10th Anniversary Year Newsletter - 01/06/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter January 6, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Cruisers Yachts 420 SC
- Research Sessions Shift
- Four Winns H200
- Hatteras 60 C
- Sea Ray 260 Sundeck
- Ten Years of Video
- Why BoatTEST Was Invented
- Formula 270 Bowrider
- Customer Service Test
- Shurhold Dual Action
- Royal Purple Lubricity
- 10 Years of NMMA
- Yamaha AR210
- Doral 235 Bow Rider
- Burmese Teak Not PC
- Will Supremes Stop Carp
- Buy BoatTEST's Boating Course
- Looking for New Boat?
- Work with BoatTEST
- USCG Recall
- Own a Four Winns?
- Bluefin Tuna Sold for $177,000
- Jim Sink Dies
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

How BoatTEST.com
Became a World-Wide Brand

In the beginning there was a $30 million boating website giant, but BoatTEST.com’s co-founder had been in that valley before and understood the advantages of being quick, nimble and having a reason for being.

Because BoatTEST.com started 10 years ago as a small, undercapitalized company competing with new websites (one funded with $30 million of VC money) and giant veteran publishing companies, building a world-class brand has been exciting, to say the least. BoatTEST.com was the proverbial David against not one but many Goliaths. But not only did BoatTEST.com survive the last decade, it flourished, becoming the world’s leading provider -- by any measure -- of independent 3rd party content for the world’s buyers of new and used powerboats. To find out how BoatTEST.com did it and what it means to you as a boater and boat buyer...sling this stone.

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New Model

Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
New Exterior Features Video

Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
When a company builds only 30 footers and above, you know that they are not a sportboat builder on steroids, and you come to expect a better quality boat. That’s why Cruisers Yachts delivers such “yacht-quality" vessels.

We recently caught a look at the new, updated version of the Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe and decided then and there that it was a boat you really had to see as well. There’s so much to appreciate on this boat... the glass windshield that goes all the way to the hardtop, ample seating for two at the helm, easily accessed walk-through windshield... the list goes on and on. But talk is cheap. Capt. Steve takes you on a video tour of the topside features first. It’s here that your guests will get their first look at your yacht, and first impressions are everything. Just wait till you see the interior. But that’s for later. For now, join Capt. Steve on deck. Capt. Steve’s video tour is right this way...

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10th year anniversary 

"Research Sessions"
Preferences Shift over the Decade

Top 10 Researched Boats -- 2001 Top 10 Researched Boats -- 2009
1. Boston Whaler 23 Outrage 1. Bayliner 175 Bow Rider
2. Wellcraft 2800 Martinique 2. Bayliner 185 Bow Rider
3. Trophy 2052 WA L/X 3. Regal 44 Sport Coupe
4. Maxum 2300 SC 4. Bayliner 245 Cruiser
5. Sea Ray 190 Bow Rider 5. Azimut 85
6. Four Winns Horizon 200 6. Jeanneau Prestige 38S
7. Edgewater 175 CC 7. Meridian 580 Pilothouse
8. Yamaha Exciter 270 8. Regal 2300
9. Hatteras 60 9. Bayliner 265 Cruiser
10. Sea-Doo 2000 Speedster 10. Meridian 341 Sedan

This week we're doing a little retrospective of the last 10 years.  Not one of the top 10-researched boats in 2001 is still in production. All have been discontinued except for two models, which have both found rebirth in all-new -- from the keel up – versions. Four Winns found the Horizon 200 niche so compelling that it designed a whole new boat and re-focused its orientation to wake boarding and watersports. Hatteras which had long held the high ground in the 60’ battlewagon range, completely re-engineered their 60-footer to be faster and more competitive, offering a special GT version for the speed-at-any-price offshore anglers. Over the last decade these well-respected two brands did not rest on their laurels but rather aggressively defended their market turf by tenaciously adapting their products to the change in consumer tastes and new competition. Visit the two articles below for more information.

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10th year anniversary 

Four Winns H200:
Made the Top 10 in 2001
New Version Still Strong

Four Winns H200
Four Winns introduced an all-new Horizon 200 in 2003 and we tested in the spring. She was lighter, more compact and more finely detailed than the old version.

The 148th boat we tested was the Four Winns 200 Horizon in March of 2001. Even though the test and video did not go live until April of that year, and the boat had been introduced five years previously, it still managed to rank #6 in total “research sessions” in the remaining eight months. This model was one of the most successful 20’ stern drives on the market. In 2003 Four Winns brought out an all-new 200 Horizon that was lighter, required less power and featured an integrated swim platform. It is still in production and going strong. Learn more here...

Four Winns H200 Four Winns H200
First introduced in 1996, we first tested the Four Winns 200 Horizon in March 2001. The following year Regal and Sea Ray commissioned tests of their small boats and the 7-year old model began to fade. In 2006 BoatTEST.com began streaming builder-made product commercials, like this one, as “Related Videos” so that viewers could get some sizzle along with their boat test meat.  Check it out for fun.
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10th year anniversary 

Hatteras 60 Convertible:
Most Popular Big Boat in 2001
Born Again (x3) in 2007

Hatteras 60
In the spring of 2007 Hatteras introduced its new version of the popular Hatteras 60 Convertible which had been the most researched big boat at BoatTEST.com in 2001. BoatTEST.com was on the scene at the Palm Beach Boat Show to cover the event.

We tested the Hatteras 60 Convertible in the fall of 2000 just after BoatTEST.com went live, and first aired the video and test numbers in January of 2001. That year it ranked #9 overall in “research sessions” of the 226 boat tests up at the time, and #1 of all boats over 30’ – an impressive statement for the Hatteras brand. At the time only 4.4% of the U.S. households had broadband and we streamed at 56 and 175 kbs, and were careful to have plenty of pictures, text, and details for the majority of members who were just getting used to dial-up. Hatteras had launched this 60 convertible in 1998, their second version of a popular sized battlewagon that was first created in the mid-1970s. In 2007 Hatteras released their third reincarnation of the Hatteras 60 and BoatTEST.com was there to video tape the new birth.

Video boat test of the 1998 Hatteras 60...

Five decisive factors of the Hatteras 60 GT in 2007...

Hatteras Hatteras
Freeze frame from BoatTEST.com’s 2001 the Hatteras 60 speed test.  Note where the hull makes the bow wave. BoatTEST.com editor Jeff Hammond (l) interviews Hatterascal Capt. Dave Fields about the new Hat 60 GT in March, 2007.
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New Boat

The Sea Ray 260 Sundeck:
New Design for 2010

Sea Ray 260 Sundeck
The Sea Ray 260 Sundeck is not a new model for Sea Ray, but for 2010, the 260 Sundeck is an all-new design from the waterline up. The big news is its new “beach” stern.

We love big bowriders. At one time boats built in this size were only pocket cruisers and cuddys. Then someone said, “why not a big bowrider?” The rest is history and these heavyweights in the BR class have been popular for years. Sea Ray has probably built as many big bowriders as anyone so its designers are familiar with the type and should know what they are doing. Sea Ray calls the 260 a deckboat, but to our way of thinking, up until now it has been a sportboat with a spoon-shaped deckboat bow. So when Sea Ray told us they had redesigned it from the waterline up – keeping the tried and true bottom -- we sat up and took notice. Let’s see what Sea Ray’s design team came up with for this year’s model. Capt. Steve runs the slide show...

Latest Sea Ray promotion for this and other models...

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10th year anniversary 

10 Years of Streaming Video
Pioneer Work

Streaming Video
Still pictures just can’t capture the handling and feel of a boat and how it actually performs in a seaway, but streaming video can do a pretty good job of it.

BoatTEST.com’s first videos of boat tests were shot 15 years ago in 1996 by Capt. Chris Kelly for his weekly TV program “Sea Trials” which aired on the Speedvision cable channel. When Kelly and co-founder Jeff Hammond started BoatTEST.com in 2000 nearly 100 “Sea Trial” videos were re-purposed for streaming on the Internet. On Sept. 15, 2000 these boat test videos became the first recreational marine videos to be streamed on the Internet to a world audience. At the time, BoatTEST.com was on the cutting edge of the technology and one of the few websites in the world streaming video 24/7. To find out more how BoatTEST.com brought video boat tests to the marine world...

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10th year anniversary 

BoatTEST.com Was Invented
For Boat-Buying Research

A boat is usually the second most expensive thing people buy. That’s why most boat buyers are hungry for solid information and 3rd-party commentary they can use for serious research.  BoatTEST.com's captains have been giving product guidence to a whole new generation.

Since the 1950s there have been so many boat models available to the public and they were so complex, publishers of marine magazines have long realized that there needed to be one archival source for consumer research. As an editor or publisher of numerous marine magazines over more than 30 years, co-founder Jeff Hammond had long struggled with the challenge of bringing a large body of information to consumers in print in a meaningful way. Then, in 1999 a college co-ed who was doing a strip-tease in her room and sending jumpy video the size of a postage stamp of the performance over the fledgling Internet made coast-to-coast news.  This young gal changed more than just her clothes. From strip-tease to Boat Buying Research...

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Formula 270 Bowrider
Big and Beautiful

Formula 270 Bowrider
While she’s not the biggest bowrider on the water, she’s pretty darn close, so no worries running with the big dogs. Grey Poupon, anyone?

As reluctant as we are to say this, no matter what you were told, size matters, and bigger is better. A case in point is the Formula 270 Bowrider, one of the largest bow riders on the market. At a whopping 27’ (8.23 m) and 6,200 lbs (2,812 kg) not only will this boat turn heads, but it will give a smooth and stable ride to boot. Toss in a boatload of innovative features, add the quality you’ve come to expect from Formula, and you’ve got a combination that simply has to be seen. Now, since it’s a premier boat from one of the most prestigious builders in the business, it’s not cheap by any standards. But if you’re looking for quality at every turn, then you’ve come to the right place. Check out Capt. Rob’s video tour of the 270 Bowrider from Formula and you’ll soon be a believer. And if you need more information, check out Capt. Steve’s report on the “Formula Difference”. Check out Capt. Rob’s video of the Formula 270 Bowrider...

Check out Capt. Steve’s report on “The Formula Difference”...

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Testing Sales Service

Do the Bass Pro Brands
Answer Their Telephones?

Bass Pro Shops
This is the house that Johnny Morris built in 1984 which became the #1 tourist attraction in Missouri a few years later. The Bass Pro Group is now the largest boat builder in the world – but do they answer their phones?

Does it frustrate you when a company won’t list an email address, but instead wants you to give up your email address on a form, so that “they” can get back to you? Have you ever called a company ready to buy one of their products and received a recording giving you a menu of options, and you hit #3 only to get another menu, and finally when you get to the person’s line you want, you are asked to leave voice mail? Earlier this week we decided to call the phone numbers given by one of world’s biggest boat builders – the Bass Pro Group which builds 8 brands of boats – to see what would happen. Come down the rabbit hole to see what our test turned up...

Find out more at Tracker Boat Center

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Shurhold Dual Action Polisher

Shurhold Buffer
Find out why this product is so popular.

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...

Visit Shurhold's product page...


Royal Purple
Lubricity Test

Royal Purple Lubricity
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 --


10 Years of NMMA

Ten years ago the NMMA started certifying that its members actually built boats to ABYC standards. The program has had the obvious benefits for the consumer.

We think that one of the most important developments to transpire during the last decade in recreational boat building has been NMMA Certification of pleasure boats. Before it was instituted 10 years ago, builders were only required to meet a few basic requirements laid down by the Coast Guard. But today’s recreational boats must meet standards that span hundreds of pages of detailed standards in order to be "NMMA Certified." These requirements have added to the cost of boats, but they have also made them much safer. To find out how this came about and what it means to you...

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Yamaha Banner
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New Model

Yamaha AR210
It’s “Entry Level” – Take It or Leave It!

Yamaha AR210
The AR210 is Yamaha’s “entry level” watersports boat. If this a "starter boat" with training wheels, we’d like to know what they are building for the old salts!

Yamaha just can’t seem to get enough of driving the competition crazy. Take the AR210 for example. It comes fully loaded with twin engines, über safe jet propulsion, wakeboard tower, lots of storage, and their hallmark transom patio. And they not only call it “entry level” but its MSRP beats nearly all other boats in class, entry level or not. She’s not a stripped down version of her big sister, but rather a serious boat with quality features. We sent Capt. Steve to size it up... Check out Capt. Steve’s captain's report and video tour of the AR210 from Yamaha...

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Doral 235 Bow Rider:
Execution Is Everything

Doral 235 Bow Rider
Few boats have the kind of “Wow” factor that the Doral 235 has. The wood is an option but what an option. If you want to know what they are driving in the Med, you’ve found it.

The Doral 235 is arguably the coolest bowrider in its class, in our opinion. Not only is it totally gorgeous, but virtually every square inch of its stunning exterior has been designed and tooled with the tender loving care of a Renaissance sculpture. She has a long list of creature comforts and an even longer list of options so you can literally turn this boat into your own personal customized ride. The Doral 235 is not stamped out of a cookie-cutter mold then robotically assembled. Rather, these boats are built one at a time by craftsmen who have been doing it for over 20 years. Now to be clear, the accompanying shot shows a lot of teak, and yes... it is on the options list, and, no, she doesn’t come cheap -- but breathtaking ladies never do. Check out Capt. Steve’s report and you’ll see what we mean. See why this model is so popular in the Med...

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Last Cruise

World’s First Trawler Circumnavigator Dies

Jim Sink Ross Ritto 
Jim Sink, age 80, passed away on Sunday, first to circumnavigate in a production trawler. Ross Ritto, 60, passed away Dec. 23rd. He had the first twin-engine Nordhavn, a 75-footer.

Jim Sink gained notoriety – and a place in the record books – by becoming the first person to circumnavigate in a production trawler yacht. In 1990, he and wife, Susy, spent five years on their global cruise. They logged more than 50,000 nm on board their Nordhavn 46, Salvation II, and paved the way for future Nordhavn owners, eager to see the world on their own boats. Ross Ritto was a successful sound engineer who toured with Jimmy Buffet and other big music groups for many years and brought his skills to bear on the electronics side of two Nordhavns he owned. He is credited with the famous stage admonishment: “Don’t piss off the sound guy.” Read more about these two yachtsmen...

Carp Fiasco

Will the Supremes Stop The Impending Carp Disaster?

Supreme Court
The 9 men and women in black can stop the onslaught of rapacious Asian Carp from devouring the Great Lakes’ flora and fauna simply by waving five of their nine right hands. But will they?

In an attempt to prevent the Asian carp from entering the Great Lakes, the state of Michigan filed a brief on Dec. 21, 2009, with the U.S. Supreme Court which will hear the petition in two days. This is not a lawsuit, but rather a petition for a decree to enforce the closure of Chicago-area locks. Ohio and Minnesota have also joined the lawsuit as plaintiffs. Asian carp could fundamentally destroy the Great Lakes ecosystem and already their DNA has been found north of an Army Corps of Engineers electric “barrier” fence. To suck up more...

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Start the New Year Right: Get
BoatTEST’s Boating Course

Smart Boating
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 durable 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. Order here --

Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member Services
Which boat is for you, are you getting the best price, and which one is a reliable brand, which will still be in business tomorrow?

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 NEW within the next 6 months. Sign in here --

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Burmese Teak
Is Not PC in U.S.

Burmese Teak
This is what prized Burmese teak looks like before it is shipped off to boatyards all over the world.

We think that it is hard to beat a well-crafted interior fashioned of teak joinerwork to give a yacht a cozy, nautical feel that reeks of the finest traditions of the sport. But nothing is simple these days. Myanmar (formerly called Burma) is ruled by a military junta involved in human rights abuses and so its teak is on the U.S. no-import list. To find out why teak is so expensive, why you may be buying it and not know it, or how to get it if you really want it...cut this log.

USCG Recall

Boston Whaler
180 Dauntless

USCG Recall
Some Boston Whaler 180 Dauntless units have a recall.

This month’s recall notice from the USCG involves a number of 180 Dauntless center consoles built by Boston Whaler built with 2009 and 2010 HIN numbers. As always, if you know anyone who might own a boat covered by this recall, please notify them. To find out the details of the recall...

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Owners Reviews

Calling Four Winns Owners

Four Winns 222
Four Winns SL222 owners, tell us about your boat, here.

By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors to BoatTEST.com, we can literally focus the experience of the world’s boat owners on each brand and boat model to help guide future buyers. Hundreds of readers have already taken the time to pass along their experience on their boats to help new buyers. These “Owner Comments” go unedited into our database. No matter what Four Winns model you own, let the boating world learn from your experiences --

Golden Sushi

513-lb Bluefin Tuna Sold for $177,000!

Golden Sushi
$177k works out to $345 per lb. ($759.66 per kg.) before being dressed out. Talk about a spicy tuna roll!

Yesterday morning around 5:30 am at Tokyo’s Tsukiji wholesale fish market (the largest such market in the world) a 513-lb. tuna was auctioned off for 16.3 million yen ($177k). If you have never seen the Tsukiji market, you’d better go quick as its fish mongers are threatening to close it down because “tourists” (read environmentalists) are becoming so “unruly.” We suspect that means they are raising hell about all of the endangered species sold there. (Flipper, anyone?) To read more about this auction and find out the price of the all-time most expensive tuna...not chopped liver.

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #67

Be a Responsible PWC Owner - Part V

Lesson 67
Be extra careful with any wildlife in your area such as manatees. If you intentionally harm them you will face a fine.

This week Capt. Steve goes over four new lessons and guidelines on PWC laws and being a responsible PWC owner. You should know your local laws before heading out on your PWC. Remember PWCS can only run during daylight hours between sunrise and sunset since they do not have any running lights as boats do. Like all other boaters, PWCS must respect and be extra careful of any wildlife in the area. In order to help prevent accidents from happening do not operate or let anyone else operate your PWC under the influence of alcohol or drugs. Remember, the owner of the PWC will also be responsible for any incident or accident that occurs on the water. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com's Boating Course which is approved by the USCG.   Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com. To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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10th year anniversary

“The Experts in Sales Impact!”

Boat-TEST impact

If boaters are not considering your brand when they research, how will you sell them one of your boats? Adapt to the new market and increase your consideration among boat buyers -- guaranteed! There is a reason why the leading brands chose to partner with BoatTEST.com; we are the #1 trusted brand for third party tests and reviews of new boats and engines, globally. To arrange an exploratory meeting click here or email chrishughes@boattest.com
or call 203.253.2836.

"The market has changed, have you?"

What's Going
On Here?


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