New 4-Stroke Skeeter // New Big Dog // Best Buying Tip - 02/03/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter February 3, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Tigé Touch
- Tahoe Q7i SS
- Wellcraft 210 Fisherman
- MasterCraft V214
- Boat Buying Tip
- Yamaha SX240 High Output
- Skeeter FX 21
- Scout 245 Abaco
- Sylvan Viper 206
- Platinum Equity Says
- Bayliner 205
- Premier 231 Alante
- Sea Ray 230 Sundeck
- Ranger 2250 SS
- Flying Carp
- Engine Oil Improvements
- Shurhold Dual Action Polisher
- Re-Trial Ady Gil vs Shanon Maru
- Launch Ramp Follies
- BoatTEST Asks You
- Formula Refurbishing
- Safety Tip of the Week
- Chaparral Owner Reports
- BoatTEST Members Help Haiti
- Looking for a New Boat
- Pictures of the Week
- Work with BoatTEST
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

An Exciting New Instrument: "Tigé Touch" by Tigé Boats

Tigé Touch
“Tigé Touch” brings new levels of simplicity, information and control to the helm of all new Tigé Boats. We think this easy-to-use device will create a trend.

“Tigé Touch” is the newest feature to grace the Tigé line of performance wakeboard boats. This amazing instrument not only gives you complete control of the boat’s speed, but it also controls the ballast tanks, lights, tunes, bilge pumps, and a host of other accessories and equipment.  It is similar in concept to the expensive Octoplex system which we have seen on megayachts, but the “Tigé Touch” was designed and engineered by the team at Tigé strictly for the systems on board a complex sportboat.  Ever mindful of the Luddites among us, we knew that the unit needed to be tested to see if it was intuitive and idiot proof. We decided to have Capt. Steve – who is not an idiot – but a fellow who has certainly met enough of them to know what they can and can not understand when it comes to instruments.  Further, we asked him to make a video of the touch screen to show us how it works . All you need is a finger... not that finger!!!

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Video Update

Tahoe Q7i SS:
She's Hot and Affordable

The Tahoe Q7i is one of the company’s most popular boats. By adding the tower, Tahoe also adds the SS designation.

We caught a glimpse of the new Tahoe Q7i SS at the New York boat show, and at first, it was the cool colors and graphics that caught our attention. After a brief walkthrough, we discovered a boat that has some qualities that make her a sure hit. While it’s not a top-of-the-line ski and wakeboard boat, it is a cost-effective solution to getting on the water and having your watersports, too. Thank goodness a couple of builders are making affordable boats. The Tahoe Q7i SS is sort of a “have your cake and eat it, too” boat. To see what we mean, check out this video walkthrough of the Tahoe Q7i SS. Watch Capt. Steve’s video look...

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Wellcraft 210 Fisherman:
It's All about Space

Wellcraft 210 Fisherman
Although it is not the biggest center console on the market, it’s big enough to get the job done. A great first boat, or step up from the smaller one you were going to buy.

The Wellcraft 210 Fisherman measures 21' (6.4 m) LOA with an 8’6" (2.59 m) beam... not so large that she’s inconvenient to launch and retrieve, and she’s surprisingly roomy inside. While blasting along at speed, there is comfortable seating for five people, one forward, two at the helm, and two in the transom seats. There is a head in the console, and the boats list of standard equipment has everything you’ll need for a day on the water, including a compass. Check out Capt. Steve’s test video of the 210 Fisherman and you’ll see what we mean. This one’s small, but we think she’s a keeper...

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MasterCraft ProStar 214V:
Comes Standard

MasterCraft 214 V
Note that MasterCraft’s 214V has the engine pushed back toward the transom, getting rid of the traditional engine box in the middle of the cockpit. We like it.

If having “just a wakeboard boat” isn’t enough for you to “one up” the other guys on the lake, then how about one that is certified by U.S. Water-Ski for all three tournament events? The MasterCraft ProStar 214V is just the ticket for giving the kind of performance, handling, and wake control that top contenders in tournament levels seek, and now it can be yours. MasterCraft built this boat from the keel up with professional-grade characteristics that’ll make you the envy of the other boaters on the lake. Once the cool wake dudes get wind of what you say nothing of the wake babes...well, you’ll have more new friends than you can afford. So if you’re the type who likes to be alone with your thoughts on a peaceful no-wind day on the water... then you need to look elsewhere. Capt. John Wenz gives a once over to the MasterCraft ProStar 214V. You’ll never look at water sports the same way again. Strap ‘em on here...

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Boat Buying Tip

The Most Important Boat-Buying Tip of All

Book of the Dead
This is a depiction from the ancient Egyptian “Book for the Dead” that goes back 4500 years or more. The deceased is being judged to determine if his soul will be allowed to proceed to the afterlife. If his heart is lighter than a feather, meaning he was a good man doing good deeds, he will be allowed to pass. You can perform the same test of boat builders and dealers in this life. We’ll show you how.

We test boats and try to give buyers as much information as possible to guide their buying decision into the right vessel for their needs. However, we regret to say that we rarely come to grips with the most important factor of all. Occasionally we obliquely mention it, but it is a difficult and problematical subject to discuss in public. That rarely mentioned factor is the character of the builder, or the president of the company. His or her attitude makes all of the difference when it comes to a consumer having a satisfactory experience with a boat. And the same thing holds true for the boat dealer. In most cases, the difference between a boater having a successful boat experience and a miserable one rests on the experience, character, and integrity of the boat builder and dealer. How can you tell which builders and dealers have those three important characteristics and which don’t? There is no sure-fire way, but we will give you one litmus test to use...

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Yamaha SX240:
Bringing Cool to Hot Summers

Yamaha SX240
Not only is the Yamaha SX240 one of the coolest boats we’ve seen, she’s got some innovative features you’ve got to check out.

The fan base continues to grow over at Yamaha and the SX240 is one of the reasons why. Let’s see, she’s got the safety factor of jet drives, the transom patios that launched a thousand imitators, plenty of room onboard, and now... Yamaha has stepped up with one of the most versatile bow seating arrangements we’ve seen. If you haven’t looked at a Yamaha boat lately, then you’ve got to check out Capt. Steve’s video tour of the SX240. Then, when you’re done, take the price and compare it with everything else on your list. It’ll turn into a short list real fast. Take it away Capt...

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New Boat

The New Skeeter FX 21:
Engineered for 4-Stroke Performance

Skeeter FX 21
The Skeeter FX 21 has been re-engineered to achieve optimum performance with the Yamaha VMAX SHO engines. Note how much of the hull is out of the water.

In what may be a bass boat industry first, Skeeter Boat Company, which is owned by Yamaha, has gotten its boat designers and engineers together with those of Yamaha engine company to design a boat specifically for running with the New Yamaha VMAX SHO Four-Stroke engines. This is significant since virtually every bass boat on the market was designed for 2-stroke power. By designing the new Skeeter FX 21 specifically for four-stroke Yamahas, the Skeeter FX has “better hole shot and higher top-end speed, with the benefit of the better fuel economy that a four-stroke engine has to offer” according to Jeff Stone, Skeeter’s Senior VP and General Manager. It all sounds good, and we look forward to being asked to test the new boats so we can confirm that their actual performance meets the hype. For now, let’s take a look at the obvious aspects of the FX 21...

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Second Look

Scout 245 Abaco:
Popular with Our Readers

Scout 245 Abaco
With fishing friendly capabilities and cabin class, the Scout 245 is designed for a couple to overnight on.

We’ve gotten quite a bit of reader mail lately with nice things to say about the Scout 245 Abaco, so we thought we’d better take another look. Okay, so it doesn’t have the roominess in the cabin to sleep six, or even four, but for a couple who wants to spend more time fishing as well as sleep overnight onboard once in a while, this setup is hard to beat. The cockpit and deck have some unique, forward-thinking features that we like and the aft seating and transom morph between a comfortable seat, storage compartment, and a dive or casting platform. The helm also has a comfortable feel with clever features of its own. All in all, this is a smart boat, that’s easy to handle and easy to use. What it lacks in its ability to handle crowds, it more than makes up for in innovation for the cruising couple, two fishing buddies, or dad with a little angler, to spend the night onboard. Join us as Capt. Steve takes us on a video tour showing the features that set the Scout 245 Abaco apart from the rest. Check it out for yourself...

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Sylvan Viper 206:
When the Lake Isn't Always Calm

Sylvan Viper 206
The Sylvan Viper 206 takes the qualities of a bass boat and combines them with the softer ride of a V-hull.

Not every lake is “Golden Pond” and not every fishing trip is quiet enough to hear the loons in the background. Sometimes, there’s enough wind to add chop to the surface, but not enough to cancel your day. That’s where the Sylvan Viper 206 comes in. She has enough beam and freeboard to handle the days when the bass boat guys are sitting at home wishing they were out with you. Join Capt. Rob as he takes us on a video tour of the features that Sylvan brought to the waterfront with the Viper 206. Best of all, the Sylvan Viper 206 is affordable. Take a ride with Capt. Rob...

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It's Official

Platinum Equity Says It Will Be Aggressive

Four Winns V285
The Four Winns V285 has a new owner and so far it’s a love fest as Four Winns management gets to know its new boss.

Yesterday morning press releases hit the Internet making the Platinum Equity acquisition of certain Genmar boat companies official. Those acquisitions include Ranger, Stratos, Champion, Wellcraft, Four Winns and Glastron boat brands; their factories and related equipment. From the tone of the press release breaking the official news it sounds to us as if Platinum Equity is loaded for bear. With a war chest of $3.5 billion according to its website, Platinum Equity could probably buy up most of the marine business in its weakened state and still have change for a McDonald’s Happy Meal. Indeed, Louis Samson, PE’s point man on this $70 million acquisition, says that its new company plans on being a “leader in the marine industry,” is “well-capitalized” and “will not hesitate to take advantage of attractive opportunities.” We haven’t heard that kind of talk in long time. With virtually every boat company hunkered down, the PE brands could gobble up huge market share the old fashioned way – through sales. All Ahead Full...

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Second Look

Bayliner 205:
A Surprise at Every Turn

Bayliner 205
Not only is the Bayliner 205 a great handling boat, she’s got killer looks as well.

So when test day dawned for the Bayliner 205, we tossed Capt. Steve the keys and followed him out to the widest part of the lake for some long test runs. On the way, he would cross the wake of the chase boat, crank and bank, and pretty much just wring it out. Then he stopped and told us to get the camera on him while some impressions were still fresh. Turns out, the Bayliner had some surprising characteristics that weren’t expected: she wouldn’t pound into waves, didn’t throw the passengers off to one side in high speed turns, and had an overall gentle nature no matter what Capt. Steve did. Check out the performance and handling video and you’ll see what we mean...

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Premier 231 Alante:
Not Just Another Toon

Premier 231 Alante
If you want to go fast in a pontoon boat you need a tri-toon, like Premier's 231 Alante PTX.  Just imagine how many skiers it could tow!

When you start to look closely at the Premier 231 Alante, you start to notice the little things that separate her from the average pontoon boat. The reinforced transom, all electrical connections are wrapped in plastic sleeves which are heat-shrunk to protect them from corrosion, a center pontoon that’s 36” wide with a 12” flat surface for better handling, seat cushions that are hinged rather than just lifting out... these are some of the little details that make a difference in the competitive world of pontoon boats. For the complete story, we sent Capt. John Wenz to check out these and other details and he gives us the story in a full video test. You may just change your toon...

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Sea Ray 230 Sundeck

J.D. Schmidt
Sea Ray’s J.D. Schmidt gives a video walk-through of the Sea Ray 230 Sundeck, opening up every door and showing the storage under every cushion.

The Sea Ray 230 Sundeck is one of the company’s most popular models. If you have ever wondered what one looks like, here is a video made by the folks at Sea Ray that gives you a thorough tour. The Sea Ray 230 has a 8’6” (2.59 m) beam, draws 37” (94 cm) drive down, and weighs 4,850 lbs. (2200 kgs.). To see this Sea Ray promotional video...

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Second Look

Ranger 2250 SS:
Looking Beyond Bass

Ranger 2250 SS
If the Swiss Army ever decided to create a boat, we bet it would come out something like the Ranger 2250 SS. The good ole boys in Flippin know that man cannot live by bass alone.

Ok, pop quiz. What do you get when you combine a bass boat, a deckboat, a center console, and a sportboat? The answer is, the Ranger Boats 2250 SS. It is easily one of the most versatile hybrid designs that we have ever seen.  So many builders are trying to combine fishing and family and leaving it at that, but the Ranger 2250 SS takes the best of several breeds and puts them all together in one mutation that really should have its own “type” designation. There are casting platforms bow and stern, fishboxes, water toy storage, a center console, tow pylon, and one of the best trailers on the market to boot. This is a design that does it all. And it’s one you have to see. Perhaps the fact that it was made by fishermen with families has something to do with its unique blend. Check out Capt. Rob’s tour of the versatile Ranger Boats 2250 SS...

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Carp Shoot

Flying Carp -- It Breaks Lady's Jaw

Carp Jaw
This frame from a video catches the moment of impact as a 12-lb. (5.45 kg.) Asian Carp slams into the right jaw of Jodi Barnes as she was bow fishing.

Some people are trying to turn lemons into lemonade by using flying Asian carp as sort of skeet for their bows and arrows. That’s right, bow hunters have now become boaters to sharpen their skills with these randomly jumping carp. Bass boats seem to be the platforms of choice. Last summer Jodi Barnes (above) has just fired off an arrow at one Asian carp as another took a shot to her head, breaking her jaw. For the rest of the story

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Engine Oil Improvements

Royal Purple test engine, Yamaha 1812cc four stroke, four cylinder, supercharged engine running Royal Purple Synthetic Motor Oil and a Royal Purple oil filter.

Our sponsor Royal Purple has gone through a lot of trouble to arrange many different kinds of tests to show the benefits of their products. Here is an interesting Royal Purple video that shows a horsepower test on a GM engine block, not unlike those used by most marine engine manufacturers. Throttle up here...


Shurhold Dual
Action Polisher

Shurhold Dual Action Polisher Kit
Seen here is the entire kit as it comes retail.  Assembly of the handle took our in house technician sixty seconds.  Note the extra long power cord with the GFCI built in.

Well, we finally got our hands on the new dual action polisher from Shurhold and as soon as the arctic chill lifts, we will head out to one of our test boats and give it a thorough shakedown. As you can see here, it comes as a complete kit.

As an added incentive when purchasing a dual action pack use the Coupon Code: BTF, you will receive a FREE $40 bonus pack with purchase of buffer.  The pack includes ProPolish Pad, ProPolish, and a Microfiber Towel.  Visit

Court's In Session

Ady Gil vs. Shanon Maru

The Sea Shepherd Ady Gil seen here shortly after her collision with the Whaler Shanon Maru off the coast of Antarctica in early January.

Because of the appalling Jury tampering that occurred two weeks ago in the Internet trial of Ady Gil vs. Shanon Maru, a mistrial was declared last week. Nearly 100 esteemed and knowledgeable members have submitted their arguments and three have been selected for the consideration of the new Jury, which is hereby impaneled. (No shirking of jury duty, please!) We expect all Jury members to be honorable, and vote only once. At stake are the reputations of the officers of the bridge on both vessels. This way to the Jury Room (speak to no one)...

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Launch Ramp Follies

Coveted Ducky Award Won by T. Linson

Boat Ramp
For five hours a stop-action video camera recorded the launching and retrieval of boats at a launch ramp on Lake Tahoe.

We were surprised at the number of company presidents and top executives who entered our “Launch Ramp Follies” contest two weeks ago. But given the state of business these days, perhaps it shouldn’t be so surprising. For those who missed it, we presented a YouTube video showing five hours of perfectly serene boat launchings into Lake Tahoe, proving that virtually anyone can do it with a little practice.  The number of launchings according to our judge’s official count was 103. Several readers got that answer, but the first one to submit it was member T. Linson. We hope you cherish the coveted Ducky, always.


Vote for Your Favorite On-Water Activity

What Do You Do On the Water

Fads come and fads go in every industry and sport, and boating is no different. When the market contracts as it has done the last couple of years, builders naturally begin looking farther afield for sales. Thirty years ago, waterskiing was the rage. This decade it has been wakeboarding creating all of the waves. Over the last year or so, many builders have come out with boats they call multi-use, sticking a ski pole, wake tower or fishing seat on them, and maybe even a head or a bunk or two.

What do you think? Are they hitting the mark? Tell us what you do most with your boat. (select one)

Cruising/hanging out
  View Result
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Formula News

Formula Rehab

Formula Rehab
Formula is probably the best place to have your old Formula or Thunderbird boat restored.

Our hat is off to Formula for inviting owners of old Formula boats to have their boats refurbished at the factory. If you own an old Formula that has seen better days, now it can see those days again. This concept was introduced by Hatteras last year and we are glad to see Formula do it, too. Formula is also announcing that it is opening a showroom in its Decatur, Indiana factory location and is also putting its owners manuals on line. To find out about these three important customer sales and service announcements...

Safety Tip

A Throwable Device: You’ll Only Need it Once!

Rescue Stick
The Mustang Rescue stick is an example of a throwable device that inflates when immersed in water.

Recently we did an article on the Mustang Rescue Stick, pictured above. In the intro to the article we said that throwable devices were required on every boat and one of our perceptive readers -- as you usually are -- picked up on our mistake. They are actually only required on boats 16’ in length or longer, so thanks for the catch! Our second mistake, was to only use the article to promote the device. We asked Capt. Steve to give us a detailed review of Man Overboard (MOB) procedures...

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Chaparral 204 Xtreme
Chaparral 204 Xtreme
Chaparral 236 SX
Chaparral 236 SX
Chaparral 190 SSi
Chaparral 190 SSi

Owners Reviews
Calling Chaparral 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 Chaparral model you own...

Chaparral 180 SSi
Chaparral 204 SSi
Chaparral 215 SSi
Chaparral 216 Sunesta
Chaparral 220 SSi
Chaparral 256 SSi
Chaparral 274 Sunesta

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Haiti Help Members Help Haiti Relief

Smart Boating
It is estimated that there are over 500,000 orphaned children in Haiti and many need medical help.

The Miami Herald reported last week that nearly 50% of American households have donated an average of $35 to help Haiti.  We are happy to report than many readers have visited the AmeriCares website and are contributing. 99% of the money donated to this Stamford, CT-based charity is used to buy the medicines and materials sent to Haiti.  Join other members who are helping. Visit the AmeriCares website...

Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member Services
The staff at has helped hundreds of members with their new boat buying from boats 15' to over 100'.  Make sure you have BoatTEST in your corner.

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
There is a beautiful story behind this picture taken by David K. MacLaggan--

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

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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Capt. Steve's Lesson #71

Hunting and Fishing From Your Boat

Lesson 71
Each duck hunting season a score of hunters fall overboard and drown.  You don't read about it, but it happens.  Here's what you should know.

This week Capt. Steve goes over two lessons and guidelines on using your boat for hunting or fishing activities. This isn’t going to be about weapons safety or how to use a rifle or fishing rod correctly. What will be covered is simply using the boat as an additional tool for your hunting or fishing sports. Fisherman or hunters will usually have large decks on their boats so they can easily stand on either the bow or stern, and sometimes they have large motors to get to locations quickly. Stay a safe distance away from fisherman or hunters as they have usually been waiting a long time in an area for a bite or the right shot, and any noise or wake can disturb their concentration or scare off fish. These videos are just a snippet of basic information which recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” 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

"Saints fans heading to Miami."
- S. Cheramie

Second Place

"I don't know why they're following me, I'm lost." - C. Miller

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Hold my beer and watch this; FULL SPEED ASTERN!" - C. Combs

"NEVER EVER say we're on the fish on Channel 19." - M. Burton

What's Going
On Here?


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:, LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901