed.

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Cobia offers Lenco electronic trim tabs as an option. While you don’t need them for fore-and-aft trim (the engine handles that nicely), being able to lift the windward side when running beam-to makes the ride softer and drier. Personally, I wouldn’t own a flats or bay skiff without tabs.

Between the terrific hull design and the Teleflex SeaStar hydraulic steering, this boat spins up like the best flats skiffs. Turn the wheel hard over and gun it with impunity. The prop doesn’t ventilate, and the hydraulic steering makes straightening out a piece of cake.

At speed, the relatively modest 15-degree deadrise slides readily in a tight turn so your passengers will remain aboard and secure.
 
Fishing
Scott Deal qualifies as a fanatical (and gifted) fisherman. You will never receive a boat from him that won’t fish well. Since most people won’t be trolling with this boat, you get only two in-gunwale rod holders. However, Cobia mounts four vertical rod holders on each side of the console. And if you insist, you can order another, optional pair for the gunwales.

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The forward and aft casting decks afford loads of room for casting rods or nets, and pop-up cleats throughout eliminate snags.

If you choose to anchor, the forward locker provides adequate space for rode and a notch for the anchor line, so you needn’t keep the hatch open.

Cobia puts a livewell in the aft port corner and a release well on centerline. Dry boxes forward handle both safety gear and cast nets with aplomb.

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Because most people will fish this boat nearshore and in the backcountry, Cobia built it to run in as little as 10 inches of water without a jack plate.

Once in fishing mode, I found this 211 to be remarkably quiet. Even when overtaken by beam seas as we drifted, the roll proved gentle and didn’t produce noticeable chine slap. One good test of the quality of a boat like this comes from walking around on the decks, especially if you’re large like I am. I stepped everywhere without hearing a single hatch creak or deck flex.

Since you plan to seriously fish this boat, I suggest ordering the optional trolling motor wiring.

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Design and Construction
Another test of any boat is to look under places you normally can’t see. Not only are all surfaces in the Cobia finished, but all the hatches are gelcoat-finished on both sides as well as gasketed. And each hatch seat sports a gutter with proper drains. Even the stainless-steel drink holders come with drain tubes.

||| |—|—| |   Specifications| |  LOA|  21 ft. 1 in.| |  BEAM|  8 ft. 4 in.| |  DRAFT|  1 ft. 1 in.| |  DEADRISE|  15 deg.| |  WEIGHT|  2,500 lb.| |  FUEL|  60 gal.| |  MAX HP|  200-hp OB| Again in fishing mode, seating consists of a helm seat (a 94-quart cooler) with a seat back that flips fore and aft and a cushioned seat on the front of the console that hides the insulated drink box. Switch to family cruiser mode and the optional bow and stern cushions turn almost the entire boat into a sun deck. Other family options include a Bimini top and a swim platform with a ladder.

A tray supports the accessory-battery storage under the console, while the engine battery resides in the aft starboard compartment with the two-way battery switch.

Cobia uses nothing but stainless-steel thru-hulls with seacocks below the waterline and lighted, weatherproof breaker switches.

My grandfather told me that there are only two colors to paint a boat, white and black, and only a fool paints his boat black. Obviously times have changed, and Cobia offers optional hull colors of yellow, light blue and what the company calls Stars and Stripes Blue.

The Cobia 211 is the boat you can use everyday. The kids can take it out by themselves. Your wife and her friends can feel comfortable running it without you. And you can fish it to your heart’s content. That makes this one terrific vessel.

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