Comments on Cobra 31 Predator or Cobra 357 Sea Viper Boat Hulls?

probate-rprobate-r Posts: 327 Deckhand
I have been lusting over the old (Late 1990's -2000) Cobra Catamaran Center Console Hulls in both the 31 and 35'configurations ever since my first Bahamas run on one 7 years ago. I am finally in the market for a new hull to replace my older bay boat and am looking for something that is a safe and efficient hull for offshore fishing and entertaining in the intercoastal. Realistically I will probably repower the boat with newer efficient engines within the first year or two so we can leave that to a whole other thread. Both the 31 and the 35 have considerable interior room for entertaining, and seem to be efficient on long runs assuming seas under 5' where the cat hull can plane out and run on top of the waves. Here's the pro's and cons that I have come up with, but I would be interested in any other thoughts on these hulls to help me understand the drawbacks to "go-fast"catamarans or these hulls specifically.

What I do and want out of a boat: I have a family of four and we try to use the boat 2x a month, plus a week or two in the Keys/ Bahamas a year. With kids ages 4 and 6, the boat needs to be safe for kids and have plenty of seating for them. We do quite a bit of offshore fishing, including tuna fishing, so fuel efficiency is a huge plus as we often cover some significant distances. We also try to run back and forth to the Bahamas once or twice a year so something that is safe enough to handle the unexpected in that crossing is a must. We do the normal mix of diving, bottom fishing, but that is not the main purpose. Finally, we do like to entertain on the boat at night in hte intercoastal.

Pro's to the Cobra Hulls:
1) Kevlar Cat hulls seem to be light and fuel efficient for the size if you can run on plane.
2) Tends to be a fast hull, with higher than average cruising speed so its nice on the longer runs.
3) Twin engines (with the potential for trips on the 35) give some safety and security for offshore Bahamas trips.
4) Plenty of seating for entertaining when not fishing.
5) Older hulls (late 1990's to early 2000's) are more affordable, and with some sweat equity can be re-rigged and repowered to today's standards as needed/ as I can afford.... this is big for me... as the wife won't want another monthly payment.... which excludes from consideration a lot of the newer hulls that I couldn't afford without a loan.
6) New engines will likely have electronic controls so that I don't have to worry about replacing hydraulics, steering/ throttle cables, etc. Gives some reliability ... assuming good engines are bought.


Con's to the Cobra Hulls:
1) Light Hull that is less than efficient, and downright uncomfortable, if you can't get on plane and get on top of the chop/ waves.
2) Cats "Sneeze" in heavy chop, which can make this a wet ride in bigger seas.
3) Older hulls can be a ticking time bomb for decay .... from older fuel tanks and lines, to wiring, to rotting stringers, some of the issues may beyond normal visibility so buying any older hull you have to know that some retrofitting will be needed at some point.... and I would rather be using the boat rather than repairing it when I have free weekends.
4) Cobra is no longer in business from what I hear was some financial issues caused by its owner, not from any lack of quality in its boats. So it may be harder to find people to work on them who know the hull and who can source any parts that are needed. In comparison, there are several boat builders locally that have nice hulls, and being in town they can be a wealth of info and can help source parts as needed.
5) Outboards are bracket mounted so it can be a little more difficult to fight pelagics around due to them sitting further back than transom mounted engines.
6) I know absolutely nothing about kevlar hulls (if anyone can teach me anything I am all ears) but I would assume they are harder to repair/ harder to find someone to repair than traditional fiberglass hulls in the event of any hull issues.
7) I believe there is some wood stringers in this hull (can anyone confirm this?) so at this age you have to be worried about them rotting.

So thats my pro's / con's ..... If anyone has any thoughts or experiences on them, I'd love to hear your opinions on Cobra hulls or just buying an older hull (and re-rigging) for what I am trying to accomplish.

Tight Lines!

Shawn
Intrepid 370 - "My Favorite"

Replies

  • FWCSnookFWCSnook Posts: 886 Officer
    They run fast and fall apart. Ran one for swordfishing. Boat was a wet slam-fest. Caught tons of fish on it, but god it was awful. There is a beautiful 36' Tiara with twin diesels in the classifieds for 35K. Great comfortable boat for the whole family. It even has a generator and A/C.
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