Episode 5 – Tarp Find Cobra – COBRA ON THE ROCKS!

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I like my Cobra on the rocks!

This is one of my favorite parts of finding a new family member. Seeing her childhood photos. This was one LOVED Cobra and part of the family. And we have photos of her tragic end. Nothing like a sea wall to end it all. WOW!

That hurt!

Actually no one was on board, the Cobra. MAHOGANY RUSH ran off the dock under her own power and BAM!

Great old photo – These photos were taken just inches away where Miss Step the amazing hydro was found years ago.

So there ya have it. This happened in the mid 80’s and insurance was paid, and money used for something else. Oh well. The good news she is at the right place now and by lake Dora next year will be a massive show piece. Would be kinda fun to make her cover out of tarp blue? maybe not. HA.

Old Poliroid

The boat in the background is Sirena Rosa a Greavette Sedan

Watch the splinters when you sit dear

This Friday we will find out more about her hull number, engine and what she is made of. In the mean time, enjoy this latest episode of TARP FIND COBRA!

31 replies
  1. Cameron
    Cameron says:

    Can you explain how a boat starts itself and rams into a sea wall without any help? Sounds like an unhappy childhood.

  2. Matt
    Matt says:

    Ship Happens. Nothing surprises me anymore. I suppose age and experience makes me paranoid about all things. Ever get your watch caught in the throttle on your stering wheel? Thats a huge cause of dock wrecks.

  3. Dan T
    Dan T says:

    I’ve seen this before. Usually has to do with too many Scotch On the Rocks………

  4. John Rothert
    John Rothert says:

    Once at the yacht club, in front of lots of diners on the deck, I “tied” my cruiser, just for a second you know, on to a floating dock with a polyprop line. Type of line = my first mistake.
    Left her running in neutral, both engines. Went about some stupid task on the dock. Looked up to see that flat plastic rope unwinding off the cleat. Boat starts off, slow, transmission creep. She meanders right along a whole line of boats heading for Europe or beyond. I stay cool, outwardly, and walk leasurely along the line of boats to the last one….walk out on its bow and step lightly aboard my passing wayward craft. Slip her in gear and head on off….cleaned out pants when out of sight. True…ship happens.
    John in Va.

    • floyd r turbo
      floyd r turbo says:

      John, you couldn’t recreate that if you wanted to, lol. Glad everything “came out in the wash”

  5. Greg Rice
    Greg Rice says:

    This story still does not make sense. I hope you have more. I can’t see how you could get up enough speed to do that much damage even if the boat was given full throttle (unless it was a very, very long dock). This must have been a high speed collision.

  6. Bilge Rat
    Bilge Rat says:

    Whats interesting too is that in the picture of the boat supposedly “on the rocks”, there’s no evidence of a bow line. I know that some people loop the line around the dock cleat and tie it to the lifting ring, but this looks suspicious.

    Matt has us at the classic “stay tuned”.

  7. m-fine
    m-fine says:

    The key is in the center of the boat. You would need long arms and great balance to reach it, when it would have been so much easier to just step in.

  8. Jim V
    Jim V says:

    The known story is what they fed the insurance company. Who knows what went on..There is more hurt that you could cause in the length of a normal dock. As a picker, I’d love to know what they valued this pattern at.

  9. Briant
    Briant says:

    Uh ok. This “accident” though still does not explain what I originally posted when Matt first introduced us all to this boat….why, after the insurance payout was received, did not the owner decide to strip the boat, sell off the bits, and burn the wood?

    Why shove it all under a tarp in the yard to no doubt do nothing but rot? Why be a hoarder? Why collect garbage? Clearly the decision was made to never fix the boat. Think of the possibilities that the parts of this boat could have perhaps saved another Cobra from rotting somewhere else because that owner could not source the original parts needed.

    It could be that someone was searching for parts while this doofus invested $3.oo for a tarp to watch his boat rot away in the brambles.

    Oh well. It will be veeeeeerrrrrry interesting to see exactly how much (if any) of the original wood can be saved and made into a replica….oh, sorry, I mean a possible restoration.

  10. Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P )
    Mark in Ohio (sometimes da U P ) says:

    I think there is more to this story than we know. The fact that the insurance money was used for something else, and the boat was hid under a tarp for years. Sounds fishy to me. Is that the old Possum Van from the Red Green show in the background on the one picture?

  11. Larry Cox
    Larry Cox says:

    The restored Cobra, “Cara Mia” is my boat that I had for about 30 years. When I acquired it, the boat had been stored in a garage with the bow exposed for many years so the bow was completely gone. I kept it stored inside for the next 20 plus years and then decided to sent it to a shop that really did more damage than the weather deterioration (Wow, what a costly mistake. After licking my wounds, I located what I think is the “Best in the Business,”Seth Katz and gang at Katz Marina! A year later, the boat was delivered to me at Lake Dora and won “Best in Show”!!! Thank you again Seth, Tommy and the Gang!!

  12. Tom Gruenauer
    Tom Gruenauer says:

    With an old single lever control it does not take much, “Oh just throw the water skis in the boat” to get it to take off at speed.
    the dock lines were probably still tied to the dock. The modern single lever has a safety ring that needs to be lifted up to engage the trans to prevent this very thing from happening.

  13. Mike D
    Mike D says:

    Could there be a clue on the trailer “AIN’T IT GREAT” photoshopped there by Matt? Kind of like the Starbucks Latte Cup that somehow got in the movie, perhaps? Seems kind of weird to have that saying on the license plate holder since it is not the name of the boat.

  14. MK
    MK says:

    As many of the armchair accident investigators in this thread missed, the boat was retrofitted with a side throttle and shift with no neutral safety switch and a velvet drive trans.

    The story is well documented and an interesting piece of local history, still talked about today. The stone seawall is still there and the only one on the lake.

    It’s a great story and an important piece of the boat’s past. Why ruin this with all of the negativity?

    • George Emmanuel
      George Emmanuel says:

      The retrofit shift and throttle are outboard controls. I think I’m now seeing the picture as to why it was left to rot.

  15. Troy in VA
    Troy in VA says:

    My real question is: If the insurance company paid the claim why did the owner get to keep the boat? Usually when an insurance company pays out a claim they own the property that was insured.

    (Image may be subject to copyright)

  16. steve bunda
    steve bunda says:

    I wonder , when was this boat modified . and why? The cobra has always been at the top of the Chris Craft collectible list. And at some time in it’s life it was grossly modified. Who did it , and what was the logic?

  17. Randy
    Randy says:

    In that last photo showing the cockpit — what it with that steering wheel and those outboard motor controls????????

  18. George Balaschak
    George Balaschak says:

    Lashed the steering wheel and………..?
    Notice the rope tied to the steering wheel.
    Perhaps it’s the standard way to tie up a boat that goes on the rocks.

  19. Tom
    Tom says:

    I am with MK on this there are too many armchair accident investigators commenting on the accident. First thing to remember this happened in the mid 1980’s when wood boat were being cut up by the thousands and local marinas were banning wood boats because of insurance risks.
    The Cobra was 30 years old and most likely full of soft wood so the extent of the damage even at low speed would have been extensive. More evidence that this boat was just another wood boat is the modifications done like the outboard controls, the racing steering wheel etc…
    What was the owner to do? He had on old wood boat that the insurance company paid him out and they didn’t want the boat as it was a write off and who would want it? So he took it home with plans one day fixing it up so he put a tarp over it. Well that day did not come and this year he decided to part with it after years of neglect. Thank fully someone with knowledge saw it and got it to some who will return her to her former glory.
    As I was around the boat shop back then I can tell you that Miss Step was being offered for sale for $200 and no one touched her for another 25 years. Ditchburns and triples were cut up and burned because Fiberglass was the future and wood boat were fire hazards and sunk on a regular bases. Sad but the truth. If you attended the early years of boat shows you will remember at least one boat sinking and many more boats with multiple bilge pumps running to keep them afloat. They were not all like the boats that show up at today’s show in pristine condition. Even today some boats in pristine condition sink at boat shows.
    I the end the significant Cobra will be rebuilt nut at a slightly higher cost as compared to the original estimate done back in 1984.

  20. Ed S
    Ed S says:

    OK, it’s Friday afternoon and I’m at Katz’s but there’s no sign of the Overbite Cobra. What happened?
    BTW, Matt when you get up here again ask the guys to tell you about the 18’ Cobra they rebuilt from couple of frames and the scribbles on back if a dinner napkin. If any crew can restore life to Tarp Find these are the ones.

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