The ‘new’ Cobra Statesman 707 is one of the few semi-custom production fibreglass weekenders available in New Zealand and it carries with it a 25-year heritage that has long outlasted any of its competitors.
Observant boaties, or those who have been hanging around boats for many years, will immediately recognise the Statesman name. Released in the mid 1970s by the Christchurch based Glasskraft Boats, the Statesman 22 was the flagship of the fleet and for about ten years dominated the big trailerable weekender market. Around 20 years ago the moulds went North and over the following years new owner Ian Todd, of Ian Todd Marine & Sports produced 33 boats from centre consoles and hardtops to serious fishing rigs and weekenders. Construction methods and materials meant that the final product was even better than the original, with stiffer interiors and lighter construction. For a while the Statesman was one of the few 7m grp boats available, but gradually the larger manufacturers entered the market and as the competition decreased his market share to a trickle, Todd opted to push the moulds into the back of his Rotorua factory and cease production.
However this was to be short lived when in 1999 he started working on a totally new look Statesman, one that retained all the best attributes of the original boat, but with a more 21st century styling and layout. The “new” Statesman 707 took its lead from the existing Statesman hull, with no changes made through to the deckline. However above this and inside it is very, very different, plus the transom has been given a major upgrade. Following on from the success of alloy pods on the transom -Ian Todd was one of the first in New Zealand to experiment with pods for twin outboards – the new 707 features a fully moulded grp bracket beneath the moulded boarding platform. The boat retains the flat transom, although the pod has increased the aft buoyancy considerably, and the boat doesn’t sit deep in the stern at rest anymore. It has consequently improved the ride and handling of the boat with the extended aft planing surface.
The deckline has been transformed from the high bullish flat sections to a very soft flowing style with broad forward lines that radiate to the bow. Nothing has been lost in internal space and in fact there is just a little more useable area inside than in previous layouts. The cockpit has retained the open plan style, with the new seating layout a vast improvement.
Seating in the cockpit is quite different with two generous size bunks available under the cantilevered swivelling bucket seats. These are made up of a combination of loose cushions and by bringing the rear fish bin seats forward. This gives the Statesman 707 a dedicated four berth layout, plus leaving plenty of space for occasional bedding. They also double up as cockpit seating during the day, giving seating for six.
Side storage trays are deep and wide with room for fishing rods, skis and even a wakeboard, plus there are storage areas provided in the rear deck area. Round So Pac hatches are a nice touch. There are no underfloor wet or dry lockers, with the space taken over by a 300 litre stainless steel fuel tank, with buoyancy chambers either side. Large storage areas under the forward seating, also have areas for the batteries and space for a fridge or freezer. As the Statesman 707 is very much a semi-custom boat, the layouts will obviously differ from boat to boat. Although there are no internal mouldings there is a well proven style that the builders are keen for clients to follow to ensure that the best use of space is achieved. Once this is decided upon then it’s a matter of building in the fibreglass joinery and timber facings to the standard and appointments that are required.
Both the forward seating stations are raised, allowing excellent visibility for both the driver and passenger. The wrap-around acrylic screen keeps off the wind and standing or seated the driving position is good. The Statesman 707 has a split console with imitation walnut facings and generous areas for all the instrumentation, switches and controls. In Wahoo, the owner has chosen to bracket mount his Humminbird sounder and VHF, as there is only limited space to flush mount. The GPS antenna, aerials and riding light are all mounted on the swept back radar arch, which also acts as a base for a full canvas camper back when overnighting, or a bimini for day use. Hardtop lovers needn’t despair – the Statesman 707 will soon be available with a full hardtop option.
Inside, all the timberwork is oiled teak for low maintenance, with Formica bench tops and thickly padded squabs that have a foam composite designed not only for seating but to provide comfortable overnight berths. There is a full wrap-around storage shelf to stow gear as well as space beneath the 2m plus berths. A portable or fully plumbed head is fitted under the forward squab and as there is no bulkhead, a draw curtain provides privacy. The standard layout provides for a two burner gas stove to port with storage and sink unit, with a deep storage locker opposite. This can be changed to suit an owner’s requirements, with options such as a built-in stove/oven, microwave, hot water system and even a freezer available. It’s simply your choice.
Many of the previous Statesmans have been powered with twin outboards, some as low as twin 85hp, although the single V6 outboard or sterndrive has always been popular. Interestingly the owner of Wahoo especially wanted to go the sterndrive track and chose the Volvo Penta 4.3Gi, 4-stroke, petrol engine based on a V6 GM block, punching out 205hp at the propeller shaft. The engine has electronic fuel injection as well as an electronic control module to guarantee the best possible throttle response and smooth acceleration.
The engine is bolted onto Volvo Penta’s Duoprop sterndrive with its twin counter-rotating propellers and exhaust outlet through the hub. This in turn is equipped with hydraulic power trim, power steering and in the case of our test boat, the stainless steel propeller option.
In the total transom redesign the builders have managed to pinch a lot of cockpit space by incorporating a large engine pod onto the transom. This houses almost the entire V6 engine, with no more than 10” encroaching into the cockpit. Thanks to a large So Pac hatch in the full width-boarding platform and a removable cockpit engine cover, access to the engine is plentiful. Apparently the V8 is just as good.
Too Smooth To Prove
The water conditions were such on Lake Rotorua during the test that I would have been better learning how to barefoot rather than evaluating the riding attributes of the hull. A few days prior, the lake had been at its seasonal worst and after his first trial period in the boat, builder Ian Todd was extolling the virtues of the boat’s ride and handling over the phone to me. So for now I have to take his word for it, although this is a hull with a track record of many years. When the Cooke brothers first designed the hull so many years ago, it was considered something quite revolutionary and quickly gained a reputation for its offshore handling. They called it a hydrolift design, which provides a fine forward entry rolling aft to a soft riding gullwing section at the transom, which begins with a steep 25 degree deadrise at the centre, and has an overall transom deadrise of about 18 degrees.
On the mirror calm water of Lake Rotorua, the boat did nothing wrong, but then neither should it. At over 35 mph you can simply spin the wheel into a tight lock situation and the Statesman 707 follows your every move – flat riding and very predictable. At speed with plenty of trim, the hull rides high with the water peeling off the rear third of the bottom.
We unfortunately didn’t quite have the right propellers for the 4.3DP, with the F6’s allowing the engine to ‘ping’ on the rev limiter and top out at 43.5mph on our GPS. A set of F7s with the same diameter but greater pitch have been ordered and should see the boat running close to 50 mph.
The Cobra Statesman 707 is a boat that can genuinely carry the weekender tag and at under $100,000 with all the extras fitted, is an excellent value package. With the new styling, Ian Todd has successfully managed to transform a classic design and name into a modern and acceptable package. You could put the boat on the water for a lot less, but my pick is if you are planning to overnight and go short cruising, then you’ll probably want all the toys. The layout is functional and not pretentious and it’s nice to see a builder prepared to work with a customer to achieve something that they feel totally comfortable with. Individuality in grp trailerboats is something that’s hard to find, but with the Cobra Statesman 707 you are now given that choice.
- Model: Cobra Statesman 707
- Priced from: $90,000 (Boat/motor/trailer)
- Price Hull/Trailer: $70,865
- Designer: Cooke Bros (Hull) Ian Todd (Cabin/topsides)
- Material: grp & coremat (handlaid)
- Type: Weekender
- LOA: 7.07m
- Beam: 2.52m
- Deadrise at Transom: 25 degrees
- Trailerable Weight: 1960 kg (dry)
- Engine Capacity: 130hp – 300hp
- Power Options: Outboard or sterndrive
- Fuel Capacity : 300 litres
- 600 rpm @ 3.5 mph
- 1000 rpm @ 6.0 mph
- 1500 rpm @ 8.0 mph
- 2000 rpm @ 11.0 mph
- 2500 rpm @ 16.5 mph
- 3000 rpm @ 21.5 mph
- 3500 rpm @ 28.0 mph
- 4000 rpm @ 34.5 mph
- 4500 rpm @ 40.0 mph
- 4800 rpm @ 43.5 mph
All speeds recorded using a Garmin GPS and rounded off to the nearest 0.5 mph.
NOTABLE STANDARD EQUIPMENT
Lighting package, large capacity fuel tank, all deck hardware, stove, freshwater system and pop up cleats.
NOTABLE OPTIONS ON TEST BOAT
- Make: Volvo Penta
- HP: 205
- Model: 4.3Gi
- Cyl Type: V6
- Max RPM: 4800
- Propeller: F6
- Retail Price: $19000
- Make: Voyager
- Model: A20
- Braked: Yes
- Suspension: Galvanised springs
- Multirollers: Yes
- Std Features: Submersible lights, tandem axle, override brakes and 10:1 winch.
- Retail Price: $7000