TODAY’S BOAT BUYER: Cobalt 276 sportboat

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040809Buyer2First-time boat buyer Scott Powell has a high-stress job as a senior engineering manager at The Boeing Company in Seattle, and a high-stress hobby as a race-car driver. So, to relax, he recently purchased a 2009 Cobalt 276.

“I always wanted to buy a Cobalt, but the price was a little high, and I could never justify it,” says Powell, 48. “But this market has offered the ability to negotiate stronger than in the past.”

After hearing from friends about the deals to be had, Powell attended the Seattle Boat Show, which ran from Jan. 23 to Feb. 1, and found his dream boat.

040809BuyerHe says he wanted an aesthetically pleasing boat that would be big enough to accommodate six or seven people comfortably for a day on Lake Washington. A resident of Kirkland, Wash., he has been working for Boeing since 1985 and is in good standing with his company, so he believed now was the time to buy.

“I’ve never been a boater, but I have gone out with friends. Living in the Pacific Northwest and our lack of sunshine, it didn’t seem worth it,” says Powell. “But I wanted something I could do to relax with my friends who weren’t into racing that much, and I’ve always liked the look and the quality of Cobalts.”

Powell says he was impressed by the ergonomics of the 276, as well as the high standard of engineering behind it. He says he also liked the fact that it’s powered by a single 375-hp 8.1 Volvo Penta engine. A twin-engine boat would’ve been much more expensive.

He met Justin Burrow of dealer Seattle Boat Company at the show and says he was easy to work with. The hard part, he says, was financing the $100,000 boat.

“I’ve had a mortgage for 20 years, and I have a perfect credit score at 801, but it was insurmountable,” says Powell.

He had opted for a 20-year loan, but many banks wanted him to hand over a down payment of 25 or 30 percent. He negotiated a down payment of 20 percent and financed the boat at an interest rate of nearly 7 percent.

“It really shocked me how hard it was [to get financing],” says Powell. “But I guess because [banks] consider it a luxury item they’re more careful.”

As added incentives for the hassle, Seattle Boat Company threw in a transom shower and a cockpit heater at no charge. The dealership also gave him free dry-rack storage at its facility on Lake Union for the first six months and $50 off for the following six months.

“I’ll probably be using it 95 percent of the time on Lake Washington with my friends,” says Powell. “There’s a little cut that connects it to Lake Union.”

Powell says when he wants to use the boat, he calls the dealership an hour ahead of time, and they launch it for him.

“They’re great people. They would’ve scheduled a sea trial for me, but I bought it at the show because I’m the type of person who knows what they want immediately,” says Powell. “Two weeks after the show we had a beautiful Saturday. Justin took it out on the water with me and went over the whole thing for two-and-a-half hours and taught me how to dock it properly.”

Powell says he had heard going into the Seattle show that there were deals to be had and, indeed, he spent less than he anticipated.

“I think the better price breaks are the deciding factor,” says Powell. “The economy is in bad shape, and there is a lot to be done to correct it. But I think the press is doing a lot to keep it in bad shape.”

— Elizabeth Ellis

l.ellis@soundingspub.com

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Comments

5 comments on “TODAY’S BOAT BUYER: Cobalt 276 sportboat

  1. Seattlepropeller

    So to sell a boat, the dealership has to not only drastically cut price (and profit) but throw in all types of incentives for FREE to make up for the extra bs the bank piles on to finance the deal!?
     

  2. traveler

    Yep, better get past the ‘ole notion that you have a God given right to sell boats.  You’re going to have to work harder and be more creative than ever before if you want to continue in this industry.  Because if you don’t…the next guy WILL.

  3. bdwr

    Interesting article.  I work in the industry.  I just bought a bigger boat than what I had.  Going through the process of buying a boat was such a fiasco, I can see why our industry has its issues.  My credit score was is over 800, and it took the third bank to do the financing.  I was planning on 30-40% down.  What alarmed me more than the financing, was the attitude, and arrogance of some of the dealerships I walked into.  I actually had a dealer, who shall remain nameless, tell me that he was busy, and unless I was looking at a boat over 100k, not to bother him.  I walked out of that dealership.  If my “perfect” boat ever shows up on his lot, I am passing it up.  I had sent emails to boat dealers, and never received a response.  I left messages on voicemails of “sales reps” at dealerships, and never got a response. Boat dealerships need to have their sales reps, and employees look in the mirror every morning.  That is your most important asset.  It’s not about give aways, it’s not about internet fluff, or marketing hoopla.  It’s about treating the customer with respect and dignity.  It’s about treating others the way you want to be treated.  I am not saying that every dealership has its issues,BUT the percentage of dealerships that showed an attitude of why am I bothering them, was surprising.
    Two dealerships that really stood out on giving EXCELLENT service to me were Action Watersports in Traverse City, MI, and Skipper Bud’s in Coopersville, MI.  I bought the boat at Skipper Bud’s.
    Boating IS a luxury.  Let’s sell the boating lifestyle, make it less cumbersome and confusing when buying a boat, and most important, let’s treat the customer with respect, and cater to them.  We need them more than they need us.  

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