BoatTEST Newsletter - 07/16/2008 July 16, 2008 If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust


Boat Tests & Reviews 

- Bayliner 245 Cruiser

- Sea-Doo RXT
- Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV
- Maxum 2900 SE
- Regulator  29 FS
- Baja 278 Performance
- Tracker Pro Team 170 TX
- Stingray 220 CX
- SunChaser 8522 RE
- Doral 265 BR Elite

- Chris-Craft Catalina 26

- Hunton 904 Rib

Also Inside:

- Boat Builders Warranties

- Why the Right Prop Matters
- Senator Murkowski Fiasco
- New Yamaha F40 EFI
- Sea-Doo's WOW Factor
- USCG Recalls

- Honda Marine Warranty
Letters to the Editor
- Push Button Fender Adjuster
- PPV Videos
Ducky Award Winner


U.S. Boat Builders Beat Automakers to
5 Year Warranties!

BMW 7 Series Mercedes SLR Lexus LS
4 Years
Mercedes SLR 
4 Years
Lexus LS 600 HL
4 Years
Formula 45 Premier 275 Larson Cabrio 370
Formula 45 Yacht 
5 Years
Premier 275 PTX
5 Years
Larson Cabrio 370  5 Years

America's premier boat builders are offering comprehensive 5-year warranties for most components, in addition to their usually longer coverage for structural elements. Given the complexity of boats, the terrible pounding they must endure, and the fact that they are built by hand in very low production numbers compared to automobiles, this is a monumental customer service achievement. By baking in 5-year warranty and service contracts a handful of U.S. boat builders have set themselves apart not only from their competition -- but also from the world's very best automobiles, which offer only 4-year warranties. 

Studies done this spring by indicate that warranties are now much more important than they have been in the past to new boat buyers.  Longer, comprehensive warranties signal higher quality and more value in the minds of consumers.  To find out more about 5-Year boat warranties...check this out.

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Bayliner 245 Cruiser

Bayliner 245

Bayliner’s 245 is their entry-level pocket cruiser that makes it affordable to start spending overnights on the water.  Bayliner continues to focus on getting more people into the leisure boating scene from their first bowrider to their first pocket or trailerable cruiser. The new 245 Cruiser takes many features found on most cruisers and adds some sensibility and practicality to them for a first cruiser experience.  Go to the complete test and video...



Sea-Doo RXT

Sea-Doo RXT

Sea-Doo's RXT is built around Sea-Doo’s legendary Rotax 4-TEC engine. It's supercharged and intercooled and with a reported 215 horsepower it’s obviously capable of impressive acceleration and easily scores the 65 mph top end limit for all PWCs.  The RXT’s design was inspired by the muscle cars of the sixties and seventies and it shows. See complete test and video...             

Malibu Wakesetter 23 LSV

Malibu 23 LSV

In any competitive sport the intensity is fierce. The designers and staff at Malibu know this and continually strive to improve, develop and build a full line of sportboats. The 23 LSV is a few steps up from the entry level Wakesetter. This 23-footer with increased weight and beam provides stability and ensures a good-sized wake.  See complete test and video...       


Maxum 2900 SE with Axius

Maxum 2900 SE

Maxum's 2900 SE with Axius packs a lot of functionality into a pocket cruiser for a base MSRP of 131K with most of the basic amenities and twin 4.3 liter 220-hp engine. The 2900 SE sleeps 4 comfortably and can be used as an affordable weekender. We tested the twin 260-hp model and with Axius…see video...


Regulator 29 FS

Regulator 29 FS

Our Director of Testing has tested almost every model of Regulator Boats and feels they are some of the best offshore rigs out there with dry rides, great fit and finish and thoughtful functionality.

The 29 FS is an all-around rugged offshore fishing boat with the features and performance to prove it. This offshore fishing boat is tournament-ready with top of the line technology, tons of storage and great performance. Time and time again our captains report how well Regulator's models ride and the 29 FS's ride is no different.  On test day the 29 cruised comfortably at 32.1 mph turning 4000 rpm for a range of 194 miles, and turned in a top speed of 52.7 mph.  See complete test results and video...

Baja 278 Performance

Baja 278 Performance

Baja’s 24-degree deadrise at the transom is about as deep as V-hulls get, and it really pays off when the seas kick up, with a deeper V providing a smoother ride. The 278 offers engine choices up to 600-hp.  These boats are now being built by Fountain.  See complete test and video...

Tracker Pro Team 170 TX

Tracker Pro Team 170 TX

Tracker’s 30th Anniversary Edition of the Pro Team 170 is an all-welded aluminum hull designed for a smooth ride and fishability. The builder has brought back some of the Heritage graphics combining some of the old colors with the new colors of Tracker. The full length longitudinal stringer system and all-aluminum transom mean you should be able to count on this boat to serve you well for years.  See complete test and video…

Stingray 220 CX
Stingray 220 CX

The 220 CX offers the comforts you need for spending a long day or weekend on the water. This model features a cabin for escape and is lightweight ensuring good performance and fuel efficiency. From the integrated swim platform to the comfortable bucket seats topside, the 220 CX delivers on fun and excitement. Check out the test results…

SunChaser 8522 RE

Sunchaser 8522 RE

SunChaser’s 8522 sports many of the features you typically find only on high-end luxury pontoons with much higher costs. Abundant plush seating, rounded bows, and smooth handling make the SunChaser a pontoon boat that deserves to be on your short list.  See video review…


Doral 265 BR Elite

The 265 BR Elite is the queen of this series and delivers amenities and performance for the young maturing family. This model is just as comfortable with the kids skiing behind her as she is hosting friends on a sunset cruise.  See complete test and video...

Chris-Craft Catalina 26

Sunchaser 8522 RE

Since the first Chris-Craft fishing boat was introduced several years ago the line has been turning heads and winning praise for its sheer beauty.  Chris-Craft follows its successful 23 and 29 Catalinas with a new 26 built in North Carolina. From her standard 150-hp Yamahas to her T-top, this model exudes the classic elegance and craftsmanship Chris-Craft--under its current management-- is known for.  See video review…

Hunton 9.04 RIB

Hunton 904 Rib

With features such as hand laid teak decks, fore and aft sunpads, and a ceramic head, you will hardly believe that you are riding a rib.  This model is available in either an inboard or an outboard configuration and according to the company she can reach an excess of 60 knots with twin 275-hp outboards.  With a racing pedigree and a cruising heart, the 904 is loaded with many features for a day of thrills.  See video review...

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Props for Purpose

        Different Props for Torque, Fuel Economy and Speed



Did you know that by changing props you may be able to improve your fuel efficiency, hole shot speed, 0-30 time and WOT speed? Did you know that the propeller or propellers you currently have installed may not be ideal for the boat and engine combination you have? What is important to you? How do you use your boat? Capt. Robert Smith shows us just how easy it is to change your boat's performance by selecting a propeller with different geometry.  See Capt. Smith's how-to prop video...

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PWC News

       Sea-Doo Designs        “The WOW Factor”

Sea Doo’s design and engineering teams work hard
to build in functionality and “WOW.”


Capt. Rob Smith and the BoatTEST camera crew recently traveled to Quebec, Canada and were able to penetrate the tight security of the top-secret, off-limits inner sanctum of Sea-Doo’s futuristic design inferno. We captured on video tape never-before-seen footage of future Sea Doo PWCs on the drawing boards and Cad Cams. Project Leader Andre Cote divulged Sea-Doo’s secret design criteria that every new Sea-Doo PWC must have– “the WOW Factor.” When viewed for the first time, every Sea-Doo design must elicit “WOW! I want one!” from would-be customers. To find out how Sea-Doo manages to WOW’em time after time…razzle dazzle ‘em.

Engine News

New Yamaha F40 EFI
Is Feature-Rich

Before Yamaha entered the American outboard engine market nearly 30 years ago it did something stunning: it sent its engineers to the States to talk with fishermen and boat builders to find out what they wanted. The rest, as they say, is history. Now, Yamaha has done the same thing again, albeit on a smaller scale, with its new F40 EFI which replaces their old carbeurated model. The new F40 has a laundry list of user-friendly features such as trolling speeds from 650 to 900 rpm, rpm's can be changed with a thumb switch in 50 rpm increments for more precise control, and the tiller handle can be adjusted into a wide range of positions.
Fly-by-wire is optional which means that you can have all of Yamaha's latest engine readouts in addition to Command Link control. The engine has a standard 3-year warranty.

The F40 is a real workhorse, so join Capt. Rob Smith as he takes a video look...


prop info

yamaha boats

grady-white ad


boat history







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Sen. Murkowski Fiasco

Sen. Murkowski Holds
America's Boaters Hostage

good fairy
Will Murkowski go down in history as the Good Fairy of the North who saved America's recreational boaters from an EPA regulation tornado...
OR witch
Will she be remembered as the Wicked Witch of the (North) West who sacrificed American boaters for her own political expediency?


America's recreational boaters remained political hostages for the second week as Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) continued to play hardball with her senate collegues who want to stave off needless EPA regulations for them. The junior Senator from Alaska wants commercial fishing vessels to come under the same rules as recreational vessels -- something which was long ago deemed unworkable by Senate legislators who compromised and pounded out the wording of S. 2766, the Clean Boating Act of 2008, during months of tense negotiations this spring. No one doubts Sen. Murkowski's resolve, independence -- or political opportunism. If she does not release her hostages soon, any chance of avoiding new bureaucratic EPA oversight of recreational boating will be lost on Sept. 30th.  How will the good Senator be remembered by American boaters? once again invites its readers to implore the Senator to reconsider her hold on "Unanimous Consent" of S. 2766...her direct line is here.

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Letters to the Editor

Senator Murkowski Creates Firestorm
of Outrage

Simpson scream
American boaters can't believe that they will be sacrificed for Alaskan fishermen votes for Murkowski.


Our "Letters to the Editor" inbox was stuffed last week by e-messages from boaters from around the country. Only one defended Sen. Murkowski's blockage of the Clean Boating Act of 2008. Most of the letters were well-reasoned, logical expressions of American boaters' disappointment and outrage that they should become collateral damage in Sen. Murkowski's drive to help her commercial fishing constituents. We have selected a few of the letters that make points that we hope the Senator will consider before going on her much-needed August vacation.

To see the outrage...feel this pain.

Outboard News

Honda Marine Makes
5-Year Warranty Standard

Honda 225-hp
The Honda 225-hp outboard is the largest engine the company makes and is the same engine used in the Honda SUV automobile.
For the last couple of years Honda Marine has offered a 5-year, non-declining warranty, on-and-off, as a promotional special. It got everyone's attention and prodded other outboard makers to suck it up and proclaim their own "better-than-standard" warranties as boat show specials, winter-only incentives, spring last-chance bonanzas, and summer one-more-last-chance bargains.  Now, Honda has flung down the warranty gauntlet by making their 5-year warranty standard and permanent. It will be interesting to see how the other outboard makers respond. Honda, which stops at 225-hp, may not have the biggest outboard engine, but it has the biggest warranty -- and it's from the factory, not a service contract. To read more about Honda's "benchmark" warranty...plunk your magic twanger.

USCG Recall

Five Boat Builders Make Recall List

Coast Guard personnel in mufti looking for recall issues during a recent raft up.

This month's USCG recalls range from improper screws being used to ventilation problems. The brands involved are Bayliner, Crownline, Ebbtide, Kenner and Starcraft. To find out what might be wrong with your boat or that of your neighbor…recall this.


Product Review

Push Button
Fender Adjuster

Hate to lose fenders or even worry about tying them? Check out this easy to use product.

Are you tired of tying up your fenders or even worse, losing them? If so, Fendergrip has a product for you. The Fendergrip is easy to use and simple to store. Just push the button to deploy the fender and pull back the line when you are done. Unlike other adjusters that use suction cups, straps or hooks to hold the fender, Fendergrips use only the fenderline to secure the fender to your boat. Watch this video to learn more about this product.

Want to order this product?...visit Fendergrip's website.

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BoatTEST News

Pay Per View Videos: Great Learning Aids

seamanship basics
Seamanship Basics.
taking on water
When Things Go Wrong.
choosing the right boat
Choosing the Right Boat.
new outboard
Your New Outboard Boat.
new inboard
Your New Inboard Boat.



Whether you have questions about seamanship basics, how to choose the right boat or learning about your new boat, Captain Cefus McRae has an answer for you.  BoatTEST has made special arrangements with the DVD publishers to bring you these instructive videos--at a fraction of their $35 DVD price. Just pick the PPV series that you want to view and show it to the entire family on your computer for up to 7 days for one low price.  Find out more about Captain Cefus McRae's instructional videos.

Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?


First Place

“It’s not that we have run aground that bothers me as much as the footprint we’re resting on.” – M. McIntyre

Second Place

“Ok, you guys, all the way front of the boat. “We’ll rock this thing off the sand bar.”
– A. Ruyg


Honorable (almost) Mention
“Time and tide wait for no man!”
– M. Antonucci

What's Going on Here?


You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption? 


Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky...quack here.


Please send all submissions by 7/20/08., LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901