BoatTEST Newsletter - 08/27/2008 August 27, 2008 If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Test & Video Reviews

- Sylvan 8522 Sport
- Baja 26 Outlaw
- C-Dory 22 Cruiser
- Boston Whaler 200 Dauntless
Sea-Doo 180 Challenger SE
- Larson Escape 234
- Triton 225 DC
- Formula 240 Bowrider
- Ranger 178 VS

Also Inside:
- Doral Goes to 5-Year Warranty
Grady-White's New 29
- MerCruiser 5.0L
- Boat Buying, Stage II
- Do-It-Yourself, Mako Test #s
- Boat Loans
- Is the Compass Obsolete?
Eastern Shore Boat Builder
- Re-Power with a Honda 225
Product Demo: DECO Boat Lifts
- Product Demo: SwingStoppers
- Ducky Award Winner

Doral Goes to 5-Year
Bow-to-Stern Warranty

Doral Prestancia
The 27’ “Prestancia” along with all cruisers in the Doral line are now covered for 5 years “bow-to-stern.”

Doral is a boutique builder catering to a sophisticated international market of boaters looking for style, elegance and hassle-free boating. Two weeks ago the company announced that it will have a 5-year warranty and service contract package that will cover its cruisers in North America from bow to stern for virtually every component. The builder now joins the elite ranks of Formula, Larson, Cobalt, Correct Craft, Riviera and a couple of others in offering a combination of warranty and service contracts that cover their boats for five years. Doral’s cruiser line of nine models goes from 25’ to 45’. To learn more about the details of this new warranty program, watch this exclusive video interview of Doral VP, Denis Jutras.

To see BoatTEST’s tests of the entire Doral line…

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Boat Tests & Reviews

C- Dory 22 Cruiser

C-Dory 22 Cruiser

C-Dory has come up with some new ideas on the 22 Cruiser and the company offers some excellent options, which could make the boat even more appealing.  The C-Dory line is truly rugged, practical and sensible in just about every sense of the word. This boat will be just as comfortable in the icy Canadian north as well as the warm Caribbean south.  See complete test and video of C-Dory's 22 Cruiser.

Boston Whaler 200 Dauntless

Boston Whaler 200 Dauntless

The redesigned Dauntless 200 sports a new, sleeker look, but even in restyling the boat, Boston Whaler made improvements in function. The sloping sheerline at the stern, for example, allows the wide casting platform to extend all the way to the stern, whereas the previous design required a split-level platform, divided by a step near the stern. Learn about all the new changes and see complete test and video of the 200 Dauntless. 

Sea-Doo 180 Challenger SE

Sea-Doo 180 Challenger

The 180 Challenger SE is designed to break you into the boating life with room for your whole family at an affordable price.  The 180 Sea-Doo is nimble, fast, and easy to handle.  It gets on plane in a snap (see the test results) and internal direct drives are safe.  See Captain Rob's complete test and video of the Sea-Doo 180 Challenger SE.

Larson Escape 234

Larson Escape 234Larson's Escape 234 is an affordable family fun machine that combines a spacious deck with a proven sportboat hull.  This deckboat has room for a gang, ample storage throughout and up to a 320 horsepower engine to make sure you have the power you need.  See Captain Ron's complete test and video.

Triton 225 DC

Triton 225 DCTriton’s 225 DC is time tested and brings a dual console family-friendly design to tough offshore fishing. A fishing rig at heart, the 225 Dual Console adds many comforts the family will like, making it an all-around enjoyable boat whether fishing, diving or just hanging out at anchor.  See Captain Rob's complete test and video review of the Triton 225 DC.

Baja 26 Outlaw

Baja 26 OutlawBaja by Fountain recently launched the new 2009 Outlaw 26, but we have not had the chance to test it yet.  Here's a look at the 2007 model which will give you a taste of the pre-Fountain look and performance.  On test day this model reached 66 mph with a 425-hp engine.   Come aboard as we test Baja's 26 Outlaw.

Formula 240 Bowrider

Formula 240 BRAt 24-feet, the Formula 240 Bowrider is the smallest boat in the Formula line.  She may be an "entry level" Formula, but she doesn't fall short of standard features or performance.  Our test boat achieved a top speed of 46.2 mph with a single 320-hp Volvo 5.7 OSXi engine, and good fuel economy of nearly 3 mpg at 3000 rpm. See Captain Rob's complete test and video review of Formula's 240 Bowrider.  

Ranger 178 VS

Ranger 178 VSCompetitive anglers demand tough, aggressive rigs and Ranger delivers both with exceptional value in the 178 VS series. This tournament-ready boat sports plenty of room to work, and with the 150-hp Mercury she was also fast, giving us a WOT speed of 55 mph. Come aboard as we test Ranger's 178 VS.

[~Forward~]Forward to a friend[~EndForward~]

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New Boat

Grady-White’s Customers
Design New 29’ “Fish & Family”

290 run 290 cockpit 290 cabin
When customers talk Grady-White listens. The new 290 has “wish book” features.

Grady-White is celebrating its 50th Anniversary this year and is introducing an all-new 29’ walkaround, which we think is a fitting tribute to the company that made this type of boat famous. With a 9’11” beam, this 7600-lb. boat has the heft to go offshore fishing or go coastal cruising with the family. Grady-White was founded in 1959 and was purchased by Eddie Smith 41 years ago. To read an un-edited press release from Grady-White which describes the new Chesapeake 290 in detail…catch this flak. 

To see boat tests of Grady-White models…

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Engine News

MerCruiser 5.0L (260-hp):
A Reliable Workhorse

Capt. Bob 1 Captain Bob 2 Capt. Bob 3
Capt. Smith reports that he has tested scores of MerCruiser 5.0L engines
and they have always been dependable.

A 260-hp engine is just the right horsepower to meet many applications in both single and twin configurations, so it is little wonder that we have tested so many of them. In the video below Capt. Smith runs us through the features of the workhorse MPI engine which has DTS and EGS. In case you just entered the room: MPI (Multiple Port Injection); DTS (Digital Throttle & Shift, aka fly-by-wire); EGS (Engine Guardian System, which monitors low oil pressure, high coolant temp, low drive lube, low sea water pressure, low voltage, over-rev, and your blood pressure). Like most MerCruiser engines, you can get it with the Axius joystick to make docking easy, SeaCore anti-corrosion system, and Smart Craft which does everything except figure your monthly payments. This engine takes a Bravo I, II, or III drive which have reduction ratios from 1.50:1 to 2.43:1 – something that is more important now than ever before. Watch our short video and we’ll make you an expert…crank her up.

See’s library of educational videos on 32 MerCruiser engines and 4 out drives…

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Boat Buying, Stage II

Now Get Subjective!
Find the Warts & Bruises

Fat Guy Swan Drug Boat
Selecting the right boat is a matter of size, style,
horsepower, utility and matching them all to your individual needs.

Two weeks ago we looked at 25 objective boat buying criteria in “Stage I” of our effort to separate the medal-winners from the also-rans. Now we get subjective, make value judgments and look for the flaws many boats have lurking beneath their shiny gel coat. “Stage II” in our process draws on our Owners Reports, ABYC Standards, and expert advice to toss the dross and find the true jewel on the “short list.” To discover the final ten hurdles we put our finalists over…jump on this.

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Mako Mystery

Mako Test Numbers
Mako 264
The 264 Mako looks fast, but how fast is it really? We don’t know and need your help.’s boat testing operation is one of the most complicated and costly third-party procedures executed by anyone in the boating industry. Test crews, videographers, helicopter pilots, support staff and the weather all have to be orchestrated like a Beethoven symphony at the Met. Sometimes the weather does not behave, which is why when you go to our five Mako tests you will not find any test numbers. Twice we sent our crews to Florida to test five Mako boats offshore and both times weather prohibited our crews from getting meaningful numbers. So, we have Capt. Smith’s video examinations of the boats, his 800-word articles, all of the specs, standard and optional equipment lists, photos, engine options and other data -- but no performance data. We need you, our trusty readers, to gather some basic performance information for us. Here’s what we need: Mako model, brand of outboard and horsepower, WOT speed and best cruise speed. That’s all. Mako builds 7 center consoles, 4 express fishboats, one dual console, and 15 bay boats with the Mako brand. Email your test results and any comments you may have, along with your name and the name of the dealership you visited, to:

We’ll publish the results in a future issue of BoatTEST Reports.

To find the location of the closest Mako dealer…


To see our Mako video reports…

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New Boat Test

New Sylvan Twin-toon
Wakeboat with iTunes

Sylvan 8255 Sport
Capt. Smith inspects Infinity sound system on wakeboard tower on trailerable pontoon boat.

Sylvan’s new 8255 Sport has packed a changing “room”, 14-seats, and top-of-the-line sound system and a wakeboard tower on a 22’ twin toon boat with a 8’6” beam. Powered by a single 150-hp outboard, this boat offers a lot of watersports and entertaining possibilities in a trailerable package. The builder’s “revolutionary” Deep-V RPT hull design allows the boat to go fast with relatively low horsepower. To find out more about this boat see Capt. Smith’s video…name this toon.

Read Capt. Smith’s detailed article on the 8255…

See our tests on the whole Sylvan line… 

Read article about the RPT "Deep-V" Design...

Boating Loans

Is Your Piggy Bank Swimming Against the Tide?

Piggy bank
Unsecured loans for anything up to $100,000 all online.
Give your piggy bank a break.

BoatTEST recently came across a company, called First Again LLC, that seems to make the boat financing process a little easier for those boaters with good credit. Although they only finance up to $100,000 they offer a simple process and rates that range from 5.99% to 7.49% for 36 to 84 month terms respectively. Their entire process is online and fairly straightforward. There is no paperwork, it is all done online, the loans are unsecured, and there are no liens or surveys. In fact, the loan does not even have to be for a boat – use the money for a motorcycle, plane, horse, time share, wedding, or that set of dentures you’ve been dreaming about. If you are ready for some financing, give them a try and then let us know what you think...check in here.

Outboard News

Re-Power with a Honda 225
for Only 4.99% APR!*!*!*

Honda Marine
If your old boat is ready for re-power, Honda wants your business and will finance at a good rate, depending on your credit score, that is.

*Honda Marine announced last week that it is offering a special incentive to boaters to re-power this fall – at a financing rate “as low as 4.99% APR” if bought throughout the fall and winter boat show seasons.  Hey that could be a great deal. The Honda 225-hp engines have a MSRP of about $18k, so what does that work out to be for a monthly payment? The Honda outboards now have a 5-year factory-backed non-prorated warranty program and the company says it will finance up to 10 years – twice as long as its warranty.  Okay, so what does the * mean? Good question pilgrim, and we’ll tell you if you can…read fine print.  




Prop Info


yamaha pwc

boat history




First Again


Boat Attitude

yamaha pwc

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Boating Tips

Is the Compass Obsolete?

Taking up valuable dashboard real estate, some builders are casting the low-tech compass overboard.

With GPS and chart plotters now making navigation literally child’s play, why does anyone need an old fashioned compass? After all, isn’t it just an expensive piece of decoration that gets in one’s line of sight? As a youngster once told us, “How boring, it’s always pointing the same direction!” More and more, boat builders are leaving them off of new boats. We’re told that the compass as a navigational device was invented by the Chinese before 1044 AD, so do you still need such old technology? For our take on this burning question…compensate this.

Final Cruise

Eastern Shore
Wooden Boat Builder

Maynard W. Lowery in 1999.

Maynard W. Lowery, 88, and his sister, Alma Lowery, 87, both of Tilghman, MD, were killed in St. Michaels when their car drove into the path of a trooper heading to the scene of a crash, state police said. Lowery was described in The Washington Post in 1984 as "the last builder of traditional wooden Chesapeake Bay-style yachts and workboats" on Tilghman, an island town where the water is both livelihood and recreation. To read more about Lowery’s life and contributions to the sport we all love…move on here.   

Product Review

DECO Boat Lifts

Deco Boat Lifts

DECO manufactures a variety of aluminum and stainless steel boat lifts ranging from 1,500 lbs. to 40,000 lbs.  These lifts are designed to accommodate "any hoist scenario" and all lifts come with DECO's Patented Cable retention system (CRS) to keep your cables in place.  Watch DECO Boat Lift video.   

Learn more about DECO boat lifts.

Product Review



A hurricane's path is never known and can change direction at any time.  SwingStoppers' system is designed for you to quickly and easily secure your boat for a hurricane.  According to the company this product can withstand Category 5 hurricane conditions.  Watch SwingStopper's video.

Learn more about SwingStoppers.       

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place
“…and that gentlemen, is how you get rid of the rats…” – S. Haylock

Second Place

“So who wants to be the Captain this time?” –V. Adamaitis

Honorable (almost) Mention

“I knew we should’a gone hunting.” – J. Smith

“I can’t put my finger on it, but something just isn’t right here.” – J. O’Neal

“No, I don’t think any more trim tab will help!” – C. Miller

“I think I flooded the carb.” - R.Mitchell

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 9/1/08.

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