New Boats: FinCraft 18, Campion 20, Bayliner 18 - 04/14/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter April 14, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
IN THIS ISSUE
- Campion Chase 600 Outboard
- FinCraft 1850 DC
- Bayliner 180 OB
- Formula 290 Bowrider
- Nitro Z-7
- Premier Intrigue 235 RE
- Tigé 24Vé
- Triumph 235 CC
- Tracker Pro Guide V-16
- Doral Elite 235
- Evinrude 250-HP E-TEC
- Minn Kota Trolling Motor
- Characteristic of a Jet Drive
- Sea Tow and Priority One
- Max Gear from Royal Purple
- Shurhold Pro Polish
- Reader Mail
- Yamaha F25 LA
- Accident of the Week
- Calling all Triumph Owners
- Picture of the Week
- Send the Newsletter to Friends
- Looking for a New Boat
- Are You Getting the Best Advice
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Campion
Chase 600 OB:
The Trend Is Your Friend!

Campion Chase 600
The 20’ Chase 600 OB bowrider is one of the few outboard-powered sportboats on the market in the 20’ range. For the first time this year Campion is selling more outboard-powered sportboats than stern drives across its entire line. Campion makes two stern drive versions on the same hull.

Last winter Campion introduced its new 20’ Chase 600 bowrider in an outboard version, and it looks like it will be one of the builder’s hottest models for this season. The hull in I/O bowrider and cuddy versions has been successful in years past (selling 80/20). There are not many bowriders on the market with outboard power, but the trend is definitely perceptible and growing, particularly in the smaller sportboats. The Chase 600 OB BR is loaded, has sizzling molded-in the gel coat graphics, and has strong appeal for lake jockeys who like to ride hard and put their boats away wet. She can carry up to a 300-hp OB motor. But the big story with Campion is how it builds its boats – and it is unlike any other brand in North America. Let’s drill down into the muscle of this boat because there is much more there than meets the eye...

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New Boat

New Fiberglass FinCraft 1850 DC:
Showdown for Aluminum

FinCraft 1850 SC
Thanks to the cost-savings made possible by the tried-and-proven VEC technology, aluminum may not be the most cost-effective way to build a fishing boat anymore.

The new fiberglass FinCraft 1850 DC multi-species fishing boat being introduced this spring is calling out aluminum fishing boats on their most popular attribute – price. Many freshwater anglers have wanted to buy a fiberglass fishing boat for years, but most were stopped in their tracks when they compared the prices and the weights of boats built with the two materials. The new FinCraft 1850 DC promises to be the first fiberglass multi-species fishing boat that can take on aluminum fishing boats and go toe-to-toe on virtually all counts. To find out what FinCraft has going for it and to learn about the 1850 DC model, how much it costs, its features and benefits, and why it is going to make life a lot tougher for aluminum builders...

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New Boat

Bayliner 180 OB:
Viva la Simple Life

Bayliner 180 OB
When it’s time for a less complicated pace, you can’t beat the Bayliner 180 OB.

Boating is supposed to be a fun pastime, so when your ship finally comes in, you may not be the type of person who wants the challenges of a large, complicated boat while you’re trying to unwind. Sometimes, “keep it simple stupid” (KISS) is a much better mantra for some people when getting on the water – and there is nothing wrong with that! Probably the best example of the simple boating lifestyle is the Bayliner 180 OB. It’s easy to operate, easy to maintain, and easy to store. About the only maintenance items you’ll need are a can of boat polish and a rag. We recently sent Capt. Steve to put the 180 OB to a full test and let us know what he thought. You can read his full report and see the test video here.

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New Video

Formula 290 Bowrider:
It’s All in the Details

Formula 290 Bowrider Details
We recently tested the Formula 290 Bowrider, and today, we go over the layout to see what she offers.

Our test video of the Formula 290 BR revealed a smooth handling dayboat that makes an easy transition for someone looking to step up to a larger size craft without giving up the bowrider handling or configuration. Now we take a closer look at the 290 BR’s layout to see what Formula brings you in this 29' (8.84 m) dayboat. We found her attractive not only in what she offers in her amenities, but in the fit and finish, which was part and parcel with what is called The Formula Difference. It’s all in the details. Check out our video walkthrough and you’ll see what we mean. Formula layout video is here...

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Bass Boats

Nitro Z-7:
Affordable Bass Package

Nitro Z-7
Even though it’s offered as a complete package, the Nitro Z-7 has a good options list as well. One optional item, is the port side console.

Selling a boat as a complete package has its advantages. For one, you don’t have to worry about the “what-else-do-I-need” decisions. In the case of the Nitro Z-7, the only additions you’ll need are fuel, gear and bait. This performance-matched setup will have you fishing the day you take it off the showroom floor. The downside to a packaged deal that most builders offer is you may not be happy with all the items in the package. Nitro still has you covered. You can enhance or upgrade nearly every aspect of this boat as your tastes and budget allow. But for most of us, the standard setup will do quite nicely. Check out our full report and ask yourself along the way what else you’d like to have in your package. More...

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Lake Toons

Premier Intrigue 235 RE:
Luxury Meets Performance

Premier Intrigue 235
Premier has been hard at work creating pontoons that perform like no other. And the boats don’t lack for luxury either. Here’s how to be the envy of your neighbors on the lake.

Premier has been building quality pontoons since 1992 and its dedication to keep pushing itself is evident in the quality of the toons it builds. It also has a handful of patents the company has garnered for some clever features that are sure to have other manufacturers scratching their heads and thinking “why didn’t we think of that?” Perhaps the reason why is that they do not listen as well to their customers, which is where Premier tells us they get most of their ideas. Let’s take a look onboard and see if the 235 RE should be added to your short list, and while we’re at it, we’ll see if Premier lives up to its name. Take a look here...

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Ski/Wake Boats

Tigé 24Vé:
Tigé’s Most Popular Ever

Tigé 24Vé
It’s little wonder why this boat is so popular. With a bowrider layout and wakeboat performance, what’s not to like?

Tigé tells us that their 24Vé is their most popular boat in the lineup. Sure it looks great, and our experience with Tigé has shown that their boats are great handlers. But what is it about this boat that makes her so popular when she has such tough competition, even in her own family. Well to find out, we sent Capt. Steve to put her to a full test and report back on what he found. Maybe it’s just marketing hype, maybe it’s just talk, or perhaps, there really is something to this boat. Check out his full report and see for yourself what all the fuss is about.

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Second Look

Triumph 235 CC:
Low, Low Maintenance
and Practically Indestructible

Triumph 235 CC
Triumph is the company behind the viral videos of the boat being dragged behind a pickup (remember the Bubba Test?), and another dropped from a crane, all with little damage.

The 235 CC is the largest boat in the Triumph lineup and is not only tough as nails, but functional as well. A lot of items are left to the options list, and while we’d like to see some as standard (wrap-around bolsters, toe rail, bow cushions) the list serves to dial in the boat to your own tastes and purse. Even well-equipped, it represents a great value. Check out our full test numbers and captain’s report and you’ll agree that this is a solid fishing machine worth inspecting. Drift over here...

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Freshwater

Tracker Pro Guide V-16 with 50-hp Motor:
On Sale for $14K – While they Last!

Tracker Pro Guide V-16
The Tracker Pro-Guide V-16 is the company’s largest selling V-Series boat and now it is being sold for $1,000 less than usual – while the 50-hp ELPTO engines last.

When reviewing boats we usually don’t tout their prices, but in this case, the boat’s $13,965 price is the big news. That’s $1,000 off the normal price, and it includes a Mercury 50-hp 2-stroke ELPTO outboard, plus a trailer. The key to this noteworthy price is the engine which does not meet the new emission standards that went into effect in the U.S. for motors built after January 1, 2010. Happily for those looking for a bargain, Tracker Marine contracted for quite a few Mercury 50-hp 2-stroke motors which were manufactured before January 1st, and is passing the savings on along with a discount. We get a lot of mail asking us to feature lower-priced boats – well, here it is, folks! The boat is set-up for multi-specie fishing. Let’s take a detailed look at what you get for your money...

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Doral News

Doral Elite 235 BR or Cuddy:
Aston Martin on the Water

Doral Elite 235 Cuddy Doral Elite 235 BR
The Doral Elite 235 Cuddy has a sculptured topsides as graceful as anything coming out of Northern Italy. The cuddy is ideal for northern climes. Capt. Rob tested the Elite 235 Cuddy during a visit to the factory in Canada and was impressed by the quality of workmanship. Doral employees average over 20 years with the company.

We think that if the Aston Martin motorcar company built boats they would look something like Doral’s Elite series 235. The 235 comes in either a cuddy or bowrider version, and both look like their going 100 miles-an-hour at the dock. In our opinion, there is nothing in class quite like them on the market anywhere in the world today when it comes to the beauty of their sculptured topsides. The cockpit upholstery and attention to detail in the Doral Elite series is second to none. Doral makes 16 different engine options available from 260-hp to 320-hp from both major engine suppliers. Several members of the BoatTEST.com staff have tested the 235 cuddy and came away as believers. If you are looking for something a little more exciting to have on the lake this summer, then here is a boat to consider. Take a look at Capt. Rob’s video...

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Engine News

Evinrude 250-HP 2-Stroke E-TEC:
Time to Come Out of the Closet!

Evinrude 250-HP ETEC
This V6, 3279 cc Evinrude 250-hp 2-stroke outboard engine weighs in between 518 and 530 lbs. depending the model. After a decade on the market, it seems to be gaining in popularity among both fresh and salt water boaters alike.

It reminds us a bit of the U.S. military’s policy of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” Evinrude’s E-TEC outboard engine series is a 2-stroke design, but you won’t find mention of that fact anywhere on Evinrude’s website. (“Shuuu...mums the word, and maybe nobody will notice that we're old technology,” someone must have said.) The only trouble is that the 2-stroke engine was invented in 1881, 20 years after the 4-stroke engine. It is, in fact, newer technology! Ten years ago or so, BRP spent well over $150 million dollars bringing their 2-stroke engine into the 21st Century and in the process met or exceeded every governmental emission requirement on the planet. Along the way, BRP’s engineers also figured out how to make the E-TEC series competitive with 4-stroke outboards, taking advantage of inherent 2-stroke attributes of light-weight, high-speed, low-maintenance, high-torque at low rpms, and proven longevity. By overcoming the oil-mixing hassle, the governmental emissions hurdles, and greatly improved fuel-efficiency, Evinrude’s E-TEC series has proven to be an able power source for many outboard applications. Over the last few years we have tested seven different boats with the E-TEC 250 engine and our test captains have always been pleased with their hole shots, time to plane, and top speeds. Maybe even more important, our “Boaters’ Feedback” from over 50 Evinrude owners has the highest positive response of any of the five outboard brands. “Two-stroke” is obviously no longer a dirty word. We invite the Evinrude “2-stroke” out of the closet. Take a look and see for yourself. The Evinrude 250 E-TEC has a base MSRP of $21,850.

Test Links Here

Link to Evinrude Boaters Feedback

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Product Look

Minn Kota Trim-N-Troll:
Basic Trim Tabs Are So 2008

Photo
The Trim-N-Troll, from Minn Kota, is a creative new use for an old product.

How many times have you been fishing off your bow, and snagged a line on your trolling motor? Are you sick of how that motor looks on your bow, cluttering up your otherwise sleek profile? Well, Minn Kota, a company synonymous with trolling motors, several years ago came up with a solution.  Frankly, we were not sure the idea would gain traction or was even a good idea in the first place -- so we sat on it.  Well, folks, its getting traction!  So, having past the test of "early-adopter" acceptance, we're sharing the news.  It’s called Trim-N-Troll, and it just may change the way you use electric trolling motors. Trim-N-Troll is built into the boat’s trim tabs and is controlled by a hand-held key chain sized remote control. Check out our video look at the Trim-N-Troll and see if it’s the next must-have item for your bass boat. See the video...

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Alternative Propulsion

Why Jet Drives Are Gaining Popularity

Yamaha Jet Drives
Captain John Wenz takes an item by item look at jet propulsion in a modern sportboat.

Jet drives have been with us for a while now, but some people are still hesitant to take the leap and purchase a jet powered boat for fear of the unknown. How does it work? Are the components difficult to work on? It is safe? Are they faster or slower than conventional drives? Are they harder or easier to dock? These and other questions are answered by Capt. John Wenz in this video that looks at the operation and inner working of a typical Yamaha jet drive. After seeing it, you’ll know everything you need to about how these versatile and powerful drives work, and why they’re quickly becoming popular on the water. Cue Capt. John...

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Industry News

Priority One Customers Get Free Sea Tow Membership

Sea Tow
Sea Tow is based in over 100 locations and has over 160,000 members.

Priority One Financial Services, the recreational industry’s leading F&I outsourcing provider, and Sea Tow, the nation’s leading marine assistance provider, have partnered to give the Priority One dealer network’s customers a free Sea Tow membership through the company’s Sea Care program. Sea Tow membership includes unlimited free towing, jump starts, fuel drops, prop disentanglements, navigational assistance and much more. To read more about this new program...


Sponsor

Synthetic Lower Unit Lube Oil from Royal Purple

Max Gear
Max-Gear from Royal Purple.

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


Sponsor

To Wax or To Polish?
That is the Question

Shurhold Pro Polish
Waxing and compounding is hard work, particularly on anything over 20’. Where is Tom Sawyer when you need him? How about Huck Finn?

The team at Shurhold tells us that their Pro Polish is better than an old fashioned wax. Well, we certainly hope so, since few things are as old as wax. (The ancient Egyptians used it!) Shurhold’s techs say that Pro Polish is a polymer-based formula with cosmetic-grade ingredients and contains no fillers or talc. They also told us it goes on a lot quicker and easier than old fashioned wax. That’s all we needed to hear. But then they said, “Wait! There’s more!” Then they told us that Pro Polish protects a gel coat finish against sun (it has UV inhibiters), salt, acid rain, and other harsh environmental elements. BoatTEST.com staff have used Pro Polish and have found this claim to be true and they report that when they buffed it out, there wasn’t the white powdery residue. Shurhold told us that the white powder we get from other products was talc which is used as filler. After polishing your boat if you have any left you can use it on your car, RV, motorcycle, PWC, or most anything else where you want a high-gloss shine. To get 10% off a purchase use the code below.

Pro Polish link... 

Promo Code for 10% Off: BTP Exp. 4/30/2010

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Reader Mail

Why Did This Happen and Where?

Accident of the Week
Bill Stilwagen, a BoatTEST.com member, sent this picture in last week for your edification. He took it March 6, 2010. Can you guess where it is and why the ship is aground?

Learning good seamanship is a never-ending education as there always seems to be some new challenge for those who are active on the water. Perhaps that is one of the attractions of boating for many people: they like to test their ability to cope with new conditions when in command of their vessel. The above picture was sent in by a member who was in an Asian country for a very special purpose and one we think is a meaningful one. To find out more about the picture and why Bill Stilwagen happened to be on this beach...

Outboard News

Yamaha F25:
A Four-Stroke in Two Versions

Yamaha F25
Yamaha F25.

Two four-strokes are being offered by Yamaha that we want you to take a look at; the F25 and the “High Thrust” T25. Yamaha tells us these engines were created to target the aluminum fishing boat customer, as well as the inflatable, and small pontoon boat user. They are built with a new cylinder block and head, as well as a streamlined engine cowling. To see how they perform, we sent our COO, Christopher Hughes, down to Georgia to put both motors through their paces and bring the results to you in this video.

Check out how they performed...

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Accident of the Week

Chain of Decisions
Leads to Tragedy in Texas

Accident of the Week Accident of the Week Accident of the Week
This is the 14’ boat that capsized last weekend with four people aboard, all of whom were wearing life jackets. USCG policy denies rescue or towing help if lives are not in eminent danger. The bay was too shallow for even a small USCG cutter. The local Sea Tow franchise owner says that the occupants of the disabled vessel refused the terms of service -- existing $200 an hour or membership.

Last Saturday morning Robert and Noemi Rodriguez decided to take their two mentally-challenged relatives out for a day of fishing, something that they all enjoyed doing together. Fishing for drum, reds and trout on Nueces Bay, near Corpus Christi, Texas is a popular sport for anglers in that area. The Rodriguez’s boat was an old 14’ aluminum vessel with an aging 20-hp carbureted outboard motor. But before putting their trailerable boat in the water, they stopped at the Nueces Bay Bait Stand on Causeway Blvd. for some bait. They bought live “mantis shrimp” (aka “sea lice,” or “thumb-splitters”) which is the bait of choice used by anglers in Nueces Bay. Before Robert Rodriguez left the bait shop he picked up one of the shop’s business cards and a USCG flyer. A little after 6 pm that evening the phone at the bait shop rang. Debbie, who works the afternoon shift cleaning the bait tanks in order to keep the “thumb-splitters” alive, answered the phone. It was Robert Rodriguez on his cell phone from his boat out in the bay and he needed some help. Find out what happened next...

See gripping local TV video newscast...

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Triumph 120 CC
Triumph 120 CC
Triumph 170 CC
Triumph 170 CC
triumph 191 Fish & Ski
Triumph 191 Fish & Ski

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


Triumph 190 Bay
Triumph 195 DC
Triumph 210 CC
Triumph 215 CC
Triumph 215 TE
Triumph 235 CC


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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.

Send us your favorite boating images.


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Give This Newsletter
To a Boating Friend

Newsletter
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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...

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Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

Member Services
The staff at BoatTEST.com 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 --


10 year

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 chrishughes@boattest.com.

"The market has changed, have you?"

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BoatTEST.com Lesson of the Week

How to Anchor Your Boat

Lesson of the Week
Anchors come in different types and sizes, so you need to know which anchor to use and how to use it.

This week Capt. Steve will go over nine new lessons and guidelines on the different types of anchors and anchoring procedures. Learn about the criteria when selecting a good spot to anchor, how to correctly set an anchor and the step-by-step process to ensure the anchor is secured to the bottom. Anchoring your boat in a secluded spot for the day or just off the shoreline is a lot of fun and more boaters should experience the freedom of being on the hook rather than tied up dockside. These are basic procedures which all 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

"Honey, just pretend we don't speak their language..." - C. Lovell

Second Place

"These new rain tires are awesome!"
- C. Riotto

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Quit nagging, Martha, I know where the Interstate is..." - B. Wendlandt

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4-14

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.


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If you have a picture that you needs some explanation, send it to: lis@boattest.com.

BoatTEST.com, LLC
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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 veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.


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