Chaparral 257 // Aqua Patio 240 // Monte Carlo Yachts 65 // 10 Reports + Docking Tips - 12/05/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter December 5, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Chaparral 257 SSX
- Monte Carlo Yachts 65
- Aqua Patio 240
- Sea Ray 370 Venture
- Formula 310 FX5
- Cabo 44 Hardtop Express
- Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU
- Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless
- Riviera 51 EFB
- Yamaha VXR
- Evinrude E-TEC 150
- Captain Search
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Chaparral 257 SSX:
Advanced Styling,
1st Class Performance

Chaparral 257 SSX
Top speed in our test was 53.6 mph with a range at her best cruise speed of 203 miles.

Chaparral created the 257 SSX to add luxury features to a stylish sportboat. While there are some clever innovations to her interior, we think her long suits are styling and performance.  During our tests her rack and pinion steering made handling glass smooth and exhilarating. She turns on a dime without any tendency to chine walking.  With her Volvo Penta V8-380 engine she can haul loads of people and still have power left over for another one at the end of the towline.  Watch the video...

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New Test Video

New Monte Carlo Yachts 65:
Beauty and the Offshore Beast

Monte Carlo Yachts 65
Seen here heading out of the cut at Fort Lauderdale, the new Monte Carlo Yachts 65 takes off for our test in the Gulf Stream, just a couple miles offshore.

There's definitely a rewarding aspect in taking a brand-new yacht out on sea trials for a performance evaluation. Not only did this stunning new MCY 65 turn every head on the way out of the inlet, but she had us reflecting about just how exciting the good life can feel to the lucky owners of this new luxury yacht. Offshore we discovered that she's not just eye-candy.  Her handling and performance characteristics were remarkably nimble, certainly better than we expected for a boat in this size range.  See the full test video...

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New Test Video

Aqua Patio 240:
Tested With Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. 

Aqua Patio 240
The Aqua Patio 240 has an LOA of 25'1" (7.65 m) and a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m). During our test with the Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. she reached a top speed of 44.8 mph.
(For a toon, that's really humming!)

The Aqua Patio 240 was designed to provide upscale amenities and impressive performance.  She features a quality build, a respected brand name, and with her ability to handle up to a 300-hp engine she makes a versatile family watersports platform. We recently tested her with an Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. and the test video is ready for viewing.  Roll 'em...

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New Features Video

New Sea Ray 370 Venture:
An Entirely New Design

Sea Ray 370 Venture
The Sea Ray 370 Venture has a beam of 11'3" (3.4 m) and she's been getting a lot of attention since her launch.

At first glance the Sea Ray 370 Venture may seem like just another express cruiser, but look a little closer and a distinct difference quickly becomes apparent. This completely new design from Sea Ray represents a major shift in the builder’s signature styling.  It is the fact that she's powered by twin outboards.  By relocating the engines outside the boat has more usable space -- and more livable space -- inside.  More space equals more utility and better value.  Let's take a video walk-through of hull #1.  More...

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New Test Video

Formula 310 FX5:
Tested at 58 MPH WOT

Formula 310 FX5
Captain Steve takes 760 horses firmly in hand aboard the Formula 310 FX5.

There's a certain sense of satisfaction being on a boat that turns heads like a runway siren strutting down 5th Avenue.  And that's what the Formula 310 FX5 does. She's stunning outside and so beautiful inside that it would be easy to think that that's where her qualities begin and end. But once the engines heat up everyone can hear the muscles ripple beneath her Imron skin.  There's a whole other side to this beauty queen.  Let's take a look...

Request a brochure. Ask a question.

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Captain's Report

Cabo 44 Hardtop Express:
In a Class by Herself

Cabo 44 Hardtop Express
With an LOA of 47'7" (14.5 m) and a beam of 16'6" (5.03 m) this 44 Hardtop Express is among the largest in class.

We think the Cabo 44 Hardtop Express is an outstanding compromise between a lightweight open cruiser and a heavyweight battlewagon.  Further, there are not many boats on the market quite like her. Designed to replace the 45 Cabo, the new 44 carries 10,100 pounds (4581 kg) more weight, has nearly a foot more beam and draws nearly a foot less water. Find out about the features that put her in a class by herself. More...

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Test Video

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless:
Testing a Crossover

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless
Notice how Capt. Steve is able to use the reversible helm seat as a leaning post.
The 170 is a popular size for general boating on lakes and along the coast.

Bigger does not necessarily define better as Boston Whaler has proven recently by scaling down the popular Dauntless model and putting her within reach of more people. She's a crossover boat in the true sense of the word, being able to make seamless transitions between fishing and family fun.  She will clearly appeal to both the young and old for doing most anything on the water.  A full test and performance review...

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Captain's Report

Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU:
Ocean Rated Distance Cruiser

Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU
Her lines are unmistakably Grand Banks, but the new 54 Heritage EU has some important differences that indicate a new direction for this conservative builder.

Grand Banks has been the caretaker of the trawler image and feel for over four decades. While this 54 Heritage EU is designed to be a replacement to the 52 EU, the builder did not just add 2' to her transom.  She is altogether a new Heritage model and may be a harbinger of things to come.  Let's take a look at our full report and see what this live-aboard capable distance-cruiser brings to ocean-capable cruising. More...

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Captain's Report

Riviera 51 EFB:
So Many Possibilities

Riviera 51 EFB
With three private staterooms (including a full beam master) and a sky lounge, she is one of the largest 51-foot convertibles on the market.

The design team at Riviera seems to be masters of the creative use of space. Once aboard the 51 EFB she seems much larger than her 51'.  She is the direct result of customer feedback from around the globe, and we have no trouble believing that the innovations and clever features incorporated are exactly what customers are looking for.  Let's take an in-depth look...

Ask a question.
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Test Video

Yamaha VXR:
Maximum Adrenaline at Minimum Cost

Yamaha VXR
Our test of the VX clocked a top speed of 68.4 mph.
And this machine can carry up to three people.

The mission of the Yamaha VXR is straightforward:  Provide the best possible high-performance watercraft in a no-frills, low-cost package. With very few high-tech features and a naturally asperated engine Yamaha got the no-frills part right. And our test reveals that in the process they didn't sacrifice high-performance thrills.  The MSRP is $11,499.  Just take a look...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 150:
The Benefits
of Computer Control

Evinrude E-TEC 150
In this video we take a look at the features of the E-TEC that directly affect boaters and the boating experience.

In our full test of the Evinrude E-TEC 150 we not only do a performance evaluation, but take a close look at some of the features surrounding several bold claims made by Evinrude. Claims such as "runs for five hours without oil" and "no break-in period". Of course our favorite has to be "no needed service for three years or 300 hours.See the video...

Captain Search

Captain Search

If you have a USCG 100-ton captain's license, or more, and think you have the skills to be a test captain, then we would like to hear from you. Please prepare a three to four minute edited boat test video using our format on a boat of your choice. You may submit this video electronically or mail us a disc. Please ensure the video is in a QuickTime format and send to the attention of Christopher Hughes,

Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken and when...

See the larger picture, who took it and where!

Send us your favorite boating images.

When sending a photo, let us know when, where and what boat you were on.

Holiday Gift Idea’s
4-DVD Box Set
Boating Course

Smart Boating
Just ask our #1 repeat customer what a popular Christmas gift it is for the boater on your list!

What better gift to give than the most complete boating course ever developed? Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about's boating course it’s clearly not only for beginners, but for veteran boaters as well. This 4-disc box set is loaded with bonus features too! Order now to beat the rush before the holiday is upon us. Order here...

Watch the trailer...

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Visit us on Facebook and "like" us to see the latest, plus some behind the scenes looks.

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Lesson of the Week

How To Dock Your Twin Inboard Boat

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover 

Always check wind direction and current before docking.
Once dockside, tie the bow line first, then the stern line.

This week Capt. Steve goes over six lessons and guidelines on basic boat handling and docking procedures. Learn why twins allow you to maneuver easier. Learn how to pivot the boat for close quarter maneuvering, move the boat sideways without a bow thruster, and how to back into a slip. These are basic rules which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

“No your "other" left!” – G. Martinez

Second Place

“Now we see why every boat should carry spare duct tape.” – R. Wheeler

Third Place

“Little Billy thought twice about paper boats and water, then quickly scurried up the ladder.” – B. Blob

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 12/5/2012

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