Offshore Newsletter February 4, 2009 - 02/04/2009
Offshore Motoryacht Newsletter February 4, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

New Boats & Video Reviews

- Carver 44 Sojourn
Cruisers Yachts 360 Express
- Doral Intrigue
- Rampage 34 Express
- Hargrave Sea Legend
- Wellcraft 340 Coastal
- Windy 44 Chinook

Also Inside:
- Yanmar Offers New System
- Are Joystick Here to Stay?
Interview with Cruisers' President
- New Visitor Record Hit
- Seakeeper's Anti-Roll Gyro
- How Good a Captain Are You?
- Ferretti Yachts' New Service
- 2500 Years of Nautical History
- Accident of the Week
- Boat Buying Tips
- PETA & Fishing
- Mobile Phone Applications
- BoatTEST's Member Services
- Global Tracking of AIS
Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Yanmar Now Offers Zeus
Pod Drive Joystick System

Yanmar Zeus Pod Drive
Yanmar and ZF have teamed up to produce joystick/pod drive propulsion that is 30%+ more fuel efficient than conventional inboard drives.

For the last year or so Yanmar engineers and those at ZF have been working hard to mate ZF’s tried-and-proven Zeus pod drive and joystick system to Yanmar’s diesel engines from 380-hp to 500-hp. In November Yanmar began shipping their diesels with Zeus pod drives. This is good news for boat buyers because it meas they can now have the lightweight, low profile and cost advantages of Yanmar diesel power and a pod Sdrive/joystick system too. Our head-to-head testing of boats has repeatedly shown that at best cruise speeds diesel-powered boats are 30% to 49% more fuel efficient when they employ pod drives vs. conventional inboard drives. This massive fuel savings means not only lower operating costs, but also significantly more range. Those two benefits, together with the ease of joystick docking, means that Yanmar diesel power should be seriously considered by anyone. To find out more about this happy marriage, join Capt. Smith as he fills us in on the details.

Research tested Yanmar engines.

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Boat Tests & Reviews

Hargrave Sea Legend

Hargrave Sea LegendBetsey and John Moller wanted a vessel that they could take on expeditions virtually anywhere in the world, yet they didn’t want something that looked like an island freighter. They wanted a long range cruiser that could cross the Pacific, go to the Med, and also be an elegant raised pilothouse motoryacht that would be at home in the world’s toniest locations. Learn more about the Hargrave Sea Legend.

Hargrave VIP Champagne Reception at the Miami Boat Show --

Carver 44 Sojourn

Carver 44 Sojourn

With its large bridge deck that sits twelve, the 44 Sojourn can be used for day cruising and entertaining and Carver says that 12 people can sit here.  We'd go for the optional items that would make her an all-weather, long season cruiser -- the hardtop with full enclosure and the full wet bar with fridge, ice maker and sink. Join us as  Captain Steve takes us through the 44 Sojourn from Carver. 

Cruisers Yachts 360 Express

Cruisers Yachts

Cruisers Yachts is known for building boats that fit the upscale market, so it should be no surprise that the latest and greatest enhancement to the Cruisers 360 Express is the convenience and simplicity of Volvo Penta’s IPS pod drives. This joystick-operated system means the entire family will be able to enjoy the pleasure of taking the helm. Come along as Captain Rob explores the 360 Express for 2009.

Doral Intrigue

Doral IntrigueDoral’s Intrigue steps up the pressure on her competition for 2009 with the addition of MerCruiser’s Axius DTS Premier or Axius DTS Basic system.  Thirty-three feet is right where many yachtsmen find themselves beginning the cruising lifestyle and this boat is a fine way to go cruising. The addition of joystick operation means just about anyone can operate the helm like a pro.  Take a look at the Doral Intrigue.

Rampage 34 Express

rampage 34 expressThe Rampage 34 Express is a solid fishing machine with a nice cabin and overnight arrangements. You can set up the deck the way you like with options and you can also option the interior. If you typically go offshore with several buddies or need a boat that can be a fishing machine and a family boat too, you might like
to check out this model.  Come aboard the 34 Express from Rampage.

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New Boat

New Windy 44 Sports Cruiser
Named “European Boat of the Year”

Windy 44 
The Windy 44 Chinook, built in Norway, won the prestigious 2009 “European Powerboat of the Year” honor awarded by the German motorboat magazine Boote.

The Windy 44 Chinook hardtop sports cruiser was named “European Powerboat of the Year” in the under 50 ft. category at the Dusseldorf Boat Show Jan. 17-25. New boats launched in the last 12 months were judged by an editorial panel from seven leading European powerboat magazines. The three double stateroom, two full head express cruiser has a deep-V hull and is powered by twin IPS 600 diesels. COO Christopher Hughes was in Europe at the time and has a full video report on the exciting new Windy 44 Chinook -- watch video.

Find out more about Windy and the 44 Chinook --

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Engine News

Have Joysticks Proven They're Here to Stay?

Formula 370 SS Bayliner
Formula 370 Super Sport Bayliner 340

With over 18 months on the water, joystick-controlled sterndrive boats are now a proven commodity. Initially, many of you sent emails expressing your concerns over adding yet another complicated system to the mix -- but now it seems that most cannot say enough good things about them. Throughout the year we have taken you behind every aspect of MerCruiser's Axius system to disprove the myth that the system is complicated.  Although our first experience was with Axius, we have also tested boats with a competing system. Bound by a builder-imposed gag order, we cannot tell you anything about the competing system, but we can tell you that our recommendation still strongly resides with Axius.

Sign up below to put this system through it paces.  While you are at it, take some pictures and email us back about your experience.

Test drive a Formula with Axius.
Test Drive

Test drive a Bayliner with Axius.
Test Drive


See all of our Axius videos.

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Cruisers Yachts News

Cruisers Yachts' President
Answers Some Tough Questions

Cruisers Materials Cruisers' Jim Cruisers Customize?
Are all Cruisers Yachts
built with the same materials?
Why are Cruisers Yachts heavier than
other boats?
Will Cruisers Yachts customize for their customers?

Jim Viestenz is president of KCS, which owns both Cruisers Yachts and Rampage.  He is one of those presidents who cares passionately about the boats his companies build and about what his customers want. He will be at the Miami Boat Show, Feb. 12 to 16, and we invite you to stop by and ask him your toughest questions. If you are in the market for an express cruiser or fishboat you need to find out why they build boats the way they do.  If you own a Cruisers, Rampage or a competing model, you should let him know what’s on your mind. Click above on three questions that we asked Jim.  You may be surprised at some of his answers.

Attending the Miami Boat Show?
Schedule a meeting with President Jim Viestenz.

See tests of Cruisers Yachts --

See tests of Rampage fishboats --

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New Boat

New Wellcraft 340
Turns On Capt. Steve

Wellcraft 340 Steve on 340 Coastal

Wellcraft’s 340 Coastal is designed for canyon fishermen
and families out for a long weekend on the water.

It is not often that we get a mash note from one of our testing captains, but when Capt. Steve saw the Wellcraft 340 Coastal at the New York Boat Show he fell hard. We don’t know if this is true love or just a passing infatuation, but in any case he likes the lines of this lady and now wants go out on a serious mission. He says she is full of clever little ideas, such as a touch screen electrical panel, a slide-out wine rack, frig and freezer drawer on the bridge deck, cutting board on the transom, two Pullman berths in the bow and a mid-cabin sleeping area.  After our captains have a close encounter with boats that they test or review, we ask them to send us a little “de-briefing” note to tell us what we should know that wasn’t captured on camera. Here is a copy of the remarks we received from Capt. Steve last week --

See Capt. Steve’s review of the 340 Coastal --

See other Wellcraft boat tests --

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Product Review

Should Gyros Be Standard
for All Motoryachts?

Captain Steve standing next to the Seakeeper gyro
-- note the size.

Over the years several companies have come out with gyroscopic stabilizing systems for larger sportboats and motoryachts. With their effectiveness now proven, should they remain an option or should they become standard equipment? The team at Seakeeper has shown that you don't need to dedicate a huge amount of space for the system -- in fact, the system is so compact that you can retrofit it to existing boats. Tag along as Capt. Steve walks us through the Seakeeper 7000.


For a more in-depth look, Jeff Hammond runs a complete test on the Seakeeper system.

 BoatTEST News

BoatTEST Sets
New Visitor Record

Last Wednesday 45,781 unique visitors came to – more than can fit into Boston’s Fenway Park!

Visitor traffic has grown steadily since BoatTEST was founded nine years ago.  Last year BoatTEST had an average of 19,152 visits each day, according to Webtrends, up 43% from the year before. That’s nearly 7 million visits a year! Last Wednesday the website had 51,508 visits from 45,781 unique visitors, setting an all-time one-day record for BoatTEST. That increase in 2008 traffic can be attributed to word-of-mouth as more and more boaters have discovered the treasure trove of buyer information available on the site. With about 3,000 videos available on demand, over a thousand boat and engine tests, data on over 6,000 boats, and more than 100,000 classified boat listings, BoatTEST. is the largest repository of recreational boating content on the planet. Thank you one and all for helping make BoatTEST so popular.


Larson Banner


Cruisers Yachts Banner





MasterCraft Banner


yamaha pwc
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Tall Ships

2500 Years of
Nautical History

Tall Ship 1
Tall ship sails past the Burbo Bank wind farm on the approach to the Port of Liverpool.

For most readers of this newsletter -- no matter where you live in the world -- boating is not a sport, but rather a way of life. Professor Bill Noble, at Coors University, reminds us with this photo essay why boats are so thoroughly ingrained into our collective soul. Taken around the world last summer, these photos chronicle ships from Ancient Greece up to the 18th century taken around the world last summer. Step into civilization’s salty past --

Accident of the Week

Do You Know
What This
Flag Represents?

Divers Down
It has something to do with water,
it could save a life, and you
should not get near it.

Two recent accidents have us wondering if anyone remembers what this is for -- or if it’s even being used. In one incident, a man had to have his legs amputated. In another, two women were hit. Both accidents had one thing in common: they involved divers. Were their dive flags handy or just ignored? Put on your mask and follow us.


How Good
a Captain
Are You?

Think you can be a good skipper,
little buddy? Hah!

So you want to be a captain? Get in line. With the bags of money and beating back groupies with your GPS -- who wouldn’t want to be one? But do you have the right stuff? Do they crowd around you at the yacht club bar? Do you wear one of those fancy baseball caps with the scrambled eggs?

Well first you have to get past those Coast Guard guys and their test books. Want to give it a try? Here are three questions from the Coast Guard License exam. As is usually the case with the Coast Guard, sometimes there is more than one correct answer. You need to pick the most right.

Now shove off and make your choices -- 

 "We make a living by what we get, we make a life by what we give."

~Sir Winston Churchill 

Ferretti News

Ferretti Yachts
Begins Pre-Owned Certification

Ferretti 810
Ferretti becomes the first large yacht builder to get into used boat refurb and certification.

Ferretti Yachts and Mochi Craft announced the launch of a “Platinum Selection” service program for pre-owned yachts, a program previously only available for newly registered Ferretti Group boats. The program will be first launched in Italy by the Luxury Yacht Corporation (LYC), the exclusive Ferretti Yachts and Mochi Craft dealer for the country. The pre-owned yachts in their portfolio will be supervised and certified by the shipyard itself. The program will then be extended across the dealer network for all the Ferretti Group companies. Once refurbishing and certification work have been completed under the shipyard's supervision, the yacht can become a “Platinum Selection” pre-owned model, according to the company. We like the program and we’ll keep you posted if and when it is rolled out to the rest of the world.

To see boat tests of Ferrettis --

See video of Riva 33 --

Boating Buying Tip

Buying a Used Boat:
A Good Deal, or a Good Deal Less?

Is it a new deal, square deal, fair deal, or dealt off the bottom of the deck?

A favorite indoor sport of many boaters these days seems to be searching for unbelievable deals on used boats. Most people think that there will never be a better time than now  to get a great deal on a used boat. Blood is in the water and deal sharks are circling, hunting for vulnerable prey that are willing to give up pearls for the price of a sow’s ear. studies indicate that about 65% of the boaters currently in the market for a boat are searching for used boats and while there are definitely some great deals to be had, there are also some pitfalls. We’d like to help our members avoid the turkeys and score the peacocks. Here are some tips for the used boat buyer -- 

Only in America

Political Action Group Wants to Stop Fishing

Sea Kitten
PETA is calling fish “sea kittens” in order to brainwash America’s youngsters
against fishing.

We could not make this stuff up: The folks at PETA (People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals) are at it again and this time they have trained their mighty political guns on fish and fishing. They are out to save all the fish of the world by re-programming our children. Surely, every child will stop daddy from fishing if the fish are called “sea kittens”. To promote this concept, PETA is embarking on a large scale (or is it scale-y?) social engineering program to convince children of this before dad can get to them with the concept that fishing is fun. Moreover, they are also taking aim at federal and state programs that promote fishing and are urging people to write to Congress. There’s more to this story -- here kitty kitty.

Active Captain

Mobile Phone Applications for
Every Use

An example of database lists for Palm OS.

Programs that help navigate or obtain information on weather, tides and currents are some of the better uses for a mobile phone aboard a boat.  But there is a whole family of additional applications that can make your boating experience easier, safer and more manageable. As mobile phones grow in popularity, there are applications to help manage lists, maintain a blog, streamline email and perform web browsing that helps with dozens of other common boating tasks. Read more --

Member Services

 Member Services Boat Buying Program

Member Services
Powerboats – both new and used – have never been so attractive as now.

BoatTEST is leveraging its nationwide contacts and world-wide reach with dealers, brokers, builders, and its staff’s decades of experience in the marine business to offer its members exclusive boat-buying help. This service is free to BoatTEST members (new sign-up is required) seeking new powerboats 20' or larger and new and used powerboats 30’ and larger. BoatTEST will identify specific boats meeting buyer criteria that we feel offer exceptional value to members contemplating purchase prior to August 2009. Already over 100 members have taken advantage of this service. To take advantage of’s Member Service Boat Buying Program -- sign up here.

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AIS News

Website for Global
Tracking of AIS-Enabled


This map of the approaches to Pireas, Greece shows AIS-enabled commercial and recreational vessel traffic in “almost” real time. You can find this on

The University of the Aegean’s Dept. of Product & Systems Design Engineering has created a website called which shows the way to boating of the future. It currently tracks several thousand AIS transponders around the world including 225 recreational vessels most of which are megayachts. But AIS units can be placed in any size boats and, in fact, in the Med all recreational vessels over a certain size must be equipped with them. Since 2005 the International Maritime Organization has ruled that all vessels of 300 gross tons or greater and all passenger vessels must carry AIS transponders. There are services for commercial shipping, such as which tracks over 25,000 vessels, but increasingly the benefit to recreational boaters of AIS are becoming apparent. Our guess is that most cruising yachtsmen with boats 35’ or larger will want to be equipped with AIS units in the future. So what are the benefits? --

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #22

Basic Rules of the Road
Part 1

Capt. Steve

 Capt. Steve brings us the basics.

Capt. Steve covers some of the basic rules of the road in these new lessons which all recreational boaters should be aware of. You’ll learn about lines of demarcation, traveling at safe speeds, how to determine your risk of collision, why one should steer clear of large vessels and who has the right of way. Part 1 is the first installment of a multi-part series on Basic Rules of the Road. These videos presented this week are part of Capt. Steve’s 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

whats going on here?

First Place
"We are about to find out if Boston Whalers really are unsinkable.” – B. Wagner

Second Place
"It never fails, I buy something new and the guy next door has to buy one bigger!"
-- L. Zawacki

Honorable (almost) Mention
"I saw these Greenpeace guys do this on the news!" -- R. Little

“Yield to the Queen. Yeah right, do I look British to you?" -- R. Davis

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 2/8/09.


We Need Reader HELP!

If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation by our witty and clever readers, please send it to:

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