Bayliner Element XL // Tiara 44 // Monte Carlo 86 // 15 Reviews - 07/16/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter July 16, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
IN THIS ISSUE
- Velocity 260 Bay
- Volvo Penta V8-380
- Monte Carlo Yachts 86
- Boardwalk Marina
- Tigé Z1
- Carver C40
- Nitro Z-6
- Formula 310 FX5
- Cruisers Sport Series 208
- Manitou 25 Encore VP
- Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon
- Prestige 550 Flybridge
- Tiara 44 Coupe
- Chaparral 307 SSX
- Bayliner Element XL
- Sun Tracker Party Barge 22
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Velocity Powerboats 260 Bay:
Technology and Design

Velocity Powerboats 260 Bay
This Velocity 260 Bay’s classic bay-boat lines don’t show that it’s built upon the company’s 260 deep-V performance hull.

The new Velocity 260 Bay is built atop the company’s race-proven offshore hull -- but that is not the big news. We were impressed with this boat's many fishing features, including twin livewells, huge fishboxes, macerators, and a large tackle console with easy-to-reach drawers. Then there are the large fore and aft casting decks. For those inshore anglers who want the advantages of a 26’ (7.92 m) boat, we think the new Velocity 260 Bay is worth a look. More...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta V8-380:
Feature-Rich New "Small Block"

Volvo Penta V8-380
Because the Volvo Penta V8-380 is a new 6.0L engine, it has the latest technology built in.

A key feature of the Volvo Penta V8 6.0 L 380-hp sterndrive engine is its weight, which is about 200-lbs. (91 kg) lighter than competitive products. But that's just the beginning of its list of features. It has closed loop cooling as standard equipment. Its heat exchanger is a cylindrical canister -- that with a faucet at the bottom -- allows it to be easily drained. The oil dipstick has a threaded top which allows easy attachment of oil-changing equipment. But this is just one of many owner-friendly features. More...

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New Test Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 86:
Designed for Easy Handling

Monte Carlo Yachts 86
We approached our sea trial of the MCY 86 from the point of view of an owner/operator to test her ease -- or, difficulty -- of maneuverability.

Because the new Monte Carlo Yachts 86 uses standard inboard drives we spent a lot of time docking to document her close-quarters handling. Her large 48” x 40” 4-blade props plus her bow thruster made maneuvering around the dock and into a med-moor slip easy. As we constantly say, large boats are much easier to handle than small ones, if properly configured, and the MCY 86 certainly was. She has remote controls on the aft deck which takes the guesswork out of backing. More...

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Dealers

Boardwalk Marina:
Dealer Spotlight

Boardwalk Marina
Boardwalk Marina in Stratford, CT.

From time to time we work with dealers who demonstrate exceptional boating knowledge and customer service. Boardwalk Marine in Stratford, Connecticut is one of these dealerships. In additional to being a Bayliner dealer, they are a full service marina with 200 slips, boat and PWC rentals, dry storage, fuel dock and a brand new service center with Mercury and Volvo Penta certified mechanics. Boardwalk Marina is helping to ensure more people enjoy boating and we would like to thank them for their excellent service to the boating community. Visit their website...

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Test Video

Tigé Z1:
The Ultimate Wake-Maker

Tigé Z1
The Convex VX system adds an extension onto the back of the hull driving the prop wash down and under the wake, pushing it even higher, and longer. From the water the wake-making attachment is almost invisible under the swim platform.

Tigé’s new wake-making system is optional and is sure to be specified by those enthusiasts wanting maximum wake for wakeboarding and wake surfing. This device along with the TAPS2 tab, the ballast bags, and the speed of the boat can all be controlled from a specialized glass dash that makes setting up the Tigé Z1 easy for each individual performance. More...

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Captain's Report

Carver C40:
A New Refreshing Style

Carver C40
For most boat owners the most important thing about a boat is how she looks on the outside. On that score, we think the Carver C40 does fine.

The Carver C40 comes standard with twin 305-hp Cummins inboard engines. Twin 380s are optional and should give her a good turn of speed, but the question begs how fast will she go and where will she run comfortably with the smaller engines? We haven't yet been asked to test her, but as soon as we are, we'll pass on the news. In the meantime, we recommend that people looking for a new 2 cabin/2 head cruiser give this one a good look. See her here...

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Captain's Report

Nitro Z-6:
Properly Powered for Safe Performance

Nitro Z-6
When it comes to powering its boats, the folks at Nitro have the best interests of its customers in mind. The Nitro Z-6 is a good example of that.

Virtually all bass boats are low, sleek, and fast. We have never tested one that wasn’t strong by any builder, but we have tested some that were over-powered and therefore not good performers and were downright dangerous. We think that Nitro has gotten it right with the Nitro Z-6, a boat that is packed with fishing amenities in her 17’4” (5.28 m) length, powered by a 115-hp 2-stroke Mercury. Find out more...

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Test Video

Formula 310 FX5:
Designed for Good Handling at Speed

Formula 310 FX5
Decades of refinement, much of which was developed from offshore racing experience, has resulted in a 310 FX5 with no bad habits.

At normal cruising speeds, say in the 30-mph range, the turns of the 310 FX5 are stable, docile, and comfortable, all the sort of handling that we have come to expect in Formula boats. Because she has a 22-degree deadrise bottom angle at the transom, her ride at her WOT of 58 mph will be as comfortable as most in this class of boat. High speed turns demand more care, of course, because of the high-Gs, to keep guests comfortable. Read more...

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Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider:
A Small Boat for Big Lakes

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider is designed for people who do not need a big boat, but who want to go cruising in large bodies of water.

When it comes to usable space in a 20’ (6 m) sportboat, the Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider has the room that we normally associate with a deck boat. But unlike a deck boat, the 208 Bow Rider has much higher freeboards, a 19-degree deadrise at the transom and an overall premium construction regime that is more typical of a big-boat builder. More...

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Test Video

Manitou 25 Encore VP:
A Toon that Turns Like a Monohull

Manitou 25 Encore VP
Let's face it, many pontoon boats are sluggish performers. The Manitou 25 Encore VP triple-toon is a fine performer as we discovered in our test.

Many pontoon boats lean outward when turning, but the Manitou 25 Encore VP, as can be seen in the picture, leans into the turns. Because most monohull sportboats have V bottoms, that’s how they turn and that is what most boaters are used to. When we tested the Manitou 25 Encore VP we found her handling to be comfortable, steady and very guest-friendly. More...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series:
An Application-Specific Engine

Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series
By reducing transmitted vibration to the frame of a pontoon boat, the unique rubber engine mounts on the Evinrude E-TEC 90 Pontoon Series mounts reduce noise. It's one of the features that make the Pontoon Series so special.

This year Evinrude decided that pontoon boats should have an engine tailor-made for that specific application instead of the one-size-fits-all approach this industry has heretofore taken. Pontoon boats have a hard time getting up to speed so Evinrude built in more low-rpm torque. Because of the aluminum frames that all toons have which are connected to the outboard bracket, they all transmit engine vibration. The 90 Pontoon Series minimizes vibration transmission. You get the idea. But there is much more involved with this specialized product. More...

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Test Video

Prestige 550 Flybridge:
A Bottom Shape for Stability

Prestige 550 Flybridge
The Prestige 550 hull was designed specifically for the Zeus 3800 pod drives. The flat keel at the stern which acts as a lifting pad helps give the 550 Flybridge a quick 8.5 second time to plane. The hydraulic platform is optional.

With a pair of 600-hp Cummins QSC 8.3 diesel engines powering through Zeus 3800 pod drives our test boat reached a top speed at 3080 rpm up 30.2 kts. Her bow rise was just 8-degrees in the process, settling down to 5-degrees on plane. Her pods are recessed in tunnels so she draws just 3’8” (1.17 m). This together with her running strakes and wide flat chines dampens her roll at rest. More...

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Captain's Report

Tiara 44 Coupe:
First Launch Coming Soon

Tiara 44 Coupe
The Tiara 44 Coupe has a LOA of 45’6” (13.87 m), a beam of 15’ (4.57 m) and a draft of 3’9” (1.14 m). She has a galley up and aft and 2 staterooms with 2 heads.

The new Tiara 44 Coupe is scheduled to be launched in late summer and will appear at most of the East Coast boat shows. As can be seen in the drawing above, her most distinguishing feature will be her handsome good-looks which are a skillful blend of traditional cruiser lines and modern styling. 44’ is an ideal size boat for many people providing a reasonable balance between cost, day-boating entertainment functionality, and cruising utility. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 307 SSX:
This Boat is Loaded

Chaparral 307 SSX
Chaparral has not just slapped the "SSX" label on its 307 and called it a day -- it has kept the promise of delivering a premium boat.

The options list for the Chaparral 307 SSX is short simply because most of the amenities are already on the boat as standard. For example, the stainless steel windshield header makes the boat look like a million dollars and is standard, along with a custom-painted tower arch, an electric engine hatch, a VacuFlush head, solid surface vanity and electric trim tabs, among other things. We like the Kevlar keel for bottom puncture resistance. More...

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Test Video

Bayliner Element XL:
A Basic Boat for Young and Old

Bayliner Element XL
Grandpa will enjoy towing his grandchildren in the 18'2'' (5.49 m) long Bayliner Element XL.

For older first-time boat buyers we sometimes suggest they buy the biggest boat they can afford because tempus fugit. For younger buyers we almost always suggest getting comfortable with a small boat first, make all of the usual mistakes on a low-cost boat in protected water, then move up in size. The Bayliner Element XL was designed for just that scenario. But, as it turns out, retired boaters are also buying the Element XL, just for the fun of it. Find out what she'll do...

Test Drive

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3:
An Excellent Entertainment Platform

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3
Sun Tracker has maximized the deck space on its Party Barge 22 XP3 because she was designed for a party.

Virtually any pontoon boat has the capacity to handle a small family reunion. The Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 XP3 is a good example of what we mean. This vessel has a maximum weight-carrying capacity of 2,200 lbs. (998 kg), including gear. As can seen above, she does not lack storage space. We like the diagonal fencing in the starboard quarter that provides a platform from which to launch watersports activities. She is also wheel chair accessible, so bring granny to the party. More...

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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, when and 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.


Expert Boating

 BoatTEST.com’s
4-DVD Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about BoatTEST.com's Video Boating Course it’s clearly not only for beginners, but also for veteran boaters as well. Perhaps that is why the NMMA started promoting the course after just one look. It's the most complete boating course available… period. Order your 4-disc box set...

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Lesson of the Week

Fog Signals and Overview
On Navigation Lights

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Only official lights such as these are allowed to be on at night underway.


This week Captain Steve goes over sixteen lessons and guidelines on fog signals and navigation lights. It’s important to know what to do when fog suddenly comes rolling in and one is cruising along in pea soup or simply a restricted visibility scenario. Captain Steve also goes over the basics on navigation lights, what they mean, and what’s required when running at night, and at anchor. Learn about requirements for boats over 39 ½', or 12 m, and what’s required for boats less than 23' or, 7 m. These are basic rules 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--

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All articles, Captain's Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.



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