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Heavy-Duty Savage 550 Cobia
  |  First Published: December 2002



THE SAVAGE Cobia has been around for a long time, but the latest model – the 550 Cobia – is a more refined version of this extra heavy-duty dory. The 550 is half a metre longer than the original Cobia, and has been further beefed up to take an even bigger pounding!

The test boat, supplied by Quay Marine in Cairns, was fitted with a 60hp pull-start Mercury two-stroke with gas assist trim and tilt. It certainly provided a stack of grunt, and in an empty hull with only two aboard it flew. Even when fully loaded, the 60hp Merc would provide more than enough power.

THE HULL

The extra armoury is particularly noticeable on the keel. Here the standard H section, which normally runs from the base of the bow to the transom, has been carried right up to the tow point, well above the water line.

I have never seen a boat with more floor ribs than the 550 Cobia! There are 19 cross section floor ribs, with a mere 22cm between each (centre to centre) and nine of these carry right through to the gunwale. Impressive! Add to this the 3mm bottom and 2.5mm topsides, and it’s easy to see that the Cobia is built to take a pounding. The treadplate foredeck offers extra rigidity up front, and provides excellent grip when you’re working off the nose. The junction between the foredeck and the gunwale also has fully welded corner bracing.

LAYOUT

The layout of the 550 Cobia is as simple as it gets, with a forward and rear thwart seat and a massive work area in between. The narrow gunwale is super strong, with a rolled outer gunwale and a rounded tube inside to provide extra strength. A small rubber fender strip runs the full length of the hull.

The transom is another area that’s overbuilt to blazes. It has two full-width box sections supported by two heavy-duty bracing struts and cross bracing. There’s no way that there can be any flexing in the transom. A rack between the rear thwart seat and the transom keeps the fuel tank and battery up off the hull.

Rear quarter D handles can be used for lifting, towing or tying off. A welded transducer bracket on the port side means hull integrity can be maintained when fitting a transducer.

Built-in storage is minimal in the Cobia, with only one shelf under the foredeck to hold safety gear. The anchoring system is simply two D brackets welded onto the nose.

The keel has been carried right up to the towing bracket and has been cut out and bent to match the curve of the nose, and then each cut is fully welded. An internal 8mm solid alloy keel stringer, to which all 19 floor ribs are fully welded, adds even more structural strength.

RIDE AND HANDLING

Dave Powell, from Quay Marine, and I headed out of the Cairns Inlet in search of some swell. When we got out, however, we couldn't find more that half a metre of chop and the wakes off the tourist fleet as they returned to port. The Cobia ate the conditions and provided a surprisingly soft ride. While not completely dry, the Cobia kept most of the spray down with the help of the spray chine which runs from the nose to the shoulder.

At top speed the Cobia could have used more weight in it, as it got a bit flighty from sitting so high out of the water. The Cobia cruised along beautifully at 30km/h (19mph, 16 knots) and topped out doing 53km/h (33mph, 29 knots). Grab rails have been added next to both seats for added passenger security.

The Savage Cobia 550 is aimed more at the commercial market, but recreational anglers who like their rigs to be extra heavy-duty would be hard pressed to find a stronger battleship.

Test boat BMT package priced at $________ from Quay Marine (ph. (07) __________.

[FACT BOX]

SPECIFICATIONS

Length - 5.50m

Depth (freeboard) - 630mm

Depth (keel to gunwale) - 1000mm

Max hp - 60

Beam - 2.10m

Bottomside thickness - 3mm

Topside thickness - 2.5mm

Weight - 255kg

Transom - Long

Max weight on Transom - 140kg

Max people - 5

Length on trailer - 6.5m

Height on trailer - 1.55m

1) The Savage Cobia 550 rides high out of the water, and its high length-to-beam ratio means it can carry a big load.

2) With floor ribs every 22cm, the Savage Cobia 550 is built like a battleship.

3) The transom has bracing in all directions for complete rigidity.

4) The Savage Cobia 550 has a massive work area between the two thwart seats.

5) The treadplate on the foredeck makes it a usable work platform.

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