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Old 06-23-2010, 05:23 PM
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Default Lake boat, Crownline vs. Cobalt

My local dealer (Rambo Marine) sells both Cobalt and Crownline runabouts. I've heard a thousand good things about Cobalt, but the Crownliner's look llike a good boat to me and they can be had for about 10 - 15 percent less. I've never heard anything about Crown. Anyone own on? Opinions?

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Old 06-23-2010, 07:19 PM
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My last Crownline was a 2005 27' bowrider. Nice boat, but nowhere close to price points like Formula. Since Cobalt isn't much of a salt water boat, they make them differently; more fluff and tucks in the upholstery. Kind of like a Sea Ray on hormones. Price point similar to Formula's, I thought.

I can't imagine such a small difference in price between those two models; I must have been sleeping for the last 10 years. It's hard to imagine somebody comparing the two if you've seen both models and build styles.

Please tell us what you see when you compare the woodwork, vinyl work, how hinges work and how robust they are, how the engine compartments and interiors of storage spaces are finished out.

I'm hopeful that you'll educate us on the new Cobalt and Crownline models.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:41 PM
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They aren't that far apart finish wise. Cobalt is considered the best of the best for factory built sport boats and they are very nice but not worth the coin IMO. It is rare for boats of this style to get the abuse that offshore fishing boats do since they are primarily built for nice days on the lake so the interior construction of bracing and bulkheads etc. is not what you are used to seeing. Very simple boats with nice padding and vynil for a lot of $$$

Honestly, the difference between top tier sport boat and a mid tier boat like a Regal , Bryant, Chapparal Is slightly better hardware on hinges and latches. Worth $30,000 more?

I really like the Azure boats but Bennington stopped production of them with the economy going south. They hired Formula's former designer and had great layouts, features and hardware for reasonable money. Worth a look unless it has to be new.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:42 PM
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cobalt by far. crownline was out of business reopened this year under different ownership. this is like comparing yellowfin to sea hunt.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:48 PM
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After having two 2005 28' BRs, one Formula and one Chaparral, I can say that they are almost identical in features at a price difference of about 25%.

Formula makes stronger hinges, but their Paneltronics aluminum faux wood dashboards that are fastened with SS screws cause cancer under the faux finish within about 3 years if in a salt air environment. That they cost about $800 each to replace is bogus, too.

I agree with prober about Cobalt; a nice boat for nice people who only go out on nice days in nice water.

More value lies with the Chaparrals, Crownlines, perhaps Regal and Azure (never been in them) and the power trains are all equal, so what's left is vinyl, hinges and the name; styling is personal.
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Old 06-23-2010, 07:50 PM
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Cobalt. It's more than just a few bits of high end hardware. If price is a concern, I'd rather pick up a pre-owned Cobalt with a Summer or two on it than a new Crownline, and be 10-15% on the other side of the spectrum.
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Old 06-23-2010, 08:05 PM
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Cobalt and Formula are the cream of the crop, Crownline is a step or two below and a very nice boat. Chaparral is another brand that would slot in there with Crownline.

For what it's worth, Crownline went out of business in early 2009 and then was resurrected by new owners later in the year.
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Old 06-23-2010, 09:01 PM
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Cobalt is truly in a class of its own. Everything from design to materials to fit and finish is superior to every boat in its class. They are built incredibly well and their gel coats hold very well to the sun.

Regal and Chaparral are probably the next step down and offer tons of different models that are very well appointed and built well for what they are. Both boats are chock full of wood and almost every Chap I've had surveyed has been wet.

As far as Crownline goes, they've historically built a pretty good boat. Just last week we had one (07) in for some fiberglass repair and it appeared to not have been built nearly as well as the older models. The glass was not saturated with resin and the damaged area showed very, very dry areas of glass and several air voids too. The owner claimed he barely struck the dock and it ended up completely going through the hull side.

Azure had a great idea and a pretty decent production facility but they lacked in several areas. Notably, they left a lot of wood unencapsulated and used very thin gelcoats that were prone to pin holing. Some of their hardware was not up to par but that was changing right before they went out. The small boats, 188 and 208, were very weight sensitive and not the best riding. And a correction to the earlier post, the designer (Anthony something or other) was lured from Crownline and struggled with small boat design. Their larger boats were excellent for the money.

All that said, buy what you like and use the heck out of it!
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:14 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ziess21 View Post
Regal and Chaparral are probably the next step down and offer tons of different models that are very well appointed and built well for what they are. Both boats are chock full of wood and almost every Chap I've had surveyed has been wet.
!
An interesting statement and one that I'd like more information about. Are you maybe talking about fresh water boats that sat in slips? If so, then I have no knowledge of Chaps that sit in slips, so I learn something...but only if your explanation refers to older I/Os with the boot designs that were prone to failure.

Our first Chap was in the mid 80s (a 178) and it was beautiful. Since then we've had 3 others and all were good boats. The one I just sold was a 10-year old 24' cuddy and it was perfectly solid; even the cabin had no water leaking inside.

Kindly confirm whether your frame of reference is older Chaps that sat in water or....?
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Old 06-24-2010, 08:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bamaboy473 View Post
An interesting statement and one that I'd like more information about. Are you maybe talking about fresh water boats that sat in slips? If so, then I have no knowledge of Chaps that sit in slips, so I learn something...but only if your explanation refers to older I/Os with the boot designs that were prone to failure.

Our first Chap was in the mid 80s (a 178) and it was beautiful. Since then we've had 3 others and all were good boats. The one I just sold was a 10-year old 24' cuddy and it was perfectly solid; even the cabin had no water leaking inside.

Kindly confirm whether your frame of reference is older Chaps that sat in water or....?
All 4 of the Chaparrals that surveyed "wet" were trailer kept boats and 2002 or newer. All but one were freshwater only boats too. Most of the water penetration was around the stern eyes. I don't recall any moisture around the outdrive area interestingly enough.

The other place that all 4 of them showed up wet in was in the cockpit floor around the seat bases. None of them appeared rotted or felt soft but the moisture meter was definitely picking up quite a bit in those areas.

Its interesting to note that neither the surveyors or the buyers really cared too much about the moisture, they just shrugged it off, used boat and all....
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Old 06-24-2010, 04:53 PM
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Sport boats often have wet floors. They don't usually have self bailing decks that are built for water so when the kids are swimming and then climbing back on all day long the floors can get pretty wet. And many folks store them outside wher some rain water is sure to get past the canvas. And the smaller boats just have carpet glued over plywood for a deck. You just know that won't end well.

As for the stern eyes leaking, I have noticed that most newer boats have poor caulking at all the hardware points from handrails, cleats etc. I even saw one with a leaking Garboard plug fresh from the factory recently. If I was to buy a new boat today I would re-bed all that stuff right away just for peace of mind.
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Old 06-24-2010, 05:03 PM
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Owned a 1993 250 Crownline Crusier.
Solid boat that I got plenty of tail on!
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:18 AM
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Having owned a 2004 Cobalt 220 for five years, I have to say that Cobalt builds one beautiful boat. Top quality fit and finish. Solid construction. Very nice riding hull design, and dry - we had ours on a 35 mile long lake, and it handled rough water very well for a "lake boat".
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Old 06-25-2010, 10:21 AM
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Default Cobalt.....

Cobalt all the way. No comparison in my book. Cobalts 343 was on o there best boats IMHO.
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