New Ocean Alexander 68
Has the Room
of a 90-footer!
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
The Bertram 540
Is Different Inside
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
full test video --
Steve’s full Captain Report --
New Test of Formula 37 PC
Is the Fastest Ever!
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
Well, there is more to the story --
New Volvo Penta IPS
for Bigger Boats
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
Captain John Reports
Cruisers 390 Sports Coupe
Wins Innovation Award
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 --
Boat test video --
Request a VIP BoatTEST sea trial--
Tiara 3500 Sovran
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 --
Capt. Steve Reports
Pacific Mariner 65
Designed for Couple Cruising
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
Boat Buying Tips
Boats Are Selling— The Best Deals Going First
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 --
Marina of the Week
Boardwalk Marina Has Factory-Backed Deals
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 --
Fully Equipped Rampage 34
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 --
BoatTEST video on the Rampage 34 --
McKinna 62 –
Cockpit Express Motoryacht
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 --
Fleming 65 Cruises
to 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
CMD Zeus Pod Ring Clamp
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
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
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Latest in Cartography from Navionics
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
Captain Rob Smith takes us through the latest offerings from Navionics.
Nordhavn Transatlantic Rally
Largest T.A. Powerboat Fleet Enters Bermuda
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 --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #40
Tips on Tying Up Your Boat
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 BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"I told you we needed heavier women!"
- T. Robeck
"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
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