BoatTEST Newsletter - 12/03/2008
BoatTEST Newsletter December 3, 2008 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

Test & Video Reviews

- Larson LXi 218
- Glastron DX 235
- Malibu Wakesetter VTX
Ranger 208 VX
- Sylvan 8522 Sport
- Bayliner 225



Also Inside:
- Are All Bass Boats the Same?
- Grady-White 290 Cheasapeake
- Doral Euro-Sources Fabrics
- Yanmar's New Stern Drive
- Hypothermia is Not Cool
Navigating with Your Cell Phone
- Tragedy on River in Washington
- Jilted in Romance & Boating?
- Pentagon's Tips for Piracy Woes
- Rent-a-Cops Security
- Accident of the Week
- Yacht Owner Killed in Mumbai
Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Are All Bass
Boats the Same?

Pultrusion 2 Pultrusion 3
Pultrusions are made with unidirectional glass fiber, then mat with a special resin, all pulled and heated into a flat plate that is sawed off in different lengths.
(See video.)

Are all bass boats getting to be the same? Certainly every good new idea gets copied by all the major builders by the next boat show. Virtually all bass boats are low, flat, sleek, full of rod and tackle lockers, and with decks covered with what appears to be the same gray carpet. So what is left to really differentiate the boats besides the hull graphics? The answer is: the differentiation is in the details. Bass boat builders actually put as much, if not more, work into perfecting the fine points of bass boats than any other type boat, foot-for-foot. These builders hone, polish, and improve everything they can think of – and many of these details unfortunately can’t be seen. The best example we can think of is Ranger Boats use of pultrusions. It sounds like a dirty word, you can’t see them, and they’re as strong as steel. Why does Ranger use them? What do they do? Read all about it --

See  video of a pultrusion machine at work --

To check out all of our Ranger Boats tests --

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Larson LXi 218

Larson LXi 218

When devising the new LXi Series, Larson looked outside of their company for a designer with the appropriate credentials to start fresh for this new series. What they got was a boat that delivers a very dry ride, and gets on plane faster. Innovative storage solutions keep you lower and safer in the boat and stainless steel accessories and hardware are everywhere. See complete test and video of the Larson LXi 218.

Glastron DX 235

Glastron DX 235

The DX 235 from Glastron reflects the latest thinking in deckboat design and engineering. With a top speed of over 50 MPH, wraparound windshield, and a capacity for 13 people, this could very well be the deck boat for you.  Watch complete test and video review of the Glastron DX 235.

Malibu Wakesetter VTX

Malibue Wakesetter VTXIn 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. Since they specialize in water ski and wake board boats, they’re on the cutting edge with hull designs, power wedges, ballast and a whole lot more. The Malibu Wakesetter is an example of this forward thinking philosophy.  See complete test and video of Malibu's Wakesetter VTX.

Ranger 208 VX

Ranger 208 VXRanger stays tuned to the market and hears how many in the fishing community lust for the 520VX, but it is just out of reach in this economy. So they answered the call with the all-new 208VX, which is built on the same hull and sports many of the same fishing, ride and comfort features of the 520VX. What it doesn’t carry is the hefty payments.  See video review and complete test of Ranger 208 VX.

Sylvan 8522 Sport

Sylvan 8522 SportSylvan has long been a contender in the pontoon market for their ability to add more features into less space, and the 8522 is no exception. Maximizing comfort and functionality into a trailerable package may just make this your next ‘toon.  Watch test video and complete test of Sylvan 8522 Sport.

Bayliner 225

Bayliner 225The days of Bayliner being thought of as a low-price and low-quality boat line are over. The company has been working hard the last couple of years to upgrade virtually everything they build, giving good value for the dollars spent. For proof take a fresh look at the top of their bowrider lineup. The 225 brings you more interior room, storage, and upgraded hardware. Check it out for yourself. Capt. Robert Smith takes the Bayliner 225 for a test ride. 

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Second Look

New Grady-White 290 is
Steady as She Goes

Grady-White 290 Running Grady-White 290 Cockpit

There are no gimcracks here, just the solid, functional boat building that we have all come to expect from Grady-White, and the 290 walk around does not disappoint. She was introduced this summer and she replaced the 28’ G-W. Owners said they wanted something a bit larger, but not too big. There has been a serious downsizing trend this year and we suspect the Grady 290 might just be the right size for both people moving up and down. She is powered by twin Yamahas, either 250 or 300-hp. To find out more about this offshore fishing boat designed for four people -- cast right here.

To see any of our Grady-White boat tests --

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Doral News

Doral Sources Fabrics
From Europe

Doral Upholstery 1 Doral Upholstery 2 Doral Upholstery 3 Doral Upholstery 3

Virtually all boats are “hand made” but some parts of the boat are made by hand more than others. When it comes to upholstery, window treatments, pillows and fixture coverings every bit of it is done by hand – by somebody somewhere. Doral does not sub-contract this work to an outside vender, rather it is all done in-house by a staff that averages 20 years on the job. When we visited the Doral upholstery shop recently we noted the TLC going into every bit of stitching on the seat covers and upholstery. Join us as we go behind the scenes to see how boats are really made by hand -- stitch in time.

To view all of our Doral boat tests --

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Safety Tips

Hypothermia -
No Way to be Cool

TitanicPerfect Storm
Hollywood entertainment fails to show the true dangers.

The movies Titanic and The Perfect Storm alerted many people to the dangers of hypothermia. Yet some of the films’ scenes are seriously misleading: the Titanic’s young lovers only became hypothermic in the ocean, not while wading through icy water inside the ship, nor does George Clooney suffer hypothermia while steering his fishboat through gigantic 2° (Celsius or C) waves flooding the wheelhouse. Still, the films show how cold-water immersion can bring bodily functions to a standstill. Marianne Scott reminds us how dangerous the water can be at this time of year. Practice your polar bear technique here --

Boating Tips

Navigating With
Your Mobile Phone

Memory Map
An increasing number of applications can turn your mobile phone into a chartplotter.

One of the most useful applications for a mobile phone is software to help with navigation. In this week’s installment the resourceful team from the Active Captain series show us how the addition of a GPS and a navigation program can turn your phone into a small chartplotter, giving you an onboard backup and a mobile navigation aid for the dinghy or on shore. Calling all cartographers –



First Again

Sun Tracker

Prop Info

yamaha pwc


boat history




Ranger Banner

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Anatomy of a Tragedy

It Happens
Every Week

Rescue Team
Washington’s Pierce Co. Sheriff's Dept. dive team searches the Nisqually River for survivors.

Most readers of this newsletter are responsible boaters and the lessons from these types of stories are redundant. Nevertheless, there is something that each one of us can do, in our own small way, to turn a potential tragedy into little more than a dunking. The next time you see trouble brewing on a small boat -- urge all those involved to wear a PFD. If they don’t have them or enough of them, throw them yours. This may sound corny or intrusive, but after reading this story you’ll see what we mean. Captain Steve investigates --  

Bonehead of the Week

Guy Bails for a Babe, Leaves Boat with Ex!

Guy Bails for a Babe
“He left me and I have his boat -- hmmmm, what to do, what to do????”

When a boater from Chicago left his girlfriend and moved in with his new squeeze in Arizona, he made the mistake of leaving his 1993 Yamaha boat and trailer behind. And would you believe -- the jilted lady wouldn't make arrangements to ship the boat to Arizona for him? What would you do? What do you think she actually did? To find out what happened in this steamy love quadrangle (the boat is a "she", too) -- 

Pirate News

Pentagon Tells Shippers to Hire

Pirates 1
Somali Pirates with outboard-powered
boats have effectively closed the Suez Canal to the world’s super powers.
U.S. Pentagon dithers.

On November 19th a spokesman for the Pentagon said that shipping companies should hire “security guards” on ships just as they “do to protect their goods on shore.” The Pentagonese for merchant ship rent-a-cops is “embarked security teams.” (Is their embarked worse than their bite?) What has happened to the once proud and powerful U.S. Navy? To find out read an unabridged press release issued recently and to see pictures of 21st Century pirates --

Pirate News II

Jump from
Hijacked Ship

Rescued Security Workers
Two Brits and an Irishman who work for Anti Piracy Maritime Security Solutions based in Poole, UK were rescued by a German Navy helicopter.

On November 29th, just 10 days after the U.S. Pentagon told shippers to use “embarked security,” the limitations of such security in protecting shipping from the rise of Somali piracy was cruelly exposed as three British operatives threw themselves overboard into the Gulf of Aden to escape hijackers. They left the Singapore-operated MS Biscaglia, a Liberian-flagged chemical tanker, unable to defend itself despite its "protection" and a distress call to a nearby warship. To find out more about this sad story and what Blackwater is up to these days -- grab a parrot.

Accident of the Week

Survivors Cling
to Seat Cushion
and Gas Can

Your seat cushion may be used as a floatation device -- but isn’t there a better way?

A Sunday afternoon fishing trip turned tragic for two boaters when their 12' skiff capsized five miles off the Gulfport, MS coast. One man clung to a gas can and was saved by a passing boater. The other was last seen clinging to a seat cushion which set off a desperate search of over 1300 square miles of saltwater. How did this happen and how could it have been prevented? You won’t believe the circumstances, but it’s all here --

Last Charter

Owner Killed at Mumbai

Andreas Liveras
Andreas Liveras owned a series of megayachts over the years.

One of superyachting's best known and most respected owners has become a victim of the Mumbai massacre. The only Briton to date confirmed to have died in the terror attacks, Andreas Liveras, 73, was CEO of Liveras Yachts based in Monaco. Over the years his company has become a specialist in the operation of large charter yachts carrying more than 12 guests. To learn more about Liveras’s rags-to-riches life and his last frightening moments in Mumbai -- read on.

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #15

Requirements for Recreational Boaters Part 4: Throwables, Navigation Lights and Fire Extinguishers

Capt. Steve

Capt. Steve explains requirements for all boaters.

USCG requires throwables (boats over 16’), navigational lights and fire extinguishers on all boats. In Part Four of Requirements for Recreational Boaters, Captain Steve walks the boater through these required safety devices. In detail Captain Steve will explain the requirements for your boat, types of devices available, and when it is time to replace this necessary and required equipment. These eleven videos presented this week are part of his USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Captain Steve's video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner




First Place

“Only one of us needs to watch the skier. Somebody has to drive this thing.”
– S. Sailon

Second Place
“We’re here for the bill fishing tournament.”
– F. Roberts

Honorable (almost) Mention

 “Let’s take this one; it’s got a fish finder!”
– D. Adkins

“Ok, which one of you birdbrains is going to drive?”
– J. Delamar

What's Going on Here?

What's Going On?

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 12/07/08.

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