New Boston Whaler
Raises the CC Bar
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...
New Larson 1700 LX for 2010:
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 --
New Trophy 2203 Center Console:
Boat Ownership Without Guilt
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
The Stingray 220DR:
A Deckboat for Sun and Fun
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
Sea Ray News
Sea Ray 175 Sport is
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.
Being 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 --
The Bayliner 225 Gives
Maximum Utility, Minimum Price
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 --
Sneak Peak of the All-New
Seaswirl 1905 Striper CC
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 --
Tigé Factory is State of the Art
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...
Use Proper Break-In Oil
For Peak Performance
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 --
What to Do When Fog Rolls In
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
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 Quality Goes Up And Everybody Wins
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
Do you have weird or funny pics of your own? Post yours here --
How Good a Captain Are You
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 --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #52
Carbon Monoxide: Safety and Symptoms
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 BoatTEST.com.
To view this week's lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Oh man, a solar powered, paddle wheel, floating beer keg, miniature party barge. Set me up as a dealer!" -R. Davis
"But Dear, you said for me to buy a boat that matched your shoes!" -M. Mcintyre
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Yes....it 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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