Offshore Motoryacht - 09/17/2008
Offshore Motoryacht September 17, 2008 If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Test & Video Reviews

- Cruisers Yachts 300 CXi
- Formula 45 Yacht
- Four Winns V358
- Grady-White Express 330
- Wellcraft 360 Coastal

- Mainship Expedition Trawler

Also Inside:
Ocean Yachts' 37 Billfish
- New Viking 82 Convertible
- Stern Drives with Joysticks
- Olin Stephens' Last Voyage

- Bertram's New 540
- Regulator 34 Contest Winner
- Regal Solution to Stern Pollution
Riding Out Ike
- Larson Sales Up
- Hurricane Aftermath
- Capt. Steve's Smart Boating
- New Carver 44 Sojourn
- New 3900 Tiara "Open"
Isolation Transformers for Safety
- When Do You Need a Survey
- Where is Bill Noble
Ducky Award Winner

Ocean Yachts’ 37 Billfish 
a “New” Direction Offshore

Ocean Yachts 37 bf
Introduced a year ago, Ocean Yachts' 37 has struck a responsive chord among a diverse audience of offshore fishermen.

It is not often that a new design concept comes out in boating, and when one does, we often find that it is a throwback to something done years ago that got lost in the stampede to bigger, faster, fancier, niftier whatever that has gripped boating for the last 30 years or so. Such an example is the Ocean Yachts 37 Billfish launched almost exactly a year ago. At first, to some, she looked odd and out of place with the beefy battlewagons lined up along sportfisherman’s row at the fall and winter boat shows. But then, when hardcore fishermen starting spending some time on the boat, light bulbs began blinking on. The 37 Billfish is a fresh, new 21st century take on an old concept that took good care of our fathers and grandfathers. To find out more about this exciting new fishboat, the brand that it is aimed against, who is buying it and why…hook up here.

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Cruisers Yachts 300 CXi

Cruisers Yachts 330 CXi

The 300 CXi is Cruisers Yachts' entry into the highly competitive 30 foot express class. There are quite a few out there, so in order to distinguish themselves builders all try to do something different. Besides an extensive list of standard equipment, the cabin on the 300 CXi has something a little out of the ordinary to offer. Find out what sets the 300 CXi apart from others in her class.

Formula 45 Yacht

Formula 45 Yacht

Formula's unique Coupe design combines elegance and function to create a yacht which can entertain and perform. This yacht will extend your boating months in the north and the south with comforts you only wished for.  With IPS this big yacht  has the handling of a runabout so the cruising couple that isn’t comfortable or just doesn’t want to work so hard to travel doesn’t have to consider close quarters maneuverability as a deterrent.  Come aboard the Formula 45 Yacht.

Four Winns V358

Four Winns V358
If you are ready for long weekends aboard and don’t want to skimp on style and comfort, the V358 is fast becoming a yacht of choice to take you to your favorite get-away. She has all the comforts, style, and performance expected from Four Winns.  Step aboard the Four Winns V358.

Grady-White Express 330

Grady-White Express 330

Grady-White knows a good model when they've built one, and according to their owners the Grady-White Express 330 is an excellent one. For 2008 Grady-White made more than 40 enhancements to improve the function and style of this winning design. The company also expanded the choice of power options to include Yamaha's new F350s. With the standard twin 250-hp Yamaha outboards, the Express 330 starts at $324,650.  Watch video and see complete test numbers on the Grady-White Express 330.

Wellcraft 360 Coastal

Wellcraft 360 CoastalIf you have wanted something to step up to with room
to fish, power to get there and comfort to enjoy with the family and friends, the Wellcraft 360 Coastal is certainly a powerful choice.  The 360 comes standard with a hardtop and has many of the features you want in a cruising boat while maintaining a foothold firmly in the fishing corner. See complete test and video of the Wellcraft 360 Coastal.

Mainship Expedition Trawler

Mainship 40Mainship took a fresh look at the desires of cruising families and the need to update the 40 Trawler. This resulted in a new series for them: the Mainship Expedition.  The builder has opened up the salon and it is now more inviting for that relaxing time after a day’s voyage.   We take the Mainship Expedition Trawler for a test ride...see complete test and video.

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New Boat

New Viking 82 Just Launched

Viking 82 C
Viking Yachts recently launched its largest yacht ever, an 82’ convertible, and the company claims to have orders for 14 of them.

In what is certainly the most successful launch of a large new yacht we can remember, the Viking 82 hit the river behind the company’s New Gretna, New Jersey plant recently, and is said to be ahead of schedule. But the boat won’t be on display at Norwalk, Annapolis or even the Ft. Lauderdale shows, and will make her debut at a Viking VIP Preview at the company’s Riviera Beach, FL facility January 30-31, 2009. Beneath that immense foredeck there are four large staterooms and a crew cabin. Note the portlight in the hull denoting the full-beam master. Bella! To see below and find out more about this beauty…troll your mouse.

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Engine News

Do Stern Drives with Joysticks Work?

Formula Four Winns Bayliner Maxum
Formula Four Winns Bayliner Maxum

Every week or so we get an email asking us “are joysticks really easy to use?” Yes, joysticks are easy, and possibly easier for newbies than veterans. Because we think that joysticks are so important to boating we have documented the introduction of the Axius system over the last eight months with over 20 videos explaining how it works. To see them…use your “mouse-stick.”

But we know from our own experience that you won’t truly understand how easy they are to operate until you try it yourself. That is why – by special arrangement – dealers for the four companies below would be glad for you to test drive their boats with MerCruiser Axius joysticks. Not all of the dealers might have a joystick-boat in stock, so you need to call first and find out. To find the closest dealer to you for a test drive, just click the appropriate button. Once you’ve tried it yourself, we’d appreciate hearing back from you.

370 SS

Four Winns V358


2900 SE

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New Boat

Bertram's CEO Explains the New 540

Bertram's new 54 will debut at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show and all eyes will be on her. She has been designed for the "Renaissance Sportsman."

The new Bertram 540 has been designed to capture the hearts and minds of fishermen who -- while they would like giant tuna carcasses strapped aboard and black marlin trophy mounts -- aspire to something more than a big boat that is an easily cleaned washbasin for fish blood and guts. The Ferretti group is building a boat for the more sophisticated sportsman, a man who is looking for more than just good fishability in a convertible and also wants a luxurious cruising boat and a classy entertainment venue. To find out more about the extraordinary new Bertram 540 convertible in the words of Giovanni Vacchi, CEO of Bertram...hook up here.

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Regulator 34/38

Regulator 34 Customizing Contest Winner

Odyssey Odyssey2


Over the last five years there has been a slow but perceptible shift in the use of virtually all types and sizes of offshore fishing boats – away from fishing and towards cruising. Regulator has also noted this shift in buyer sentiment, and for that reason introduced the layout pictured above when it introduced its new 34 (aka 38, counting its outboard motor) this summer. Regulators are highly customizable boats so a month ago we asked our readers how they would change the new 34, and offered BoatTEST’s coveted Ducky Award for the best response. There were lots of terrific ideas in addition to the winning modification. To discover how our readers would modify this CC and who won the Ducky…punch this list.

See tests and videos on Regulator boats…

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Regal News

The Regal Solution to Stern Pollution

Dingy inflatable
Dingy inflatable

When inflatable dinghies came along 40 years ago cruising powerboats quickly adopted them – then discovered that there was no good place to carry them. Unless you had a large motoryacht or convertible, you had to stick them on the stern somehow, somewhere, as in the photos above. But none of those solutions are ideal because they are all in the way of boarding, ugly, and unhandy. Med mooring with them is nearly impossible. But Regal has built a solution into their 5260 and we have made a video showing how it works…click your dinghy.

See test and videos of Regal boats...

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Boating Tips

Riding Out Ike with 3 Anchors Set

Odyssey Odyssey2 Odyssey 3
The 113' dive support vessel Odyssey motored from its marina into Galveston Bay. Incredible, "as-it-happened" video footage of Odyssey putting out 3 anchors in north Galveston Bay. Did the anchors hold? Did the three-point method work? After Ike passed, what happened to Odyssey?

As the pictures and video in our companion story points out so well, the danger to boats in a marina during a hurricane comes not from the wind, but from the storm surge. It is the surge which wrestles vessels from their moorings and throws them up onto land. Often they are pinned to a fixed piling unable to rise and they are swamped and sunk by the surge and waves. In this fine video you can see how the crew of the 113' Odyssey -- formerly a research vessel for submersibles -- carefully chose a spot in Galveston Bay, executed a 3-point anchor maneuver, laid out plenty of chain, and rode out Ike in 110-mph winds and surge recorded as high as 14 feet. The video is instructive. However, if you are tempted to try the same operation...drop this anchor.

See video of Odyssey in the hurricane...

Read more about how Odyssey anchored, what happened during the storm, the boat's history and specs, and what she does for a living now.

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Hurricane Aftermath

Texas Boats Get Plastered

Every boat owner is supposed to have a "hurricane plan" to protect his boat. Some plan! This marina is in Galveston, TX. Why were boats here at all?

There was plenty of warning that Hurricane Ike was going to come ashore in the Houston-Galveston area. All of America had been hearing about it coming for days. Yet, as the pictures on these pages will document, hundreds of boat owners seemed not to have done much to meaningfully protect their boats from the storm surge. In fact, some seem to have done nothing at all. In the pictures on the following pages we see dozens of trailerable boats left in the water and many large cruisers that were not hauled out at boat yards. Evidently low bridges kept boats from getting up rivers in some places. There seem to be no hurricane barriers in the Galveston-Houston-Port Arthur area. To see the pictures and to comment on these provocative questions...roll dice here.

See videos of destruction in Galveston, TX. 

See boats in distress next to a burning building.

 Larson News

Larson Sales Up
in Large Cruisers

Kruschek Kruschek 2
Larson 370s are going to the Bahamas, and first-time buyers love the joystick. Larson has two 330 models, one for day cruising, another for extended cruising.

In a year when many express cruiser boat builders have seen sales down 20% or more, Larson Boats sales are up in their 27'+ cruisers. We met with Larson General Manager Jeff Kruschek to find out what is making his large cruisers so popular. We discovered it is for a number of reasons including engine options, IPS, and different accommodation plans for different folks. Check out the two videos above for the specifics.

See tests and videos of the entire Larson line...


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Boating Tips

Capt. Steve's "Smart Boating" Lessons

Steve1 Steve2 steve3steve4 steve5
Capt. Steve gives a basic explanation of all five major marine engines and how they operate.

In this week’s lessons Capt. Steve takes us through the basics of marine power selection. If you are new to boating, then this is a “must-see” set of videos. If you are thinking about moving up to a stern drive, inboard, or to a jet drive boat you might also want to see the videos. All power boaters, newbie or veteran, need to watch Capt. Steve’s two videos showing how a sailing vessel morphs into a powerboat. (See those rag-baggers aren’t so bad after all.) The nine videos presented this week are part of Capt. Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these videos every week on and become an armchair expert. To view  this week’s lessons…start your engine.

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New Boat

New Carver 44 Sojourn

Carver 44 Sojourn
Carver's new 44 family cruising boat is available with optional IPS drives and joystick with both gas and diesel engines.

Carver's new addition to its 11-model family from 36' to 56' sits squarely in the middle. The concept of this boat is to provide affordable comfortable cruising accommodations for two couples or for a family. The emphasis in boat building these days is at the stern, and Carver has certainly zeroed-in on that aspect of the boat to provide plenty of space for all sorts of activities. To find out more about Carver's new cruiser...cast off here.

New Boat

New 3900 Tiara "Open"

The new 3900 joins nine other boats to round out the Tiara family of boats at ten.

The new 3900 joins four other Tiara "Opens" -- express boats that you can make into a cruising boat or a fishing boat. Either way you decide to go, you'll have a functional, soild boat under your feet built by a family (the Slikkers) that has a reputation in the boating industry second to none for standing behind their products. Like all of the opens, the optional equipment you add will take the boat in the direction you want to go -- cruising or fishing. To see what the 3900 looks like below, to find out what the 3900 sells for, what options we'd add and how much they cost...flip this coin.

In the Engine Room

Isolation Transformers Are Important for Safety

Captain Forrest
Capt. Forrest points out important uses of isolation transformers.

If you have a large cruiser or motoryacht you need to know about your isolation transformer. First, do you have one? If not, many of the appliances and electrical equipment on your boat might be vulnerable to power surges at the dock. Are you leaking stray current into the water around you? Is the boat next to you? Isolation transformers, such as the ISO Boost unit made by Charles Industries, can not only protect your boat from a number of problems it can also boost your power at the dock by up to 15% when needed. To find out more about this important piece of engine room equipment...flip this switch.

See full details on Charles Industries' ISO Boost Transformer.

Marine Surveyors

When Do You Need 
a Survey?

When getting a great deal on a “fixer-upper” you might want to consult a qualified marine surveyor.

We are constantly surprised at how many people we know who buy fairly large used boats without the advice of a qualified marine surveyor. Even buyers of new boats that cost a sizable amount of money would be wise to invest a few hundred dollars more to get the report and advice of a good surveyor. What you find out might save you a lot more money than the surveyor’s fee, to say nothing of a big disappointment. We have used surveyors numerous times, and no matter how well we think we know a boat, we are constantly amazed at what a good surveyor will turn up that we hadn’t caught. To find out when to use a surveyor and how to find a good one…tap this hull.

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Last Voyage

Olin Stephens Dies at 100

Olin Stephens Olin Stephens Olin Stephens

Olin J. Stephens, (b. April 13, 1908) the undisputed titan of 20th century yacht design, passed away Sept. 13th. His world-renown design firm of Sparkman & Stephens (S&S) designed over 2,000 boats from the 1930s until his retirement in 1978. He, along with his younger brother Roderick, was responsible for many design innovations in sailboats, most notably the Dorade deck ventilators and the skeg-mounted rudder which performed so successfully on the America's Cup defender Intrepid. He designed 8 of the 9 defending America's Cup boats from 1930 to 1980. We were privileged to know and work with both Olin and Rod during the go-go years of ocean racing in the early 1970s. Olin made the boats go fast and Rod made them strong, and we doubt he would abide by the lightweight ocean racers being built today. Olin held the New York Yacht Club membership #1, at 78 years the club's longest serving member. To find out more about the life of Olin Stephens and to see some great old on.

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Where is Bill Noble

River Cruising?
Plan Ahead

South American Adventures 
If you are planning a South American boating adventure, you must see Iguazu Falls
– but do it from downstream first.

Bill Noble is a regular reader of BoatTEST newsletters and sends us captivating, sometimes amusing, but always interesting pictures and videos of boating and boating venues worldwide. Some of the best stuff published on these pages comes from Bill. He owns a 42’ cruiser which he ranges up and down the U.S. East Coast, but sometimes he goes boating elsewhere in the world. He is now planning a South American trip for this winter and sent along these pictures of a river system where he plans to go boating. He works for Coors Light and is paid in 6-pack units; usable pictures getting one six pack, to great videos (like the tanker interview two weeks ago) earning him 4 six-packs. We’ve decided to let our readers show their appreciation – or lack of it – for his contributions by telling us how many Coors Light 6-packs to pay him. To see the pictures and vote on Bill’s payment…float your boat.

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place

“She didn’t look this bad when I took her home after last call!!” – A. Addie

Second Place

“Typical captain, barking out orders.”
–J. Good

Honorable (almost) Mention

”Did I mention that I’m the top dog around here?”– L. Grimmett

“Axius – so simple a dog can drive it!”
– B. Crooks  

“We took comfort in knowing that the captain was an old sea dog.” – J. Miko

“I say ole chap, would you have any grey pup on? – D. Harlow

“Hey baby! Let’s cruise and hang our heads out of the window!” – G. Huckins 

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 9/21/08.

Devil Duck

“Bob, I had something different in mind when you said your first mate  was a dog!” - M. McIntyre

Pirate Duck

“Hi, I am J. Fisher, this is a picture of me taking my boat and leaving your idiotic site!” – M. Martin

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