Baja is Back//Toon Fishing//Small Boats in Big Seas - 04/28/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter April 28, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Baja 278 Performance
- Bayliner 245 Cruiser
- Tigé Touch
- Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around
- Tahoe Q7i SS
- Regal 2100 RX
- Smoker Craft 171 Pro Angler
- Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21
- Mariah 19.9
- Cobia 237 SE
- Four Winns V265
- Yamaha 242 Limited S
- Sea Tow Tips
- Royal Purple Products
- Shurhold Products
- Rescue of the Week
- Fishing for the Dogs
- Calling all Bayliner Owners
- Picture of the Week
- Send to a Friend
- Find a New Boat
- Just for Builders
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Baja 278 Performance: Important Changes Made

Baja 278 Performance
She has the same look and the same great performance, but upon closer inspection you’ll see significant differences in the way this boat is being built since Fountain took over the reins at Baja. Read this article for an in-depth description of how Reggie Fountain is building the 278.

The Baja 278 Performance may have been bred from Outlaw genes but she’s pure law-abiding fun. Well... as long as the law says you can top out at over 60 mph that is! True to the Baja mantra that “speed changes everything”, while this may not be the fastest boat in the lineup, she is a Baja, and therefore, fast. Her performance hull, combined with gobs of horsepower, make her an attractive boat that’s sure to get you to the waterfront restaurant ahead of your buddies, even if they left earlier than you. So if you are not quite ready for one of the big Fountains, but you are ready for the thrills only a good-looking high-performance boat can provide, then perhaps you should check out this Baja 278. (Also contained in this report is an in-depth, “must-read” tutorial on how Reggie Fountain is building Baja boats.) Bad boys enter here...

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New Boat

Bayliner 245 Cruiser:
Could This Be Your First Cruiser?

Bayliner 245 Cruiser
The Bayliner 245 combines simplicity and cruising into one easy-to-handle package.

If your confidence level has you wanting to move up to a cruiser but you still have the apprehension of getting into a boat that’s “too large,” then the folks at Bayliner know how you feel. Bayliner is not just any boat company, but rather one with a very specific mission statement: to build affordable, easy-to-handle boats for people new to the sport or who are moving up into a larger class of boat and want to make sure that the fun/expense ratio is proportionate. The new 245 is a good case in point. She is the second most affordable model in 10 that we checked in class and is a good place for many people to start cruising. Now, vacations can take on a whole new dimension as you can not only pull the 245 behind you and spend the day on it without getting cabin fever. To check out this all new model, we sent Capt. Steve to put her through a full test and see what he thinks. His performance and test video is ready for viewing as well as his full report.

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Tigé News

High-Tech "Tigé Touch"
Delivering a Programmable Wakeboat

Tigé Touch
The boutique wakeboat builder Tigé is giving the big boys fits and one reason is their SOTA “Tigé Touch” total control station seen above.

Tigé Touch is the touch screen interface being built by Tigé and installed on their newer wakeboats. It’s been taking the wakeboat world for quite a spin, even to the point where Tigé customers are trading in last year’s boat just to get the upgrade to the Tigé Touch monitoring and control system. When something this cool is making waves, we have to ask ourselves, “is it really all that great?” We also wondered if you’d need a manual to learn how to use it, if it was really “touch-friendly”, and if it was a good idea to relegate most of the gauges from the instrument panel to just the Tigé Touch screen? To answer these questions, we sent Capt. Steve to check it out, without ever laying eyes on it, or looking at a manual, ahead of time. That should tell us if it’s user friendly or not. Touch your mouse

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Offshore Fishing

Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around OB:
This Boat Means Business

Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around
Seen here with the standard hardtop the Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around continues to be a very popular model with serious anglers who like a long season. We tested her with a pair of Evinrude 250-hp engines. Her MSRP is $135,000 with the “Rudes”. Here is the Seaswirl 2901 with the optional Alaskan enclosed bridge package. This is the way that 75% of the 2901s are purchased. The Alaskan option costs just $6,000 more. Seaswirl is one of the few builders that offers this arrangement.

Once the reigning king of the Seaswirl lineup, the 2901 Walk Around has since given up her throne to the 3301, but her popularity hasn’t diminished in the slightest. When staying under 30’ (3.1 m), you can’t beat her all-around value and toughness under fire offshore. And not only is she a capable fighter, the 2901 also makes a formidable family boat, and that goes a long way towards Dad getting his dreamboat while the family can still join him when the fish aren’t biting. So...we fish on Saturday, and cruise on Sunday; not a bad option at all. Check out our video and full report on the Seaswirl 2901 Walk Around OB and see if you’re hooked. More...

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Second Look

Tahoe Q7i SS:
A Mighty Watersports Package

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

If you’re looking for a boat that not only brings the “cool factor” but makes your day on the water regardless of whether the game plan calls for skiing, wakeboarding, or just spending the day on the hook, well then Tahoe has a boat worth looking into. The Q7SSi has a LOA of 20’6" (6.5m), and a beam of 8’ (2.44 m), and packs a lot of features we don’t usually see on boats in this class. Plenty of storage, a wake tower, clever use of a retractable cushion in the walkthrough, and full instrumentation to name just a few. It’s priced under $37k, including a 5.8L 220 hp engine and a painted trailer. Join us as we take a walk through the Tahoe Q7SSi. Change into your shorts and follow us...

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Regal Redux

Regal 2100 RX:
Meeting the Competition Head-On

Regal 2100 RX
The Regal 2100 RX has a LOA of 21' (6.4 m), a beam of 8'6" (2.6 m), and reached a top speed of...

With such heavy competition in the 19’ (5.7 m) -22’ (6.7 m) range, the Regal 2100 RX has done a lot of bragging that we needed to check out on test day. Regal’s marketing team uses all the buzz words; better, faster, easier handling, more comfortable, able to leap tall building in a single bound...and, or course it is awesome. But we’re not so easily impressed with marketing palaver. Sure it’s a hot looking boat, but that’s not enough in this day and age. We need to verify performance and handling. We also set out to answer the claims that boats with stepped hulls don’t handle well and any skier can pull the stern off track. The answers to all this and more, are in our test video and full captain’s report. As usual, Capt. Steve missed the photo shoot...

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First Peek

Smoker Craft Pro Angler 171:
Entry Level for Fishing Fanatics

Smoker Craft 171 Pro Angler
The Smoker Craft Pro Angler 171 has a wide beam in class at 7' 8” (2.33 m).

When you need a quick and easy way to get on the water and to start fishing, Smoker Craft has an answer in their Pro Angler 171. While it may have one of the widest beams in class, it’s still not chock full of expensive amenities, and that will keep the payments down. Smoker also believes in giving you value in ways that you can actually see. Let’s take a look at some of the features of this entry level fishboat and see what she brings to the fish preparation table. Sushi anyone...

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Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21:
Why Not Fish In Comfort?

Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21
The Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21 has a LOA of 21'11’ (6.67 m), a beam of 8'1” (2.46 m) and she weighs only 1,830 lbs (830 kg). You can’t beat this 21-footer for room!

We’ve been saying for years that we can’t understand why more people don’t fish from pontoon boats, and now a builder is taking the concept seriously. Just take a look at the Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21. Whether you want to creep into those remote fishing hidey holes, or spend the day lounging around the deck, this is the boat that will get it done, and it’ll do it without breaking the bank. She has a long list of standard features, which means you won’t have to kill yourself adding options galore. Her power options remain small enough that the kids will feel right at home behind the wheel, and you’ll feel comfortable that they won’t get into trouble. Check out our full report and see if the Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 21 is the boat for your family. More...

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First Look

Mariah R19.9 Bow Rider:
A Bow Rider for All of Us

Mariah 19.9
The Mariah R19.9 is a bow rider for someone of any age looking for value and fun. The bimini top is standard, a wakeboard arch optional.

When you think “bow rider,” you probably picture a young, vibrant family – Dad at the helm, Mom alongside, two PFD-clad kids sitting aft – enjoying an active day in the sun and spray. And why not? For decades, that’s how companies building these boats positioned them in the marketplace. But why should kids have all the fun? Mariah’s R19.9 is great for anyone who loves being on the water, but doesn’t fancy a trip to the poorhouse. You can set yourself up in one for about what you’d spend on a decent car; an R19.9 costs under $30,000, nicely equipped. (O.K., not much under $30K, but you get our point.) We have never looked at Mariah before. Let’s check it out...

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First Look

Cobia 237 SE:
No Frills Fishing

Cobia 237 SE
What’s wrong with this picture? Basically, nothing. Cobia’s bare-bones 237 SE is all the boat you need for serious fishing. Even better, there’s no unnecessary stuff to give you trouble and beg for maintenance and raise the price. What’s not to like?

Who said, “Less is more”? The architect Mies van der Rohe usually gets the credit, but it’s really a line from an 1855 Robert Browning poem, Andrea del Sarto. (Who says isn’t educational?) We don’t know if either of those guys liked to fish – Browning was probably some iambic-pentameter pansy -- but if they did, they’d have loved Cobia’s 237 SE. It’s a back-to-basics center-console fishboat that comes complete with almost everything you need to head offshore and wet a line. Lots of boats do that, right? But most of them load you down with lots of extras you don’t need – fancy things, maybe items meant to appeal to your wife so she’ll let you write the check, or maybe just stuff to help justify a premium price. Only trouble is, not only does your wife not fish, but she doesn’t do maintenance, either, so you end up fixing all the frilly gear you don’t need in the first place. Who made you the donkey? All of this is why you should take a look at this Cobia...

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Four Winns News

Four Winns V265:
Express Delivery Anytime

Four Winns V265
Whether you’re a young couple just starting out in boating, or older folks with an empty nest, the Four Winns V265 express cruiser will take care of you in style. (We wouldn’t mind a slightly longer swim platform, though.)

Anybody reading this having a mid-life crisis? Are you thinking of cashing in your IRA, buying a red Porsche and a bag of clubs or trying your hand at schmoozing a Denny’s waitress? Forget it – buy a Four Winns V265 instead, leave the kids home and take your significant other for a cruise. You’ll have more fun and won’t get in as much trouble. For not much more than $100K (base $91,507 with a 300-hp Volvo Penta), you’ll get a nicely equipped pocket cruiser fast enough for chasing around on day trips, comfortable enough for summer cruising, versatile enough for almost any waterborne activity. (O.K., except hard-core fishing.) If you have to take the kids, so be it – there’s room for a couple of pre-teens aboard this 26-footer – but this is really an ideal boat for a young, or young-at-heart, couple in search of aquatic adventures. Find out more...

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Ultimate Test

The Yamaha 242 Limited S
A Family of Four Teenagers

Yamaha 242 Limited S
A brand new Yamaha 242 Limited S was recently bought by one of our readers who has offered to give it the ultimate test – four teenage boys for a season!

We like to think that our test captains give the boats they test a rigorous workout, but we have always said the ultimate test is “The Test of Time.” That is why each week we invite our readers to give us their “Owner’s Reports” which we then post with every model on our website. Recently a reader offered to do one better by having his four teenage sons spend a season on a new Yamaha 242 Limited S that he bought for them. He has promised to give us periodic reports along with pictures and to hold nothing back. Can the boat survive four teenage boys? Can the parents survive it? Will the boys all find summer sweethearts? Who’s going to pay for the fuel? Who knows where this might go? This is the first time we have done this sort of “test” so if any other readers are interest in doing the same thing then let us know. For now, let’s see what our captain had to say about the Yamaha 242 Limited S...

Complete video test for the Yamaha 242 Limited S...

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Sea Tow Starts Free Radio Check Service

Sea Tow
Before leaving the dock or the mooring, professional boaters always conduct a radio check by sending out a signal into the ether to raise a Good Samaritan to confirm that their communications equipment is in good working order.

With the reliability of modern VHF radios and antennas, many boaters have gotten lax about conducting a quick radio check before shoving off for a day of activities on the water. Others don’t do it because they consider it an imposition on nearby boaters with better things to do. Now, Sea Tow is offering to happily receive your radio check, in Boston and along the South Shore of Massachusetts, MA and automatically confirm that your signal was received. We think this is a terrific public service for boaters. There are several locations offering the Automatic Radio Check service nationwide. To find out the details...check right here...

Brought to you by Sea Tow


Double-Duty Lubricant and Anti-Corrosion Product

Royal Purple
Royal Purple’s “Maxfilm” lubricates and stops corrosion at the same time.

As experts in the development in synthetic engine and transmission lubrication, we guess it wasn’t a big jump for the chemists at Royal Purple to come up with a useful multi-purpose lubricant. Their product is called Maxfilm and it actually pulls double duty, being both a lubricant and an anti-corrosion solution to many problems around your boat, trailer, tow vehicle or house. We used it on some trailer parts this summer to see if it was as good as the you-know-what product that we had been using for years. See what we discovered...

Visit Royal Purple for more information...


Shurhold Fuel Filter
Removes Water & Debris

Shurhold Fuel Filter
This is the largest fuel filter in the Shurhold line.

Ever need to use fuel from a tank you had sitting in a garage or on a boat for a long time? As we all know, dirt and water are nearly unavoidable when you have stored fuel. These contaminants clog filters, injectors and needle valves. Water can cause corrosion, rust and bacteria growth and the next thing you know your engine will have a bad case of H1 N1. The Shurhold team has come up with a way to ensure the fuel from that tank that has been sitting around is cleaned before use. The product is called the “Mr. Filter” fuel filter funnel. There are three sizes for various applications, the largest; the pro Mr. Funnel can filter 12 gallons (45 L) per minute, so a transfer from a large can to your boat's fuel tank is no problem. In our experience, the large size can even keep up with a standard fuel pump. The system uses filtration screens of five microns in size, which means that fuel will flow through it, but not water, dirt, rust, or other contaminates. We tested this filter and can report back that it works as advertised. Check it out for yourself and watch a short Shurhold video here.

Offer: 20% off any Fuel Filter Funnel
Coupon Code: BTFF 
Exp 5/5/2010 

Get more information here...

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Rescue of the Week

Capt. Goes Down
With Ship
His Call Saves Three

Rescue in the Gulf of Alaska
In the Gulf of Alaska the captain of the 75’ fishing trawler Northern Belle stood by the con to issue a calm MAYDAY call that saved his crew.

If you have every wondered what it must be like to be on a vessel going down quickly, this USCG audio recording of the Northern Belle’s captain calling out a MAYDAY will give you some insight. Capt. Robert Royer, 54, stood by his radio while he slowly and clearly read off his latitude and longitude twice to a USCG operator in Kodiak, Alaska. When asked if his vessel needed assistance he said, “Absolutely. We are going down.” Seconds later the vessel reportedly tipped violently on its side, Capt. Royer hit his head and plunged into the sea and died. Three crew, including one woman, attempted to get into a life raft but it did not deploy. It was later determined that the ship’s EPIRB also did not work and did not send out a signal. Only Capt. Royer’s call saved his crew, who were rescued three hours later by USCG chopper. Hear and see it now...

Today Show video of the dramatic rescue...

Fishing Tip

Affordable Fishing:
Train Your Dog
to Do It!

Affordable Fishing
After completing a special course at Orvis that trains dogs to fish, Brutus, in the picture above, became a world-class angler.

With the high cost of fishing boats, outboard engines and technically sophisticated bait, more and more anglers are putting their rods on Ebay and sending their dogs to fishing school. Why go to all of the expense of a fishing rig, to say nothing of the frustration when they aren’t biting, when can you just have Rover bring home the tasty fillets for you? Hey, they don’t call them man’s best friend for nothing! We’re told that a six-day course for your mutt costs only $895, including 8 Milk Bone treats a day and all of the kibble they can eat. Already there is talk of a bass fishing tournaments for dogs, and ESPN and Fox are fighting over the TV rights. To see furry anglers in action...

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Bayliner 160
Bayliner 160 OB
Bayliner 175 Bowrider
Bayliner 175 Bowrider
Bayliner 180 OB
Bayliner 180 OB

Owners Reviews
Calling Bayliner 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 Bayliner model you own..

Bayliner 185 Bowrider
Bayliner 195 Bowrider
Bayliner 197 Deck Boat
Bayliner 205 Bowrider
Bayliner 225 Bowrider
Bayliner 245 Bowrider
Bayliner 245 Cruiser
Bayliner 265 Cruiser
Bayliner 285 Cruiser
Bayliner 300 Cruiser
Bayliner 320 Cruiser
Bayliner 340 Cruiser

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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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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 a new boat, 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

"The market has changed, have you?"

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How to Handle Your Boat in
Different Sea Conditions

Lesson of the Week
You don’t want to be out in a small boat like this one in the above sea conditions, but knowing how to maneuver your boat should you encounter rough seas is important.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on understanding wave characteristics and how to handle your boat in different types of sea conditions. Learn how to approach a head sea and make the ride more comfortable for you and your passengers, and how to handle the boat in a following sea. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” 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

"OK...and ready about! Let's see if that red stripy thing's got brakes!" - M. Deans

Second Place

"'Ready about,' my ass!" -K. Robb

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Is it tacky to tack through a Poker Run?" - S. Macpherson

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4-28

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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.