10 Boat Reviews//Tow Vehicle Advice//PWC Primer - 12/02/2009
BoatTEST Newsletter December 2, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Triton 225 WA
- MasterCraft ProStar 214V
- Yamaha FZS
- Tigé 20 V
- SeaCraft SC 26
- Triumph 191 Fish and Ski
- Wellcraft 252 Fisherman
- Monterey 220 EX
- Pro-Line 23 Bay
- Crestliner 1750 Raptor
- Azure 188
- Enemy at the Locks!
- Dealer Inventory Beginning to Get in Balance
- How to Stop Oil "Drain Back"
- Analyzing Towing Troubles
- Used Boat Sales Up 31% in October
- Century Boats Discontinues Production
- Allstate Safety Tip
- BoatTEST Boating Course
- Looking for a New Boat?
- Covers Are Key
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- What is going on?

Triton 225 Walk Around...
Express Fishboat?

Triton 225 WA
The difference between an express fishboat and a walkaround is becoming blurred these days.

The boat pictured above looks like a small express to us because we expect a true walkaround to have deep side decks that are easy and safe to maneuver as one walks around the boat working a fish – that means having one hand on the pole and the other on the crank. That translates into “two hands for the fish and none for angler or the ship…” That’s why “walk arounds” were called walkarounds. It meant that in a sloppy sea you could actually walk around the perimeter of the boat and keep your balance by leaning against the console or cabin on one side and the gunwales and life rails on the other side. It meant that you could move from stern to bow working a fish much like you would on a center console, but with the added advantage of having the convenience of a cuddy. Now, none of this should detract from this very nice looking 22’ Triton, because by any other name it is still a nice looking 22’ Triton.

There is a good reason that the lines, hull shape and topsides of this Triton 225 WA look so graceful to our eye, and that is because it was designed by a man who is a life-long boater, a former boat race driver, and career boat builder. He is a man who has wrung more fresh and saltwater out of his socks than most, and who therefore knows what a well-designed boat “should” look like, how it should function, and how it should ride and handle. His name is Earl Bentz, and at 57 years old he is one of the legends in the boat building industry.

Let’s get past the “WA” nomenclature and find out more about the Triton 225 WA, more about Earl Bentz, and about a $7,000 rebate on the 225 that is like manna from heaven...

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Tow Boats

MasterCraft ProStar 214V:
A Pro Boat for Everyman

MasterCraft ProStar 214V
At rest, the ProStar 214V shows very little of the performance pedigree that garnered her three pro certifications.

So you want a watersports boat that performs well enough for the tournament pros, but still has some features that make it functional outside the towboat realm? Not a small order, but MasterCraft’s got you covered. The ProStar 214V has a V-drive inboard that allows the engine to be slid aft, opening up the cockpit for family space, while retaining the skiboat handling and forward pylon for ski purists. Combine that with the optional Barefoot Training System (BTS) windshield that supports a tow bar from the side, and you have a boat that challenges your skills and takes you to whatever level you desire. This is a boat you have to check out and we have just the video tour to do it.It is yet another clever innovation from the folks at MasterCraft. It knows skiing better than you do --

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PWC News

The Hot New Yamaha FZS:
Stand Up, Sit Down -- Crank & Bank!

Yamaha FZS
There are three key features that make this one of the hottest rides on the water. Capt. Steve goes over them in his latest video.

Not only does Yamaha produce great looking waverunners, but they sell enough to be able to build individual machines for specific purposes, rather than just produce the more cost-effective “one size fits all” type. That’s good news for us, since we don’t exactly like taking our date to the prom in the family station wagon. Case in point... the FZS: it’s only purpose in life is to ride hard and crank and bank. So, if you’re, say... a family type looking for comfortable ride and cruisability for you and the kids... well this isn’t the vehicle for you. But if you crave the extreme ends of the performance envelope, and like to stand up and dish it out... then have we got a ride for you! Check out Capt. Steve’s video tour of the Yamaha FZS... your new thrill ride. Quick... before someone decides it should be illegal...

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Asian Carp Fiasco

Enemy At The Locks!
The Great Lakes Under Attack!

Asian Carp
The Asian carp enemy is literally at the gates – the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal Locks. But why aren’t the locks locked? Guess who runs them?

Many experts think North American freshwater game fish species are on the verge of the greatest mass extinction since the dinosaurs disappeared 60 million years ago. Last week it was widely reported that “genetic material” from the Asian carp had been found in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal beyond an $18 million electrified "fence" erected to stop the march of the voracious aliens. The rapacious invaders are literally only a few miles from Lake Michigan with nothing in the way – except a single lock – to stop them. The five Great Lakes are the largest body of fresh water in the world and an annual $4.5 billion fishery, to say nothing of being the gateway to most of Canada’s rivers and lakes east of the Rockies. It seems that it will be only a matter of days until the insatiable army of carp munch their way to Lake Michigan. The U.S. Army Corps of Engineers -- remember them: the organization charged with protecting New Orleans from flood -- are the folks who erected the electrified "fence" and who control the Chicago canal locks. We are sorry to report that probably the greatest tragedy to hit North American sportsmen is about to begin. To see videos and to read about what is happening...

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Tigé 20V for Multi-Sport
Performance and Fun

Tigé 20V
With comfortable seating for 9 passengers, the Tigé 20V is a water-borne playground for slalom skiers and wakeboard dudes, as well.

When tasked with the design the Tigé 20V, the naval architects were given a very difficult mission: the boat had to be small and light to provide a smooth wake for slalom skiers, but also be versatile enough so that the patented TAPS2 system could produce huge wake for trick boarding. Further, the boat had to be a bowrider and have a large sunning pad. Finally the boat must be up to the rest of the Tigé line in terms of amenities and quality, yet be able to be sold for significantly less than the competition. It was not easy, but we think the designers at Tigé have done a terrific job of providing a versatile watersports platform for people with a wide range of skill levels at a very competitive price. Take a look at a video that Capt. Vince made for us on the Tigé 20V --

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A Classic

SeaCraft SC 26 Master Angler:
A Family Fishing Machine? -- NOT!

SeaCraft SC26
SeaCraft’s SC26 can be delivered with a wide array of engine choices with one exception.

The first sentence of the SeaCraft SC 26 description, taken from the company’s website, has this to say... “The elegant SeaCraft SC26 Master Angler is a high-performance family fishing boat”. Now we understand marketing and the need to attract families, but really. Just saying the word “family” does not make it so. And, “elegant”? The only truely elegant CC fishing boat we know of can’t be sold for love nor money. Now had SeaCraft’s flaks said something along the lines of “the SC26...A boat made by men... for men!”, and maybe added a few fish scales and slimy bait, then we’d be onboard. The more we looked at this boat, the more we were convinced: It’s a total guy thing. Leave your skis, wakeboards and beach towels at home --

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New Look

Monterey 220 EX:
A Deckboat is a Platform

Monterey 220 EX
All it takes is a glance at this boat to know that it is a Monterey 220 EX. We think that Montereys are among the prettiest sportboats on the water.

We love deckboats. Few designs have the functionality that can compare because they are really more of a “watersports platform” than are conventional bow riders which evolved from the cuddy runabouts of the 1960s. The deckboat design just screams “family fun” while still being a competent sportboat and tow boat. There is just one deckboat in the Monterey line up, and it is the 220 EX seen above. Every boat is a tradeoff of pros and cons and the Monterey 220 EX is no exception. We asked our resident fault finder to see what he could find this time. While Capt. Steve liked this boat, there are always a few things he’d change, as expected. Let’s take a look --

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Wellcraft 252 Fisherman:
A Boat You Can Love

Wellcraft 252 Fisherman
The crybaby excuses for not being able to get to where the fish are will be out the window if the Welcraft 252 is your weapon of choice.

We’ve never doubted the muscle capacity of Wellcraft boats. But when you combine that strength and integrity with the Scarab pedigree and roll them together into a center console fish-catching machine like the 252 Fisherman, well, that becomes too much to resist. The result is a boat that looks as good as it performs, and it’s got all the usual fishing features that we’ve come to expect. Too bad it can’t cook (Relax ladies, we didn't say anything about you cooking.). The wife of one of our captains complained about his getting a fishing boat, but he calmed her down by saying, “I don’t love it more than you honey, just different...”

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Covers Are Key
To Winter Protection

winter cover
This blow-boater obviously only read the part about having a cover. Now he needs to know what to do with it. If you happen to know one of these tweedy souls, please flip them this article.

If you are going to store your boat outside for the winter, having it properly covered can be expensive. Conversely, not having it properly covered can also be expensive. Are the boatyards just trying to rip you off with their shrink-wrap products? To find out more about the whole subject of winter covers we have asked Paul Esterle, the owner of thevirtualboatyard.com, to fill us in. Wrap it up here --

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Flats Boat

Pro-Line 23 Bay:
For Skinny Water

Pro-Line 23 Bay
The Pro-Line 23 Bay is a flats boat that draws only 11” with the outboard up which means you can go almost anywhere.

If you are a light tackle angler you are into the sport of fishing and not the expense of it. Pro Line knows what you want: a fast, no frills, stable casting platform which is durable and can go in skinny water. Pro-Line knows that there are not only different strokes for different folks, but also different requirements for different species of shallow water fish. That is why it’s 23 Bay has all the basics at a low price, then a laundry list of options so you can make the boat work for you, rather than the other way around. Check it out --

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Crestliner Raptor 1750 TE:
Does it All on a Budget

Crestliner 1750 Raptor
The Crestliner 1750 Raptor TE has been streamlined for the 2010 model year. She is ideal for almost any kind of freshwater fishing in small to medium-sized lakes.

We like the 2010 Crestliner 1750 Raptor TE because it is affordable and three or four people can comfortably fish from it at the same time. Fishing camps should also like it because it is ideal for handling three anglers plus a guide at the helm. With a 90-hp engine it will be economical to operate. The MSRP for this aluminum boat made by one of the leading manufacturers in class is under $21,000, depending on the options. Find out more --

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Azure News

Azure 188: Entry-Level Boat
With a Top-End Warranty

Azure 188 Sport Deck
The Azure 188 is an entry-level, relatively low-cost sportboat designed for use on lakes and rivers and it carries a superior warranty.

The Azure 188 is built by the Bennington Marine Group, of Elkhart, Indiana, and was founded in 1997. The company has come a long way, fast, and the Azure line is the most popular of the three brands the company produces. Azure builds 15 models of sportboats from 18’ to 29’ and prides itself on giving value for money, styling and a great warranty. To find out more about the Azure 188 --

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Roplene Rocks

Triumph 191 Fish & Ski:
Is Roplene a Babe Magnet?

Triumph 191 Fish & Ski
The Triumph 191 Fish & Ski must have something powerful going for it – could it be Roplene? How else could this skinny kid score five babes with one boat? Don’t try this at home… results may vary... Past performance is no guarantee of future...

Too often we see a fish & ski package that does little more than add a trolling motor hookup on the bow of a sportboat, or towing tower on a center console. Not so with Triumph. They bring a lot more to the table and actually went for converting the boat over from one side of the spectrum to the other. The result is actually a single boat that does double duty with style, form and function. Don’t believe us... check out Capt. Keith’s video and see how to turn a nimble skiboat into a hard working fish boat in about as much time as it takes to say it. And, discover what is turning on the babes --

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Industry News

Dealer Inventory
Beginning to Get in Balance

Dealer Inventory
Only 53,000 new boats of all sizes were shipped to boat dealers this year, which is about 17% of what was shipped
3-4 years ago.

According to Thom Dammrich, president of the NMMA, only 135,000 new boats of all sizes were sold at retail this year, down from over 400,000 just a few years ago. Of the 135,000 sales, about 82,000 were “non-current” inventory, which means that they did not have 2009 HIN numbers on their transoms. All of this means that dedicated boaters are still buying in the middle of the Great Recession, they are getting great deals on merchandise, and inventory is heading back to a more normal balance. Our own spot checking around the country with dealers indicates that in many sought-after brands, you may not be able to find the specific model you want in dealer inventory and it will have to be ordered. (Non-current models are often great deals.) To find out how many dealers are still over-stocked --


How to Stop Oil "Drain Back"

The Royal Purple oil filter being manufactured at its Albion, Illinois plant. Shown here is the inner glass media that makes up the heart of the filter element.

“Dry” engine starts are caused by “drain back.” The longer your engine sits without use the more oil “drains back” into the oil pan via the oil filter. But that doesn’t happen with a Royal Purple filter because it has a valve in it that stops “drain back.” This is only one of the features that set Royal Purple filters apart from standard, everyday paper filters. Don’t take your oil filter for granted. We urge you to watch this short video showing how Royal Purple oil filters are made and why they are the best units on the market...Watch the video

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Towing Tips

Analyzing Towing Troubles

Sometimes there are towing problems that just escape solutions. Sometimes not.

A BoatTest.com reader recently wrote:
Can you please explain the physics and mechanics as to what makes a car/SUV-capable of towing a certain weight? I have a Hurricane Sundeck 19 ft. (about 4,000 lbs) on a 4-wheel trailer and a Jeep Liberty (rated at 5,000 lbs). This summer it started to fishtail and forced us off the road. Luckily only a tie rod broke. People (supposedly in the know) are claiming that it had to happen as the car has too short a wheel base to tow a boat. What is happening here? Here is Capt. Steve’s reply --

Used Boats

Used Boat Sales
Up 31% in October

Over 130,000 used boats from around the world are listed on BoatTEST.com.
Click “Go” for access.

Used powerboat sales were up 31% in the month of October over the previous year according to a recent statement by YachtWorld.com. The strongest sales growth by boat length was among the powerboats segment 26’ and under, which was up 37% in units and 42% in value. Small boats led in the recovery. The average time a used boat was on the market among the boats sold in October was 278 days. For the last five years the average selling time has been over 200 days, with both 2007 and ’08 being about 250 days. To access BoatTEST.com’s listings...

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Industry News

Century Boats Discontinues Production

The 17’ CC was the smallest boat in the 22-boat line built by Century Boats. The company said that all warranties will be honored.

Yamaha Motor Corporation, U.S.A. announced yesterday that it will discontinue production of Century Boats effective immediately. The builder has 45 dealers in 18 states. Century was founded in the 1920s, survived the Great Depression, and was one of the most enduring names in American boating. In the 1980s the company morphed from making runabouts into saltwater fishing boats and Yamaha bought Century in 1995. Yamaha also owns Skeeter and G3, but they were not affected by the announcement. More...

Allstate Safety Tip

Pros Carry
“Ditch” Bags

Capt. Steve has been boating all of his life, and perhaps that is why he always goes boating with a “ditch” bag.

Perhaps one of the most important things you can do to protect your family and friends when they go boating is to give them a “safety drill” before pushing off, just like cruise ship’s do for their passengers. Show where the PFDs, flares, fire extinguisher and other safety devices are stowed. Explain how to use the VHF and EPIRB, if you have one. To get some more safety tips, watch Capt. Steve in this Allstate Insurance Safety video...

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'Tis the Season

BoatTEST's Boating Course Makes
a Great Present

Boating Course
BoatTEST.com Video Boating Course.

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 --

Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member services
There are plenty of new boats for sale, but which one is the right boat for you, are you getting the best price, and which one is a reliable brand?

We have helped dozens of BoatTEST.com members this fall, and we'd be glad to help you, too. We know how daunting it can be to find exactly the right boat for one's specific application because so many boats look like they fit the bill. If you are in the market for a NEW boat 18' or larger, our veteran staff will be glad to help you, one-on-one, by email or phone. It is part of our "Member Services" program and it is free to you. We receive no fee from builders or dealers -- so we can be objective, and we can leverage our contacts in the industry to help you get what you want. To use this service you must be in the market to buy a NEW boat 18'+ within the next 6 months. Sign in here --

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Lesson #63

Basic PWC Safety and Tips

PWCs are subject to the same safety laws as boats and
must obey the same rules of the road and guidelines.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on operating a PWC safely. While they may look easy and fun to drive they still require the driver’s full attention and must be treated like any other boat on the water, with caution and safety in mind. PWCS are not toys. Capt. Steve will go over some key differences of operating a PWC from operating a boat, and he will discuss the most important feature, the automatic shut-off and self circling feature. When riding a PWC you must have the shut-off lanyard attached to your wrist at all times just in case you fall off. Learn about the PWC jet drive propulsion system and how to use the reverse mechanism. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part BoatTEST.com’s USCG-approved Boating Course. Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com. To View this week lessons--

To view past lessons --

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What Happened?

Ducky Winner
BoatTEST.com Webmaster/programmer Sunny Keth with new daughter Melina and 2-year-old Norissa.

Regular visitors to last week’s “What’s Happening Here?” caption submission page discovered a glitch. Namely, the new picture wasn’t posted on the jump page, and above we are showing you the reason why. Just as our usually trusty Webmaster/ programmer Sunny Keth was about to plug in the new picture he received a call from home saying that his pregnant wife, Thea, urgently needed to get to the hospital. A couple of hours later 6-lb. 8-oz. Melina was born. Both baby and mom are doing well. However, do we detect a bit of sibling rivalry on the part of Miss Norissa? Ok, we’ll try that picture one more time...

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 11-25

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.

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