BoatTEST Newsletter 04/22/2009 - 04/22/2009
BoatTEST Newsletter April 22, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust

- Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA
- Equipment & Trailering Tips
- 4-Bladed Props to the Rescue
- New Trophy 183 CC
- 2nd Look: Yamaha 232 Limited
- New 13' Boston Whaler
- Tigé Holds Speed
- All Powerboat News, All the Time
- Yamaha FZS Goes How Fast?
- Tracker Marine Promotions
- Best Aluminum Fishing Boats
- How Fast Is Too Fast?
- Makos Come With Evinrudes Too
- Where Mold & Mildew Thrive
- Safety Tip: Two MOB Stories
- New Product: P-Mate
- Fueling Safety Tip
- Short History on Marine Safety
Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA: Outboard or Stern Drive? YOU Be the Judge!

Seaswirl 2101 WA
Seaswirl is one of only two major builders of a 21’ walkaround which offers the boat in either outboard or stern drive configurations – but which is best?

In this age of increasingly generic brands with most automobiles and many boats looking virtually the same, it is a pleasant surprise to find a builder who gives the consumer a choice not only of engine brands but also of engine types in the same model! Seaswirl is one of only two major builders offering a 21’ walkaround in both an outboard or stern drive configuration. But now that we are given the option, which one is best? That’s the trouble with having a choice – consumers need to think about what they really need, what would be the advantages and disadvantages of each. We’ll give you our take on these two models, but we’d like to hear from you as well – outboard or stern drive? --

See our video review of the Striper 2101 WA --

See all Seaswirl boat tests --

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Allstate Videos

Safety Equipment
And Trailering Tips

Captain Steve PFDs
What you should know about PFDs.
Captain Steve Fire extinguishers 
Fire extinguishers and signal devices.
Captain Steve and Trailering
How to prepare for safe trailering.
Captain Steve and Launching
Boat launching and retrieval techniques.

Some of the most popular videos we have offered in this newsletter over the last couple of months has been our series on boating safety equipment and trailering tips. Little wonder, since about 78% of the boats that are owned are trailerable and 126,000 new boat trailers were sold last year. Even veterans can use a quick brush-up course on the basics. Capt. Steve takes us through the required USCG safety items and step-by-step trailer procedures. (Be prepared to take notes.) Make sure everyone in your family sees these basic videos because these tips are good for a lifetime. They are all brought to you courtesy of the folks at Allstate Insurance.

Sponsored by


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Proper Props

4-Bladed Props to the Rescue!

  Airplane Prop Train Prop Props 3
Whether it be propelling a heavy train, or the world’s largest aircraft, or simply an old-fashioned air conditioner, four blades come in handy for different applications.

Speed has always been the foul temptress of power boating. Everyone wants to go faster than they “bought,” and for over 50 years fuel was cheap. Global Positioning System (GPS) stimulated boaters’ interest in speed as everyone could measure it a tenth of a mile per hour. At the same time, fuel mileage was rarely, if ever, a concern, nor could most boaters easily measure it. If speed is the foul temptress, then fuel efficiency has been the proverbial, red-headed stepchild -- until now. Last summer’s soaring fuel prices have changed the very speed mania of millions of boat owners. Customers, who once, wanted every scintilla of speed they could muster, are now looking to maximize their boat’s fuel efficiency and range, instead. Just as with any aspect of boat’s performance, the propeller holds the key--unlock your mouse.

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New Boat

New Trophy 183 CC
For $14,995 With 90-hp Merc

Trophy 183 CC Run
This new Trophy center console gets you on the water for an affordable price.
Trophy 183 CC Helm 
One of Trophy’s “Rolled Gunnel Series”, the 183 is ideal for certain applications.

The new paradigm of the age is affordability and practicality first, and Trophy’s new “Rolled Gunnel Series” certainly meets that criteria. With a boat, 90-hp motor, and trailer package, all three, for $15k. It is a “hose-and-go” fishing or utility boat that is ideal for casual fisherman in protected waters or youngsters learning the ropes with their first boat. And if you are one of those busy types who would like to go fishing now and then – the Trophy is so inexpensive you won’t feel guilty leaving her on the trailer for weeks on end. Surprisingly, there is more to this new boat than a low price. Let us fill you in -- 

Request a viewing or test ride

Visit Trophy's website

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Second Look

Yamaha’s 232 Limited Is Poetry in Motion

  Yamaha 232 Limited Yamaha 232 Yamaha 232
With twin jet drives a 20-degree deadrise the 232 Limited is a beautiful thing, jumping waves like a prima ballerina at the Met. (See video.)

With the new 232 Limited, Yamaha has taken its popular, innovative 23 boat and turned it into a thing of stately beauty. Not that she was a wallflower before, she has always been a very pretty design. But now, with her “Desert Stone” topsides, tasteful gray vinyl seats and classy accessories she has matured from a flashy prom queen into an elegant young woman who doesn’t have to flaunt her attributes to make a man’s pulse quicken. This boat is no fiberglass bathtub gussied up with lipstick. Rather, she is a work of art vying for the reputation as classiest woman on the lake. Cobalt, you’d better watch out. And how cool is it having twin, reliable Yamaha engines instead of a single I/O? Our Capt. John Wenz is a connoisseur of fine boat lines, so watch him as he rubs his hand over this lady’s curves --

Read Capt. John’s full Captain’s Report --

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New Boat

New Boston Whaler
13' Super Sport

Boston Whaler 13' Super Sport
It’s not your grandfather’s 13’ Boston Whaler anymore!
The first Boston Whaler was introduced at the New York Boat Show in 1958. It was only 13’ long, but it started a revolution that in a few years swept the country. Then, along came color TV (1966), the Apple II personal computer (1977), cell phones (1984), and the Internet (1992). Now after 51 years, it is time for a new 13’ Boston Whaler. It is called the 130 Super Sport and it comes in trendy colors. Colors? Yup, that stodgy old boat company that insists on making boats that won’t sink -- no matter how big they are -- has discovered five of them. They have also created a new design and come up with a lot of innovative new ideas for that 13-footer that started it all. Most exciting is the introductory base price on the boat of $9,995 with a 40-hp Merc. The 13’ Whaler has always made a great boat for the kids, something that Mom can knock about in, or a safe, inexpensive platform for all sorts of watersports play. To find out about the innovate new ideas on this old standby concept -- douse your mouse.  

Customize this boat
Request a viewing

Visit builder website

Tigé News

Tigé Holds Speed
While Maneuvering

This is another in a series of Tigé promotional videos. Here, Capt. Cool demonstrates the boats’ ability to hold a constant pre-set speed.

This is perhaps the best video in Tigé’s series of promotional videos showing how their boats perform under actual ski and wakeboard conditions. Our trusty skipper, “Capt. Cool,” takes the boat through a series of maneuvers as easy as you please, usually steering with only one finger. “We ask buyers to test the competition and then come to us,” said a spokesman for the company recently. “We know they’ll fall in love with how our boats handle.” That is pretty bold talk in this environment, but if you will watch this video, you might see what Tigé folks mean. Watch and hold on --

See test of all Tigé boats -- News

All Powerboat News
All the Time

Top News Stories
“Top News” stories are added every day to Find the new functionality just above the “keyword Search” window at the top of the page.

Last month there were nearly 600,000 visits to from the U.S. and all over the world. New and used boat buyers come to research performance data and see our Captain’s independent, 3rd party opinions on boats they test and review. BoatTEST is also the best place on the Internet to compare boats and engines specifications and performance – all on one, easy to use website. This week we added yet another free service for our readers – news, fresh from our captains’ computers as they write it. You will find this “Top News” feature right above our “Keyword Search” window. You no longer have to wait for our weekly e-newsletter to get your fix of the latest on the powerboating scene. You can simply get it by going to our homepage and looking at the “Top News” scroll.

If you haven’t tried out “Keyword Search”, this is another great way to get specific information you want. If we don’t have a match to your query, then Google software kicks in and it searches the whole Internet for you.


Larson 370 Cabrio


Bayliner Banner


Prop Info

Formula Escape

Glastron Banner

BoatShop24 Banner

boat history

yamaha boats

Stratos Banner

yamaha waverunners

Yamaha PWC

Does the Yamaha FZS
Go 0-to-30 in 1.5 Seconds?

Yamaha FZS Yamaha FZS
Our PWC testing Capt. John Wenz clocked the Yamaha FZS at 1.5 sec. from 0-to-30! Say what?

Sounds too fast to be true, right? Well, that’s what we got and we are standing by it. After all, the Yamaha FZS’s 1812 cc engine has 21% more displacement than the next largest production PWC on the market and the unit weights only 1% more. Nevertheless, measuring the acceleration of a high-performance watercraft with conventional radar technology to a 10th of a second is not easy. (The blink of an eye is from a 3/10ths to 4/10ths of a second.) So, to stay ahead of the game we’re acquiring a new system called the Stalker ATS with the “STATS” software, which measures down to 100th of a second and plots it automatically on a computer without human intervention. This spring we will be testing PWCs again with the new gear and we’ll keep you posted as we get the new numbers down to 1/100th of a second. While 0-30 times are crucial factors for a small niche of the market, there is a lot more that should go into a PWC buying decision. After all, in the real world, how important is a second? Over the course of a year, we look at virtually all of the PWCs in the market and we can tell you that a few 10ths of a second of acceleration difference isn’t what you should be concerned about – there are far more important issues. Things like durability, fit and finish, safety features, warranty, and customer service are all more important in our book. Capt. John Wenz takes his testing seriously and has taken a thorough look at the FZS and put it all on video as well as producing a detailed written Captain’s Report. Read Capt John’s full report --

See Capt. John’s video test of the FZS --

See all tests of Yamaha PWCs --

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Tracker News

Tracker Marine Selling Below Dealer Invoice

2008 Sun Tracker Party Barge 18s are selling
for $2,372 off.
2008 Nitro 640LX has a discount of $2,192. Note the picture above is of the X-4.
2008 Tahoe Q45 I/O
has a
$2,902 discount.

A promotion started last month by Tracker Marine states that their dealers are selling new boats for “below dealer invoice.” The company says that the nationwide sale will go on until May 20th. Boats shown on the Tracker website are 2008 models. Tracker Marine is the largest single brand of boats sold in the U.S. and they have hundreds of dealers across the country, including their huge Bass Pro Shoppes, which is the parent company. The company specializes in building “affordable” boats. Tracker dealers are well known for working on very thin margins, on the order of 11% to 13%, we’re told. While virtually all boat builders are featuring big discounts these days, few have gone so far as to say that they are selling for below dealer invoice. Tracker Marine builds Tracker bass and fishing boats, Sun Tracker pontoon boats, Tahoe sportboats and deckboats, Nitro bass boats, and Mako fishing boats. To find out more and how to find a local dealer --

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Bass Boats

 BoatTEST Aluminum
Fishing Boat Sweepstakes

Fastest 150-hp Fishing Boat Tracker Tundra
Tundra 18 SC

150-hp Mercury
52.5 MPH 
View Test --
Fastest 150-hp
“Best Cruise”
Smoker Craft 182 Pro Mag
Smoker Craft
182 Pro Mag
150-hp Mercury
34.9 MPH
View Test --
“Best Cruise”
Smoker Craft 192 Millentia
Smoker Craft
192 Millentia

150-hp Honda
7.45 MPG
View Test --
Fastest 115-hp Fishing Boat 
Sylvan 1700 Adventurer
Sylvan 1700

43.9 MPH
View Test --
Fastest 115-hp “Best Cruise”
Crestliner Sportfish 1750
Sportfish 1750

115-hp Yamaha
29.9 MPH
View Test --
“Best Cruise” MPG—115-hp
Crestliner Canadian 1850
Canadian 1850

115-hp Mercury
6.73 MPG
View Test -- 
Fastest 90-hp Fishing Boat
Crestliner CX 19
CX 19

90-hp Mercury
44.1 MPH
View Test --
Fastest 90-hp
“Best Cruise”

Crestliner Fish Hawk 1750
Fish Hawk 1750

90-hp Mercury
29.7 MPH
View Test --
“Best Cruise” MPG—90-hp
Duracraft 1754 Bass
1754 Bass

90-hp Mercury
8.44 MPG 
View Test --
Fastest 50-hp Fishing Boat
Crestliner CX 17
CX 17

50-hp Mercury
33.7 MPH
View Test --
Fastest 50-hp
“Best Cruise”

Smoker Craft 151 Resorter
Smoker Craft
151 Resorte
50-hp Mercury
22.8 MPH
View Test --
 “Best Cruise” MPG—50-hp
American Angler 1660
American Angler

50-hp Honda
10.15 MPG
View Test --
Fastest Overall Fishing Boat Crestliner TS 202 SC
TS 202 SC

250-hp Verado
57.0 MPH
View Test --
Fastest Time
To Plane
Smoker Craft 182 Pro Mag
Smoker Craft
182 Pro Mag
150-hp Mercury
2.3 Seconds
View Test --
0 to 30 mph
Crestliner Tournament Series 192 SC
Crestliner Tournament Series 192 SC
200-hp Mercury
4.3 Seconds
View Test --

This week we are looking at aluminum fishing boats. Over the last several years we have tested 65 aluminum fishing boats from nine major manufacturers, both bass and multi-specie units. Some of these boats are no longer in production under the designation that we tested them several years ago, but we assure you that most live on with a new name in a slightly altered color scheme and name. If there are faster or more fuel efficient boats out there, we haven’t tested them. Of course performance isn’t the only criteria you should use when buying a new boat – warranty, features, construction, durability, re-sale value and customer service are all more important reasons. To find out the specific engine models involved, click on the tests. Two weeks ago we took a look at fiberglass bass boats in much the same way. Aluminum or fiberglass, these days the consumer has a lot to choose from. To help you sort it out hundreds of options, use’s database of over 100 freshwater fishing boats from most major brands.

View all “Freshwater Fishing Boat” tests --

View all “Bass Boat” tests --

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Safety Tip

How Fast Is Too Fast?

Yamaha 232 Limited Yamaha 232
Yamaha 232 Yamaha 232
Donald Campbell was trying to go 300 mph and thereby set the world speed record on water, when his boat, Bluebird, got out of control and crashed. His body was not found for 34 years. measures the top speed of boats we test (so long as our testing captain feels it is safe), but please don’t misconstrue this into thinking that we are encouraging high-speed boat operation. Au contraire! promotes only the safe operation of boats, which in many cases means that they should NOT be driven at their top speeds. We encourage boaters to discover what their “best cruise” speed is for comfort, fuel economy and safety. In fact we think that going 70 mph in a small boat, such as a bass boat, is nuts. And we are glad to see that responsible builders are not encouraging excessive speed. The USCG says that excessive speed is the #3 cause of boating accidents. To see the USCG Accident statistics and to find out what happened to Donald Campbell --

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Mako News

Makos Come with Evinrudes, Too!

Mako 264
This is our favorite picture of a Mako 264 which was widely seen a few years ago.

We were driving down the highway last weekend and noticed a boat dealer with new Makos powered with Evinrude engines instead of the usual black power. We couldn’t make “U”-turn fast enough to find out what was going on. For years we had only seen Mercury outboards on the back of new Makos. Evinrude EngineThe dealer said he had ordered them with Evinrude’s because he had good success with the engines and he thought they’d help sell the boats. Yesterday a Tracker Marine spokesman told us that even though all promotional and advertising pictures of Makos shows them with Mercury outboard engines, people could order them with other brands as well, in addition to Mercury. To find your local Mako dealer--

See tests of Makos with Mercury outboard power --


How to Remove
That Nasty Mold

It is not pretty and the time to get rid of it is when you commission your boat.

One of the unpleasant discoveries made when commissioning time arrives is the abundance of mold and mildew that has grown on cushions, bulkheads, fabrics and in dark, hard to reach places in your boat. Mold can be a health hazard and it will certainly spread if it isn’t removed. Once the mold and mildew are properly removed, then you have to take steps to keep it from coming back. For more information about mold and how to get rid of it--

Safety Tip

Two MOB Stories:
Two Lessons Unlearned

MOB Stories
With Vancouver Island to the left, British Columbia to the right and 46-degree F (8-degrees C) water all around, this captain was in a pickle and about to be pickled.

Last month a 20-year veteran tugboat captain fell overboard in the frigid waters of British Columbia -- in broad daylight from his slow moving tug, which kept on moving. About a month later (last week) on the opposite side of North America a 41-year old fisherman fell overboard off his small fishing boat off the panhandle coast of Florida – he was all alone and his boat kept on moving away. Both fell overboard for different reasons, and both were rescued in different ways. And both broke cardinal rules of good seamanship. Both men had been boating long enough to know the lessons, yet – being human – they, we suspect, regularly disregarded them. Read a Tale of Two MOBs -- 

See Capt. Steve’s solution to MOB tale #1--
See BoatTEST’s test of the solution to MOB tale #2 --

New Product

A Lady's Solution
to Nature's Call

Yup, that’s exactly what you think it is and it’s called a P-Mate.

Why has it taken the human race so long to invent something so practical, so necessary and so cheap as the revolutionary P-Mate? We predict that it will change a wife’s or girlfriend’s reluctance to join her man boating. Truth be told – that is the real reason why many women don’t want to go boating in the first place! Most women boaters we know would be happy to have a P-Mate for those unexpected emergencies that invariably occur on a small boat just when the walleye start biting. We can’t think of any invention, no matter how expensive that could get more women to “discover boating” than the P-Mate. We hasten to add that’s trusty staff of female boaters have not yet tested this clever-looking device, and we are NOT recommending it -- yet!  We just wanted to alert you that BoatTEST will be publishing a full report on its pee-ability and pee-formance in a future issue. In the meantime, we’re sure you would like to see pictures and a video of it in action -- avert your mouse.

Safety Tip

Indiana Jones'
(aka Capt. Steve)
Fueling Safety Tip

Capt. Steve
Capt. Steve’s Boating Lesson #32 which we published last week had 11 important safety tips. We are replaying two of them.

Over the years has periodically published articles about boat fires and explosions. Most occur during or right after fueling a gasoline-powered boat. We only run three of four of these articles a year, but the fact is that these accidents occur every week or so during the season, and more often than you might guess off season. Our readers like these articles, as they usually score #1 or #2 in readership. You can imagine our surprise, then, when Capt. Steve’s Boating Lesson #32 last week on safe fueling procedures scored third from last on readership! Do people think safety tips are too Boy-Scout or boring? Well, Capt. Steve is anything but boring -- if his female fan mail is any indication – so just in case you missed it, we’re going to replay his Indiana Jones fueling safety tip (there will be a quiz!)-- 

See the MOST IMPORTANT fueling tip of all --

Marine Safety

A Short History
of Marine Safety
– Part II

Marine Safety
The 20th Century saw ships sinking left and right for all sorts of reasons. Help --

This is the second installment of our four-part educational series on the history of marine safety in the U.S. This week’s creator, Rear Admiral James A. Watson brings us into the modern era telling us about relevant milestones in the advancement of the prevention of accidents and telling us about some of the men who fought for greater safety procedures. Rear Admiral Watson has a keen sense of history and by watching his short video you will see how the USCG got to where it is today. To see all four of the videos go to YouTube and type in “marine safety.”

See Part II video: Women and children first -- and your mouse.

See A Short History of Marine Safety, Part I-

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #33

Pre-Departure Checklists
and Filing a Float Plan

Pre-Departure Checklist 

Above is a sample float plan, which outlines the details of your trip and should be left with someone on shore.

This week Capt. Steve goes over fourteen new lessons and guidelines on pre-departure checklists. You’ll learn why it’s important to file a float plan with someone who will recognize if you haven’t returned home, why checking the weather before you depart is essential especially on small boats, how to safely load your boat with gear, and why routine checks on the engine, bilge and other systems is important. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of Capt. Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on

View this week’s lessons --

View past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place

 "Nope, didn't fit in here either. Let’s try another spot." - K. Fedorak

Second Place

"Back up, OK, close enough. Tie her up."
-D. Lapati

Honorable (Almost) Mention
"Why so stern?" -E. Cavoli

"You caught it -- you clean it!!!" R. Rad

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 4/26/09.

We Need Reader 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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Stamford, CT 06901