Rampage 34 IPS:
Its Interior Is World-Class
Rampage hit one out of the park when they mated their wildly popular 34 Express with twin IPS drives. They created a very functional and incredibly maneuverable fishing machine that was a trend-setter. But as if to say “that’s not good enough” Rampage went on to create a stunner of an interior as well. We recently showed you the features topside, now let’s take a peek below and show you how they did on the cabin. Capt. Steve takes us below decks on the Rampage 34 IPS and points out -- chapter and verse -- exactly which details set this boat apart from the interiors you wash down with a garden hose. Watch the video...
Take a look at the fishing features here...
Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe:
The “Inside” Story
With such stiff competition in the express cruiser market, our readers are asking for more coverage – and a more in-depth examination -- of this popular type. Most boats look great at boat shows, but how does one tell the difference between a Buick and a Mercedes? We can’t think of a better way than by giving you a tour of the interior of an express cruiser done right – the Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe. Because this builder is strictly focused on yachts between 31’ and 58’ and does not build everything from large motoryachts down to a 17’ rubber ducky, Cruisers Yachts can build all of their boats to one quality-yacht standard. Join Capt. Steve as he takes a video look at the interior features of the new Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe...
Check out the 420 exterior features here...
Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge:
Moving to Leadership
Getting max living space in a 41-footer and keeping it from looking like a floating
Winnebago is not easy, as we have all seen. That is why Capt. Steve is so
impressed with the Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge. It’s at this stage that he feels the length and height of the Meridians come together to make a more eye appealing cruiser. We think he may be on to something. It’s also got one of the more comfortable interiors, and it carries with it some of the textbook features that are making Meridian a
leader in its class. We sent Capt. Steve to check her out and give us his opinion and a full Captain's Report.
Check it out...
Hydra-Sports 3500 VX
There's Nothing Quite Like It!
Last week MasterCraft bought Hydra-Sports at the Genmar auction (see
accompanying article) and that makes today’s captain’s report on the Hydra-Sports 3500 VX even more relevant. For the last couple of years Hydra-Sports has been pushing the center console envelope, most recently with its 4100 behemoth CC. Now that it will combine with MasterCraft (no shrinking violet itself) and be built in that company’s Vonore, TN SOTA plant, our guess is that its past innovations are only
a prelude of even more exciting things to come. Recently we asked Capt. Steve to take a look at the Hydra-Sports 3500 VX and give us a full captain’s report on this exciting and very unusual fish/cruise boat combo. The video is still in production but we have just received Capt. Steve’s full report and he is excited.
Find out why...
Sunseeker Manhattan 60
3 Staterooms with En Suite Heads!
It is not too soon to begin thinking about next summer and what you will be doing for a water-bound venue. Our favorite beach house is a moveable feast where you never have to worry about someone else getting in front of your water views. The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 pictured above is one such boat and we can imagine it cruising the Med, Bahamas or Georgian Bay. Most boats this year over 25’ or so will be built to order, so if you are thinking about a large boat for next summer, you’ll want to put your order in now to get late spring delivery.
Join us for look at the Sunseeker Manhattan 60 to see if it can make your short list --
The Squadron 55:
Fairline's 12,000th Boat
How does a company that builds huge, multi-million dollar motoryachts build 12,000 boats in 43 years? By building a whale of a lot of small boats in its early days.
Traditionally, most boat companies start out by building small boats and then grow into large motoryachts if all goes well in later years. Such is the success story of Fairline, a privately-held company well aware of its humble roots. Last year the respected British boating magazines Motor Boats Monthly and Motor Boat & Yachting (which are both owned by the same company) named the Squadron 55 the “Motor Boat of the Year” for 50’+ Flybridge yachts. The first Squadron 55 was launched in 2008, so with all of these accolades, we thought we'd better take a look and see what all of the fuss is about.
Viking Yachts 70 Convertible:
Four Staterooms and Wide Beam
Yes, the profile of the new Viking Yacht 70 Convertible looks the same as virtually
every one of its other convertibles. It's a style that's launched a thousand
small ships... and it ain't broke. With all that Viking has learned about building strong, more comfortable and sea-kindly boats, the 70C will also employ the same curves and soft lines that define the rest of its fleet. Her interior is similar to some of the larger Vikings in the line, a feature that should be a crowd pleaser to the folks who wanted the functionality of the larger boats, with the price of a smaller one. Let’s take a look and see what we can expect from the new 70C.
This boat looks like poetry in motion...
A Cruising Boat in a Class of its Own
Many of our friends have shelled out $800k for new express cruisers in the 43’ to 44’ range, then haven’t used them on any adventuresome cruising. Are they wimps? No, but they don’t want to exceed the capabilities of their boats, and they are not quite sure what their boats’ sea-keeping abilities really are. However, if they had a Bertram 410 they wouldn’t have given a second thought to blasting out to the Abacos, down to the Turks and Caicos, or up to Nova Scotia.
Bertram Yachts has spent decades and millions of dollars telling the world what great fishing boats it makes, and we wouldn’t disagree, but we think the Bertram 410 also makes a terrific cruiser.
See if you agree...
A Couple’s Cruiser
The folks at Kadey-Krogen recently told us that that it takes most people who buy their boats from two to three years to make the decision. In the boat-buying world that is considered a long time, and we suspect that the reason it takes so long is because it is also a life-style decision. In the Kadey-Krogen 44 we have a boat designed specifically for a couple to go long distance, or even world cruising, and most owners spend 5 months or more on their boat each year, we’re told. Some even live aboard year around. Buying a boat for live-aboard is a big decision and obviously it’s a two-person decision.
Let’s explore the Kadey-Krogen 44 and some considerations of the life-style as well...
Marlow 57E CB
Speed or Range (Pick One)
The Marlow 57E CB, at $1.550 million, is as affordable as any boat in this class, but price is not what caught our eye. Rather we were intrigued by her layout and her unorthodox concept: an “expedition” yacht designed for and capable of semi-displacement speeds, a boat that is light-weight, has a fully cored hull and is powered by twin engines. Is that the way “expedition” yachts are suppose to be? Well the folks
at Marlow think it is and make a strong case for long range cruising in a boat that
is not limited by weight and horsepower. To find out more about this unusual boat--
Volvo Penta IPS600
Components and Maintenance
There are currently 120 boat builders worldwide that offer models powered by the IPS. Leading the charge is the US with forty-four builders, and not surprisingly, the Italians are second with twenty-four builders; the remainder are spread out over all corners of the world stretching from China to Brazil. In our testing over the years, there have only been two occasions when we were unable to perform a scheduled test on an IPS boat. One was due to an improper factory installation and the other was due to the boat striking an underwater obstruction in the Throgs Neck area of western Long Island Sound in New York City. In this instance, the damage was to the props.
Let's take a closer look at the components and some of the maintenance issues for the IPS 600 System...
Calling Formula Owners
By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors to BoatTEST.com, we can literally focus the experience of the world’s boat owners on each brand and boat model to help guide future buyers. Hundreds of readers have already taken the time to pass along their experience on their boats to help new buyers. These “Owner Comments” go unedited into our database. No matter what Formula model you own.
Start the New Year Right: Get
BoatTEST’s Boating Course
BoatTEST.com has joined with Capt. Steve to present you with an 8 CD-ROM boating
course that comes in a durable plastic box. This course covers everything your spouse,
children, or friends need to know to be competent, safe boaters. It costs only $69.95,
plus shipping and handling. If that is over your budget, then why not choose from
one of five individual subject-area courses for only $19.95, plus shipping and handling.
Order here --
Are You Looking
For a New Boat?
If you are in the market for a NEW boat 18’ or larger, our veteran
staff will be glad to help you, one-on-one, by email or phone. It is part of our
“Member Services” program and it is free to you. We receive no fee from builders
or dealers – so we can be objective, and we can leverage our contacts in the industry
to help you get what you want. To use this service you must be in the market to
buy NEW within the next 6 months. Sign in here --
MasterCraft Owner Buys Hydra-Sports
MasterCraft Boat Co. CEO John Dorton confirmed yesterday that the holding company that owns MasterCraft bought Hydra-Sports last week from Genmar at auction for $1 million. Both brands are now owned by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minneapolis-based investment firm. Dorton said, "We just think it's a nice fit. It's a very high-end product," he added. "It doesn't compete with our core line of MasterCraft. We have capacity in Vonore (Tenn.) at our plant." For more details...
Earthrace Boat Rams Japanese Whaler and Sinks
If the boat above looks familiar, it is because a couple of years ago it appeared on these pages painted silver. On its second try it set the record for the fastest circumnavigation by a powerboat. On January 6 Earthrace turned up again in the news, this time painted black and called Ady Gil, and owner Peter Bethune was again at the helm of his carbon fiber vessel. This time he was affiliated with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which is trying to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean. Either with malice of forethought or with no forethought at all, he managed to ram a Japanese whaler that he was harassing. The Sea Shepherd spokesperson says it was the other way around, but you can look at the video tape and judge for yourself.
Find out more...
See video of
What's Wrong with This Picture?
There are a lot of things we like about European design in motoryachts, but there is one design element that we have never been able to warm to. You see it pictured above. Call us retro, but we think a flying bridge ought to have bulwarks to at least above the waists of the people setting on it. Most European motoryachts under 70’ (21.5 m) or so, just don’t have it. And a flimsy piece of transparent acrylic just doesn’t do to for us. We'd like to have your opinion on this life-or-death design subject.
Plunk your magic twanger...
From the Horizon
You’re offshore, well out of sight of land. You are anchored on an old wreck and the fish are biting and the good times are rolling. All of a sudden, one of your buddies sees a speck on the horizon heading your way. He asks if he should up anchor or does he have time to catch a few more. How long can he continue fishing? It’s a reasonable question and having an idea of how far away your horizon is will help with the answer. That’s one of those little things that you should always have in the back of your mind. Now it takes a little figuring, but it’s not hard to do. With a cheap calculator you can tell him how long he has to fill the fish box.
Our Capt. Steve tells you how to figure...
Capt. Steve's Lesson #68
Waterskiing Safety Tips
This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on waterskiing safety and the laws boaters should abide by. Do not operate your boat at maximum speed when pulling a skier. You should be running just above planning speed. Most
people tow at from 18 to 22 mph. Do not waterski in high-traffic areas such as channels or near marinas. And never ever waterski at night even if there seems to be plenty of moonlight on the water. Running at high-speeds at night is dangerous and irresponsible. Just don’t do it. Always wear a life jacket when skiing. It’s the law in most states. Capt. Steve will also go over some basic hand signals which allow the skier and observer to communicate most effectively. These seven videos are basic waterskiing procedures and lessons which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented
this week are part of BoatTEST.com's USCG-approved video boating course narrated
by Capt. Steve. Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Uh-oh, hurry everyone! Look "nonchalant" and maybe no one will notice the oil spill." - M. Keene
"It comes with a ship to shore transmitter, a 6 speed auto transmission, and what appear to be at least 2 transvestites."
- M. Burton
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"No way this boat has enough mirrors."
- R. Davis
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