BoatTEST Newsletter - 09/24/2008 September 24, 2008 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Test & Video Reviews

- Smoker Craft 171 Pro Bass
- Glastron GLS 255
- Larson Cabrio 220
- Tracker Pro Team 170 TX
Yamaha 232 Limited
- JC Pontoon TriToon 246

Also Inside:
- Catch a Stingray
- BoatTEST's Drew Jenkins
Doral's Unique Approach
- Tigé Turns to PCM Power
- MerCruiser's 260-hp Engine
- New Ranger 208VX
- Product Demo: Navis 3000
- Sea-Doo Head-to-Head
New Triumph 1700 Skiff
- We Love this Boat
Product Review: OceanLED
- Reader Feedback
See Rays Heading South
- USCG Recalls
- Captain Steve's Weekly Lesson
Ducky Award Winner

Catch a Stingray
If You Can...

Stingray 220 DR
Test numbers are always good, but isn't video better? is going off script and asking you to select which Stingray models you’d like to see video on. All eight of our tests were powered by Volvo Penta sterndrives from 135-hp to 280-hp. Below are the eight boat tests, take your pick. We have not seen any video footage on these models, perhaps it is because they move too fast? No matter the reason, we want YOU to tell us which models you want to see video on.  Stingray has proven their claim of performance, speed and price value, but now we want video.  After all, video makes everything just a bit more fun.  To make your selection just click on the model below.

stingray 185 ls
185 ls
stingray 185 lx
stingray195 ls
stingray 205 cx
205 cx
stingray 205lr
stingray 220 cx
stingray 220dr

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Smoker Craft 171 Pro Bass

Smoker Craft 171 Pro Bass

Smoker Craft has been successful in the northern walleye market for many years and is now expanding into the southern bass market.  Smoker Craft continues to do what it has done best in the northern market by maintaining value and quality in a rugged aluminum rig with this 2008 model. The 171 Pro Bass is one of a series of three bass rigs that Smoker Craft has designed. See complete test and video of Smoker Craft's 171 Pro Bass.

Glastron GLS 255

Glastron GLS 255
The 255 is the queen of the new GLS line of boats and Glastron has incorporated a number of features you would normally expect to find only on high end boats costing many thousands of dollars more. The 255 is supposed to be offering more seating room, more luxury and better performance than her predecessor. To see if Glastron met their goals with the all new GLS 255 watch our video and review the performance numbers.

Larson Cabrio 220

Larson Cabrio 220

The Cabrio 220 has been around a few years and has done quite well in the Northeast, Canada and the Northwest, according to Jeff Kruschek, VP and GM for Larson. It has also done well in the European market. For '09, Larson made a few changes . This model looks and feels bigger than most 22’ cuddy cabins and often is mistaken for an entry level cruiser. She is priced like a cuddy, yet feels like an entry level cruiser. See Captain Rob's complete test and video of the Cabrio 220.

Tracker Pro Team 170 TX

Tracker 170 TXThe Pro Team 170 TX has an all welded Revolution hull designed for a smooth ride and fishability.  The full length longitudinal stringer system and all aluminum stern mean you should be able to count on this boat to serve you well for decades. See Captain Ron's complete test and video.

Yamaha 232 Limited

Yamaha 232 LimitedThe 232 Limited is as good looking as she is functional and durable. This jetdrive will serve your whole family for a long day on the water. The 232 Limited is the company's most "luxurious" model complete with an extensive features list and a swim platform you've got to see.  See Captain John's complete test and video of the Yamaha 232 Limited.

JC Pontoon TriToon 246

JC Pontoon TriToon 246The 246 TriToon is built on an entirely different hull than JC's SunToon and NepToon series. This is a noticeable upgrade for JC’s customers, and also something unique among all pontoon boat hulls.  Our test boat topped out over 43 miles-per-hour, thanks in part to the TriToon’s unique hull shape with angled planing surfaces on the outer tubes. The wide center tube overlaps the other two to form one hull, making the TriToon handle more like a deck boat than a typical pontoon boat. Come aboard as we test the TriToon 246.

Take this model for a test drive. 

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FlowersIt is with great sadness that we announce the passing of one of our own employees, Drew Jenkins.

Drew was a lifelong resident of Greenwich, Connecticut. He worked in sales for the magazine publishing industry for many years, successfully launching new magazines and helping expand others. Drew was an avid golfer who loved boating and football and was a devoted father to his young son.

Drew came onboard at BoatTEST as a Sales Manager in September of 2007. He was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer in March of 2008. Drew passed away on Monday, September 15th. Although he was part of our team for only a short time, Drew was a true professional, and left a lasting impression on us all. We are sure that anyone who was lucky enough to have worked with Drew during his tenure with BoatTEST shares in our feelings of loss.

At present it is our intent to create a scholarship foundation for Drew's son's educational needs.  If you are interested in contributing, please contact Lis Soltes at a>.


If you would like to make a donation to the American Cancer Society in Drew’s honor please visit,

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Boat Builders

Doral’s Unique Approach to Boat Building Focuses on Boutique vs All-Inclusive

Doral Luc Doral Deck
Doral is a boutique builder with a different approach and attitude focused on
building high-end boats one at a time.

Doral uses or offers all the best materials available and they give their customers many options to choose from throughout their boats. Most of the craftsman at Doral have worked there for 15-20 plus years and take great care in building each boat one at a time. Some of the quality materials Doral uses include balsa core, 316 grade polished stainless steel throughout, an epoxy based barrier coat, exotic woods with high-gloss varnish, 30-ounce exterior upholstery vinyl, and this year they have introduced a new type of coating from CCP called “IMEDGE” which is more UV resistant than conventional gelcoat. This high-performance coating won’t chalk or otherwise breakdown. This abrasion resistant and water-tight coating is available as an option on all colored hulls.

We recently interviewed a 23-year veteran at Doral Boats, Luc St-Onge, Yacht Designer who spoke to us about the quality components and overall fit and finish of the boats, why they are a bit heavier than others the same size, and what sets them apart in the industry. Watch our exclusive video. recently tested 6 new Dorals in Canada and we will be sharing these videos and tests with you in a few weeks.

See performance tests of Doral Boats...

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In the Engine Room

Tigé Turns to PCM Power

The reliable, super-quiet PCM marine engine provides
good performance and fuel efficiency for all Tigé models.

The six boats we tested were powered by either the 343-hp PCM 5.7L EX343 or the 409-hp PCM 6.0L ZR409. PCM has worked hard to maximize the engines' torque at low rpm for improved hole-shot performance. The EX343 has 403 ft.-lbs. and the ZR409 has a prodigious 492 ft.-lbs. of torque. PCM has won the JD Power Award four years out of the last five for highest customer satisfaction for inboard gas engines. The PCM engines also have a three-year warranty which is among the best in inboards.

22 Vé


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In the Engine Room

MerCruiser's 260-hp 5.0L

MerCruiser 5.0L
Check out the MerCruiser 5.0L 260-hp's performance.

MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI is a popular choice for its reliabilty and performance.  Moving up from a standard carbureted engine to the MPI means more power for the type of performance today’s watersports demand.  The easy to maintain 5.0 MPI is but one in MerCruiser’s lineup.   MerCruiser has made maintenance simple with remote oil drains and easy water drain systems making your job a snap.  Come along as Captain Rob checks out the 5.0L engine from MerCruiser.

New Boat

New Ranger 208VX

Ranger 208VX
The 208 is the newest addition to Ranger's line of VX models.

Ranger Boats recently unveiled the company's 2009 model lineup which included the all new 208VX. This model is said to be the competitive angler's dream combining great performance and features at a reasonable price. With a pultruded floor for greater strength, Ranger's innovative Rite-Track keel for maneuverability, and SRS soft riding seats for comfort, the folks at Ranger are certainly listening to their anglers and delivering what they need.  To learn more about the 208VX...cast here.

See tests and videos of Ranger Boats...

Sea-Doo Sportboats

Features of the
180 Challenger

Sea-Doo 180 feaures

The 180 Challenger is designed to break you into the boating life with room for your whole family at an affordable price. Capt. Rob Smith recently checked out Sea-Doo's 180 Challenger and discovered that this model is loaded with standard features, many of which are mere options on competitive models. 

Starting with the standard trailer, a spacious cockpit with standard bimini and a more powerful engine package, this 180 Challenger should definitely be on your short list.  Watch the 180 Challenger features and benefits video.




Prop Info


yamaha pwc

boat history




First Again

yamaha pwc

Boat Attitude
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PWC Comparison

Sea-Doo Head to Head

sea-doo compares the performance of Sea-Doo's models with the competition.
The team from Sea-Doo challenged to compare, head to head, their two best-performing personal watercraft with two of their competitors. At press time this was the best of what these manufacturers have to offer. Come along with Captain John to see how these models compare.

New Boats

Triumph 1700 Skiff

Triumph 1700 Skiff
The 1700 Skiff is available
in two different configurations.

Triumph is taking the skiff to a whole new level with their all new 1700.  This model is constructed using Triumph's patented Roplene rotational molded plastic construction technology and uni-hull construction which results in a boat that is tough, resilient to impacts and for all practical purposes, unsinkable.  To learn more about the Triumph 1700 Skiff...ride here.

Product Demo

Navis USA 3000 Chartplotter

Navis 3000 Chartplotter

If you are in the market for a new chartplotter you may want to check out the Navis 3000. This model features 10.4 inch 256k color LCD display with 18 channel GPS and is loaded with features. It can hold up to 20,000 tracking points, 1,000 waypoints and 50 routes. Watch the Navis USA 3000 video. 

Navis USA is the exclusive distributor of Samyung Marine Electronics in the Americas. They offer the full product line of Samyung equipment including RADAR, SONAR, EPIRB, VHF and Chartplotter equipment. Learn more about Navis USA.

Used Boats

We Love This Boat!

Used Boats
A 1960’s-something boat with a nearly pre-historic Evinrude engine is the apple of someone’s eye.

Ever see an old fiberglass boat that looks as if it has been re-painted by the Joker’s make-up artist? We have and we love ‘em. The reason why – and one of the reasons we love boating – is that no matter how small your purse, somewhere there is a boat you can afford. Consider the advantages of the little jewel pictured above. We bet it actually floats, and with luck that old ‘rude might even start in a cloud of blue smoke that would make the EPA apoplectic. With a good friend, a bottle of wine (or, a carton of night crawlers), and a little bit of water, someone one is going to have a great time. If you know someone who would love to go boating but who thinks they can’t afford it, send them this picture with our regards. Check out our used boat section here.

Product Review

OceanLED Lights are Great for Fishing

OceanLED offers a range of sizes, colors and beam patterns to meet
your lighting needs.

OceanLED began bringing LED underwater lighting to the market after perfecting their approach and the company continues adding products that make underwater lighting affordable with applications for both new and used boats. For the hard-core fisherman or the family that likes to bring the fish around, OceanLED also offers a fish strobe light that can really get the fish jumping.  Light up here.

Why We Love Boating

See Rays
Heading South

See Rays
A school of about 10,000 golden rays migrating from Florida to the Yucatan.

Introduced last week for the first time, loyal reader Bill Noble has made another submission, gleaned from the Internet, and it is an incredible set of pictures of rays slowly migrating south to Mexico’s Yucatan. We’re told that the pictures shown here were taken in June. The migrating rays are called golden rays, cownose rays, hawkrays, or Pacific Ocean golden rays. To see more pictures of these wonderful sea creatures and to vote Mr. Noble’s payment…pop your tab.

Reader Feedback Would Like to Hear from You

Talk to BoatTEST

Tell us what you would like to see more of in our videos. What can we do to better inform and educate you on the boats we are testing? Over the years your feedback has helped us create the end products we bring to the screen and your feedback means a lot to us. We thank you for your support and loyalty over the years. Tell us more.

USCG Recalls

Aztec, Malibu, PCM

Safety first. 
Always check the USCG Recall Report.

This week three companies have made the USCG’s monthly Recall Report. If you own these brands or know someone who does, please do everyone a favor and let them know they should check the report. As boats change hands fairly frequently, the manufacturers can not keep track of current owners, so word-of-mouth is often the only way to reach current owners. Pass it on.  Check this month’s recalls…read on.

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Boating Education

Capt. Steve's "Smart Boating" Lessons

  Capt. Steve
Capt. Steve shows you four options for where to store your boat during the boating season.

In this week’s lessons Capt. Steve takes us through where to keep your new boat and how to protect your boat from theft. Capt. Steve has four videos showing you all the options for storing your boat during the boating season and the financial impact it will have on your budget.  The five 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…dock here.

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place

"Good thing we are spending some quality time together, I could be home watching the game.”– C. Mondaro

Second Place

“Honey take a note. Next time let’s put the cooler up front and maybe you won’t have to work as hard.” – A. Klotz

Honorable (almost) Mention

“Hey, my wife said she wanted a rowing machine.” – R. Fuller

“Ah yes, one of the many advantages of a mail order bride.” – P. Vitsale

“Pass me a beer honey.”– C. Purslowe

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 9/28/08.


“Of course I love you…I let you drive, didn’t I?” – B. Singh

We Need Reader HELP!

As you can see for the last two "What's Happening Here?" pictures, we are scraping the bottom of our barrel. We need your help! If you have a picture that you feel needs some explanation by our witty and clever readers, please send it to:
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51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901