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September 21, 2007

Cobia 254 Center Console

When SWS received an invitation to test the Cobia 254, we were excited for a couple of reasons. First, the 254 is a new model for Yamaha-owned Cobia Boats, and we're always eager to try out a new boat! Second, the boat was powered by a pair of Yamaha's new 115-hp, four-stroke engines. We hadn't run a boat with twin 115 four-strokes before (Yamaha only recently introduced a counter-rotating, left-hand model), and wanted to see how they affected performance.

It was quite an experience. Having been impressed with the 115-hp four-stroke since its introduction, we were even more impressed with twins. They positively purr at idle, and are so quiet that I found myself constantly turning around to see if they were actually running.

The engines brought the 254 onto plane smoothly, and yielded a cruise speed of 32 mph at 4000 rpm. At a wide-open 5700 rpm, the 25-footer reached 45.8 mph, admirable performance in anyone's book. Our test day in the Florida Keys had dawned windy, which resulted in a substantial chop offshore, but we took very little spray, even when quartering into the wind. Not only did the deep-vee hull handle the stiff headseas with little trouble, it proved to be very stable while drifting, as well.

Lots of Room

Laid out in a conventional center-console configuration, the 254 has plenty of fishing room in both the cockpit and the bow. Up front, a large raised deck lets you step up so that casting over the boat's high forward freeboard won't be a problem. The casting deck contains two large storage compartments that drain overboard.

Another storage compartment is located in the sole between the console and the forward deck, and the console contains an insulated drink cooler beneath the forward passenger seat. A portside hatch leads to the sub-console head compartment, which is quite roomy. It contains such niceties as a vinyl headliner, overhead lighting, and a canvas flap that conceals the boat's wiring. Our test boat held a porta-potty below.

At the helm, a three-sided surface above the wheel allows for mounting an ample amount of electronics. Two drink holders and a molded-in footrest make the helm a winner in the ergonomics department. A rocket launcher gives the helmsman a place to sit, and there is a space beneath it for a cooler. Cobia had finished off the test boat by adding an upscale, optional T-top with five rod holders, spreader lights and outriggers.

The cockpit has a 25-gallon live well on the centerline in the transom bulkhead, and the bulkhead is cushioned to form additional passenger seating. There's even a fold-down backrest for extra comfort. The 254's two batteries are located in the transom area, and a transom gate to port opens onto the engine platform, where you'll find a telescoping swim ladder.

specificationsThe 254 is built to exacting standards, with waterproof electrical connectors, post-assembly foam injection, and Cobia's patent-pending RIB construction system, which features a molded urethane transom and a wood-free, foam-injected fiberglass stringer system. It adds up to a boat that will provide many years of reliable service.

It's almost overkill to mention the standard-equipment list. Features like hydraulic steering, a stainless steering wheel, full instrumentation, plentiful rod storage, the portable head and cockpit lighting might cost extra with some companies, but Cobia has been known for value for many years, and we're happy to announce that the new 254 carries on that admirable tradition.

Cobia Boats, Panama City, FL; (850) 769- 0311; www.cobiaboats.com