Boat Tests & Reviews
Bayliner 245 Cruiser
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'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...
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'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
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’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’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
See complete test and video…
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’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
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 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
See video review...
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
See Capt. Smith's how-to prop video...
Sea-Doo Designs “The WOW Factor”
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.
New Yamaha F40 EFI
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...
Sen. Murkowski Fiasco
Sen. Murkowski Holds
America's Boaters Hostage
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? BoatTEST.com once again invites its readers to implore the Senator
to reconsider her hold on "Unanimous Consent" of S. 2766...her direct line is here.
Letters to the Editor
Murkowski Creates Firestorm
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.
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
Five Boat Builders Make Recall List
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.
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
Pay Per View Videos: Great Learning Aids
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
“It’s not that we have run aground that bothers me as much as the footprint we’re
resting on.” – M. McIntyre
“Ok, you guys, all the way front of the boat. “We’ll rock this thing off the sand
– 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
Please send all submissions by 7/20/08.
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