Offshore Newsletter - 06/10/2009
Offshore Motoryacht Newsletter June 10, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Ocean Alexander 68
- Bertram 540 Is Different
- New Test-- Formula 37 PC
- New Volvo Penta IPS
- Tiara 3500 Sovran
- Cruisers Yachts 390 SC
- Pacific Mariner 65
- New Product: Royal Purple
- The Complete Cleaning Solution
- Windy 44 Express
- Boats Are Selling
- Boardwalk Marina Has Deals
- Fully Equipped Rampage 34
- McKinna Yachts' 62 Express
- Fleming 65 Visits Jurassic Park
- USCG Recall: CMD Zeus Clamp
- USS Vanderberg Sinks
- Do Your Friends Love Boating?
- The Latest in Cartography
- Nordhavn Transatlantic Journey
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
Ducky Award Winner

New Ocean Alexander 68
Has the Room of a 90-footer!

Ocean Alexander 68
We think this Ed Monk-designed Ocean Alex 68’ Motoryacht is a versatile and nearly ideal cruising boat for long range cruising at displacement speeds or dashing down the coast at 20 knots.

My first look at the Ocean Alexander 68 Motoryacht left me with little doubt that this was a long range coastal cruiser that was clearly up to the task for which she was designed. Then I saw that she was designed by Ed Monk, Jr., who is one of yachting’s foremost motoryacht designers and has hundreds of successful designs powering everywhere around the world, both commercial and recreational. I could easily see a retirement package being carefully put to good use aboard this boat, and envisioned the different dynamics of guests that this boat lends itself to. I also discovered that there was an awful lot for me to like and very little that I didn’t like. When inspecting the details of this design I detected the experienced hand of Ed Monk everywhere and Ocean Alexander has done a superb job of the build. Come aboard with me and I’ll show you what I mean --

Request a personal response from the builder

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Bertram News

The Bertram 540
Is Different Inside

Bertram 540 Bertram 540 Bertram 540
The Bertram 540 convertible is different: the settee is forward, there are three windshields across the front of the salon to let in lots of light, and the galley is aft with a view of the cockpit and that 40-knot wake.

In the last issue, if you’ll recall, Capt. Steve took us offshore for his test of the Bertram 540 convertible. This week he takes us inside the 540 to show us what Bertram has done differently there – and there is quite a bit! Bertram has banished the dark, claustrophobic cave-like feeling that many convertibles have, and has let the sunshine in across the front of their salon. They have also moved the galley aft so the cook can see the cockpit action and pass sandwiches out the window. Bertram has remembered what the word “convertible” means – as in it “converts” to either cruising or fishing. To see all of this and more and to get Capt. Steve’s take on the new Bertram 540 -- bait your mouse 

See full test video --

Read Capt. Steve’s full Captain Report --

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Comparison Tests

New Test of Formula 37 PC
Is the Fastest Ever!

Formula 37 PC
 Formula 37 PC
The Formula 37 PC (Performance Cruiser) has never gone faster in any of our four tests of the boat than it has with the Axius stern drive powered by 375-hp Mercury 496 MAGs. Note that mpg is fairly flat between 20 and 43 mph.

Let’s face it, stern drives are fast. Pod drives are more efficient than inboards, diesels have more range than gas engines, but when it comes to raw WOT blow-your-face-back speed – you can not beat a big block, gas powered stern drive. Just two weeks ago we tested a brand new “Flagship, Sapphire Blue Metallic” Formula 37 PC that looks just like the one in this picture. Its Imron surface had gotten the special Formula “polish-it-18-times-like-a-Tiffany-diamond” treatment that is an incredible eye magnet. Now the water in Long Island Sound off the Housatonic River didn’t look quite like what you see above, but nobody cared as our test captain clocked 46.9 mph (40.8 knots), average, in 3’ chop. This Formula is a jewel that only a few people can have, and the truly surprising part is that she is nearly $100,000 LESS than the same boat powered by twin 330-hp IPS 450 diesels. Both have a joystick. Well, there is more to the story --

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Engine News

New Volvo Penta IPS
for Bigger Boats

IPS 800 Ocean Yachts Pacific Mariner
The new IPS 800 & 900 use the same D11 10.8 L block. The larger IPS systems are designed for bigger boats, 48’ to 55’+ with twin installations. The system is ideal for
the 50’ Ocean Yacht, above, and possibly the 65’ Pacific Mariner, right.

Volvo Penta recently announced that it had delivered the 10,000th IPS system to the marine industry world-wide. That means almost 5,000 boats have been powered by the system. The first IPS systems, introduced a few years ago, were limited pretty much to boats in the 33’ to 45’ range with twin installations. A few builders on both sides of the Atlantic put in triples, and at least one – Lazzara – installed quad IPS600s. At the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show last fall, Lazzara again stole the show, this time introducing its new 92-footer with quad IPS900s, which was the first public showing of the new equipment. The IPS900 can develop 700-hp at the crankshaft. What boats will the new, larger IPS units go in, and what kind of performance can be expected? To find out more -- crank the mouse

See all Volvo Penta engine tests

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Captain John Reports

Cruisers 390 Sports Coupe
Wins Innovation Award

Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe 
The Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe is both creative and built like a boat, not like a sports car – thank goodness!
Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe 
The companion seating adjacent to the helm converts into a settee that seats four or can serve as a great tray table for two.

There is nothing like innovation to get our juices running and the Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe has one of the most creative settee designs on the bridge deck that we have ever seen. It has been around for a couple of years but has never gotten the plaudits that we feel it deserves, so this week we are awarding it the “BoatTEST Bridge Deck Innovation Award of the Month.” This is not the only thing about the bridge that we like – you also can stand up at the helm, as well as sit. Sounds like an odd thing to say, but true, and noteworthy these days. This boat has been designed by boaters for boaters, which means that it is full of practical and seaworthy designs that make boating a pleasure. Join Captain John as he takes a good look --

See Boat test video --

Request a VIP BoatTEST sea trial--

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Member Services

Tiara 3500 Sovran
Special Package

Tiara 3500 Sovran Tiara 3500 Sovran Chart

If you are a couple looking for a new, solid go-anywhere cruiser for a great price then your ship might have come in.

If you enjoy cruising just with your honey, you are not alone. Young married (or unmarried) couples and retired couples often find it most pleasant just sharing the joys of cruising together, without the stress of entertaining or the intrusion of another couple. And if you’d like to cruise in a boat that you have confidence can handle most any reasonable condition offshore, yet you are unable to get TARP funds, then the Tiara 3500 Sovran was made to order for you. The MSRP for the 3500 with IPS 350 is $388k, but the street price is far less. And operating expenses are less than a gallon per mile. There are a few 3500s still available for the summer, so the time and the price couldn’t be better. Read our Captain’s Report -- 

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Capt. Steve Reports

Pacific Mariner 65
Designed for Couple Cruising

Pacific Mariner 65 

The Pacific Mariner 65 is built in the Pacific Northwest where is rains, gets rough in a heartbeat, and is chilly most of the year. What better place to find both the designers and the builders of a long-distance cruising boat?

The realm of 60-70 foot motoryachts has certainly come of age. It is, we think, the perfect size range for an owner-operator who wants to have the largest boat that is easily manageable by a couple, but small enough to be affordable for many people, both to buy and to operate. These boats exude a sense of luxury while allowing for a wide range of performance, cruising aptitudes, and applications. Some are all flash and dash and look great at the dock or for an evening cocktail party and may impress people who know nothing about boats. Others are carefully designed for specific work, are practical and functional, either for long range cruising, coastal cruising or a little bit of both. The Pacific Mariner 65 by Westport is more of the latter. The folks at Pacific Mariner, when they started over 15 years ago, had the dream of building an exceptional cruising boat that a couple could easily handle. The PM 65 has been around awhile but she is still a very special boat – there is still nothing quite like her. To find why we think she is so special --

Request a personal response from the builder

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Engine Oil News

What Engine Oil Do Marine Professionals Use?

Royal Purple
Finally we have found a marine engine oil that gives better lubricity than conventional oils and can go longer before oil changes. It is called Royal Purple, and don’t be put off by the name.

We all know that lubricity and the ability not to break down under high temperatures are keys to good motor oil and provide a longer life for the engine, but frankly we’ve always been confused by all of the competing claims of companies hawking their products. What is the difference between synthetic oil and regular oil? How do you tell the difference between super oil and snake oil? To cut through the hype and promotional flak we searched out a marine professional who knew something about the subject. We found Pat Studdert, a 30-year veteran and president of Buffalo Marine Services. Here is what he had to say --

Find your closest Royal Purple distributor

Product Test

"The Complete Solution" Accessories Kit

Shurhold Products 

Shurhold Products manufactures “The Complete Solution” handle and accessories kit for your boat and RV. With beautiful sunshine and 88 degree weather we decided to test this product and some of its 40+ attachments. Did it perform as advertised? Swab your deck here.

Windy News

3 Staterooms on
New Windy 44 Express

Windy 44 Chinook
Look at all of the portlights along this new Windy 44 hull. She was named “Powerboat for 2009” by the Dusseldorf Boat Show.

With so many express cruisers in the 44 range, how does a builder get named “Powerboat of the Year”? The answer is: put in three staterooms. And then you put two heads below. We can’t think of any other 44 express on earth that has three staterooms, much less two heads as well. Because the IPS pod drives could be moved so far aft, Windy was able to put the room it freed up to good use. Find out more about the Windy 44 --

See BoatTEST video review --



Meridian Yachts

Larson Banner

Bayliner Banner

Maxum Banner



Cruisers Yachts Banner




yamaha pwc

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Boat Buying Tips

Boats Are Selling— The Best Deals Going First

Trailered Boat
Smart buyers are pulling up to dealerships and driving away with unheard of deals. Maxum is rebating up to $140k on certain models, other companies are discounting even more but are not publicizing it.

It has been a bonanza for boaters with cash or good credit and a friendly bank. During the last two months boats have been moving all over the country. In some cases dealers are experiencing sales on a par with last spring. Not surprisingly the best deals were snapped up first, but there are still plenty around. Virtually every builder manufacturing boats under 100’ is giving big discounts or rebates on inventory both at dealerships and at the factory. As we have said before, do not hesitate to call the factory of your choice after you have decided what brand and model you want and ask for the “last price.” Most of the big boat builders are not advertising their discounts because they are afraid that it will devalue their brand. But they are discounting none the less because it is no longer a matter of “devaluing” and image, it is a matter of over production, tight credit and cash flow. To find out some of the incredible deals to be had among the builders who have come out of the discount closet --

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Marina of the Week

Boardwalk Marina Has Factory-Backed Deals

Boardwalk Marina
The Boardwalk Marina is a full service operation in protected water just three miles up the Housatonic River, east of Bridgeport, CT. The management and staff are friendly there.

Every now and then we run across a marina that we think deserves some special attention. If you boat along the north shore of Long Island Sound, are looking for a new or non-current Formula or Fountain, or a used boat, then you should know about the Boardwalk Marina in Stratford, CT. They are a full service marina and have 197 slips. They have priced their slips right and as a result only 9 are left unrented. If you need repairs, they have a shop that will do gel coat and fiberglass work, and they are well known for “short haul outs” for bottom paint and quick fixes. For more information about services as well as factory-backed special new boat deals --

Member Services

Fully Equipped Rampage 34

Rampage 34
This Rampage 34 is fully locked and loaded for big game with everything imaginable and a great price.

Every once in a while we catch wind of a remarkable opportunity on the market and that has just happened with the Rampage 34 with IPS 500 pictured above. She is brand new and is loaded with so much high-tech gear fish should literally jump into the cockpit. For just a taste of what she has aboard: IPS sportfishing package, freezer box, underwater lights, tower, generator, FLIR, E-series electronics package, an Algae-X and much more. To read our Captain’s Report on the boat --

Request Special Factory pricing --

See BoatTEST video on the Rampage 34 --

Member Services

McKinna 62 –
Cockpit Express Motoryacht

McKinna 62 Express
The McKinna 62 has the largest cockpit of virtually any express and both a two stateroom or three stateroom option below.

This huge express has either two large ensuite staterooms or a three cabin configuration, and in both cases the details and joinerwork throughout are what you would expect in a fine yacht. The engine room has 6’ 5” headroom and she has the largest cockpit we’ve ever seen on an express motoryacht south of 90’. It is powered by twin Caterpillar C-18 1000-hp diesels turning Nibral 5-bladed props which the company tells us will drive her at 34 knots WOT. See what she looks like below --

Cruising South

Fleming 65 Cruises
to Jurassic Park

Fleming 65
Tony Fleming takes his Fleming 65 down the Mexican coast. and ends up on the island that inspired the movie Jurassic Park.

Park rangers on the World Heritage island of Isla del Coco make sure everyone is off the island before night fall. Fleming was only too happy to get back aboard. We don’t know whether T-Rex still roams there or not, but it was a great place for 17th century pirates and ill-gotten loot has been found there. On the way south, the Fleming 65 braved the infamous Gulf of Tehuantepec winds that old salts call Tehuantepekers. Fleming is a man on a shakedown mission racing through paradise. Join him quick --

Read review of Fleming 65 --

Request a personal response from the builder

USCG Recall

CMD Zeus Pod Ring Clamp

CMD Zeus Pod Ring Clamp Recall
About 496 CMD Zeus units are being recalled due to an issue with the clamp ring bolts holding the pod.

Most USCG recalls are due to small items that may have been improperly manufactured, and the company is playing it safe by recalling and changing the whole batch. This month’s recall seems to fall in that category. As always, because boats change hands so rapidly it is difficult or impossible for OEMs to track down every consumer involved. If you know someone who owns a CMD Zeus drive, please send this article to them. See the recall --

Sinking of the Week

On Board Video
Of USS Vandenberg Sinking

USS Vandenberg
If you’ve ever wanted to know what it is like going down with the ship, without actually taking that fatal plunge, then we’ve got the video for you.

It is not often we get to go down with the ship and it’s a happy event, but that’s what happened two weeks ago off Key West, FL when the 523’ USS Vandenberg was sunk with 44 blasting charges (think that was enough?). The city of Key West paid $1.35 million for the privilege of sinking this 65-year-old pile of floating scrap to make an artificial reef and dive site in 140' of water. She sank in less than 2 minutes, the culmination of three days of pre-sinking festivities which were kicked off with free mojitos at the Guy Harvey Grill. Go down with the ship -- drown the mouse

BoatTEST News

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Product Review

Latest in Cartography from Navionics

Navionics award-winning Platinum series.

If you have used consumer electronics recently, you probably have used the same storage devices as are used for Navionics charts. Compact Flash and SD cards are easily updatable, adaptable to most plotters and are designed with every budget in mind.  Captain Rob Smith takes us through the latest offerings from Navionics.

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Nordhavn Transatlantic Rally

Largest T.A. Powerboat Fleet Enters Bermuda

Part V
The big boats hit the Gulfstream.
Part VI
Entering the Bermuda Triangle.
Part VII
Bermuda, cocktails, a piece of steak.

If you have ever thought about long distance cruising then you will want to watch the second installment of the epic 2004 transatlantic crossing. The Nordhavn video saga continues as the little fleet heads into the Atlantic toward Bermuda on their 4000 mile crossing. Even if you have no interest in world cruising, these videos give insight to what life at sea can be like in the 21st century aboard a powerboat.

This video "mini-series" of the Nordhavn TA rally was so popular last year when we ran it, we thought you'd enjoy seeing it again.  Call it a "re-run."  The video series gives you the feel of the historic 2004 transatlantic power crossing. 18 power owners called it – “A Piece of Cake.”

See first installment of T.A. videos --

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #40

Tips on Tying Up Your Boat

Capt. Steve

When tying up at a dock, show courtesy to your neighbors by keeping your lines coiled up neatly and out of the way.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on practicing docking and dock line etiquette. The more you practice docking, the more comfortable you will become with it. Capt. Steve goes over some examples on how to use stern spring lines and aft spring lines. It’s also important to be a good neighbor and show courtesy at the dock or local marina you’re visiting. When there are many boaters tied up at the same place dock lines can get a little hard to manage if not set up correctly, learn how to avoid this. 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

To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?

First Place

"I told you we needed heavier women!"
- T. Robeck

Second Place

"Lord, Ray, hurry up, the girls say the clams they had for lunch were bad!"
- S. Thompson

Honorable (almost) Mention
"Maybe I'll go with the smaller engine."
- K. Nesslage

What's Going on Here?


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