Prestige 50//11 Yacht Reviews//Don't Sink at the Dock - 04/07/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter April 7, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Prestige 50: 3 SR/3 Heads
- Meridian Yachts Factory Tour
- Broom 395
- Nautica X-36 RIB
- World Cat 320 CC
- Formula 400 SS
- Hargrave 76
- Bavaria HT 42
- Bertram 540
- Cabo 44 Hardtop Express
- Hatteras 60 MY: Important changes made
- Hunton RS 43
- First All-Solar Powered Yacht Launched
- Boating Tip of the Week
- Royal Purple Products
- Shurhold Serious Shine
- Safety Tip of the Week
- All Dashboards Should Be Dark
- Meridian Yachts #1
- Pirates Attack Again
- Capt. Phil Harris of “Deadliest Catch” Dies
- Chinese Freighter Hits Reef at Full Speed
- Calling Bertram Owners
- Picture of the Week
- Spread Boating News
- Looking for a New Boat
- Just for Builders
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Jeanneau Prestige 50:
3 SR/3 Heads
3 Layout Options

The Prestige 50 built by Jeanneau in France offers a lot of very sexy boat for a surprisingly competitive price. (This review comes complete with Gallic photos. Viva la France!)

As we have been saying for a couple of years, Jeanneau is producing some compelling boats at very competitive prices. The Prestige 50 is a terrific example of that. This 50’ fly bridge yacht has three en suite staterooms and three different layouts to choose from. It even has a small cabin aft for crew, if you wish, or a tender garage instead. This boat was made for cruising in the fast lane on the French Riviera, where romance is just around each headland and you don’t have to be a Russian oligarch to get a piece of the action. The Prestige 50, depending on the options, sells for something just north of $750k, depending on options and where you buy it. There are not many three en suite stateroom boats you can get for that kind of money.

Jeanneau’s Prestige 50 is full of good, practical design work and it is a pleasure to see such a pleasing blend of romance and utility – perhaps that is because France stands halfway between Italy and the UK! In any case, we think the boat is noteworthy and no matter what size or type boat you are considering, you should take a good look at this boat to see what is possible. Bon Voyage...

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Behind the Scenes

Meridian Yachts Constructions --
Factory  Video Tour: Part II

Meridian Factory Tour
Meridian Yachts constructs their boats with plenty of stringers and transverse stiffeners to withstand the rigors of offshore conditions.

We previously brought you into the new Meridian Yachts factory in Palm Coast Florida to see how they’ve streamlined their operation and to show you their busy production line. Today, we continue the tour and look at how the components are made, finished, and fitted to the yachts. Since Meridian has done a massive re-hire it seems that their boats are catching on more than ever. (See article about Meridian sales in this issue.) The construction plays a big part in that success story, because the boats are getting a good reputation for being both strong and reliable. So let’s head back into the factory and learn more...

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Tri-Cabin Cruiser

The British Broom 395:
A 21st Century "Cabin Cruiser"

Broom 395
With a semi-displacement hull the 395 can get you to the cruising destination quickly with twin engines, or economically with a single diesel--take your choice! Note that the bridge deck is over the aft cabin.

While we were at the London Boat Show, which is held each January, a boat caught our eye which we would like to see a lot more of. It was the Broom 395, with what the builder calls a “2 plus 2” layout. It has two cabins and two heads, a galley down, a salon up, and a helm/bridge deck cockpit that is high, but not a flying bridge. This concept harks back to boats built in the 1940s and ‘50s. In this day of nearly omnipresent express cruisers, it is a breath of fresh air to see a modern version of a great old idea. And the more we looked at the Broom 395, the more we liked it. Let's see more...

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RIB News

Nautica X-36 RIB:
The Civilian-ized Version of a
Military Assault Craft

This is not your typical day boat. Her awesome performance and wild ride mean hanging on is secondary; you’ll want to strap yourself into the four-point harness system!

Nautica started out life building RIBs (Rigid Inflatable Boats) for military and law enforcement uses. As such, they had a short list of standards since their customers always added agency-specific items to the boats themselves (like machine guns). But like the Humvee, it was inevitable that a civilian version would take hold. Now to be clear, Nautica has also made more relaxed versions for uses as tenders and such, but the X series... is made for intense and hard-driving jobs. Now you can have your own version. Strap yourself in and see our review of the Nautica X-36.

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New Video

World Cat 320 CC:
Layout and Features Video

World Cat 330 CC
It seems that at every turn there’s another compartment for storing something on the World Cat 320 CC.

Recently we showed you the World Cat 320 CC performance and handling video that drew a lot of attention because it busting apart some myths and old wives tales about power catamarans. Now we take you on a video tour of the layout and features of the World Cat 320 CC. While we were going through the boat, it seemed at every turn there was another place to store something in addition to another fishbox. Perhaps a label maker should be on the list of standard features for this boat, so you can keep them all straight. Couple that storage with redundant fuel and electrical systems and you’ve got a functional and seaworthy fishboat on your hands.

But wait! Just as we were going to press, we got a special email announcement from World Cat that reads: “Customers who purchase a 2010 World Cat, 290 model or bigger, will get $5,000 towards their purchase. (Visit a href="" target="_blank"> for more information and for rules that apply.) Past and present World Cat owners can receive up to $10,000 towards the purchase of a 2010 World Cat, 290 model or bigger. Visit for more information and for rules that apply.”

Come aboard and take the tour of the World Cat 320 CC and you’ll see what we mean.

And if you missed it,’s catamaran-myth-busting performance and handling video of the 320 is here...

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New Video

Formula 400 SS:
Let's Take a Look at the Layout

Formula 400 SS
As beautiful and nice as this boat is to drive, it is just as plush and comfortable below.

Now you can see how the "Formula Difference" is applied in the new Formula 400 SS. Upon inspection, we found the fit and finish was up to Formula standards, but also found the interior layout was a bit different. The forward V-berth is used primarily as a dining area that converts to a berth, while the primary sleeping area was the mid cabin with all the features one would expect. This allowed a separate dinette to be eliminated from the salon and gave a much larger feel. Check out our video tour of the Formula 400 SS and you’ll see what we mean about the "Formula Difference". Step aboard right here...

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Interior Design

Hargrave 76 Interior Video:
Four En Suite Staterooms and Crew Quarters

Hargrave 76 Interior
With careful planning and attention to detail, Hargrave has done a masterful job of getting comfortable accommodations for 10 people in this 76'.

It’s a stunning interior to be sure, but the most notable aspect of the Hargrave 76 interior layout is that there are four staterooms with ensuite heads, a separate day head, and crew quarters aft with head. No small feat, but Hargrave did it without having the guests feel cramped or confined, and still left an open floor plan for the saloon, galley, and lower helm. To see how it all came together, check out our inside story on the Hargrave 76’s layout. Because Hargrave is a custom builder, you can have it your way. Step aboard here...

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Das Boat

New Bavaria 42:
Express or Hardtop Version

Bavaria HT 42
The Bavaria 42 HT has pleasing exterior lines and below is as large and about as roomy as a 42’ express gets.

Bavaria was founded 32 years ago and is one of the largest builders of fiberglass powerboats in Europe. Before the Great Recession, the company was building about 3,000 boats a year, both power and sail, and has built over 30,000 boats since its founding. It is an industry leader when it comes to the use of robotics, five-axis routers and other SOTA boat-building techniques. The company has recently been recapitalized and while Bavaria powerboats are not currently being sold in the U.S., it is carefully watching for opportunity in the states. Since 85% of its production is exported from Germany we guess it is only a matter of time until Bavaria yachts are offered in the U.S. However, the Bavaria 42 express is available in much of the rest of the world in both open and in hardtop versions. There are many details of this boat that we think you will appreciate, so let’s take a look...

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Second Look

Bertram 540 Test
In the Gulf Stream

Bertram 540
Capt. Steve bashes a Bertram 540 through some blue water on the edge of the Gulf Stream to take the measure of this boat’s sea-keeping abilities.

Bertram Yachts builds just 10 models from 36’ to 80’. All are convertibles with a strong emphasis on fishing, except the 36’ express, which is the fishiest boat in class. But throughout the long history of this legendary brand, the 54 has been the battlewagon that most captured the imagination of big game blue water anglers around the world. Several years ago Bertram redesigned their 54, bringing out a completely new, and much-improved version of the classic 54 that the old-timers used to drool over. Owned by the Ferretti Group for over 10 years, the new Bertram 540 was the product of that company’s culture of sophisticated design and people-friendly comfort, married to the old Bertram offshore grit. It is a collaboration that we think has given birth to an exceptional boat, and one that will be around for a long time to come. Let’s take a look at Capt. Steve’s video and Captain’s Report...

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New Boat

The New Cabo 44 Express:
We Ask: Hardtop or Open?

Cabo 44 Hardtop Express
Cabo’s new 44 express hardtop is a thing of beauty to our eye. She has two sleeping cabins below sharing one head. She will be in the water this fall and the yard is currently taking building slot reservations. (Computer image above)

The Cabo 44 hardtop is a new design and is unlike any boat that the company has built before. The builder says that the integrated hardtop signifies the “next step” in express design evolution for Cabo. Utilizing its three-sided enclosure to offer better protection from the elements, improved visibility, and greater comfort on the bridge deck, Cabo has adopted for its new express fishboat what has been going on in express cruisers for a number of years. The new 44 replaces the old 45, yet the new boat is same size below thanks to a clever utilization of space and a different layout. The new 44 will have two sleeping cabins in addition to a dinette and galley below. To find out more about this new Cabo and how she stacks up against the competition...

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New Model

Important Changes Made
To The Hatteras 60 MY

Jeanneau Jeanneau
This is the original version of the Hatteras 60 MY. Note the white mullion on the corner of the windshield below. Note the clear windscreen on the bridge. The engine room air intakes are high on the port quarter and vulnerable to slapping waves in some conditions. But, you can’t see the biggest changes. The newly modified Hatteras 60 MY looks decidedly better with its black mask for the saloon windows and the black wind screen on the flying bridge. The engine room air intakes on the stern quarters have been moved inside the aft bulwarks to keep them from getting drenched in sloppy seas.

At the Miami Boat Show Hatteras rolled out the Mark II version of its 60’ MY, otherwise known as its “entry level” motoryacht. The most important change is the elimination of the stairs from the galley area to the flying bridge, a configuration that most builders of motoryachts make for some reason. With motoryachts in the 60’ to 75’ range, the taking of valuable space in the saloon area and then once again on the flying bridge for a redundant stairway is a waste, to our way of thinking. Evidently Hatteras thought so, too. We applaud Hatteras for breaking with convention and going to practicality and added utility. Not only that, by eliminating a needless set of stairs, Hatteras has catapulted its 60’ motoryacht’s interior from a me-too interior design reminiscent of a trawler yacht interior, to something elegant. Editor Jeff Hammond, our resident motoryacht expert, weighs in on this one. To see the exciting changes...

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Rule Britannia

Hunton RS 43:
Powered by Triple Yanmar Diesels

Hunton RS 43
With clean lines and plenty of power, the Hunton RS 43 is designed for men in a hurry.

Designed by UK Offshore Powerboat racer Jeff Hunton, the RS 43 brings racing performance and a racing heritage to the luxury high-performance market. His first boat was originally designed to be a one-off, but he tells us that it generated so much interest, that plans changed immediately, and the company has been growing ever since. This Hunton RS 43 is the culmination of years of building and racing experience all packed into one of the best looking high-performance express cruisers we’ve seen. Join us for a brief look inside the Hunton RS 43 and see what we mean.

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Only $12.5 million

First All-Solar Powered
Yacht Launched

Meridian Yachts
If all goes as planned, you are looking at what may become the first all-solar-powered yacht to circle the planet. The top deck has 600 sq. meters of photovoltaic cells.

Last Wednesday, March 31st, the 100’ (31 m) PlanetSolar catamaran was launched in Kiel, Germany. Christened Turanor (from Lord of the Rings), the largest solar powered boat in the world is scheduled for testing in the Baltic then will be taken to the Med. It will begin its Around The World trip in 2011. The vessel’s owners are comparing their venture to Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days adventure. Promoters say the vessel will take 160 days to circumnavigate the earth on a 34,000 n mile track going 7.5 knots. Turanor weighs 85 tonnes and we are told will rely solely on its electric motors for propulsion and will have no backup power. The boat is said to be able to travel for three days without a renewed dose of sunlight at 7.5 knots, drawing power from its lithium storage batteries. For more information and pictures...

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Good Seakeeping

How to Prevent Your Boat From Sinking at the Dock

Sinking at the Dock
Your boat is four times more likely to sink at the dock than while underway.

Captain Vince says: "It was a remarkable chain of events. After an early morning fishing trip, I went to work while my buddy stayed to clean the boat. But when I returned for another excursion that evening, the 25-foot center console was sitting low in the water. The boat wasn’t leaking and skies had been clear, yet the bilge was full and the batteries were dead." Find out why this happened and how to prevent it from happening to you...


Royal Purple
What Do They Make?

Royal Purple
Well known among the high-performance automotive community, Royal Purple offers a variety of products with marine applications.

Royal Purple manufactures several products with a direct application in the recreational marine market. They are best known for their synthetic motor oil, which they claim, and BoatTEST has shown in two tests, improves performance. They also manufacture a premium oil filter that utilizes new additives and formulation elements to improve effectiveness and increase the time between oil changes. If you’re looking for lower gear oil, they have that too. Whether it’s two-stroke or four, gas or diesel, Royal Purple has products to meet your needs. To learn more, pull the dipstick out here.


Shurhold "Serious Shine"
Cleans That Dirty Yacht

Shurhold Serious Shine
With the ability to clean the unique dirt and grime known only to boaters, Serious Shine from Shurhold will have your yacht looking in tip-top shape for the boating season.

With warm weather now upon us it’s time to spiff up the yacht for the boating season. Serious Shine from Shurhold is designed for almost any solid surface, and we can verify that it doesn’t leave a nasty residue behind. Put it to work on all the areas of your yacht such as: the hull, cockpit, galley, head, isinglass, vinyl seating, fiberglass, and touch screens. Its unique formula provides high-gloss and a UV protective coating that also repels water and is ideal for the marine environment. It can be used as a detailer on glass, paint, fiberglass, plastic, burl wood, vinyl, leather, clear plastic, and even on flat painted surfaces for a streak free finish. You can have the peace of mind knowing that the team at BoatTEST uses this product. Get the info on the product here...

Promo: FREE Microfiber Towel with purchase of a can of Serious Shine. Coupon Code: BTMF Exp. 4/30/2010

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Safety Tip

Drunk Boaters Face Serious Prison Time

Safety Tip
Some boat operators think that that since rivers are not roads it’s ok to drink. The operator of this vessel in Latvia nodded off and took a bridge out in the process.

As a heads-up for this boating season, more state legislatures are passing tough jail-time penalties for boat operators convicted of accidents while DWI. Generally, a conviction these days of an accident on the water where the operator has been drinking will carry the same penalty as would be applied to a DWI automobile driver. Our home state of Connecticut is the latest to get aboard this trend in meting out justice to intoxicated mariners: the House just passed a tough bill and sent it on to the state Senate for passage. It is truly a bipartisan issue. We don’t know about you, but we would do nearly anything to avoid time in the slam – including making sure there is always a dedicated, sober boat driver.

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All Dashboards
Should Be
Dark Colors or Black

Roberto Almeida from Rio de Janeiro sent us this picture last week and it illustrates a point of good (or in this case, not so good) boat design as well as anything we have seen.

We have never been able to figure out why many boat builders leave white fiberglass under their windshields at the helm. Perhaps, they have never been piloting at night in their own boats? Perhaps they are hoping their customers won’t notice. In any case, just as on every automobile built, the area under the windshield can reflect into the windscreen in the operator’s field of vision. To reduce this problem, this area should be black or some dark, non-reflective color. Good visibility is important. At night, dusk, or in fog or rain anything that obscures vision is problematic, and can easily hide a floating log, buoy, kayaker, swimmer or rock. Even in broad daylight a white dash will reflect into the windshield and make piloting more difficult. Builders have improved greatly over the last five years or so, but many still have not gotten the memo -- and, the ABYC does not require that it be done! Savvy boat buyers will check this obvious attribute on the next new boat they buy.

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Industry News

Meridian Yachts is #1 in 35' to 60'
U.S. Flybridge Sales

Meridian Yachts
Meridian 580 Pilothouse motoryacht is the largest yacht Meridian builds.

Last year Meridian Yachts was again the largest selling brand of flying bridge yachts in the U.S. in the 35’ to 60’ range. 2009 was the fourth year that Meridian has held that honor. Meridian seems to have hit upon just the right combination of styling, features, performance, price and marketing just when some other brands which once dominated this contentious niche rested on their laurels. Meridian has captured nearly 20% of this category, and currently there no fewer than 30 production builders selling 35’ to 60’ flybridge yachts of all types in the U.S. has tested virtually all of the Meridian line and to see them, click below. To find out more about Meridian’s market hegemony...

See tests on the Meridian line...

Pirate News

US Frigate Sinks Pirate "Ship" -- Captures
5 Buccaneers

USS Nicholas
The US Navy put out a press release last week saying that several pirates in an outboard-powered skiff “fired on” the USS Nicholas (pictured above). The 453’ (139 m) LOA, 3,183 ton, missile frigate fired back, sinking the pirate skiff and later captured the “mother ship.”

We must admit to suffering from pirate news overload, but there have been a few interesting wrinkles lately. One is that so much ransom money has flowed into the hands of the pirates’ backers that real estate prices in tiny Nairobi, Kenya neighborhoods has sky-rocketed. Could that be the reason that the Kenya government recently announced that it no longer wants to incarcerate and try pirates captured by patrolling navies? Last week a rent-a-cop succeeding in fending off pirates from a merchant ship, killing one perp. The French Navy seems to be bagging the most brigands. Last week the US Navy even got into the act. To find out more...

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Last Catch

Capt. Phil Harris of
“Deadliest Catch” Dies

Capt. Phil at the helm of his beloved crab fishing trawler, Cornelia Marie.

We have belatedly found out about the passing of Capt. Phil Harris in February. Harris was the skipper of Cornelia Marie, and one of the stars of the Discovery Channel’s “World’s Deadliest Catch.” He died of a massive stroke. Harris along with other skippers in Alaska’s king crab fleet have made the world aware of the rigors and dangers of earning a living in the Bering Sea. Capt. Harris was respected among his peers for his seamanship, courage, and good sense of humor. For more about Capt. Harris

See interview with Capt. Phil’s buddies of Time Bandit...

Capt. Rodney
School of Seamanship

Chinese Freighter
Hits Reef at Full Speed

USS Nicholas
Oil leaks from the Chinese-registered bulk coal carrier Shen Neng 1 that rests aground on Douglas Shoals, 113 kilometres east of Rockhampton, Australia.

A freighter captain working for Cosco, the largest shipping company in China, is an obvious graduate from the Capt. Rod School of Seamanship. A few days ago he ran his large bulk carrier up on Australia’s Great Barrier Reef at full speed – and 9 miles off course! Capt. Rod would be proud such a feat of piloting. The reef is a World Heritage site, there is nothing remotely like it in the world, and it can be seen from the moon, but evidently not from the bridge of the freighter. Clearly the Shen Neng 1 needs some feng shui. For more on this breaking story...

See video of Capt. Rod's piloting instruction...

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Bertram 700
Bertram 700
Bertram 510
Bertram 510
Bertram 540
Bertram 540

Owners Reviews
Calling Bertram 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. Give fellow readers your input, no matter what Bertram model you own..

Bertram 450
Bertram 410
Bertram 360
Bertram 31

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Pictures of the Week

Only in Dreams?

Picture of the Week

See a larger picture, when and who took the picture.

Picture of the Week

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Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member Services
The staff at has helped thousands of members with their new boat buying from boats 15' to over 100'.

If you are currently researching new yachts 30' or larger, the BoatTEST staff will be happy to provide their expertise and guidance to you via email or phone. This is part of our member services program and there is no charge. We do not sell boats and we are not a dealer. Our purpose is to provide you with our insights and recommendations and to leverage our industry relationships in your favor. Sign in here --

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Just For Builders

Are You Getting the Best Advice?

BoatTEST Impact

If your advertising and marketing partner is not providing you with feedback from boaters that helps you sell your boats, then maybe it’s time for a change. With the largest community of self-identified new boat buyers in the world, imagine what you could do with the knowledge we gather each day. As the only marine media organization that maintains constant communication with boaters who are researching their next new boat, we can provide the guidance and tools to increase your contact and engagement with new boat buyers. For a consulting call, please call Christopher J. Hughes at 203.323.9900 or email him at

"The market has changed, have you?"

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How to Read Charts
and Plot Your Position

Lesson 79
Capt. Steve explains a grid system and how to read lines of latitude and longitude to help find a location.

This week Capt. Steve goes over fourteen new lessons and guidelines on reading charts and how to plot an exact position by using degrees, minutes and tenths of minutes to tell anyone exactly where you are in the world. If you’re going to be out in the open ocean, or even doing coastal cruising, it’s important to learn how to read charts for your own safety and to help give direction to other boaters, if an emergency should arise. Capt. Steve also suggests getting into the habit of checking the Local Notice to Mariners which the Coast Guard publishes to report any changes or deficiencies in aids to navigation. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved boating course narrated by Captain Steve Larivee. Watch these 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

"Bob said we could troll for Muskie.....but I don't know." -B. Jones

Second Place

"No problem, honey, I’ll just get the deicer plugged in and we'll be out of here in no time..." -R. Bixler

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"I don’t understand, I added antifreeze last month." - M. Martin

What's Going
On Here?


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All articles, Captains’ Reports, video content or other material which appear on and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 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. makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.