Cobia Boats’ new 217 is a fun boat to drive. Running the 217 reminded me of wonderful afternoons cruising around the back islands of a bay on a flood tide, and I was immediately taken by its great running surface. I recently met dealer Kevin Lindsay to test the new 217 on a cool day with a stiff northerly breeze stirring the chop to a frothy mess on the St. Lucie River in Stuart, Florida. The variable-deadrise hull is a smaller version of Cobia’s excellent-riding 23-, 25- and 29-foot models that I have tested.
Note that this is not a big offshore bruiser, but the 217 provides an excellent ride for its size. The boat has a fine entry that carries back to where it rides at cruise, and it enters smoothly and cleanly. It had a soft touch in the sharp and steep three-foot head sea. Its lifting strakes and chines help to keep the boat dry, and it reacts to the Lenco electric trim tabs wonderfully, so you can use the bottom of the boat to get a better ride, whether the wind’s head-on or quartering. Running down-sea, I could trim the engine and lift the bow to glide over the waves without leaping from wave to wave or stalling the engine on entry and throwing a bunch of water in the air — so I remained dry and happy.
Since being purchased by Maverick Boat Co., the Cobia line has been completely transformed with new hulls and running surfaces, a clean, kind-looking sheer line and a raked stem. All Cobia boats are built from composite, with no wood, and Core-Cell core material is utilized in the hull and throughout the boat for a lightweight and strong structure. The fiberglass work and rigging are first-rate. This company is investing in its products smartly, with top-shelf components and quality built into the sound, good-running boats at each step.
The 217 I tested came powered by a Yamaha F150 four-stroke, a quiet and strong power choice for this boat. It accelerated quickly and offered good economy at an easy cruising speed of 22 mph at 3,500 rpm. At 4,500 rpm, the boat is going 10 mph faster and has a range of approximately 300 miles. That makes using it a lot easier, as you know you are going to pass by the gas pump often.
With an 8-foot-6-inch beam, the 217 has a lot of room, particularly noticeable when you’re walking around the console — the boat never feels cramped. It has a nice anchor locker in the forepeak and an access hatch on the upper deck. It has forward seating on the port and starboard sides, with insulated boxes underneath. Both boxes drain overboard, and either can be used for storage or as a fish box. A center filler piece makes the seating larger and provides a nice place to stand while throwing a cast net. The bow area also has a recessed aluminum bow rail.
The walk-in console has side-door access. A walk-in console with an optional porta-potty is a great thing for the family. The interior of the console comes fully finished and offers access to the backside of the electronics dash and gauges. There’s outstanding storage room inside the console, and the 52-quart insulated cooler under the forward seat can hold enough drinks and food for a large family’s day on the water.
The business side of the console is well set up, with a large dash to house a stereo, a VHF radio and a nice multifunction GPS plotter. The Yamaha gauges are on the port side of the dash, and the folks at Cobia came up with a new switch panel that has toggles with LED lights in the ends to let you know if an item is on or off — very upscale. The helm is offset to port, with the binnacle to the right of the wheel.
An optional T-top features four rod holders across the back and LED spreader lights and is constructed with larger-than-normal pipe for strength. The T-top comes with Weblon canvas, and the standard leaning post has storage below and offers rod holders, plus cooler storage underneath on deck.
In each corner are cushioned jump seats with removable storage bins that offer access to drainage valves, the battery and the battery switch. A 26-gallon oval livewell on the centerline of the transom has a clear lid and will hold plenty of live bait, and access to the bilge is through a watertight hatch on the engine well.
The folks at Cobia have transformed the brand with all-new models, wisely starting from scratch with good-running hulls, solid materials and practices and functional layouts. The 217 is another addition to the Cobia line that makes sense for a great many people and deserves a look from anyone interested in a quality product.
Fuel: 90 gals.
Max hp: 225
Hull weight: 2,800 lbs.
Base price: $41,500 with an F150 Yamaha outboard
Cobia Boats / 877-262-4238 / www.cobiaboats.com