BoatTEST Newsletter January 20, 2009 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Helping Haiti
- Carp Fiasco
- More on the Carp Fiasco
- MasterCraft MariStar 255
- Doral 235 Cuddy
- Tracker Pro Guide V175-SC
- Tigé 22i
- Larson LXi 258
- Yamaha FX HO
- Luckiest Sailor Alive
- Cobalt 276 BR
- Trophy 2101 Bay Boat
- Sea Ray 230 Sundeck
- Seaswirl 2605 WA
- BoatTEST Celebrates
- Trailer Preparation Video
- Mustang Rescue Stick
- Royal Purple Products
- Calling Cobalt Owners
- You Be the Judge- Whale Wars
- Order Boating Course
- Looking for a New Boat
- Pictures of the Week
- Work with BoatTEST
- Prices of Fiberglass Rise
- Count the Boats Launched
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

We're All in the
Same Boat

Overcrowded boat
If you have ever wondered why Haitians risk their lives in terribly overcrowded boats to sail the 700 miles to the U.S., perhaps now you know why.

From time to time has commented on the plight of Haitian refugees trying to make their way to the U.S. by boat, often drowning in the process because their overloaded wooden vessels capsize and sink. In the best of times life in Haiti is problematical. Now those forlorn people need our help just to live for the chance to someday be in the boat you see above and escape the country’s misery, poverty and hopelessness. Haitian leaders and government have always let the people down and that is why concerned citizens of the world contribute to NGOs (Non-Government Organizations) which are better at getting aid to the needy. One of the very best of these organizations is located in’s home port – Stamford, CT. It is called “AmeriCares” and it is internationally known because 99% of the money contributed actually is spent on the goods! Only 1% goes for administrative purposes! (Most of its staff, including the director, contribute their services. There are no Lear jets here.) We have known the folks at AmeriCares for years and can vouch for their integrity, as has 60 Minutes and Forbes magazine. Last week $5 million worth of supplies left the Stamford, CT warehouse on its way to Haiti and more is being sent from elsewhere. If you would like to help the people of Haiti, we can not think of a better way than to contribute to AmeriCares. It’s all about being good shipmates, because no matter where in the world you live, we are all in the same boat. Visit the AmeriCares website...

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Yesterday it was announced that Asian carp DNA has been found in two locations in Lake Michigan.

Literally as this newsletter was ready to be e-mailed, reports hit our editor’s desk that Asian carp DNA was found yesterday in Lake Michigan. Read the full reports from Internet postings from the Chicago Tribune and the local Chicago TV station, WGN-TV. Below is an article written before receiving this devastating news which goes a long way toward explaining why this disaster is now unfolding before our very eyes in slow motion. Read late breaking news reports and weep...

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Carp Fiasco

Chicago Gives Asian Carp a Pass

Mammon’s (aka Chicago) governmental and business establishment would rather see Asian carp swimming up this river to Lake Michigan than disrupt its economic money machines. Prepare to say so long to the Great Lakes as we knew them.

Yesterday the U.S. Supreme Court “took no action” for the third time relative to the State of Michigan’s petition for an injunction to close the Chicago Sanitation and Ship Canal, thus keeping an invasive specie (read: voracious Asian carp) from entering Like Michigan. Michigan has now been joined by the states of Wisconsin, Minnesota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York – every state boarding the Great Lakes – except Illinois, which is already up to its eyeballs in carp. The U.S. Supreme Court has original jurisdiction over the Chicago Sanitation and Ship Canal, with precedents going back to 1922. This means that Supreme Court has immediate jurisdiction – no lower courts and no legislative bodies need be involved first! That means that just five of the Supremes could save the Great Lakes if they wanted to! Sadly, they are sitting on their hands. To find out who is behind the carp fiasco and what you can do to try to save the Great Lakes fishery...

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New Video

MasterCraft MariStar 255:
New Pickle-Fork Design Tested

MasterCraft MariStar 255
Our Capt. John Wenz at the helm of the new MasterCraft MariStar 255 as he puts this beautiful new boat through her paces on Lake Tellico. The weather was cold but the boat is hot.

In case you haven’t heard, we’re fans of the pickle-fork design that MasterCraft sprung on the boating public a few years ago – and which several other builders have since copied. So, if there were any doubts about the efficacy of the “split-chine” concept, the competition should have put those concerns to rest. Its newest pickle-fork boat is the MariStar 255 which is a versatile sportboat for just about any watersports activity. MasterCraft has moved the engine to the stern, pretty much where a stern drive engine would be, yet she is still an inboard. So, you have the best of both worlds – a more open cockpit and the prop under the boat. Capt. Wenz is no stranger to wake boats, or cold weather. Take a look at his exciting video test and full Captain’s Report...

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Doral News

Doral Elite 235 Cuddy:
Customizable Class Act

Doral 235 Cuddy
The Doral 235 Cuddy is designed for all-weather conditions. A bowrider version is also available. Note skipper can stand at the helm because the seat slides back.

Doral builds boats differently than most builders. We have visited their plant in Canada and were impressed by the fact that most of their employees have been working there for 20 years or more. This kind of employee longevity, it seems, is almost a requirement for fine fit-and-finish in sportboats. For the men and women building Dorals in Grand Mere, Quebec their job is not only their livelihood, but they take pride in the sportboats they build. And Doral sportboat owners can feel pride in their boat because they can customize it with over 70 different options. To find out what is different about the Elite 235 and how they are built differently...

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Tracker News

Tracker Pro Guide V-175 Side Console:
A Little More Room, A Little More Muscle

Tracker Pro Guide V-175SC
Tracker adds 9” over their V16SC and tosses in a larger transom that can boost the horsepower from 50 to 90-hp.

Tracker continues to build boats with good value. Their aluminum construction and light weight gives them a “go anywhere” capability that increases their utility over their fiberglass counterparts as they can be towed by even the smallest tow vehicle. Add their rugged build and these workhorses are just the right ticket for getting into remote lakes at the end of dirt roads. And, if you run her bottom over some gravel, no big deal.  This V-175 also utilizes a larger transom for mounting a bigger engine, and even allows for adding a kicker.  Her dual livewells keep you fishing longer. Add the optional “high-value fish package” and the scenario is complete. Check it out in this Captain’s Report.

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Tigé News

Tigé 22i Has Quick
Time to Plane Performance

Tigé 22i
A 343-hp PCM inboard engine jumpstarts the Tigé 22i with a terrific hole shot that both skiers and wakeboarders should like.

Capt John Wenz and Capt. Rob Smith do a tag-team match in our test video of the Tigé 22i. Tigé has gotten what we can only describe as a cult-like following, due largely to its convex V-hull shape and its patented TAPS system for quickly adjusting wake from flat to deep for alternating skiers and wakeboarders. Capt. John also likes its midship engine in the traditional location because it makes getting over the transom to the ample swim platform much easier. If you would like to see some benchmark performance numbers while doing your towboat research, take a look at the Tigé 22i’s test data. Right this way...

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Larson News

Larson LXi 258:
Bowrider for Big Water

Larson LXi 258
The LXi series is Larson’s move from smaller lake boats to boats that can also handle big water.

Larson has decided to up the ante on their sportboat line by creating a series with more of the amenities that people were looking for in a larger sportboat, while still keeping the costs in affordable territory. The result is the LXi series, and they bring to the water a taste of luxury that was previously missing from their sportboat lineup. Like in any luxury car, this LXi 258 has a lot of little features that, when added together, make the difference between owning a good boat and owning a real good boat. We sent Capt. Rob to test out the 258 and give us a full report. As it turns out, he liked it as much as we did. Check out his test video and full report here. Your chariot awaits...

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PWC News

Yamaha FX HO:
Long Range PWC Cruiser

Yamaha FX HO
With cruising features and cruising comfort, this will be just the ticket for exploring remote locations that boats can’t get to.

Not every PWC is made for the turn and burn adrenaline junkies. Sometimes you want a machine that is more sedate and made for cruising long distances across the lake or down a miles-long river. Typically PWCs aren’t built too comfortably for such a long trip, and you’d rather be back at the beach after burning through a tank. But at Yamaha, there’s a PWC built for every occasion. And in this instance, it’s the FX HO. A comfortable cruising PWC that’s not only built specifically as a comfortable long range cruiser, she’s outfitted for it as well. Join Capt. Steve as he takes us through the touring features of the Yamaha FX HO. Now if only it had a tailgate to put a grill on...

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Rescue of the Week

Luckiest Sailor Alive:
Off Hatteras at Night in a Gale

Dennis Clements  Cobalt 276
Dennis Clements a few hours before this video was floating 280 miles east of Hatteras in a black sea. This is a frame from the infrared video taken from a USCG helicopter responding to an EPIRP distress signal.

If you’ve ever heard the old adage that “God looks after children, drunks and sailors” you can now edit that to read: “God, the Navy AND the US Coast Guard...” Only an incredible chain of events with things going wrong and things going very right saved this sailor as he prepared to meet his maker. It seem that every winter a hapless solo sailor in a small, old boat that probably isn’t prepared or fit for an ocean crossing gets caught in a Gale off Cape Hatteras and comes to grief. Here is this year’s tale, and it is a hard one to beat. Read the article, see the video...

See video interview of the Luckiest Sailor Alive...

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Cobalt News

New Cobalt 276 BR:
Where's the Beef?

Cobalt 276 Cobalt 276
Cobalt’s newest boat is the 276 Bow Rider which looks like a sports car on the water to our eye. We think its stainless steel engine room air intake fins in the boat’s stern quarters are nifty.

Cobalt’s advertising copy for the 276 says that “Cobalt engineers speak of heft, of beefiness, of strength both real and perceived.” Interestingly, when we compared the Cobalt 276 to five other bowriders about her size, at 5,500 lbs. (2,200 kgs.) she came out as one of the lightest boats. So, where’s the beef? Cobalt is right, it is certainly “perceived,” but is it real? At $105k MSRP she was also one of the most expensive (actually #2) of the boats we looked at, so our expectations are high, and they should be. Join us as we take a look at the Cobalt 276 and hunt for beef...

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Trophy 2101 Bay Boat:
Capt. Steve Takes A Look

Trophy 2101 Bay Boat
The Bay Boat series by Trophy has been answering dealers’ requests for just this type of boat.

Two years ago, Trophy started rolling out their Bay Boat series with casting platforms both fore and aft. Since then, they’ve gone through some tumultuous times as factories transitioned geographically and the molds couldn ’t seem to find a permanent home. Now things have settled down and Ashland City, Tennessee has become the breeding grounds for the line. We asked Capt. Steve to take a look at this affordable bay boat and give his read. Here’s what our crusty captain has to say...

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New 2010 Model

Sea Ray 230 Sundeck:
A Sportboat with a Mission

Sea Ray 230 Sundeck
Sea Ray’s 230 Sundeck has more room and an expanded playbill, all wrapped up in a sportboat.

Sea Ray’s Sundeck series of boats seems to be on a mission to get more people on the water in fewer boats. That may seem counterproductive, but it’s a formula that has worked for Sea Ray for some time. This 230 Sundeck has a rated capacity for 10 and keeps everyone fully entertained as long as they aren’t expecting to see a Broadway show or a movie. It’s an excellent combination of deckboat fun where there can be action at both ends of the boat and in the middle, as well. Heck, with a little forethought, you won’t even have to stop for lunch. Let’s check out the features of the 24’ version in this full Captain’s Report. Grab your sunscreen...

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Whale Wars

You Be the Judge! Who is Guilty?
Whale Killers or Whale Huggers?

Whale Wars 1 Whale Wars 2 Whale Wars 3
Frame from video taken from the gadfly Ady Gil just seconds before the collision with the Japanese whaling vessel. A frame taken from video shot from the whale “research” vessel Shonan Maru a moment before collision. In this picture taken from the Sea Shepherd’s Bob Barker, Ady Gil appears to be directly in front of the Shonan Maru.

Last weekend in pubs, watering holes, and yacht club bars around the world – wherever boaters gather – there were lively discussions as to who was at fault in the January 6th collision of Ady Gil (nee, Earthrace) and Shonan Maru off the coast of Antarctica. A few hours later Ady Gil sank from the damage as she was being towed home. Last week we published video taken from the Shonan Maru that seemed to indicate that Ady Gil rammed the Japanese whaler. Today we are presenting video shot from both Ady Gil and its mothership, Bob Barker, in addition to video from Shonan Maru. Perhaps no seaborne collision has had more video taken of it from more different perspectives. has impaneled YOU – our trusted members in good standing – to be the Judge, Jury, and Executioner in this case between these two antagonists. This way to the Jury Room for your instructions...

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Second Look

Seaswirl 2605 Walk Around:
"SUV" on the Water

Seaswirl 2605 WA
The Seaswirl Striper 2605 WA is designed to handle four people for fishing or cruising.

Seaswirl built the 2605 Walk Around as their answer to the “SUV” on the water. It has a cabin, fishing-friendly cockpit, and room for the family to just go out and enjoy the water. You can pump it up with more fishing features like a hardtop with Alaskan pack, outriggers and rocket launcher rod holders. You can dress her up with a cabin table, fold-away stern seat, CD/stereo and Sunbrella canvas. Where many builders have pushed their boats to 26’ with a broader beam, this is just under 26’ and still a trailerable 8’6” beam. Importantly she has a relatively high freeboard forward, isn’t terribly heavy and can be powered by a single 250-hp outboard or twin 150s. Capt Rob takes a video look and tests the Seaswirl 2605...

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10th year's
Independent 3rd-Party Tests

BoatTEST's 10th Year
In this shot, Captain Robert Smith is pointing out a feature of this helm.

In a survey of members, 77% of the people polled said they had greater confidence in’s performance numbers than those offered by boat builders or engine makers. Such sentiment is not surprising in a world wracked by the likes of Enron, Lehman Brothers, and Bernie Madoff – all cases where effective independent 3rd-party scrutiny was lacking or non-existent. Happily for boat buyers, many boat builders understand human nature and skepticism, and because they are confident in the products they build they welcome’s verification. Then, there are the builders who would rather stick with the old ways of providing information to the public – publishing glorious praise and performance claims on their websites and in their advertising. Find out what goes into our tests, why they are trusted around the world, and get answers to FAQs...

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Safety Tip

Trailer Preparation Video

Trailering Tip
Trailering your boat sounds simple – and is – IF you follow all of the trailer preparation tips that Capt. Steve recommends.

Being a good boater starts long before you get out on the water. And if you have not properly prepared your trailer rig you may never even make it. Just as airplane pilots walk around their planes checking out control surfaces before they get into the cockpit, so too, should you, make a careful check of all the straps, chains, connections, bolts and landing gear on your trailer before you head to the launch ramp. Capt. Steve gives us his take on the best way to prep so that you will not have a costly accident on the road...

Be Prepared

Mustang Rescue Stick Test

Mustang Rescue Stick
Capt. Rob Smith explains and demonstrates why the Mustang Survival Rescue Stick is a necessity for your boat.

Whether you own a large yacht or a twenty-two foot runabout the primary responsibility of all boat operators is the safety of their passengers. Today we are going to focus on MOB or man over board. According to the US Coast Guard, most people that enter the water from a boat accidentally are not wearing a PFD. This is one of the main reasons there is a Coast Guard regulation that all boats must have a throwable PFD device on board at all times. We tested a different type of throwable floatation device called the Mustang Rescue Stick. This is a hydrostatic device that can be thrown farther and more accurately than the traditional cushion-style flotation device.  Watch our video...

Inflation average 3.8 seconds, Accurate distance 80 feet


Synthetic Lower Unit Lube Oil from Royal Purple

Max-Gear from Royal Purple.

Lower units need gear lubricant just like any other metal-to-metal surface in your power train. And while boaters typically pay some attention to the motor oil they buy, few pay much attention to the gear lube oil. For most people it’s just another necessary expense, and it is given little thought. But just as synthetic motor oil improves performance for engines, so, too, does synthetic gear oil make lower units run quieter, cooler, smoother and have a longer life. The folks at Royal Purple tell us that their “Max-Gear” lube oil “provides unsurpassed protection to heavily loaded gears” because it is synthetic and has their proprietary additive “Synslide.” Find out more here...

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Cobalt 200
Cobalt 200
Cobalt 220
Cobalt 220
Cobalt 222
Cobalt 222

Owners Reviews
Calling Cobalt 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 Cobalt model you own...

Cobalt 232 Cobalt 272
Cobalt 240 Cobalt 276
Cobalt 250 Cobalt 282
Cobalt 252 Cobalt 302
Cobalt 262 Cobalt 323
Cobalt 263 Cobalt 343

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Boating Education

Order 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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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 3
This photo has not been photoshopped.

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

** Submitted by a BoatTEST member. Send us your favorite boating images.

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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Industry News

Prices of Fiberglass And Resin Rise

Fiberglass Rolls
These are rolls of fiberglass woven roving that create the strength in fiberglass boats. Depending on the size of the boat, six or more layers of these might be laminated into a boat hull.

During the last three months the manufacturers of both resin and fiberglass have announced price increases on the order of from 5% to 18% for these materials. These are world commodities and boat builders everywhere will be hit by the prices increases. Some of the price increases were announced before the recent rise in the price of oil, which makes us wonder what is going on. In any case, count on these price increases being passed through to retail in six months or so.

Boat Ramps

Count the Boats Launched and Win A Coveted Ducky!

Boat Ramp
Last July 3, 2009 for 5 hours Mike Hancock let his handicam run on low speed and he captured dozens of boats being launch without incident.

For years we have been running pictures and videos of the trials and tribulations of trailerboat owners at the launch ramp. Now we have found a video that plays back in less than 4 minutes five hours worth of launching delight on Lake Tahoe last summer. Take a look at this video, count the number of boats being launched, then email that number to The first right number (i.e., is the same as our count) wins the coveted Ducky. So here’s your big chance...

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Capt. Steve's Lesson #69

Using Your Boat for Diving
or Snorkel Excursions

Lesson 69
Having fun with your boat and seeing your family enjoy themselves is a reward in itself. Your boat can be the perfect launching platform for diving, snorkel and even scuba diving excursions.

This week Capt. Steve goes over three new lessons and guidelines on diving off your boat and using it as a launching platform for underwater activities. First of all, you bought your boat to have fun on...right? Those of you who bought a boat for your favorite water activities, congratulations, there is so much awaiting to be explored below the surface. Capt. Steve will go over the flags which divers should display if they are in the water. Boaters in the area should be careful to stay away from any flags in the water or boats displaying dive flags. This is one main reason not to dive in high traffic areas such as channels or near marinas where it may be nearly impossible to stay a certain distance away. These three videos are basic lessons which 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

"Don't look at me like that, I thought you put the plug back in." - L. Ross

Second Place

"Okay, Mr. Gotti, next time we'll go with the union stevedores." - R. Davis

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Okay that's good, now I can fix the antenna." - M. Burton

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 1-20

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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If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation by our witty and clever readers, please send it to:, LLC
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