by Steve Locke member of the Bay State Classic Boat Club chapter
My passion for Cobalt boats all started back when I was a kid, where I spent every Fourth of July on Lake Winnipesaukee with my family. My mother’s cousin Neil owned a camp right on Paugus Bay where we would stay. Every year we went up, the “old boat” would always be sitting in the garage. I heard so many stories about this boat but I never experienced it or saw her on the water. I remember my Dad saying how “it is one heavy 19′ boat.” Little did I know, almost 25 years later my wife Amanda and I would inherit this 1978 Cobalt 19CD.
In 2015, we brought the boat home and I immediately started spending all my free time working on the old boat. The yellow and white interior was a time capsule, right out of the ‘70s with “Do the Hustle” still playing in the 8 track player. The hull and teak needed a lot of elbow grease, but the real issue was the OMC 800 stringer drive and rotted out transom. All of the years she spent sitting in the garage off Paugus Bay did her no favors.
I wanted a more reliable and part friendly drive train and decided at that moment it would be the best time to convert the OMC over to a Mercruiser Alpha one stern drive. I had never done fiberglass work in my life, therefore, this project was a whole new challenge for me. There really isn’t a book on how to convert a keyhole! With lots of help from my brother in law, Chris, we dropped in a late model Vortec 5.7L and finally had the old boat up and running nearly 2 years later.
Meanwhile, through the whole restoration progress I turned to a Cobalt page on Facebook to help share and document my project. It turns out I made some great friends on there and they were begging me to bring the boat out to Table Rock Lake in Missouri for the annual Cobalt Regatta. So, in the summer of 2017 my family and I packed up and made the 1,475-mile trip out. The entire experience was a blast and I vowed to make the trek out every two years.
After realizing the amount of passion myself and others held for classic Cobalt’s, my newly acquired friends and I wanted to make 2019’s Annual Cobalt Regatta one for the books. Andrew McKellar and I, along with some other close friends started to plan a “classic roundup” event for the day before the big regatta. Unfortunately, in January of 2019 a fellow classic owner Loren Feldner passed away, he was not only a huge advocate for this event, but also a very giving and generous man. To honor him, we created the event in his name, The Loren J. Feldner Cobalt Classic. We ended up having over 20 classics attend our event, including Pack St. Clair, founder of Cobalt boats, who came with his 1984 CS7!
I hope to keep our 1978 Cobalt 19CD in the family for many years to come and continue our passion for classic Cobalt boats.