New Boats: Larson 17 OB, Seaswirl 19 CC, Boston Whaler 28 - 09/09/2009
BoatTEST Newsletter September 9, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Boston Whaler 280 Outrage
- Trophy 2203 CC
- Stingray 220DR
- Larson 1700 LX
- Four Winns V285
- Sea Ray 175 Sport
- Bayliner 225 Bowrider
- Seaswirl 1905CC
- Ranger 208 VX
- Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255
- Shurhold Fuel Filters
- Pitch of the Prop
- Use Proper Break-In Oil
- Re-Power with a Yamaha F250?
- When the Fog Rolls In
- How Good A Captain Are You?
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Boston Whaler 280 Outrage Raises the CC Bar

Boston Whaler 280 Outrage
The new Boston Whaler 280 Outrage is a powerful contender for the serious offshore angler’s business.

Boston Whaler invented the center console, the non-sinkable boat and virtually created the sport of offshore saltwater fishing in a small fiberglass outboard-powered boat. Then, years ago, its managers started resting on the brand’s laurels, as the company was sold by one conglomerate to another. Back in the early 1970s Boston Whaler had only five competitors, and now it has over 50. But the past is prelude.

We have been impressed with the newest generation of models coming out of Boston Whaler the last year or so. Boston Whaler’s new management is not resting on its old laurels anymore because its market share dominance in the category has been pecked away by those 50 nibbling, competitive ducks.

For example, the new Whaler Outrage 280 clearly demonstrates that the builder is paying attention to both center console buyers and its competition. The all-new 280 Outrage has the finest entry in Whaler’s history, a 23-degree deadrise at the transom, and chine flats that are 3-1/2” wide instead of the 6” of yesteryear. Join us as we take a detailed look at the new Boston Whaler 280 Outrage and show you what this classic builder is up to these days...

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New Boat

New Larson 1700 LX for 2010:
Outboard-Powered Retro-Sportboat

Larson 1700 LX
The new Larson 1700 LX outboard-powered sportboat is a good combination of ease of trailering and ease of handling. It is light and can be as fast as 115-hp can  make it.

A long time ago, in a galaxy far, far away, all sportboats were powered by 2-stroke outboard engines. We know that is hard to believe, but it is true. You see, prior to 1957, there weren’t any stern drives, because they hadn’t been invented yet. And 4-stroke outboards were not yet even a gleam in Mr. Yamaha’s eye. On lakes all across America boaters raced their wooden, aluminum and fiberglass boats against each other and usually the boat with the biggest engine was the fastest. In those days, 60-hp was about the biggest outboard engine anyone had. Yup, and the boats were fast, or at least seemed like it. Today you can count the number of outboard-powered sportboat models on one hand, but they seem to be on the cusp of coming back as a power option on sportboats. There are a lot of advantages to outboard-powered sportboats and the new Larson 1700 LX is an entry-level sportboat with a retro look and a price tag that is so low that it permits this Larson model to compete toe-to-toe with the likes of brands that specialize in building inexpensive boats. We asked Capt. Steve to take a look at the new Larson 1700 LX --

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New Boat

New Trophy 2203 Center Console:
Boat Ownership Without Guilt

Trophy 2203 Center Console
Standard power on the Trophy 2203 is 200-hp 2-stroke Mercury Optimax. There are 6 other options, one of which will surprise you. The fabric T-top is optional.

Trophy tells us that ride, range, and fishability are at the heart and soul of their all-new 2203 Center Console. Okay, we’ll buy that, but over 50 builders of nearly 1,000 other center consoles models tell us pretty much the same thing. After taking a good look at the new Trophy 2203 CC we’d say it’s got everything you need without a lot of the frills and things you don’t need. It’s a solid boat with a price that is low enough that if you take a pass on fishing a weekend or two, you aren’t going to feel guilty just letting the boat sit. In our book that kind of relationship with one’s boat is what makes for fun boating. At 22’6” she’s a good size for short runs to the shoals or long runs offshore in decent weather. Join us as we take a look at some of the stand-out features of this new functional center console from Trophy. Bring your tackle and come with us --

Request a  Test Drive

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First Look

The Stingray 220DR:
A Deckboat for Sun and Fun

Stingray 220 DR
With three coolers, a sink, bow and stern washdowns, and a host of other standards, this Stingray 220DR deckboat leaves little to be desired.

This Stingray 220DR deckboat has a pretty standard layout, but it’s chock full of amenities that make it a very good buy, in our opinion. If you're in the market for a 22’ deckboat, we’d definitely add the Stingray 220 DR to the list of “must check out before you buy” boats. It has ample seating for her capacity, plenty of room, and attractive features at both the bow and stern. To give it a discerning once-over we sent Capt. Steve to give the Stingray 220DR a look. Check out his take on the 220DR here --

Request a  Test Drive

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Pocket Cruiser

Four Winns V285:
A Huge Trailerable Cruiser

The Four Winns V285 is the largest trailerable
(8’6” beam) express cruiser in the builder’s line-up.

Because you can trailer the huge 2010 Four Winns V285 down the highway in virtually every state without a permit, your cruising range is almost unlimited. So pick the best cruising spots and let her rip. The V285 used to be called the V278. But because she is 28’4” LOA the new designation seems a lot more descriptive. Capt Ron Svoboda tested this 7,200 lb. pocket cruiser for us and we think you’ll enjoy his video report...

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Sea Ray News

Sea Ray 175 Sport is Stereotype Resistant

Sea Ray 175 Sport
The Sea Ray 175 Sport can be called exciting, sporty, even small -- but don’t call her typical.

Sea Ray’s entry-level sportboat has features that make it anything but similar to the rest of the entry-level sportboats on the market. You get to choose between three different layout options, and four exciting graphics and gelcoat color package options for extreme customization of your boat. Sea RayBeing able to choose layout in an entry-level boat is virtually unheard of, and we think this feature alone require your investigation. Add in a limited lifetime warranty on hull and deck and a 2-year MerCruiser engine warranty and you have what should be stress-free boating. In case you haven’t noticed, Sea Ray is running a sales promotion, so there are some financial goodies involved in addition to an innovative boat. Check out the Sea Ray Seven Seas sales event here --

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Second Look

The Bayliner 225 Gives
Maximum Utility, Minimum Price

Bayliner 225
Check out the extended swim platform and optional wakeboard tower. The cockpit is roomy and has lots of built-in storage. Note that the extended swim platform goes beyond the lower unit and prop for safety.

Bayliner managed to pack even more utility and features into 22’6” than usual. Their largest runabout comes complete with “smart storage”, a roomy cockpit with wrap-around seating, transom seating for three adults, and optional transom tunes and an extended platform. Couple that with Bayliner’s trademark lowball price and you have a combination that will wet your appetite and your weekends. We sent Capt. Rob to go through the boat and report back to us on her features. His video and report are now available --

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New Boat

Sneak Peak of the All-New 2010
Seaswirl 1905 Striper CC

Seaswirl 1905 CC
The all-new for 2010 Seaswirl 1905 CC Striper under construction
shows high bow rails and a curvy sheer line.

We were walking through the Seaswirl plant in Little Falls, Minnesota recently and clicked off a few snaps of the all-new 1905 Striper center console. The boat as you can see was only partially finished. It isn’t often that one can get pictures of a boat before it’s ready, rarer still, for a builder to permit publication. Thanks to the folks at Seaswirl, you are getting first peak at the 1905 CC Striper. While previous models of Stripers had pleasing lines, the new 1905 CC seems to go farther and have more flair and curves to her topsides. This will be Seaswirl’s second from smallest boat and it is dead center in a very popular size range. Join Capt. Steve on this first look at the all new for 2010 1905 CC Striper. Now entering a hard hat area --

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Bass Boats

Ranger 208 VX

Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255
The 208VX has a sharp deadrise at the bow to slice through chop and improve handling and tracking.

The 208 VX follows in the heritage of the 520 VX but is designed to keep more of your hard-earned dollars in your pocket, at least until you hit the bait and tackle shop. If you have always wanted the first-rate quality of a Ranger boat, you now have a cost effective way to break into one. See test and video of the Ranger 208 VX --

PWC News

Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255 Technology Expands to 2010 Models

Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255
Sea-Doo GTX Limited iS 255.

For 2010, BRP is expanding the availability of its award-winning iControl system to the entire Sea-Doo GTX and RXT line-ups and to the WAKE PRO 215 model. The iControl system features the industry’s only on-water braking system, Intelligent Brake and Reverse (iBR) and their (iS) intelligent suspension system. We spent some time on one of the prototype GTXs to give you a look and some of our thoughts. Squeeze the throttle here --

Request a  Demo

Fuel Filters

Shurhold Fuel Filter Removes Water and Particles

Shurhold Fuel Filter
The large size Shurhold fuel gasoline fuel filter has two filters to speed up the filtering process.

There is nothing worse that dirty fuel or fuel with water in it to gunk up your engine and cause it to cut out at just the wrong time (which is any time). Shurhold has an ingenious yet simple-to-use filter that allows you to filter fuel before it goes into your tank. The 5 micron filters take out virtually all particulates as well as to separate out any water. We have tested it and it works. Our only suggestion is to get the large-size filter to speed the flow. Learn more here --

Special Offer for BoatTEST readers. Buy any size funnel filter and receive a FREE mini funnel filter. Perfect for generators, lawn mowers, trimmers etc.

Coupon Code: BTF
Exp: 9/31/09

Prop Basics

Pitch of the Prop
Governs Performance

Pitch is the distance a propeller will move through a solid (as in a screw through wood) in one 360-degree rotation. For example, a 14” pitch prop will theoretically advance 14” for every complete rotation. Reality in water is something less than that.

A lot of things affect a propeller’s performance, but perhaps the most important is the pitch of the prop. But there is more to it than that: There is both “constant pitch” and “progressive pitch” and then there is the “rake” and the “cup” built into the prop that will determine the ultimate effectiveness of the pitch. We asked the folks at PowerTech! -- our go-to source for prop information -- to shed some light on this important subject for us. Here’s one pitch you’ll want to catch --

PowerTech! Website

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Boat Construction

Tigé Factory is State of the Art

Appling the gelcoat is one of the most difficult and most important jobs in the factory and it must be done by hand as you see above.

Regular readers of these pages know that we spend a lot of time talking about construction and manufacturing techniques and materials. The reason is that construction practices and factories run the gambit from old tobacco barns with chopped-strand flying in the air to modern plants with SOTA equipment and temperature control. We feel it is important for buyers to understand the environment in which their boats are made because it is reflected in the reliability, quality and fit-and-finish of the final product. Invariably, the companies with the modern facilities, using good equipment, with enlightened labor practices that produce the best products. That is why BoatTEST went to the trouble of making a plant tour video of the Tigé plant in Abilene, Texas. It is one of the most modern and best organized in the industry. Capt. Bob Smith is our host in what is one of the best and most informative plant tour videos we have ever seen. Take a look and learn the right way to build a boat...

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Motor Oil

Use Proper Break-In Oil For Peak Performance

Royal Purple makes a special oil for the engine break-in period. Always follow the engine manufacturers’ recommendations.

Whether you are buying a new car or new boat it is vitally important that the engine be properly broken in to maximize long-term peak performance. Ironically, proper engine break-in takes advantage of metal-to-metal wear. And it is for that reason that Royal Purple has formulated different oil than its standard product specifically for engine break-in. To find out the basics of breaking in an engine and what is so special about Royal Purple’s oil --

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Boating Tip

What to Do When Fog Rolls In

Full Fog
Slow down when operating your boat in reduced visibility.

When operating in fog your biggest danger probably comes from commercial vessels of all types, including fishermen. Skippers of these vessels are used to fog and are often complacent, if not downright negligent. (Remember the Block Island ferry which hit the USCG buoy tender last year?) Commercial fishermen are particularly problematical because they are often short-handed, feel that they know the local waters, and many have a real attitude when it comes to looking out for recreational boaters. You must look out for yourself! In addition to having a high powered radar and keeping a sharp eye on it, going slow, and sounding your horn, we also suggest the following precaution -- drink this soup.


Yamaha F250 As A
Re-power Option?

Yamaha Engine
Yamaha F250.

A subject that has been coming up more frequently over the last year is that of repowering existing outboard boats. There is no doubt that this is one of the easiest ways to give your old boat a new feel and level of performance. Given the test results we have seen for this engine across a variety of boat types and sizes, it occurs to us that the Yamaha F250 is a real contender for repower engine. Take a look at our focus on this engine as well as the many tests on different boat models.

Boat Certification

Boat Quality Goes Up And Everybody Wins

It all starts with this 10-lb. book with hundreds of pages published each year by the ABYC (American Boat and Yacht Council).

IIn the old days, before NMMA Certification, boat builders needed only to conform to a few USCG regulations and they could then legally sell boats in the U.S. The ABYC Standards book was just as thick back then as the one you see above -- but the builders didn’t have to follow the rules! In fact, only the very best builders religiously followed the ABYC standards. Some builders followed only rules they liked, and many, many builders just did what they thought best (or most expedient) regardless of the standards. If ever there was place where “Buyer Beware” was a motto, it was in the boat business. Thankfully, about 10 years ago the National Marine Manufacturers’ Association took the bull by the horns, started sending its own inspectors to boat-building factories and certifying that the brand was building its boats to ABYC Standards. The NMMA put the teeth in the ABYC Standards. To find out what NMMA Certification means to you, take a look at this short video starring Capt. Steve...


Weird and Funny
Boating Pictures

Killer Whale
Do you like funny boating pictures? Check these out, make some comments.

Do you have weird or funny pics of your own? Post yours here --

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How Good a Captain Are You

Think you can be a good skipper, little buddy?

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 --

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #52

Carbon Monoxide: Safety and Symptoms

Lesson #52
Keep any enclosed areas ventilated from carbon monoxide which can come from sources such as propane stoves, grills, heaters , engines or anything that produces hazardous gases.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on the importance of Carbon Monoxide Safety and recognizing the symptoms of CO poisoning. Carbon Monoxide detectors are so important because the gas is odorless and colorless. Nowadays there is no reason one should go without a CO detector and it is probably the single most important product you should install. They are required by ABYC standard on all new boats. Recognizing the symptoms of CO sickness early on will help save your life, as the effects can overcome a person quickly depending on the concentration of CO to air. Mild to Medium Carbon Monoxide poisoning is sometimes confused with sea sickness, so be aware of your surroundings and what is happening aboard your boat. 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

To view this week's lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Oh man, a solar powered, paddle wheel, floating beer keg, miniature party barge. Set me up as a dealer!" -R. Davis

Second Place

"But Dear, you said for me to buy a boat that matched your shoes!" -M. Mcintyre

Honorable (almost) Mentions

" makes coffee !" -R. Willson

"Relax dear, I bought it on eBay for a great price" -T. Randall

"No really there was a leprechaun in the bait shop...I'm not kidding!" - T. Babbit

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On Here?


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