Chris Landry 2013-07-18 14:53:41
With its Cobia, Pathfinder, Maverick and Hewes brands, the company is focused on multi-mission boats You’ve probably heard of the boat brand Cobia, though not for a while. Well, the Maverick Boat Co. has been pumping life back into the brand since acquiring it in 2005 from Yamaha Motors. In fact, MBC has revamped the entire fleet. “There’s not a single boat left of the former Cobia Boats,” Scott Deal, CEO and president of MBC, told me at the company’s recent media event in Merritt Island, Fla. The Cobia fleet includes seven center consoles from 17 to 29 feet, as well as a 21-foot bay boat and two dual-consoles of 22 and 18 feet. The boats are designed to be versatile, Deal says. “Buyers are much more interested in multi-utility functions and [boats] they can do a lot of stuff with,” he says. “They want to be able to use their boat every day, regardless of their mission. They may want to have a family mission one day and a fishing mission the next time — just multiple-use. That’s what it’s all about.” Fort Pierce, Fla.-based MBC also builds Pathfinder, Maverick and Hewes boats. With four brands, it covers a wide range of uses for different types of boaters with various buying capacities. The company does it with 19 models from 16 to 29 feet among the four brands. “We are a multi-niche builder,” Deal says. “We build in the flats boats market with the Maverick, which is a more technical market. We are in the bayboat market with the Pathfinder, which is an expansive segment that depends on where you live and how you fish. We have the Hewes, which is sort of a generalist flats boats market, and, of course, we build in the center console family-fishing market with the Cobia brand. They all have their own story to tell and operate in their own way.” I was one of nine journalists who attended the MBC media event at the Hutchinson Island Marriott Beach Resort & Marina. Four of the nine test boats available to us were new: Pathfinder’s 2200 Tournament Edition and 2600 HPS Bay Crusher, Maverick’s 17 HPX VII and Cobia’s 201 CC. MBC unveiled the Pathfinder 2200 TE and the Cobia at its dealer meeting, which preceded the press event. The Pathfinder 2600 and the Maverick debuted at the Miami International Boat Show in February. Rounding out the fleet were the Hewes 18 Redfisher, Pathfinder 2200 TRS and 2300 HPS, and Cobia 256 CC and 296. Test drive With the 201 CC, MBC has a new boat with a new story. A lower-priced center console, it is retails for less than $40,000 with the new Yamaha F150 4-stroke. “It is a really high-sided boat, so it is very safe on board,” MBC director of marketing Charlie Johnson says. “There’s tons of storage and a lot of walkaround room. We have excellent access to all parts of the boat. It’s just a great little all-around boat that makes a ton of sense for the family fisherman. We’re really excited about this boat.” The boat measures 20 feet, 1 inch overall with an 8-foot, 6-inch beam, and it carries 60 gallons of fuel and as many as eight passengers. She rides a vee-hull with 20 degrees of deadrise at the transom. I drove the boat, which comes with hydraulic steering, and 150 horses seemed like plenty of power. I was impressed with the builder’s smart use of space on deck. At the transom, a centerline twoperson seat is integrated into the deck mold. The backrest flips up, and the seat folds forward and down, providing great access to the bilge. A live well on the port side and a boarding door on the starboard side flank the seat. There is also seating at the bow, and the centerline section can be removed for walk-up access to the anchor locker. I found storage under the port and starboard bow seats. The console houses a nicely tooled step-down head compartment. The simple console layout gives the helmsman plenty of space for electronics displays. Although the Cobia is new from the keel up, the Pathfinder 2200 TE uses the same hull as an existing model — the 22 TRS — but has a redesigned deck. It’s $55,520 with a Yamaha F200. The 2600 Bay Crusher does the job as both an inshore and offshore boat. It’s $73,875 with a Yamaha F250. “We’ve built 30 of them so far, and there are two in inventory, so every one but two have already sold,” Johnson says of the Bay Crusher. “The boat is going crazy, with production out to January or February . We can’t build enough of them.” Equipment providers In addition to showcasing boats, MBC turned the spotlight on representatives of six companies with product installed or used on the test boats. “We invited several of our business partners — some of the major leaders in the various segments of the market, such as Raymarine, Yamaha and Shimano,” Johnson says. “The writers really had a chance to come here and see and experience all the accessories on the boats and get a sense of what’s out there and have the chance to gather a lot of information at one time. It was a one-stop shop for editorial content.” There were representatives from JL Marine (Power-Pole), Costa Del Mar and Minn Kota, as well as Maverick sales director Skip Lyshon and regional sales director Brad Hawley. “We’ve certainly had press events in the past, but we’ve never had one on this grand a scale,” Johnson says. Five of the boats were equipped with Raymarine electronics. The Hewes Redfisher 18 was rigged with Raymarine’s Dragonfly sonar GPS. Color hybrid touch GPS/fishfinders anchored the consoles of the three Cobia boats and the 26-foot Pathfinder. Power-Pole Signature Series Blade models were mounted on three of the boats, and Minn Kota trolling motors were installed on two vessels. Shimano provided the fishing rods we used, and Costa Del Mar covered the sunglasses. The companies gave presentations about their products the night before the test day. “The whole reason for putting a Power-Pole on a boat is to stop the swinging of a traditional anchor and stay on a spot to reach the fish in a more efficient manner,” Robert Shamblin says. “Our products use hydraulics, which are very reliable and very quiet.” Jason LeValley, marine sales representative with the Dunkin-Lewis sales and marketing agency, which represents Minn Kota trolling motors, talked about i-Pilot. “Spot Lock is probably the biggest feature for [i-Pilot]. It’s an electronic anchor,” LeValley says. “You press the button, and it holds you in place. It’ll self-adjust, and ‘record-a-track’ allows you to record up to six different tracks, 2 miles long each.” Jim Jones, Raymarine’s director of sales for the East Coast and OEM, says this was the first time he has attended an event such as MBC’s. “I’ve never done an event where the boat company has some of their top vendors in to actually give a little presentation of the product,” he says. “They have done it with their engine manufacturers — Yamaha and Mercury and such — but typically the other vendors are delegated to [participating] in the actual dealer meeting. This was a good opportunity for vendors to get their point across to a lot of the media.”
Published by Cruz Bay / Soundings Magazine. View All Articles.
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