BoatTEST Newsletter - 08/13/2008 August 13, 2008 If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Test & Video Reviews

- Bayliner 175 Bowrider
- Malibu Sunscape 247 LSV
- Seaswirl 2901 Walkaround
- Sun Tracker Party Barge 22
Alumacraft Pro 175
- Sea-Doo Wake Edition
- Four Winns SL 262

Also Inside:
- 25 Points to Ponder
Owner Boat Reviews
- Glastron GT 225 Response
- Test Yamaha's AR230 HO
- Tigé Switches to PCM Power
- Rotax Engines Rock
- Premier PTX Toons
Visual Distress Signals
- Why We Love Boating
- Product Demo: Boat Bunkers
- Product Demo: Odyssey Batteries
- Product Demo: Mermaid Air
- Ducky Award Winner

25 "Points to Ponder"
For Your Dream Boat

Rising Sun
The 452’ Rising Sun owned by Larry Ellison may not be quite what you had in mind, but nevertheless our 25 suggested data points will help you find the boat of your dreams.

A boat is probably the second or third largest purchase you will ever make. While all boats may look the same at a boat show, there are in fact huge differences among them – most not readily apparent. Virtually all builders claim their boats are the best or represent great value, but reality is often another matter. It is easy for even a veteran boat owner to drink a company’s promotional Kool-Aid, and make a mistake. “Due diligence” is the watch word. To help you in your quest we have constructed 25 objective criteria to help you zero-in on the right boat for you. We also explain WHY these criteria can affect your boating pleasure…start looking here.

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Bayliner 175 Bowrider

Bayliner 175

This fresh redesign may be one of the coolest ways to get into boating. Bayliner has packaged their bestselling fiberglass production boat with a trailer  and a 3.0L MerCruiser engine so you can get quickly on the water and having fun. Come aboard as we test the Bayliner 175...

Malibu Sunscape 247 LSV

Malibu Sunscape 247

The 247 LSV is the largest boat in the Malibu line of high-end ski and wakeboard tow rigs. Like all the Malibu boats, you can customize this flagship in many different ways, depending on preference of water sports and how serious you are about them. If you are into skiing, wakeboarding, tubing or just looking for an all-around fun machine, then the Sunscape model could be for you. See complete test and video of the Malibu Sunscape 247 LSV…

Seaswirl 2901

Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around

The completely re-tooled 29 Walk Around can accommodate up to six for overnighting with a cabin to keep you out of the UV rays and summer squalls.  The cockpit includes all the fishing amenities a serious angler needs including two 38 gallon fish boxes with macerator pumps and a 31 gallon baitwell.  See complete test and video of the Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around...

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 Sport Fish

Sun Tracker Party Barge 22

Although the namesake makes the Party Barge Series sound as though she is built just for the guys from Animal House, when you climb on board you may see a different look than expected. The Party Barge 22 Sport Fish Regency is built with surprising amenities and appointments and comfort from bow to stern. See Capt. Smith’s complete video test of the Sun Tracker Party Barge 22 Sport Fish Regency…step aboard.

Alumacraft Pro 175

Alumacraft Pro 175One of the oldest names in aluminum boat building is Alumacraft. From their one-piece hull to their extruded center keel,  to the marine grade plywood deck Alumacraft uses nothing but the best materials, the company says. Captain John takes the Alumacraft Pro 175 for a test ride...see complete test and video.

Sea-Doo Wake Edition

Sea-Doo Wake EditionSeveral years ago, Sea-Doo took a bold step by developing and marketing a wake sports dedicated PWC. Geared for the i-generation of thrill seekers, the Wake Edition features many components of the GTX model and has numerous upgrades required by boarders to perform at their best.  See Captain Ron's complete test and video review of the Sea-Doo Wake Edition.

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Second Look

Four Winns SL 262 Still Wins Raves

Four Winns
When Four Winns first introduced this radical pickle-fork design it was hailed as “revolutionary" for sportboats.

There was actually nothing new about the pickle-fork concept as the Lake Como boat builder Renato Molinari popularized them on the international racing circuit 40 years ago. But what made the Four Winns SL 262 “revolutionary” is that they were the first builder to sire a completely new breed of sportboat – one that had far higher freeboard so that it would be comfortable, safe and very dry in big water. The designers brought its hard chines forward to give it incredible stability on a 8’6” trailerable beam, a huge forward bowriding area, and also more interior volume in the helm and head area. debuted its videos of the SL 262 over a year ago, but now Four Winns has introduced its own spectacular commercial video which captures the romance and excitement of this breath-taking new design. We urge you to take a look at it whether or not you are interested in a sportboat because it shows you how exciting boat design can be when someone thinks out of the box (or in this case, the old hull shape).

See Four Winns commercial video of SL 262… 

See BoatTEST’s captain’s video take on the SL 262 video with performance numbers… 

Read Captain Ron Svoboda’s report on SL 262 and see detailed pictures…

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Engine News

Rotax Engines Rock!

Rotax 1
Rotax 912 80-hp engine powering boaters who want to fly.
Rotax 2
Rotax 914 100-hp engine powers Predators tracking
Al Qaeda.
Rotax 3
A Can-Am Spyder powered by a Rotax 990 V-Twin 106-hp engine.
Rotax 4
Sea-Doo Speedster Wake with 430-hp Rotax 4-TEC engine.

Rotax engines are not exactly a household name, but they should be. Built in Austria, over 5 million Rotax engines have been built in the last 25 years and as you can see they are used for most any application. Our Capt. Rob Smith spent some time with Sea-Doo engineers in Quebec and has come back with a full video report on the amazing little 3-cylinder engines that power Sea-Doo PWCs. Take a look, we think you will be amazed by what you see.

Rotax 5
Where did these mighty engines come from?
Rotax 6
The technology embedded in Rotax iron.
Rotax 7
How Rotax gets 255-hp from 3 little cylinders.
Rotax 8
One ECU controls both the engine and PWC.

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Reader Response

Glastron GT 225 Highlights
Need for Objective Comparisons

Glastron GT 225
The Glastron GT 225 was fastest
on plane of 16 boats tested.
Stingray 205 LR
The Stingray 205 LR was most economical in class at best cruise at 4.83 mpg.
Larson LXi
The Larson LXi 208 was quietest at 80 dBA, along with the Glastron GT 225.
The Chris-Craft 22 Launch was #1 in range at best cruise at 235 miles.

Our article two weeks ago comparing twenty 21' bowriders, sixteen of which we had tested, has elicited a healthy discussion which points out better than we ever could the inertia of old information, and the need for objective comparative data and research. Several readers scoffed at our suggestion that the low price-point Glastron GT 225 should be on a 21' bowrider buyer's "short list." To find out how an “affordable” family sportboat could make a comparative “short list”...dust off your mouse.

See BoatTEST video of the Glastron GT 225...

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Yamaha AR230 HO

We are Looking for
a Few Good Tests!

Yamaha AR230
The Yamaha AR230 was Boating Magazine’s “Boat of the Year”, but we haven’t tested it yet!

We tested the SX230 in 2005 and again in 2006, but we haven’t gotten around to the new AR230 – yet. That’s why we are asking you to take a test drive for us and let us know what you think.   So, if you are a serious buyer and accept this mission to provide us with valuable reader feedback, be forewarned, the folks at Yamaha tell us that once people take a test drive they almost always buy one.  The best reader report will win one of our new, coveted, pirate, rubber duckys.

To set up a test…push Yamaha’s Button.  Test Drive Button

In the Engine Room

Tigé Switches to High-Torque PCM Power

Tigé Z1
Tigé has switched to PCM gas inboard engines for 2009 model year. BoatTEST has tested six of their newly-powered boats.

In the world of ski/wakeboard boats, after a good sound system, nothing is more important than time-to-plane. Tigé (pronounced tie-guh) boats recently switched engine suppliers to PCM, long a respected name in the watersports and tournament ski/wakeboard market. As soon as Tigé got the new engines installed we flew our Director of Testing, Capt. Rob Smith, out to Abilene, TX to see how the boats performed with the new iron. To find out what numbers we got with the new PCM engines...jump this wake.  

Product Demo

Mermaid Marine Air

Mermaid Marine Air

If the summer heat is affecting your time on the water, you may want to consider getting an easy-to-install air conditioning unit.  Mermaid Marine Air constructs a line of self-contained, prewired, and precharged air conditioning units for boats of all sizes. Watch video about Mermaid Marine.

Visit Mermaid Marine. 




Prop Info


yamaha pwc

grady-white ad

boat history




Boat Attitude

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Boat Buying Tips

BoatTEST's Owner Boat Reviews
Are Gaining In Popularity

Cobalt 200
Cobalt 200:
Enough power?

“Faster to plane than in BoatTEST data -- under 4 sec to plane with 4 people.
Four Winns 240
Four Winns 240 Funship:
Things to Change?
“Freshwater pump switch move to helm instead of being in the head.”
Polar 2300 WA
Polar 2300 WA:
Changes needed?

“Foam or core the hull to reduce noise below underway”.
Sea Hunt
Sea Hunt 260:
Happy with dealer?

“No. Horrible customer service. Penny pinching wife runs the show, knows nothing…[about] a boat
Regulator 26 FS
Regulator 26 FS: Performance?
"Used in seas up to 5-6' up to 70 miles offshore. Comfortable 28 kt cruise in 3-4' seas…extremely solid even with 5-6' head sea.”
JC Pontoon 23
JC Pontoon 23 SunToon TT: Other comments?
“My first toon…need counseling, still feel it's not a ‘real boat’, have a boating inferiority complex."

Now in its 6th year,’s “Owner Boat Reviews” are gaining in popularity as more and more members check them when doing buying research. Each week scores of altruistic members fill out the 15 questions that cover the boat, its engine, performance, accommodations, dealership, factory and a number of other critical subjects of boats they own. The concept is to provide boat buyers -- for both new and used boats -- with valuable insights to help them make the right buying decisions about specific brands and models. To find out more about BoatTEST’s “Owner Boat Reviews” and how to use them to your advantage…report in here.

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Product Demo

Boat Bunkers

Boat Bunkers

If you are tired of scraping your boat's hull and don't want to spend a fortune for a boat hoist, the people from Boat Bunkers might have a solution for you.   Boat Bunkers is an in-water mooring station which isolates your boat from the surrounding water, therefore keeping the bottom of your boat barnacle free.  Watch our Boat Bunker product video.

Visit Boat Bunkers.

Product Demo

Odyssey Batteries

Odyssey Batteries

Odyssey Drycell batteries are heavy duty, deep cycle, high cranking amp batteries with Drycell technology that gives each battery a lifespan anywhere from 6 to 10 years.   The spill-proof design eliminates any corrosive effects and by using pure lead technology, Odyssey Batteries gives a high-rate power density.  Watch Odyssey Batteries' demonstration. 

Visit Odyssey Batteries.  

Safety Tip

Flare at Night
Consider the Plight...

Visual Distress Signals
…of Those in Fright, so worry not you’re Right, Rescue take Flight.

How many times have you seen a flare at night only to think that it was a prank or that if it were a real “Mayday” someone else would see it and call the Coast Guard? Unfortunately, emergency flares don’t last very long – mere seconds – and chances are good that no one will be looking in the right direction during those few seconds. If you do see a flare, take the position and call it in. If you are on the other end of the bargain you wouldn’t want it any other way. Here’s a true story of a family that was saved by a quick-witted waitress…double the tip.

Boating Tips

Why We Love Boating

In case you haven’t guessed, this is a yellowtail snapper, perhaps the best tasting fish you’ll ever catch.

Years ago while cruising in the Caribbean we dangled a couple of lines over the side at sundown. To our delight we happened into a school of yellowtail snapper and in a few minutes we had half a dozen aboard. In a flash they were dressed, grilled, and served to a hungry group of kids that didn’t like fish – until then! Fresh yellowtail snapper are so delicious, even kids love them. It was a meal we will always remember. If you would like an expert's tips on catching them…drop a line here.

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Pontoon Boats

Premier PTX Toons Go to the Movies!

Premier PTX
Premier’s 13-minute video about its PTX tritoon series is one of industry’s best commercial videos.
Watch the commercial for Premier’s Twin Toon Intrigue with galley, lounger seats and other options.

Premier Pontoon company in Wyoming, MN has what many people believe to be the best and certainly the most numerous product videos in the boating industry. These videos are hard to top from standpoints of production values, professionalism and information. now makes 17 Premier corporate videos available on BoatTEST 24/7. So, any time you are thinking about pontooning, or if you are like one of our readers, you own a toon but need a little peer support, just come to BoatTEST and the Premier movies. If you would like just the cold hard facts, then you can play one of our 10 video tests of Premier toons. We suggest that you start at the top of the line with the 310 Boundary Waters tritoon.

See test video of 310 Boundary Waters…

See test video of 275 Intrigue...

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place
“Where’s my litter box! I’m going to need it!” – L. Tury

Second Place

“First they get me fixed, next they get me declawed, and then they expect me to hang on!!” –R. Banzhof

Honorable (almost) Mention

“That must be the new towable by Sea-Doo. It’s called the Cat-Apult.” – J. Foxen

“The Winner of the 'How to Kill the Kids' Award is...” – A. Vallalon

“Rough ride, but wasn’t that fun kids? Where’s the cat?” – E. Donath

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 8/17/08.

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