New Hargrave 76 Video:
Four En Suite Staterooms
In the world of luxury yachts, having to “settle” is not a happy part of the game plan. Manufacturers of production motoryachts often forget that, and the buyer is left with the option of only picking interior décor such as carpeting and color choices. That’s not our idea of even a semi-custom-built yacht. But at Hargrave Custom Yachts if you want a non-structural bulkhead moved or want the galley moved to the other side of the boat, or want four staterooms each with en suite heads, rather than the standard three staterooms... you’ve got it. Today, Capt Steve is going to take us below to the accommodations deck of a 76 motoryacht that has exactly that – four staterooms where many builders would put just three.
Let’s take a look at Capt. Steve's new video...
Nordic Tug 42:
A Mission Possible
There is something about commercial work boats or fishing vessels that most boaters find appealing. The North Sea trawler (Grand Banks), the Maine Lobster boat (Hinckley, et al), the island freighter (Nordhavn), and the trusty tug boat (Nordic Tugs). None of the yacht versions replicated the real thing, but all were inspired by the look and seaworthiness of their commercial namesakes. We have often been struck by how many Nordic Tugs (which are built on the west coast) that we see on the east coast, particularly trudging north and south in the ICW. We think that Nordic Tugs are practical and spacious for the mission of coastal cruising.
Join us once again as we take a close look at this clever design and very roomy...
Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge:
New Test Video
If you long for weekends at Catalina Island, or a cruise to the Bahamas for a short stay, or even a long weekend at Nantucket, then we’ve got a boat for you. With a cruise range of 276 miles, you’ve got a lot of possibilities to choose from, and we suspect that future owners of this stylish yacht are going to enjoy turning up at almost any destination. Check out our test-day video as Capt. Steve puts the Meridian 441 through her paces and gives you the inside story on her performance and handling. (Pssst – the good captain says she’s as sweet on the fly as she is approaching the dock.)
And she comes with “Total Command”...
Comparison of the
"Big Four" 54' Battlewagons
“Convertibles” have been known more for their similarities than their differences over the years, but that is changing. Increasingly, buyers are using them more for cruising than for fishing and we applaud that trend because they make superb offshore cruising boats because of their low CG, large flying bridges, roomy cockpits, and prodigious hull strength. We think the mid-50s range is an ideal size for a fish-anywhere, cruise-anywhere convertible, so this week we are going to compare the “Big Four.”
You might be surprised at what we discover...
Jacobs & Billionaire Friend
Buy Carver & Marquis
Pre-Ch. 11 Warranties Honored!
Last week it was announced that J&D Acquisitions, LLC, had bought the Carver Yacht and Marquis Yacht companies from the bankruptcy estate of Genmar Holdings, Inc. (Genmar). The new company will go forward as Marquis Yachts, LLC. Together the two brands have 20 models ranging from 36’ to 72’. Irwin Jacobs and his friend, John Paul DeJoria, who according to Forbes magazine is the #65th richest person in America, formed J&D Acquisitions, LLC, to make the purchase and paid $6.05 million for the two companies. Jacobs says that the company plans to begin hiring 200 staff within two weeks and that the new company will honor all pre-Chapter 11 warranties.
Hydra-Sports 3500 VX
Not Just New... Improved!
Making a fishing and cruising combination boat is more than just adding a place to sleep. But that’s exactly what we’ve seen time and again from boat builders trying to sell us on their boats which are warmed-over fishboats. At Hydra-Sports, they’ve taken the challenge seriously and raised the bar on what a combo package should be. It’s got a boatload of fishing features that any die-hard fanatic will love, a comfort level that any family will love, and a sea keeping hull that everybody will love... all rolled into the second largest of their no-holds-barred Vector series boats (remember their big Kahuna – the 41!). And, true to form, Capt. Steve snuck in to get this first look video. We’ve got to get this boat in the water.
Whistle if you see the cops coming...
Sea Ray 310 Sundancer:
A Solid Mid-Size Express Cruiser
Very few companies have had the successful run that Sea Ray has enjoyed with their Sundancer series over the last 30 years. That’s three decades, folks, and we’re hard pressed to think of another series, much less brand that has had such a run in the boat business. As we have said before, the ‘Dancer line blazed the way for express cruisers in America. These family cruisers have all the right ingredients of sportiness, user friendly handling characteristics, and family-functional layout. The 310 ‘Dancer may have gone through some name changes, and a bit of tweaking here and there, but she still remains largely the same as last year.
Let’s take a look at the 2010 version and see what she brings to the water.
Windsor Craft 40:
She’s a Sophisticated Lady
Every once in a while, a boat crosses our paths that makes us stop dead in our tracks. The Windsor Craft 40 is just such a boat. The truly heart-stopping beauty that this boat possesses is largely on the inside. Externally, she’s a retro classic, conjuring up the styles preferred by veteran yachtsmen from places like Seal Harbor, Maine where price is no object and tradition is a way of life. Take a glance at the first picture in our Captain’s Report and see if it doesn’t make you read on about this thoroughbred -- a true lady that seems to be from a bygone era. Windsor Craft is a Genmar brand that is being bought by J&D (read: Irwin Jacobs & Friend) later this week.
Timing is everything...
Mayor Daley to Obama:
“Let ‘Em Eat Carp!”
Now that Asian Carp DNA has been found in Lake Michigan, Chicago’s Mayor Richard M. Daley’s strategy has shifted from one of denial and ridicule to that old political standby: “baffle ‘em with bullshit.” Last Thursday, after the Lake Michigan carp DNA hit the fan, the White House announced that it wanted to host a “summit” with the complaining Great Lakes states’ governors. But the Asian carp may not wait for committees, studies, consultants, and the legislative process. In all likelihood they will just continue eating their way north, consuming 40% of their body weight each day as they go. What should boaters do to stop the carp NOW?
YOU BE THE JUDGE...
See CBS Evening News video...
The Triton 351 CC:
5 Years Ago – And NOW!
As the Triton 351 CC reaches its fifth birthday, the model is still going strong. When she debuted at the Miami Boat Show in ’05, she was not only the biggest boat that Triton built, but also was among the biggest in her class as well. Today, she’s still the queen at Triton, but in general... well, bigger kids have entered the playing field. But for all the fanfare over the large center consoles, remember
that 35' is still very big for a center console. Let’s take a short trip down memory lane and see exactly what the 351CC was like then, and more importantly, what has changed since she first started turning heads.
Back to the future...
Regal 44 Sport Coupe:
A Classy Cruiser of Noble Heritage
It isn’t everyday that Capt. Steve comes back from a test with an ear to ear grin on his freckled face but that’s the affect that the Regal 44SC had on him. And, with good reason he says. Her handling was “butter smooth,” and with such stunning lines, even he looked good at the helm. With IPS pods dangling under the hull, anyone can dock this boat with pinpoint accuracy. The good captain thinks her layout is comfortable for days on the water and an elegant night at the dock. And then there is the price. Thanks to some creative thinking from the corporate level, this boat is offered for a sum hard to refuse.
Check out the video and see if you agree...
Jacobs & DeJoria to Buy
Larson, Seaswirl, Triumph and FinCraft
J&D Acquisitions, which is owned by Irwin Jacobs and billionaire John Paul DeJoria, said last week that it has agreed to purchase several former Genmar businesses and assets from Platinum Equity. The transaction is expected to be effective by this Friday or shortly after. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. According to a statement, J&D will acquire the Larson, Seaswirl and FinCraft boat brands along with the Larson boat factory in Little Falls, Minnesota, VEC technology as well as its equipment, patents and copyrights, and the Triumph Boat Company in Durham, NC.
Platinum Equity Buys Four Winns,
Glastron, Wellcraft, Ranger
Who or what is “Platinum Equity” -- and -- what is it doing owning some of the best boat brands in America? Why did it buy these grand boat companies in the first place?
Four Winns, Glastron, Wellcraft and Ranger are all boating icons. They have been around for years and have a rich heritage. At one time in their lives, both Glastron and Wellcraft were the largest selling brands in America. Today, and for much of the last decade, Ranger has been the largest selling fiberglass bass boat. Likewise, for many years Four Winns has been the largest selling premium sportboat brand.
None of these brands are virgins and all have been bought and sold before.
Let’s learn more about Platinum Equity...
Cruisers Yachts and Rampage
Re-Hire 100 Employees
KCS International Inc., the parent company of Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts, hired back 100 of its employees to work on new orders for both brands and to help complete the 2011 prototype of the 470 Cruisers Yachts Sports Coupe. "Although the past year has been pretty rough on the boating industry, our unwavering commitment to the Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fishing Yachts brands is what has carried us through these tough economic times," said Mark Pedersen, president of KCS International, in a statement. For more about the company and its plans for the future...
Customer Service Award
Quick Lift Wins Customer Service Ducky
BoatTEST.com’s 2nd “Ducky Award for Customer Service” goes to the Quick Lift davit company. This award is being made a bit late, but “better late than never,” someone once said. This coveted award is given only to companies which have shown a devotion to customer service above and beyond the levels that boaters have now come to expect from the marine companies. To find out more about the extraordinary lengths that Quick Lift went to in order to earn this award...
If you know a marine company that you feel should be considered for this award,
Inflatable Buyers Beware!
Some years ago we bought an Apex tender and used it for years, getting to know the product and the company’s service and how the company treated its customers in the process. Our Apex was low-priced, cheaply made, slowly fell apart, and when the Annapolis home office was called, often there was no answer and when there was, we couldn’t get spare parts needed. At least two of the corporate entities swirling around the Apex name have been in litigation and one has gone bankrupt.
In order to explain what went bankrupt and what did not, and to give you and idea of the cut of the Apex jib, go down this rabbit hole...
First AmeriCares Shipment Arrives
AmeriCares spends 99% of the donations it receives on the goods being sent to the world’s needy. It has been praised by 60 Minutes and Forbes magazine and is
headquartered in our home port of Stamford, CT. It is where we give. Visit their website...
Calling Regal Owners
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 an d 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 Regal
model you own...
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 --
Are You Looking
For a New Boat?
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 --
Capt. Steve's Lesson #70
Tie Knots with Confidence
This week Capt. Steve goes over nine lessons and guidelines on tying ropes and knots. This is something that not only is important to master, but will also save you time and expense down the road. How many fenders have you lost since you’ve owned your boat? Or, how many times have you needed to leave the dock quickly but there was so much line tied around the cleat it took minutes instead of seconds to untie?
A knot that is strong yet can be undone in flash if needed is a real necessity when boating. Once you get some of these basic techniques down you’ll feel like a more confident boater. These three videos are basic lessons which recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com's USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Capt. Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"A highlight of the cruise was watching the remarkable Conehead spawning frenzy."
- M. Goun
"Experience the magic of Iceland, where locals dive for coins tossed from the ship." - P. Lazarus
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Members of the Sea Shepherd Society gear up before attacking the cruise ship industry!" - N. Soboleff
You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?
Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.
We need reader help!
If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation by our witty and clever
readers, please send it to: email@example.com.