Genmar Brands Sold // IPS Issues // 10 Reviews 35'-70' - 01/13/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter January 13, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Rampage 34 IPS
- Cruisers Yachts 420
- Meridian 441
- Hydra-Sports 3500 VX
- Sunseeker Manhattan 60
- Fairline Squadron 55
- Viking Yachts 70C
- Bertram 410
- Kadey-Krogen 44
- Marlow 57 E CB
- Volvo IPS600
- Royal Purple Oil
- OceanLED Lights
- Calling Formula Owners
- Boating Course
- Looking for a Boat?
- Genmar Update
- MasterCraft Buys Hydra-Sports
- Whale Wars
- Pictures of the Week
- Join
- What's Wrong with This?
- Determining Distance
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Rampage 34 IPS:
Its Interior Is World-Class

Rampage 34
Rampage nailed it by being one of the first fishboats to adopt IPS for full-astern fish chasing, and now we take a look at her interior, and get some pointers on yacht connoisseurship.

Rampage hit one out of the park when they mated their wildly popular 34 Express with twin IPS drives. They created a very functional and incredibly maneuverable fishing machine that was a trend-setter. But as if to say “that’s not good enough” Rampage went on to create a stunner of an interior as well. We recently showed you the features topside, now let’s take a peek below and show you how they did on the cabin. Capt. Steve takes us below decks on the Rampage 34 IPS and points out -- chapter and verse -- exactly which details set this boat apart from the interiors you wash down with a garden hose. Watch the video...

Take a look at the fishing features here... 

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Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe:
The “Inside” Story

Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
The Cruisers Yachts 420 has an impressive list of features both above and below decks. We take a video look at the interior this week.

With such stiff competition in the express cruiser market, our readers are asking for more coverage – and a more in-depth examination -- of this popular type. Most boats look great at boat shows, but how does one tell the difference between a Buick and a Mercedes? We can’t think of a better way than by giving you a tour of the interior of an express cruiser done right – the Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe. Because this builder is strictly focused on yachts between 31’ and 58’ and does not build everything from large motoryachts down to a 17’ rubber ducky, Cruisers Yachts can build all of their boats to one quality-yacht standard. Join Capt. Steve as he takes a video look at the interior features of the new Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe...

Check out the 420 exterior features here...

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New Test

Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge:
Moving to Leadership

Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge
The Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge has classic lines of the Meridian brand that make it so recognizable.

Getting max living space in a 41-footer and keeping it from looking like a floating Winnebago is not easy, as we have all seen.  That is why Capt. Steve is so impressed with the Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge. It’s at this stage that he feels the length and height of the Meridians come together to make a more eye appealing cruiser. We think he may be on to something. It’s also got one of the more comfortable interiors, and it carries with it some of the textbook features that are making Meridian a leader in its class.  We sent Capt. Steve to check her out and give us his opinion and a full Captain's Report.  Check it out...

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News Maker

Hydra-Sports 3500 VX
There's Nothing Quite Like It!

Hydra-Sports 3500VX
Hydra-Sports managed to take the fishing and cruising combo to new lengths in its 3500 VX. It’s more than a center console and its not really an express – but it can do most anything you want, including frying fish in the cockpit.

Last week MasterCraft bought Hydra-Sports at the Genmar auction (see accompanying article) and that makes today’s captain’s report on the Hydra-Sports 3500 VX even more relevant. For the last couple of years Hydra-Sports has been pushing the center console envelope, most recently with its 4100 behemoth CC. Now that it will combine with MasterCraft (no shrinking violet itself) and be built in that company’s Vonore, TN SOTA plant, our guess is that its past innovations are only a prelude of even more exciting things to come.  Recently we asked Capt. Steve to take a look at the Hydra-Sports 3500 VX and give us a full captain’s report on this exciting and very unusual fish/cruise boat combo. The video is still in production but we have just received Capt. Steve’s full report and he is excited. Find out why...

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Sunseeker Manhattan 60
3 Staterooms with En Suite Heads!

Sunseeker Manhattan 60
The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 has 3 staterooms each with en suite heads which makes this 60-footer ideal for cruising with family and friends, plus the yacht is also a luxurious watersports platform. FYI-- she was built for the Cote d’ Azure, not Manhattan.

It is not too soon to begin thinking about next summer and what you will be doing for a water-bound venue. Our favorite beach house is a moveable feast where you never have to worry about someone else getting in front of your water views. The Sunseeker Manhattan 60 pictured above is one such boat and we can imagine it cruising the Med, Bahamas or Georgian Bay. Most boats this year over 25’ or so will be built to order, so if you are thinking about a large boat for next summer, you’ll want to put your order in now to get late spring delivery. Join us for look at the Sunseeker Manhattan 60 to see if it can make your short list --

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In-Depth Look

The Squadron 55:
Fairline's 12,000th Boat

Fairline Squadron 55
The Squadron 55 seen here is cruising past the white cliffs of Dover in the English Channel is under construction as you read this and will be the 12,000th Fairline.

How does a company that builds huge, multi-million dollar motoryachts build 12,000 boats in 43 years? By building a whale of a lot of small boats in its early days. Traditionally, most boat companies start out by building small boats and then grow into large motoryachts if all goes well in later years. Such is the success story of Fairline, a privately-held company well aware of its humble roots. Last year the respected British boating magazines Motor Boats Monthly and Motor Boat & Yachting (which are both owned by the same company) named the Squadron 55 the “Motor Boat of the Year” for 50’+ Flybridge yachts. The first Squadron 55 was launched in 2008, so with all of these accolades, we thought we'd better take a look and see what all of the fuss is about. Join us...

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New Boat

Viking Yachts 70 Convertible:
Four Staterooms and Wide Beam

Viking Yachts 70C
The new Viking Yachts 70 Convertible mold under construction two weeks ago and scheduled to be finished in late January. In February hull #1 will be laid up and the CAD-CAM will start cutting interior joinery.

Yes, the profile of the new Viking Yacht 70 Convertible looks the same as virtually every one of its other convertibles.  It's a style that's launched a thousand small ships... and it ain't broke.  With all that Viking has learned about building strong, more comfortable and sea-kindly boats, the 70C will also employ the same curves and soft lines that define the rest of its fleet. Her interior is similar to some of the larger Vikings in the line, a feature that should be a crowd pleaser to the folks who wanted the functionality of the larger boats, with the price of a smaller one. Let’s take a look and see what we can expect from the new 70C. This boat looks like poetry in motion...

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Bertram Yachts

Bertram 410:
A Cruising Boat in a Class of its Own

Bertram 540
This boat was made for cruising. Who wouldn’t take this Bertram 410 most anywhere?

Many of our friends have shelled out $800k for new express cruisers in the 43’ to 44’ range, then haven’t used them on any adventuresome cruising. Are they wimps? No, but they don’t want to exceed the capabilities of their boats, and they are not quite sure what their boats’ sea-keeping abilities really are. However, if they had a Bertram 410 they wouldn’t have given a second thought to blasting out to the Abacos, down to the Turks and Caicos, or up to Nova Scotia.  Bertram Yachts has spent decades and millions of dollars telling the world what great fishing boats it makes, and we wouldn’t disagree, but we think the Bertram 410 also makes a terrific cruiser. See if you agree...

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Kadey-Krogen 44:
A Couple’s Cruiser

Kadey- Krogen 44
Like all of Kadey-Krogen’s boats, its 44 is designed to be easily handled by a cruising couple. She is designed to economically go long distances, even trans-oceanic.

The folks at Kadey-Krogen recently told us that that it takes most people who buy their boats from two to three years to make the decision. In the boat-buying world that is considered a long time, and we suspect that the reason it takes so long is because it is also a life-style decision. In the Kadey-Krogen 44 we have a boat designed specifically for a couple to go long distance, or even world cruising, and most owners spend 5 months or more on their boat each year, we’re told. Some even live aboard year around. Buying a boat for live-aboard is a big decision and obviously it’s a two-person decision. Let’s explore the Kadey-Krogen 44 and some considerations of the life-style as well...

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New Boat

Marlow 57E CB
Speed or Range (Pick One) 

Marlow 57
The Marlow 57E CB (Expedition Command Bridge) has a slightly different interior layout and some rather remarkable capabilities for a motoryacht in this class.

The Marlow 57E CB, at $1.550 million, is as affordable as any boat in this class, but price is not what caught our eye. Rather we were intrigued by her layout and her unorthodox concept: an “expedition” yacht designed for and capable of semi-displacement speeds, a boat that is light-weight, has a fully cored hull and is powered by twin engines. Is that the way “expedition” yachts are suppose to be?  Well the folks at Marlow think it is and make a strong case for long range cruising in a boat  that is not limited by weight and horsepower. To find out more about this unusual boat--

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Engine News

Volvo Penta IPS600
Components and Maintenance

Volvo IPS 600
Volvo Penta’s revolutionary IPS drive system has shaken up the whole boating industry and spawned a decade of positive drive and control innovations.

There are currently 120 boat builders worldwide that offer models powered by the IPS. Leading the charge is the US with forty-four builders, and not surprisingly, the Italians are second with twenty-four builders; the remainder are spread out over all corners of the world stretching from China to Brazil. In our testing over the years, there have only been two occasions when we were unable to perform a scheduled test on an IPS boat. One was due to an improper factory installation and the other was due to the boat striking an underwater obstruction in the Throgs Neck area of western Long Island Sound in New York City. In this instance, the damage was to the props. Let's take a closer look at the components and some of the maintenance issues for the IPS 600 System...

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Royal Purple Filter Test

Royal Purple Oil Dip Stick
Royal Purple says that its filters are the greatest thing since sliced bread.  We're going to find out.

Last year we started to look at the products offered by Royal Purple, one of our sponsor partners. After researching and testing, several of our staff members actually started to use the Royal Purple products on the cars and watercraft, and in a few weeks we will bring you some results of this use. Find out more about Royal Purple and see which products are available for you.

Explore all Royal Purple products...

Product Video

OceanLED Lights:
Look Beneath the Surface

OceanLED offers white, blue and green LED lights of various sizes.

Over the years we have tested many products from OceanLED as well as spending several days at their facilities. We have observed the installation process and spoken with builders and boaters that use their products. With so many companies now offering LED lighting in the marine industry, we want you to know what is behind the products so you can make an informed buying decision. Follow Capt. Robert Smith as we look at Ocean LED.

Industry News

Most Genmar Brands
Sold to Platinum Equity

Work at the Glastron plant in Little Falls, MN continued throughout most of the Genmar Chapter 11 proceedings during the last seven months.

Last Friday the auction of Genmar’s boat brands and assets under the supervision of a bankruptcy judge concluded with the Los Angeles private equity, M&A and corporate turn-around firm of Platinum Equity buying most of the brands for $70 million. Irwin Jacobs and a partner bought Carver and Marquis for $6.05 million and the VC firm which owns MasterCraft bought Hydra-Sports for $1 million. The court must approve the proceedings on January 20th. This auction seems to put to rest the uncertainty surrounding a number of important boat brands that has existed the last seven months.For the complete story...

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Yamaha Banner
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Formula 310 BR
Formula 310 Bowrider
Formula 34 PC
Formula 34 PC
Formula 350 Sun Sport
Formula 350 Sun Sport

Owners Reviews
Calling Formula Owners

By harnessing the reach of the World Wide Web and the incredible number of visitors to, 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 Formula model you own.

Formula 353 Fastech
Formula 37 PC
Formula 370 Super Sport
Formula 400 Super Sport
Formula 40 PC
Formula 45 Yacht

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

Smart Boating Video Boating Course. 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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Industry News

MasterCraft Owner Buys Hydra-Sports

Hydra-Sports 4100 Vector
Capt. Steve puts the Hydra-Sports 4100 Vector through its paces in one of the most exciting tests of the year.

MasterCraft Boat Co. CEO John Dorton confirmed yesterday that the holding company that owns MasterCraft bought Hydra-Sports last week from Genmar at auction for $1 million. Both brands are now owned by Wayzata Investment Partners, a Minneapolis-based investment firm. Dorton said, "We just think it's a nice fit. It's a very high-end product," he added. "It doesn't compete with our core line of MasterCraft. We have capacity in Vonore (Tenn.) at our plant." For more details...

Whale Wars

Earthrace Boat Rams Japanese Whaler and Sinks

Whale Wars Whale Wars Earthrace 
This photo shows Ady Gil (formerly Earthrace, at right) backing away from a Japanese “whale research” vessel 100 miles off of the Antarctica coast.

If the boat above looks familiar, it is because a couple of years ago it appeared on these pages painted silver. On its second try it set the record for the fastest circumnavigation by a powerboat. On January 6 Earthrace turned up again in the news, this time painted black and called Ady Gil, and owner Peter Bethune was again at the helm of his carbon fiber vessel. This time he was affiliated with the Sea Shepherd Conservation Society which is trying to stop whaling in the Southern Ocean. Either with malice of forethought or with no forethought at all, he managed to ram a Japanese whaler that he was harassing. The Sea Shepherd spokesperson says it was the other way around, but you can look at the video tape and judge for yourself. Find out more... 

See video of the collision...

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Pictures of the Week

Only in Dreams?

Picture of the week
This photo has not been photoshopped.

To see a large picture, when and who took the picture.

Picture of the week 2
This photo has not been photoshopped.

To see a large picture, when, where and who took the picture.

Join Us

"The Experts
in Sales Impact"

BoatTEST 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 have with test their boats -- we are the #1 trusted brand for third party tests and reviews of new boats and engines, globally. 10th yearTo arrange an exploratory meeting click here or email
or call 203.253.2836.

"The market has changed, have you?"

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What's Wrong with This Picture?

Flying Bridge
This is a picture of the seats on the flying bridge of a 50' motoryacht built in Europe. We like the helm seat in the center and the two forward-facing companion seats. But that’s about all.

There are a lot of things we like about European design in motoryachts, but there is one design element that we have never been able to warm to. You see it pictured above. Call us retro, but we think a flying bridge ought to have bulwarks to at least above the waists of the people setting on it. Most European motoryachts under 70’ (21.5 m) or so, just don’t have it. And a flimsy piece of transparent acrylic just doesn’t do to for us. We'd like to have your opinion on this life-or-death design subject. Plunk your magic twanger...

Nav Skills

Determining Distance From the Horizon

We see a speck on the horizon but how far away is it? A) 3.3 nm, B) 6.2 nm, C) Unknown.

You’re offshore, well out of sight of land. You are anchored on an old wreck and the fish are biting and the good times are rolling. All of a sudden, one of your buddies sees a speck on the horizon heading your way. He asks if he should up anchor or does he have time to catch a few more. How long can he continue fishing? It’s a reasonable question and having an idea of how far away your horizon is will help with the answer. That’s one of those little things that you should always have in the back of your mind. Now it takes a little figuring, but it’s not hard to do. With a cheap calculator you can tell him how long he has to fill the fish box. Our Capt. Steve tells you how to figure...

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #68

Waterskiing Safety Tips

Lesson 68
When pulling a skier always have a minimum of three people on board. The third person’s job is to keep their eyes on the waterskier at all times.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on waterskiing safety and the laws boaters should abide by. Do not operate your boat at maximum speed when pulling a skier. You should be running just above planning speed. Most people tow at from 18 to 22 mph.  Do not waterski in high-traffic areas such as channels or near marinas. And never ever waterski at night even if there seems to be plenty of moonlight on the water. Running at high-speeds at night is dangerous and irresponsible. Just don’t do it. Always wear a life jacket when skiing. It’s the law in most states. Capt. Steve will also go over some basic hand signals which allow the skier and observer to communicate most effectively. These seven videos are basic waterskiing procedures and lessons which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of's USCG-approved video boating course narrated by Capt. Steve. 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

"Uh-oh, hurry everyone! Look "nonchalant" and maybe no one will notice the oil spill." - M. Keene

Second Place

"It comes with a ship to shore transmitter, a 6 speed auto transmission, and what appear to be at least 2 transvestites."
- M. Burton

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"No way this boat has enough mirrors."
- R. Davis

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On Here?

WIGOH 1-13

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