Meridian 541 Sedan:
We Test The Largest
In The Lineup
It took a lot of waiting in order to get our hands on this new launch from Meridian. Every time one came off the line, the owners couldn’t wait to take delivery so we got moved down the list. Finally, one became available, and we jetted down to Florida to get at the controls before anyone changed their minds. This latest from Meridian is powered by twin 600-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesel QSC engines driving Zeus pods, and we went in expecting that we’d get good performance and little else. But as it turns out, there were some interesting handling qualities that our Capt. Steve came to appreciate.
Our full test video is ready for viewing and it, along with his full report, will tell the whole tale.
New Test Video
Cruisers Yachts 330 Express:
Sterndrive Power with Joystick Control
Have you been thinking it's time to move up to a larger cruiser, but worry about
handling it because you can’t afford pods? Cruisers has some good news for you. Their popular 330 Express not only has the trademark Cruisers roominess and comfort, but now comes equipped with a sterndrive joystick. Now you can have joystick controllability for a fraction of the cost of pods, and get a very capable cruising yacht that you can dock like a pro. She also features the same level of fit and finish as Cruisers' 560, and even uses most of the same components. But the question remains, can this boat handle choppy seas or is she destined to be a dock queen?
answer, you’ll need to watch the full test video and get Capt. Rob’s take on how she felt underway.
Equal Parts Battlewagon and Cruiser
We’re seeing a lot of sportfish boats being bought and used solely as cruisers due to their inherent ability to take as much as Mother Nature wants to dish out. That attitude suits Bertram just fine since they offer their top end 700 with no fewer
than three salon configurations. If you are into fishing, rest assured this company, that started the sportfish boat genre, hasn’t forgotten its roots: They’ve equipped
the 700 with both bells and whistles enough to keep any hardcore fisherman happy.
For the whole story, take a look at our test video of the queen of the Bertram lineup.
New Features Video
Miss Skiboat, Meet Mr. Cruiser
This new MasterCraft 300 has been generating her fair share of buzz in the boating industry, and with good reason. Since she’s the first cruiser that this ski and wakeboat company has launched, a lot of people were waiting to see just how she
turned out, and we were at the front of the line ourselves. MasterCraft didn’t disappoint. With teak everywhere, adjustable sun lounge, circular dining area, retractable aft awning, and a whole shopping list of additional perks, this turned out to be a very interesting boat.
Good thing we brought along our cameras for the full tour, which is viewable here.
Intrepid 245 Center Console:
This Speedboat Can Wear Many Hats
Some people think Intrepid's 24' 10" (7.57 m) 245 Center Console is a fast fishing boat, while others contend she's a speedboat with rod holders; her hullside door makes her the ideal dive boat, say SCUBA enthusiasts, but folks enjoying their megayachts know the 245 CC is perfect as a tender. Funny thing is, the 245 CC can be all these things – it just depends on how you set her up. Intrepid's niche is building high-end, highly customizable boats, and the 245, although the company's smallest model, is every bit as adaptable as her larger sisters. How would you rig your 245 Center Console?
Here's some advice...
Princess 64 Flybridge MY:
She's Ready for Her Close-Up
The new Princess 64 Flybridge Motor Yacht will make her U.S. debut at the Miami Boat Show in February. An evolution of the company's successful Flybridge 63, the 64' 0" (19.45 m) LOA Princess 64 is for the cruising man or woman with means and taste who is ready to step into a first-class mid-sized motoryacht. Her standard twin 1,015-hp Cat C18 diesels should push her to 31 knots top end, cruise at 27, according to her U.S. importer, Viking Sport Cruisers; larger Cats are available. But cruising isn't all about speed – there's comfort, too. Does the Princess 64 measure up?
Pro-Line 26 Super Sport:
Isn't It Time To Go Fishing?
If you want to go fishing offshore, but don't want to go broke, Pro-Line has a boat for you: Their 26' 4" (8.03 m) LOA 26 Super Sport combines a roomy, easy-to-trailer fishing platform with power options up to 450-hp, plenty of fish-worthy standard equipment and lots of extras to let you build just the boat you want. With 22 degrees of deadrise, she'll be comfortable running in a chop; at 7,040 lbs (3,193 kg) trailer weight, she'll also be comfortable behind your full-sized pickup or SUV. With twin 150-hp Suzuki four-stroke OBs, her MSRP is $87,346, putting her squarely within range of lots of dedicated fishermen without trust funds. What else does the 26 Super Sport have to offer?
Find out here...
Pocket Trawler Built Right
A couple of weeks ago we asked BoatTEST.com readers what boats they'd like us to test in the upcoming year, and several suggested the new 34' 10" (10.62 m) Corvette 340 trawler yacht. The Corvette 340 is an improvement on Corvette's earlier 320, not only 2' 10" (86.4 cm) longer but with a full-beam raised afterdeck that creates a larger master stateroom. The first 340 arrived in the U.S. at the end of 2010 and will be on display at the Miami Boat Show next month; we're working on setting up a full test. In the meantime, here's an introduction to whet your appetite.
If you're hungry, dig in...
Regal 35 Sport Coupe:
New York Show Stopper
It takes a lot to make New Yorkers stop and take notice, but last week many of them did just that, when Regal introduced the new 35' 2" (10.7 m) 35 Sport Coupe at the New York Boat Show. The fourth in Regal's Sport Coupe line (the others are the 52, 46 and 42), the 35 SC has an angular profile reminiscent of the Riviera or Costa Brava, a single-level enclosed cockpit that can be air-conditioned and heated, a sliding hardtop to let in the sun and salt breezes, a cabin with ample sleeping and seating spaces and a compact but well-equipped galley. We think the Regal 35 SC will appeal to a boating couple or small family who combine lots of dayboating with the occasional weekend cruise.
To see if you agree, read on...
Nord Star 31 Patrol:
For All-Weather Cruising or Work
We received a letter last week from one of our readers in Newfoundland. He was looking for a 30’ (9.2 m) boat that he and his wife could take cruising along the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts, and do some fishing in as well – and he wanted our recommendation. The answer was that he should look to boat builders who specialized in building boats for the northern latitudes, not sunny Florida. Basically that means Scandinavian builders, those in the Pacific Northwest as well as those in the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Having recently been aboard the Nord Star 40 Patrol we naturally thought of the Finnish boat builder Lenix-Boat Oy. That company makes eight models from 24’ (7.38 m) to 40’ (12.3 m).
Let’s take a look at her...
Volvo Penta’s EVC (Electronic Vessel Control):
Why Stay Analog In A Digital World?
Capt. Steve still clings to a world where diesels knock and blue smoke smells like victory. He spent most of his career repairing busted engine linkages and bleeding hydraulic steering systems. To him, and others like him, this is boating.
But maybe not anymore: When we got our first look at Volvo Penta’s new digital EVC operating system, we knew it was opening a doorway to the future of boating much as their pod drives had done. When the opportunity came to test it on Volvo Penta’s 31' (9.45 m) EVC demonstrator boat, there was only one person that we wanted to have at it.
If Volvo Penta could convince Capt. Steve that this was the way to go, others would surely fall in line.
Are You Ready
for Heavy Weather?
All boats are built for a specific range of conditions. It is important that every boat owner know the conditions for which his boat was designed, the capabilities of his boat and the limitations. Secondly, all boat owners should know how to manage their boats and their crew when conditions turn challenging. Obviously, small open boats are the most vulnerable to capsize, but it can happen under certain circumstances to virtually any boat no matter how large or capable. This week we are reprinting
an article that originally appeared in Sea Tow’s quarterly magazine, Lifelines. It is full of sage heavy-weather boat handling advice for owners of everything from
Jon boats to large motoryachts.
Batten down the hatches...
Sea Tow is a sponsor of BoatTEST.com...
Test of Shurhold
The team at Shurhold recently told us they had designed and formulated their Buff Magic product with jeweler's rouge to be an effective metal polish, as well as a buffing and polishing cream. They tell us it is effective on oxidation, clear coat staining, surface rust, tarnish, and plexiglas scratches, among some of the applications. We have tested Buff Magic on boats before, so this time we wanted to notch things up a bit and conduct a challenging test, on a vehicle headlight lens. So did the Buff Magic claims hold up?
Find out why we still recommend Shurhold products to our members and readers here...
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A Boat-Building Giant
As we reported last week Buddy Davis died Jan. 16th, and with him went one of the great names in offshore sportfish boat building of the last three decades. What makes Buddy’s story so compelling is that he grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a community of 500 people where there wasn’t much work unless you made your own by following the sea. He started out as a mate on a local charter boat and over the years served his apprenticeship not only to become a big game fishing boat captain but also a renowned boat builder. At the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in October of 2006 BoatTEST.com editor Jeff Hammond interviewed Buddy about his big-boat building career from its beginning to its end, which he announced publically for the first time in the interview. We captured on video in Buddy’s own words what set his fishing boats apart from the production boats of the era.
See Buddy’s reflections on his career...
Fairline Targa 58 Gran Turismo Wins
“Motor Boat of the Year” Award 2011
Fairline Boats, a leading U.K. luxury motoryacht manufacturer, has been given the “Motor Boat of the Year” Award 2011 in the "Sportscruiser Above 45 ft" category for the Targa 58 Gran Turismo. The yacht was launched January 2010. This is the third consecutive year that Fairline has won a “Motor Boat of the Year” Award. These awards are made by a panel of boating journalists who work for Motor Boats Monthly and Motor Boat & Yachting magaizines, which are both owned by the same publishing company. BoatTEST.com also thought the Fairline Targa 58 was noteworthy and reviewed it summa cum laude last March.
To find out what BoatTEST.com’s captain had to say about the new Fairline just after the boat’s launch...
Lesson of the Week
How to Prepare for Man Overboard
This week Capt. Steve goes over thirteen new lessons and guidelines on how to be prepared for a man overboard emergency. Practicing this drill ahead of time with your crew or passengers is important since man overboards happen so quickly that people have very little time to react. Capt Steve will go over how to pick someone up in the water and position the boat downwind, how to improve your chances of getting rescued, what a Williamson Turn is, and how to treat someone for hypothermia once they’re back aboard. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
Order all lessons on DVD--
Ducky Award Winner
“You need to clean the radar screen. There is a big spot on it.” – J. Muller
“Just keep your bearing, they always give way. “ – D. Stumpf
Honorable (almost) Mentions
“Auto Pilot 101 (Remembering to turn it off.)” – T. Merza
“Where personal yachts really come from.” – W. Leach
“Tag, You're it!” – V. Premen Jr.
"Traditional greeting among Alaskan cruise ships." - P. Lazarus
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