12 Boat Reviews // Retrofit Joystick // How to Buy Big - 02/24/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter February 24, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- How To Buy
- Viking Yachts 42
- Doral Mediterra
- Maritimo 48
- Cruisers Yachts 470
- Rampage 34 IPS
- Nordhavn 60
- Sea Ray 350
- ZF Marine's JMS
- Formula 45 Yacht
- Meridian 441
- Bertram's Innovation
- Boston Whaler Wins Award
- Royal Purple Products
- Shurhold Products
- Boat Buying Tip
- Michigan Wake Dude Wins
- Looking for a New Boat
- Sign Up a Friend
- Cruisers Yachts Owners
- Pictures of the Week
- Work with BoatTEST
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

How to Buy 
A New BIG Boat

Man Writing
The best way to start planning the purchase of a big boat is the old fashioned way -- with a pencil and paper.

With the worst of the recent economic storm seemingly over, and before new boat prices begin the predicted climb skyward (to say nothing of possible inflation), now is a very good time to be thinking about your Next Big Thing -- and, of course, that would be a large yacht. But even if you just got your annual multi-million dollar bonus from Goldman Sachs, it takes more than money and enthusiasm to find the right boat, and best boat for your needs. It is very easy to make a mistake, and our guess is that about 50% of the buyers usually do. There are a lot of people out there with hundreds of boats to sell you, but chances are there are only a few that are truly right for your specific and very individual needs. How to find the right one, and once found, how is the best way to go about buying it? Step into our main saloon for some suggestions...

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New Boat

New Viking 42 Open And Convertible:
Zeus Pods are Standard!

Viking 42 Open Viking Yachts 42 C
The new Viking 42 Open with Zeus pod drives has a huge mid-stateroom with 6’ headroom and 2 heads. The standard new Viking 42 C with Zeus pod drives will have three staterooms and two heads.

We think the two new boats pictured above are the most remarkable new product introductions to come down the pike in some time in their class. No matter what size or type boat you are considering, you should look at these boats to pick up on what can be done in a limited space with creative thinking. First, Viking Yachts – the world’s largest (and most conservative) builder of convertibles -- has embraced the pod drive concept. This is huge news in itself, and is a strong affirmation of the concept in fishing boats. Second, it has picked the Zeus pod drive system over the Volvo Penta IPS pod system, which pioneered the concept. Third, the accommodation plans of both boats are the most unusual we have seen in some time in this size boat – with three (albeit tight) staterooms in the convertible version, and two or three in the open version. Most exciting of all, perhaps, is that the mid-cabin has twin bunks and 6’ headroom. To find out how much they will cost, power options, estimated speed, and much more...

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The Doral 40' Mediterra
Shows the Europeans How

Doral Mediterra
Doral’s Mediterra fits in nicely anywhere in the world, but no place better than in her namesake Mediterranean Sea.

We have said for years that Doral line of express cruisers are so different and sophisticated that they are a bit of Europe transplanted in North America (Dorals are built in Quebec, Canada). But we are rapidly coming to the conclusion that Doral is actually ahead of many of the best European builders when it comes to taste, clever innovation, and style. This boutique builder has set a standard that is hard for any builder to beat, and the 40’ Mediterra is a prime of example of just what we are talking about. Join Capt. Smith as he takes a look at the details of this 40-footer that, we think, create a thing of beauty on the water. See it now...

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First Look

Maritimo 48 Cruising Motoryacht
A Huge Convertible with Room

Maritimo 48
The Maritimo 48 is a boat that commands a close look at some of the features that make her a standout.

In the business of boat reviewing, we see a lot of good and a lot of… well, not so good. But when a boat comes along that has well thought-through ideas and common sense applications, it just makes us smile and think, “well these guys get it”. One of our finickiest reviewers is of course, Capt. Steve, and to be sure we were heading down the right path, we tasked him with doing a report on the Maritimo 48 Cruising Motoryacht, figuring he’d hold nothing back from his opinions. What we got actually surprised us. To see what he liked and didn’t like on this, you’ll have to read for yourself...

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New Boat

New Cruisers Yachts 470
Goes to “Edgy” Design

Cruisers Yachts 470
The folks at Cruisers Yachts presented show goers at Miami with two exterior designs and the “vast majority” picked the “edgy” one seen above. We concur!

The development of new Cruisers Yachts 470 that was delayed because of the Great Recession is now back on track, and on a much more aggressive one at that! Taking dead-aim at its primary competitors in class, the Oconto, Wisconsin builder has been busy re-tooling the coach roof and deck during the last two weeks. It has now set a September 1st date for the launch of hull #1. Cruisers Yachts re-hired 100 hourly workers a month ago and they are working furiously to build boats for summer orders. With over two years of development time invested in the design, literally every detail of the the boat has been gone over, compared with the competition, and refined. During the design process several focus groups were polled to get boaters opinions of one detail or another and the result will be a boat that Cruisers Yachts thinks will start where other designs stop. To find out more and see new interior drawings...

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New Video

Rampage 34 IPS:
Cruising Boat Interior

Rampage 34 IPS
Rampage did a great service to boaters when they added IPS to their popular 34 Express, and as if to add frosting to the cake they upped the ante on the interior.

The Rampage 34 will go down in the annals of fishboat history as one of the first high-quality production express fishboats to use the IPS system. The folks at Rampage did that over two years ago and they certainly turned heads among fishboat builders, who as a group are among the most conservative boat builders on the planet. The result is a very functional and incredibly maneuverable fishing machine that became an instant success. It can back down on big fish in virtually any condition faster than a scalded cat. 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. Come join Capt. Steve as he takes us below decks on the new Rampage 34 IPS. Check out the interior features here...

Take a look at the fishing features here...

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New Look

Nordhavn 60 For World Cruising

Nordhavn 60
The style of the Nordhavn 60 is the classic design look that this brand has made synonymous with world cruising.

We happen to think that the times are once again right for a resurgence of interest in long range cruising. There are a number of reasons for that, including the fact that the first baby boomers are hitting 65 years old this year, and are ready to follow their dreams. Another reason is that the world is a lot smaller place than it used to be and no matter where you go in the world, chances are there has already been a yacht there, and increasingly that boat will have been a motoryacht – world cruising is an idea whose time has come. A third reason is because two men – Dan Streech and Jim Leachman – have been stoking the dream in yachtsmen now for 20 years with their displacement cruising boats. Let’s take a look at the details of a typical Nordhavn vessel, the 60-footer. Join us as we do some research...

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Second Look

Sea Ray 350 Sundancer:
Captain Steve Hits the Highlights

Sea Ray 350 Sundancer
The Sea Ray 350DA is a solid mid-size express cruiser from the largest builder of such boats on the planet.

The Sea Ray 350 Sundancer is a solid mid-size descendent in a long line of Sundancers that extend back over 30 years. After doing it for so long and building so many boats, one might assume that Sea Ray knows what it is doing by this time. At 35'6" (10.82 m) LOA and with a beam of 11’6” (3.53 m) and 15,500 lbs. (7,045 kg) displacement, the 350 ‘Dancer is right in the sweet spot of “easy handling and not too complicated.” It is a nice “move-up” boat that should not be too intimidating to the average boater because its systems are relatively simple. Yet, it is large enough to handle a growing family for weekend outings, as well as to make a fun entertaining platform on day trips for friends. We asked Capt. Steve to give the Sea Ray 350 DA a look and pick out a few standout features so that we could become better acquainted. He takes us through his list likes and dislikes in this video...

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Engine News

ZF Marine's New
Inboard Retrofit Joystick

We tested the ZF Marine JMS or Joystick Maneuvering System on a new Viking Yachts 60 C.

Sure, we’ve all heard how pods are all the rage and can allow a 12-year-old to dock a 40 footer with ease. And we’ve also heard how you can have joystick functionality with stern drives. Now, however, the design team at ZF Marine, longtime innovators in marine transmissions and drive systems, has charted a new course that will allow full joystick functionality and more in larger boats with only inboard engines and bow thrusters. (That means without pods!)  That’s right, inboard engines, and we think professional captains will like it as well as owner/operators. Viking Yachts, Tiara, and MasterCraft are the first to adopt this breakthrough system on their new boats, and we had to try it out for ourselves. Coming soon is a first look video as Capt. Steve tests the system out in a Viking Yachts 60 Convertible in South Florida. We’re currently editing the footage, but until it’s done, take a look at his report on how it comes together. The big news is it can be retrofitted! This may change everything...

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 New Formula 45 Yacht:
Style and Substance (Plus IPS)

Formula 45 Yacht
Formula has combined a sporty express cruiser with the luxury of a yacht with their updated 45 Yacht.

Just because you want to be in the 40-something realm of boat length, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on performance. Formula has long been known for their level of quality as well, and it continues with the 45 Yacht. Not only do innovations abound in this formidable cruiser, but the fit and finish is exactly what you’ve come to expect from a company like Formula, which is at the top of the sport yacht pyramid. This year’s updated version is equipped with Volvo Penta IPS as standard, so it is not only a yacht-building jewel, but also one that can be easily handled by your partner. Capt. Steve caught up with this boat while she was on display in New York and brought the camera in for a little look-see. Take it away Capt. Steve...

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New Video

Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge:
An Interior Inspection

Meridian 441 Interior
Meridian Yachts 441SB:  This time we take you on a tour of her versatile interior accommodations.

Previously, we took you on a tour of the performance and handling of the Meridian 441 SB. This time, we’ll take a look at the interior layout and show just how much space Meridian Yachts managed to fit into a 47’2” (14.38 m) x 14’ 3” (4.34 m) package while still providing the owner/operator with -- among other things -- two full staterooms, two heads, a spacious salon, and a “basement” storage area that has endless possibilities. Once you take a look at Capt. Steve’s video tour, you’ll see that this boat is destined to be a very popular home away from home. Welcome aboard...

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Bertram Has 50 Years Of Innovation

Bertram Centerline Fuel Tank
Capt. Rob Smith is seen here walking on the fuel tank that is being installed in a new Bertram.

It is easy to forget that the dawn of the modern era of power boating was just about 50 years ago when boat companies began building in fiberglass. In fact, the advent of fiberglass gave rise to many new companies and Bertram Yachts was one of them. Richard Bertram was a charismatic and bold leader of the boating industry back in the 1960s and he had an open mind for just about everything. When engineers and staff came to him with a new idea, if he liked the sound of it he would give it a try. Many of those ideas are incorporated in the boats you use today. Join Capt. Rob as he takes a look at one of Bertram’s iconic innovations...

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Award News

Boston Whaler 370 Wins Awards World Wide

Boston Whaler 370
BoatTEST.com’s aging editor, Jeff Hammond, demonstrated one of the important safety innovations on the Whaler 370. See the video...

Remember you saw it here first!  When our editor almost jumped out of his suspenders last September at the Norwalk Boat Show during his video tour of the new Boston Whaler 370, he was concerned that his excitement over the innovative vessel might come across as hype. The fact that it wasn’t gratuitous puff, but rather the recognition of real design achievement, was confirmed last week on both sides of the Atlantic. The 370 was named “European Boat of the Year,” by Boote, Germany’s motorboat magazine, as decided by media panelists from across Europe. On this side of the Atlantic, a panel of Boating Writers International (BWI) bestowed the NMMA Innovation award for “Cruisers (25’ to 140’ including fishing craft)” on the Boston Whaler 370. It's reassuring to discover that the world's boating journalists saw our video report and unanimously agreed!  The price tag for this incredible boat is about $400k, and while that might be out of reach for many anglers, we think there are so many useful innovations on this boat that all boaters going offshore in a small, open boats should see this vessel. Go to the video tape...


Use Proper Break-In Oil
For Peak Performance

Royal Purple
Royal Purple makes a special oil for the engine break-in period. Always follow the engine manufacturers’ recommendations.

Whether you are buying a new car or new boat it is vitally important that the engine be properly broken in to maximize long-term peak performance. Ironically, proper engine break-in takes advantage of metal-to-metal wear. And it is for that reason that Royal Purple has formulated different oil than its standard product specifically for engine break-in. To find out the basics of breaking in an engine and what is so special about Royal Purple’s oil --


Shurhold Products Brush
One Year Test

Our ultimate test: Four teenage boys cleaned everything they could find with it.

After washing boats, PWCs, cars and minivans and after a full boating season and winter of use, the Shurhold brush has proved its worth. When we were first approached by the team a Shurhold, they had some rather strong claims about the quality and durability of their products. After putting these products to the test, we can report back that all their claims stand as validated. You can see in the image above that even after BoatTEST.com - devised abuse like leaving the brush tied to a dock in salt water for a month, and soaking it in a bucket of cleaning fluid for three weeks, after almost a year it still looks as sturdy as when it was new, but a little less shiny.

Find out more about Shurhold Products here...

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Buying Tip

Inflation --
How It Can Help You!

Perfect Storm
A number of well-maintained, low-hour 70’ Hatteras motoryachts bought in the early to mid 1970s, because of inflation, sold 10 years later for nearly what the owner.

We are all well aware of boat and automobile depreciation. But what many boaters are not aware of is what happens to used boat prices when there is rampant inflation. Americans haven’t seen that in over 25 years, but many people are saying that it could be just around the corner. If so, people who buy yachts in the 50’ to 80’ range today, and maybe smaller sizes, too, could see the boats depreciate over five or ten years a very small amount, if anything at all. To show you what can happen to boat prices under such a scenario and how boat buyers might profit buy it...

New Award!

Michigan Wake Dude Wins
"Buyer of the Week"
Coveted Ducky Award

Buyer of the Week
This beautiful Malibu looks innocent as it rests easily on its mooring. If only the seat cushions could talk!

Each day some rather interesting mail crosses our desk from BoatTEST.com members telling us about their new boats, or asking our advice on their next purchase. But last week a wake dude blew us away with his incredible boat-buying prowess. The whole story is right out of The Prince. Our staff was so impressed with this Michigan member’s story that we are awarding him the 1st “Buyer of the Week” Coveted Ducky Award.To find how out this boat got bought and what happened on it once it was (Adults Only, Please!)...

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Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member Services
The staff at BoatTEST.com 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 --

Free Gift Idea

Give This Newsletter
To a Boating Friend

Aussie Pontoon
The BoatTEST.com e-newsletter is issued 50 times per year and is filled with boat reviews, engine reports and how-to info.

Why not share the information you get in the BoatTEST.com weekly newsletters with your boating friends? They’ll thank you for this thoughtful gift.  Right here...

* Remember, BoatTEST does not spam. Your friends will be sent a link that they may use choose to opt-in with or not.

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Cruisers Yachts 560 Express
Cruisers Yachts 560 Express
Cruisers Yachts 520 SC
Cruisers Yachts 520 Sports Coupe
Cruisers Yachts 520 Express
Cruisers Yachts 520 Express

Owners Reviews
Calling Cruisers Yachts 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 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 Cruisers Yachts model you own...

Cruisers Yachts 470 Sports Coupe
Cruisers Yachts 460 Express
Cruisers Yachts 455 Express Motoryacht
Cruisers Yachts 477 Sport Sedan
Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
Cruisers Yachts 415 Express Motoryacht
Cruisers Yachts 390 Sports Coupe
Cruisers Yachts 360 Express
Cruisers Yachts 330 Express
Cruisers Yachts 300 Express

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Pictures of the Week

Only in Dreams?

Picture of the week
The islands and water color are a dead give-away for the location of their cruising photo. You are also looking at a national boundary. See it? Where in the world?...

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

Picture of the week
Can you guess where this photo was taken? And, what boat?

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

Send us your favorite boating images. 
When sending, let us know what boat you were on, where and when the photo was taken.

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 BoatTEST.com 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 chrishughes@boattest.com
or call 203.253.2836.

"The market has changed, have you?"

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BoatTEST.com Lesson #74

Using Sound Signals - Part I

Lesson 74
One long blast is used when approaching a bend and you cannot see the other vessel on the other side.

This week Capt. Steve will go over six lessons and guidelines on using sound signals to communicate from boat to boat. These videos represent part I of a two part series on sound signals. Capt Steve gives an overview on the basic sound signals and the difference between short and long blasts. Short blasts last about 1 to 3 seconds and long blasts last about 4 to 6 seconds. Using your horn to signal what your intent is going to be far before you act on it, is the most effective way of communicating on the water. It’s always better to over advise another boater than under advise. This will help lower your risking of collision on the water. Learn what one short blast means versus two short blasts, what three short blasts and five short blasts signal. These videos are basic procedures and basic information 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 these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Of course I know where we are headed. I haven't taken my eyes off the chartplotter!!" - J. Graham

Second Place

"Who said that these things turn on a dime?" - B. Poirier

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Build it and the land will come!" - C. Miller

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 2-24

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: lis@boattest.com.

BoatTEST.com, LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901

All articles, Captains’ Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff.  All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the voracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.