Is Back in Business
Last December Crownline Boats announced to its workers that they would be furloughed for the holidays. Unfortunately this was the norm for most boat builders last winter and production was sporadic as the boating industry was hit by a sales decline that was far steeper than even the one that hit boating in the Great Depression. Some builders shut their doors for good, some went into “hibernation” and others reduced staff to a tenth of what it had been the year before and built a trickle of boats.
Crownline's factory did not reopen after Christmas. The company struggled all spring long to recapitalize. In 2006 the company had become the ninth largest fiberglass boat builder in units after just 12 years in business, and the fifth largest builder of sportboats. Given its high unit sales and good reputation,
most industry veterans figured that it was simply too good a franchise to be abandoned and at some point a buyer would emerge. That event was finally announced last Friday. Two entrepreneurs in the boat business have officially bought the company and vow to get it back on the track it was on before a majority of the company was sold to a private capital management firm in 2007. To find out more --
Test of New
52.5 mph WOT
Regal’s new 2300 is such a feature-packed boat, and has
such good performance and handling, that we predict that it will be an instant success. Designed as an upgrade to the popular 2200, this new bowrider has a cockpit that is 8” longer and 6” wider than the current 2200. Couple that with her outstanding handling and you have a roomy watersports platform that can tow skiers, wakeboarders
or most anything else. To give her a critical once over, we sent Capt. Steve to sunny Florida to climb aboard. He also ran the performance numbers and
you need to look at these in detail before buying any boat in this class.
Check out Capt. Steve’s video of the 2300 details --
Rinker Captiva 246 CC
A Cuddy Cabin for Special Nights
With so many families spending their days on the water, the obvious question becomes, why does the boating have to end just because the day does? The typical river has a myriad of shoreline locations just waiting to become your own private campground. The Rinker Captiva 246 CC will open up a whole new realm of boat camping for you. There are relatively few cuddy choices on the market in the 24' class and so if you are in the market for one you should check out the Rinker Captiva 246 CC. We sent Capt. Steve on a mission to scout out some of the features this versatile family boat brings to the table, and report back to us.
Bring your sleeping bag -- and your little dog too.
New 240 and 242 Series Yamaha Boats
Have 72% Larger Engines!
On Monday in Freeport, Bahamas Yamaha Motor Corp., USA,
unveiled its all-new 242 and 240 Series boats that are the largest, most feature-rich boats Yamaha has ever produced. These two new models replace Yamaha’s 232 and 230 Series. The all-new boats have several new major noteworthy design features. Perhaps the most important is the 72% increase in engine displacement, going from 1052 cc in the old models to 1816 cc in the new 242 and 240 models. Yamaha says that the boat’s performance has improved markedly as a result. Another improvement is the far larger “U”-shaped bow seating area that appears to have all of the room of a pickle fork or deckboat
design while still keeping the traditional 20-degree deadrise hull and conventional bow. Yamaha has also improved on their innovative stern seating area in which they have led the whole sportboat industry.
For more details --
Hydra-Sports 202 DC:
A Versatile Boat for All Reasons
The team at Hydra-Sports tells us that the 202 DC will keep die-hard fisherman happy as well as satisfy the family out for a day of recreation. In our book, a 20-something outboard-powered dual console bowrider is one of the best boating concepts on the market. You can fish from it, use it as a cruising sportboat, a swimming platform, or tow boat for skiers or tubing. Because it is a Hydra-Sports we knew the 202 DC would be fishy, but would it also be family-friendly. In order to find out, we sent our former fisherman, and now family man, Capt. Steve to see if this boat has what it takes to keep both groups happy.
Bring your fish gear -- no wait, water skis -- no wait -- oh just come aboard.
Sea Ray News
Sea Ray 22 Pachanga
Celebrating Her 40th Birthday with Flair
Sea Ray is at it again, and now they’re combining their 50th anniversary with the
40th birthday of the Pachanga, the boat that redefined sportboat styling.
this momentous occasion, Sea Ray is offering the Pachanga with a 50th anniversary
package as standard on the first 100 boats ordered. This package includes Ultraleather
HP interior upholstery, a red gelcoat hull, red accents in the cockpit and sunpad,
and a limited edition numbered builders plate. Great additions to an awesome boat.
Check out the 22 Pachanga --
Explore Sea Ray’s Seven Seas Sales Event --
Glastron GLS 215 Is
Heating Up the Competition
The most popular size range in the bowrider category is 21’, and if you intend to compete with all the other choices, you better have your game face on. Glastron’s new GLS 215 was developed to go after this market segment head on, and it’s making waves all around. With a boat load of attractive features, this is one to check out before you buy. For a detailed look at this boat we sent Capt. Rob on a full test, and his video walkthrough is ready to view.
Grab your cooler and swim suits and head this way --
Yamaha VX Cruiser
Is For Everyone
At some point in life, we think everyone should enjoy the fun of a PWC. In case you haven’t noticed, most superyachts have two of them aboard. They are for everyone. Kids love them, of course, but so do old fogies. The fact is, they are just plain fun. And at $8,699 for the 110-hp VX Cruiser, it is probably has the best ROI per hour of fun of anything on the water. We asked Capt. John, a former America’s Cup tender skipper, to try one out and give us a full report.
Let her rip --
New MasterCraft X-35:
Let Them Eat Wake
Leave it to the cool dudes at MasterCraft to create a wake monster that you can party aboard while the solo trickster is strutting his stuff. The MasterCraft X-35 is designed for wakeboarding, wakesurfing, wake skating, and waking up your friends for nearly anything you can imagine. Invent your own new competition with this hot new X-35! MasterCraft offers the X-35 in a nearly bare-bones standard version so that you can pick and choose your own options and build a customized watersports platform. Our test boat was powered by a 400-hp Indmar LY-6 engine which should make you boss nearly anywhere you care to give wake. Read Capt. John Wenz’s detailed report on the new MasterCraft X-35
-- wake your mouse.
Tahoe Q5i Is a Lot of Boat
for an Affordable Price
Small bowriders are a class with stiff competition, particularly with the entry level boats. They’ve all got to combine safety, family fun, and versatility into an affordable package. While there’s only so much space to deal with, making a boat that beats the others out for a buyers attention can be a challenge. Tahoe stepped up and built a nice fish and ski package that has a price that makes it worth looking at. And the factory matched trailer is included. We sent our toughest critic to check it out and let us know what he thought.
See Capt. Steve’s report here.
Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 250: Designed by Women for a Family
When Harris Flotebote wanted to build a better pontoon boat, they assembled a focus group of women boaters and asked them what they wanted. The results were sent to the drafters table and the engineers went to work. The end result is the Mariner SEL 250. Not only does it meet the needs of the growing family, it also offers a level of luxury that is hard to ignore, or even walk past. Clearly, it meets the women’s needs, but what about the men? To see if it fits, we sent our resident manly man, Capt. Steve, to check out the SEL 250 and see if it man’s up enough for the rest of us.
Read his report--
From now until Sept. 15th Formula is running an end-of-model-year clearance sale with special factory rebates on virtually all of its models. The company must clear out 2009 models and both dealers and the factory are joining together to make consumers an offer that is hard to refuse. A few factory demos are also available at deeply discounted prices. If you have always wanted to own a new Formula and thought you would never be able to afford one, now is your window of opportunity. Take advantage of the current economic slowdown before things turnaround. Financing is available.
For more information on this special program --
Synthetic Lower Unit
Lube Oil from Royal Purple
Lower units need gear lubricant just like any other metal-to-metal surface in your powertrain. And while boaters typically pay some attention to the motor oil they buy, few pay much attention to the gear lube oil. For most people it’s just another necessary expense, and it is given little thought. But just as synthetic motor oil improves performance for engines, so too, does synthetic gear oil make lower units run quieter, cooler, smoother and have a longer life. The folks at Royal Purple tell us that their “Max-Gear” lube oil “provides unsurpassed protection to heavily loaded gears” because it is synthetic and has their proprietary additive “Synslide.” Find out more --
Dual Action Polisher
The team at Shurhold has been at it again, this time their aim was to improve on an old favorite, the buffer/polisher. With many boaters turning to a more DIY approach over the last year, Shurhold wanted to give them something to help out. This new Dual Action Polisher is a marine specific professional grade tool designed for everyday boaters to provide the ability to buff, wax, and polish their boat like a professional. Plug it in as we take a closer look --
Tigé Introduces Touch Screen
Watersport boats are about performance and looks, and you can’t have great looks with old technology, that’s why the team at Tigé introduced the TigéTouch interactive operating system, the world’s first fully functional touch screen control designed specifically for inboard watersport boats. BoatTEST captains have never been let down by the Tigé team when it comes to design and technology, and this latest innovation not only looks cool, but it’s intuitive to use, and that’s no marketing line. Say you want your gauges to show; just touch the gauges icon. And the same goes for all the other functions.
Touch here for more --
Brunswick Discontinues the Maxum Brand
As part of its ongoing cost-cutting initiatives, Brunswick Corp. announced recently that it is discontinuing its Maxum boat line, which it established in 1988. The Maxum brand was created just two years after Brunswick bought Bayliner from its founder, Orin Edson, for $470 million, the largest amount ever paid for a recreational boat company. From the beginning the Maxum line seemed to be searching for an identity or a solid reason for being. For the most part, Maxum hulls were the same as those of Bayliner, with different decks and interiors to differentiate the brand. It was marketed as an up-scale version of a Bayliner which also cost more, but not as much in many cases, as Sea Ray models with which it also competed in the Brunswick family.
To find out what will be happening to warranties and other information --
Reggie Fountain Files for Chapter 11
The world-wide recession is trying to claim another victim in the boating industry, but Reggie Fountain is tenaciously hanging on in the face of hardship. On Monday Fountain Powerboat Industries filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in the Eastern District of North Carolina. According to court documents, it has as many as 49 estimated creditors. Regions Bank of Birmingham, AL has claims totalling more than $19 million, according to an accounting of the creditors holding the 20 largest unsecured claims, it was reported. But while things seem grim for Fountain’s prospects he has a plan for recovery.
To find out what it is --
See Reggie in local news video interview --
"BoatTEST.com's Video Boating Course"
by Capt. Steve Now FOR SALE
For the last year we have played Capt. Steve’s educational videos on boat handling, piloting, seamanship, navigation and rules of the road. This weekly feature has been so successful that we have collaborated with Capt. Steve to bring you the “BoatTEST.com Video Boating Course” which covers everything you need to know to go boating with confidence and expertise. The course has over 300 video clips – the same ones you have been seeing in our weekly newsletter and on the BoatTEST.com website – as well as many that you haven’t seen. The course also incorporates far more than we have shown on BoatTEST, including tests, check lists, Rules of the Road, a Nautical Dictionary and much more. Now you can get the complete course on 8 interactive CD-ROMs to play on your computer at home for just $69.95, plus $5 postage and handling.
Find out more and how you can get this incredible video learning package --
Readers Lambast Polluter; Sympathize with New Boater; Agree Chartplotters Dangerous
A couple of weeks ago BoatTEST.com began a new feature on its home page called “Photo Story” which invited readers to send in their own news, feedback, experiences, tips, complaints, suggestions, and most anything else that crossed their bow. We then invited other readers to comment on the first reader’s submission. Thankfully, what we got was a lot more light than heat, which helps everyone become a better boater and more aware of what is going on around us. It also sets the record straight on some subjects, such as how many boats really showed up for the “12,000-boat raft-up.” Essentially these are reader blogs with a picture about a boating subject. The most-read was the one about “Anchoring Safety” wherein the owner of a Bayliner explains what happened when he neglected to put a preventer on his bow anchor. (Yup, you guessed it.) And, if our reader comments are any indicator, chartplotters are not as accurate as they are touted as being. Why not send us a short blog on your favorite subject along with a picture. (If you don’t have a picture, we’ll supply one.) It’s a good way to get YOUR word out to the boating world.
See Reader blogs and comments--
Submit your own Reader Blog --
Nordhavn 57 Trapped in Ice;
Breaks Free in Northwest Passage
Truth be told, the Nordhavn 57 Bagan, embarked on a voyage through the Northwest Passage, was blessed with fair weather and relative calm seas through much of her trip. However, after heading south from Resolute Bay heading south into Peel Sound she ran into the ice that confounded many arctic explorers in the mid-1800s. In fact, Bagan actually got mired in ice near where the ill-fated Franklin Expedition became entrapped in 1847 and where its two ships were sunk. Read this week’s fascinating account of how skipper Sprague Theobald -- in desperation -- drives his fiberglass boat into ice flows to escape being carried onto the arctic rocks.
Steady as she goes --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #50
How to Extinguish a Fire on Your Boat
This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to fight a fire on your boat. Learn the basic steps of extinguishing a fire quickly and efficiently and how to use a fire extinguisher correctly. Capt. Steve will also go over what to do if a fire is in the engine compartment and will explain what a discharge port is and how important it is to use it if your boat has one. 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 BoatTEST.com.
To view this week's lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Humm-- if only the wives were here they would know what to do." - J. Forbes
"Filming the new hit show, Embroidered Seats." - R. Mathias
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Don't worry about the water coming in, they said the engine was fresh water cooled."
- D Kinsman
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