Outboard Owners Speak // 8 Days Adrift // 9 Reviews - 10/22/2009
BoatTEST Newsletter October 21, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
IN THIS ISSUE
- 89.6% Outboard Owners Happy
- Formula 270 Bowrider
- Scout Boats 222 Abaco
- Bayliner 265 Cruiser
- Larson Senza 206
- Yamaha VX Deluxe
- Tahoe 215 Xi
- Glastron GLS 235
- Tigé RZ4
- Seaswirl 2305 Center Console
- Damaged Prop?  What to Do
- Shurhold Dual Action Polisher
- Launching a Boat
- Rate Your Boat
- Rescue of the Week
- Royal Purple Lubricity Test
- USCG Recall
- Will Your Fire Extinguisher Work
- Boating Course for Christmas
- Boat Buying Tips
- Fishing Tips from the Pros
- Letters to the Editor
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

89.6% of Outboard Owners Happy with their Engines

Evinrude Mercury
Evinrude Honda Mercury
Suzuki Tohatsu Yamaha
Suzuki Tohatsu Yamaha

A month ago we asked readers to tell us how well their outboard motor was suited to the boat it was matched to. We received a lot of that information, but many more readers simply told us about their experience with their engines and that information was quite helpful as well. 163 people answered our first call and 89.6% were happy with their motors, and many were extremely happy. It is good to know that all brands have provided most of their owners with good service. That leaves 10.4% who had unsatisfactory experiences. Complaints of failures were pretty much all over the place with no single aspect being the culprit. Ironically, the two brands with the fewest responses – Evinrude and Tohatsu – had 100% satisfied customers reporting.

To add your comments, please give brand, model, hp and year of the unit and the size of your boat. Again, the object is to help guide new buyers into the best model and horsepower for their application. Once we have enough responses we will slice and dice them by model to offer your guidance to new buyers. To help, just click on the appropriate brand above --

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First Look

Scout Boats 222 Abaco:
Fish Chaser and/or Mini-Cruiser

Scout 222 Abaco
The Scout 222 Abaco is an economical, family-friendly fishboat that’s well suited for chasing any species that prowl inshore waters or just tooling around with mom and the kids.

The Scout 222 Abaco is not as fishy as its big sister, the 245 Abaco, but it will still get the job done inshore, while offering families a fine platform for recreation. Learn more about the Scout 222 Abaco --

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Formula News

Formula 270 Bowrider:
Luxury Plus Offshore Performance

Bayliner
With a 22-degree deadrise at the transom the Formula 270 Bowrider was made to go fast in an offshore chop. She’s man-sized and the most robust boat in her BR class.

There is nothing like going first class and knowing you’ve got the premier brand on the lake. The Formula 270 has a deadrise of 22-degrees at the transom that allows you to run through big water chop with the big boys. Not only that, but the Formula 270 with a displacement of 6,200 lbs. (2790 kg.), is the biggest bowrider in her class. And, she is also the most expensive. One look at her glossy blue Imron topsides and you’ll know why. She simply looks like a million bucks, but costs a lot less. We believe in value for money so we asked Capt. Rob to take a good look at her and report back. See his video and captain’s report --

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Pocket Cruiser

The Bayliner 265 Cruiser:
Weekend Condo/Water View

Bayliner 265 Cruiser
The Bayliner 265 Cruiser has everything a family on the move needs, all in a comfortable, and trailerable package. Use it as a resort home and loan interest is tax deductable.

More people are realizing that boating can be as much as you care to make it. For example, why not use a trailerable “pocket cruiser” as a weekend retreat with a water view as well as a boat for watersports? The Bayliner 265 Cruiser not only makes a great time for any family, it gives weekends away a whole new meaning. Imagine, for a moment, having a second home on the water that you can take off to every weekend. Now how about having that home move to a new location every weekend. And finally, let’s make that weekend home affordable. This is the realm of the Bayliner 265 -- a cruiser that makes weekends something to remember. Come check out Capt. Ron’s tour and see what we mean. Where will your weekends take you?

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Larson News

Larson Senza 206:
Value Plus Performance

Larson 206 Senza
We tested the Larson Senza 206 at 51.0 mph WOT powered by a 260-hp stern drive and found her to be easy to control even at these speeds.

This boat is a stellar performer, in our opinion. We got a best cruise of 35 mph getting 3.2 mpg, which is impressive. The Larson Senza 206 is a mid-priced boat that is easy to maintain, and at 3,150 lbs. (1429 kg.), she can be towed by virtually all vehicles except small cars. All of this means low operating expense and good value all around. Capt. Rob takes a detailed look at the Larson Senza 206 --

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New PWC

Yamaha’s New VX Deluxe
Is a Big Improvement

Yamaha VX Deluxe
Capt. Steve goes to the Yamaha factory to see one of the new, greatly improved PWCs.
Here he is with the new Yamaha VX Deluxe.

One thing that is embedded in the Yamaha corporate culture from Hamamatsu, Japan to Kennesaw, Georgia is: “Listen to the Consumer.” Quite simply that is how Yamaha takes huge market-share bites out of its competition. The company has taken customer feedback to heart – and to the drawing board – and developed a new PWC which it is calling the Yamaha VX Deluxe. These are major improvements, not just minor tweaking for some new-model introduction hype. Frankly, BoatTEST.com is very glad the company has made the VX series, and when you hear about them you’ll understand why. Take it away, Capt. Steve --

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Tahoe News

Tahoe 215 Xi: A Combo Funboat

Tahoe 215 Xi
Versatility means everything nowadays, and Tahoe seemed to take it seriously with the 215 Xi.

When you talk about keeping families together, nothing does it like boating. Our favorite pastime has given more memories than Kodak. Now the best way to bring those memories to the water is to have a boat that does (almost) everything. Now, no boat does it all, but when you combine some of the favorites, well, then you have something to notice. Tahoe’s 215 Xi does a great job of combining all the frills of a deckboat, with the functionality of a fishboat and a sportboat. Now that’s a combo that we can live with and if sales are any indicator, a lot of boat buyers feel the same way. Check out this versatile boat in Capt. Steve’s video walkthrough. Bring your swim trunks and some bait --

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Glastron News

Glastron GLS 235
For 2010 is Impressive

Glastron
Capt. Rob Smith takes an in-depth look at Glastron’s GLS 235, going over the important details with his tape measure and critical eye.

The Glastron GLS 235 is in the middle of its luxury series size range and it is a nice size in which to move up. You’ll see in the video that Glastron isn’t kidding when they call this model their “luxury” series. We think what the builder has done is impressive for this price-point boat. Powered by the 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 GXi Capt. Rob recorded a top speed of 47.4 mph. Best cruise was at 3000 rpm and with three people aboard the boat went 26.8 mph, getting 3.14 miles per gallon. With its 56-gallon fuel tank you can cruise 155 miles and still have a 10% reserve. Take a look at this terrific video of Capt. Rob examining the Glastron GLS 235 --

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Tigé News

Tigé RZ4 Wakeboat Likes Big Water

Tigé RZ4
The Tigé RZ4 is designed for large lakes and saltwater locations that low-freeboard skiboats avoid. Note the relatively high freeboard and “shark eye” twin lights in the pickle-fork bow.

Competition skiboats are built for – surprise – competition. Ski and wakeboard competitions are held in flat water locations under controlled conditions. Take those boats out into big water where there is a little chop and you have wet, sloppy, pounding boats because their freeboard is low, their bows droop and their bottoms are on the flattish side. Put them on a mooring and watch what happens in a blow thanks to the low freeboard at their bow. Now take a look at the Tigé RZ4 in the picture above and you will see a world of difference in design. What you can’t see is the bottom, which gives the RZ4 what we think is the most terrific ride in this class. We sent Capt. Rob down to Texas to inspect a Tigé RZ4 at the factory. Put on your hard hat --

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Center Consoles

Seaswirl 2305 Center Console:
A Good Fishy Value

Seaswirl 2305 CC
The Striper 2305 is a center console workhorse that should serve the angler well. If you take the family out, you have the basic comforts to make their day enjoyable.

The 2305 Center Console looks to be a good choice to move up to from the 18 to 21 foot range as the family grows or your desire to head further from shore grows. More fishing boat than family dayboat, but a fishing family will have the room they need to compete for the winning catch. Captain Rob takes a look at the Seaswirl 2305 Center Console --

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Propeller Tips

Damaged Prop:
Repair or Replace?

Dented Prop
This is what happens when a man lets his kids or wife use the boat. And the question begs, “can’t this be repaired?”

Sooner or later it happens to all of us, even the most careful of navigators – the prop gets dinged. Sometimes it’s a little more than a ding, yet all of the blades are still there, more or less. Your boat dealer, local mechanic, and the local boatyard will all tell you the same thing -- replace the prop! (They can’t fix it and want to sell you a new screw.) But you wonder: “Can’t a good prop shop salvage this with some creative metal working and make it almost as good as new?” If you’ve faced that dilemma, you are not alone. Here is how to handle prop triage --

PowerTech Propellers website --


Closer Look

The Boat Ghost of a Fun Summer Past!

Shurhold's Dual Action Polisher

Does your boat look like a ghostly faded version of its spring beauty? Unfortunately that is not a Halloween costume your precise craft is wearing. It is a sure sign of oxidation and sun damage. With the right tools and procedures you can get your boat back to a show room shine before you can say "Trick or Treat." To find out how --

Visit Shurhold's website --

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Launching Techniques

Watersports Fun at the Launch Ramp

Launching
There are some interesting details here: 1) the boater’s yellow t-shirt on the top of the truck (guess he didn’t want to get it wet); 2) his red shorts and white Jockey shorts appear to be dry (that’s a neat trick); 3) those shoes don’t look like Topsiders to us (better order some new Tom McAnns).

Launching a boat can be a barrel of fun as the picture above shows. But how did this happen and why? We’re sure that none of our members have ever had any trouble launching their boats, but for the newbies out there who would like some launching tips, we are providing them courtesy of the boater who sent us these pictures, Capt. Tony Murray. Capt. Tony runs a charter/eco-tour operation in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge in the Florida panhandle and has used the ramp and has used it himself over 40 times. Capt. Tony’s trailering tips --

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Owner Reviews

Calling Bayliner, Boston Whaler
& Ranger Owners --  Rate Your Boat

Bayliner 205 Bowrider
Bayliner

Hundreds of BoatTEST.com readers have taken the time to “Rate” their boats on a dozen important aspects of their vessels. These “Owner Reports” go unedited into our database and give prospective buyers of new and used boats valuable guidance for specific models.

Boston Whaler 280 Outrage
Boston Whaler
If you own one of the three brand listed here (or any other, for that matter), we ask that you take 3-4 minutes to help your fellow boaters in their quest for their ideal boat. You will be paid back with the satisfaction of knowing your observations, experience and insight will help boat buyers around the planet. Helpful owners this way, please --

ranger 177 TR
Ranger

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Rescue of the Month

3 Men Rescued after 8 Days
on Capsized Catamaran

James Philip Catamaran Rescue 
James Phillips, father of five, with his wife, Shane, and his daughter, Laney. He was the owner of the 23’ catamaran which capsized. Edie Yalkin (right) spotted the capsized boats two days after the USCG had called off their 6-day search.

The miraculous rescue of three fishermen in the Gulf of Mexico made headlines around the world in August, but what has not been discussed is why the boat capsized in the first place and why USCG rescue choppers flying over them could not spot them. The owner of the boat says that there was a foot of water in the boat when he discovered that it was leaking and then the boat quickly tipped and capsized as the three men aboard struggled to save the boat. But what did these three men do wrong? What did they do right? And why were they almost invisible in the sea? More lessons learned --

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Royal Purple

Royal Purple
Lubricity Test

Royal Purple bearings
The engineers at Royal Purple test their product and compare film strength.

The film strength of a lubricant is its inherent ability to withstand the effects of load, speed and temperature without breaking down. Higher film strength results in reduced wear, better fuel economy and more power. Take a look at this video made by Royal Purple  --

USCG Recall

Yamaha 212 X
Bimini Top

USCG Recall
Hold on, dude, the USCG has a message for the boat driver.

This month’s only USCG Recall involves the 2008 model of the Yamaha 212 X watercraft. If you know anyone who owns this boat, please pass the word along. Get the official USCG word --

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Safety Tip

Will Your Fire Extinguisher Really Work?

Fire Extinguisher
If you thought that all you needed was the needle in the green zone for the extinguisher to perform, you are sadly mistaken. You’d better watch this video from Nuts & Bolts Fishing.

In boating few things are as simple and as straight forward as they first appear. Dry chemical fire extinguishers are one of those items. Thanks to the folks at Nuts & Bolts Fishing cable TV program we offer you today this important video demonstration narrated by Capt. Cefus McRae explaining what can go wrong with your fire extinguisher and how to keep it working. This is a “must see” video for every boater and we hope you also share it with your friends. Watch the video --

Visit Nuts & Bolts fishing site --

‘Tis the Season

BoatTEST’s Boating Course Makes a Great Christmas Present

Boating Course

Okay, it may be a bit early for this sort of thing, but we want to warm you up to the idea of what we think is absolutely the best Christmas or holiday gift you can give to a loved one who is a boater or wants to be. BoatTEST.com has joined with Capt. Steve to present you with an 8 CD-ROM boating course that comes in a handsome plastic box. This course covers everything your spouse, children, or friends need to know to be competent, safe boaters. It costs only $69.95, plus shipping and handling. If that is over your budget, then why not choose from one of five individual subject-area courses for only $19.95, plus shipping and handling. And, if you were really smart, you’d simply order a bunch of these courses and give them out to every boater on your gift list, and make it one-stop shopping and be done with it. Order here --

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Boat Buying Tip

With Scarcity: Prices Go Up, Up And Away

Hot Air Balloons
Who can forget that old song, “Up, up and away in my beautiful balloon,” by the Fifth Dimension? That is likely to happen to new boat prices next year.

In case you haven’t noticed, airplane tickets for Thanksgiving and Christmas periods are skyrocketing and in many cases, doubling. How could that be happening in the Great Recession? Easy. The major U.S. airlines are taking planes out of service to scale back seats available by just 5%, according to the New York Times. With scarcity comes price increases. If you want a seat you pay-up.  Next year we are going to see much the same thing happen to new boat prices because there will be a scarcity of new product. To find out why and how you can lock-in lower prices --

Bass Fishing

Pros Reveal Their 7 Favorite Bass Lakes

Bass Lakes
Falcon Reservoir, Texas ranks #1 as two Yamaha fishing pros call it their favorite bass fishing lake. 

We asked the folks at the Yamaha Motor Company to query their bass pro fishermen as to which were their favorite fishing holes, and we got some surprising answers. Not surprising was the fact that Texas and Alabama rank as the two states with the most popular bass spots, but some of the other lakes may come as news. Hitch her up and move her out --

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Letters to the Editor

Readers Want More Tests And Less Spam (Hooray!)

Captain Steve
This week readers complain about spam, request more tests, ask for help and give us a piece of their mind.

The fall is a good time to reflect on the summer’s adventures and lay plans for the coming year. BoatTEST.com’s editors and captains would like to hear from you about the subjects that are near and dear to your hearts. We also like to pass along your thoughts to the boaters that we send this newsletter to each week. Just write to: editorial@boattest.com -- or, use the handy “Comments” box at the end of this week’s letters. See this week’s grab bag of reader mail --

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #58

Boat Engine Maintenance Tips

Lesson 58
Follow some simply tips to help protect the life of your engine and its components. If you incorporate routine checks before you head out for the day you will be one step ahead.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on engine maintenance and properly caring for the components such as batteries, belts, and hoses. Get in the habit of doing an engine check each time you board the boat. Spend the extra 5 minutes to check the oil and clean the sea strainers of any debris. You will save yourself a headache and a lot of expense down the road if you do happen to encounter an issue and you’re offshore. Pay attention to any abnormal noises or sounds you may hear from the engine as this could be a sign that something is wrong. Never ignore a sound that doesn’t seem right. 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 lesson --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"A pontoonabrella sure makes a dandy fishing platform." - K. Choiniere

Second Place

"The recent trend of Atlantic Ocean crossings in a small boat is getting out of hand." - J. Hole

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Boy the guy that owns the Sea Plane is going to be really MAD!" - C. Nichols

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 10-21

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.


We need reader help!

If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation by our witty and clever readers, please send it to: lis@boattest.com.

BoatTEST.com, LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901
203-323-9900
editorial@boattest.com


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