It’s Official –
Let’s Go Boating!
Next Monday will be the longest day of the year and what a better time to take off work, make it a three day weekend, and get on the water. This week we break from our normal rotation of 30’+ boats (Offshore Motoryacht) and boats under 30’ (BoatTEST Reports) to bring you a special issue of our weekly newsletter wherein we celebrate the glorious Summer Solstice by celebrating boats from 13’ to 60’! Our 11 boat reviews this week cover all size and types of boats and each one has its own unique mission and special purpose. We love them all!
Traditionally, June and July are the biggest boat-buying months of the year. It has never made any sense to us, but perhaps it is the Summer Solstice that gets the procrastinators of the world in gear. As our old friend Larry Russo, the boat dealer in Boston, Mass., said some years ago, “Now is the time to buy a boat, you don’t have too many good summers left.” While he uttered that non-famous epitaph with tongue-in-cheek, the fact is for all of us our summers are a finite number and each year it decreases by one. The converse of this rude reality is that with each passing year our children get a year older and they will be out of the nest before we know it.
There is no sport we know of that is better at bringing families together than boating, and everyone we know with gray hair cherish the few summers they were able to spend with their kids while they were still young. It sounds corny, it is corny, but it is true. Bon Solstice!
Cabo 32 Express Fishboat:
A Big Game Gun Boat
The Cabo 32 is an offshore fighting machine designed and built by fishermen for fishermen. Even though she measures only 32’10” (10.10 m) she is 13’3” (4.07 m) wide and displaces a hefty 19,100 lbs. (8,681 kgs.). That’s a beam/length ratio of 40%! That’s something that you rarely see in any size boat, and it means she has a larger cockpit, wider bridge deck, and more spacious interior than any boat in her class. It also means that you have 360-degree access around her twin diesel engines, something that is problematical in many boats her size. If you have been thinking about a big convertible or large express fishboat but are in shock and awe of the price tags, then take our advice and give the Cabo 32 Express some consideration.
Triton Ambush 18:
Rod and Gun Multi-Tasker
Are you a hunter, a fisherman, or both? Whether you answered both, then Triton may have a boat for you. At first glance, it looks like you can just add fuel, rods, and guns and you’re good to go. But is this boat all looks? Can it take the kind of abuse that this type of work demands? To find out, we took it on a full test on a gray, blustery day to see exactly what she’s capable of. Check out our test video and full report on the Triton Ambush 18.
Ready... aim... cast...
Hatteras 60 Motor Yacht:
Sign of the Times
At one time Hatteras built more production motoryachts than any other company in the world. Today it is merely the largest builder of big motoryachts on U.S. soil. For 50 years, through changes in ownership and top management, Hatteras has stayed faithful to core principals of solid boat building, and has always produced top-quality yachts no matter who owned and ran the company. Its legacy has been jealously guarded by a dedicated cadre of engineers, factory managers, shop-floor foremen and craftsmen who have worked at Hatteras for most of their careers, through thick and thin. We will investigate the details of the new Hatteras 60 Motor Yacht model in the Captain’s Report that follows, but make no mistake about what is the most important aspect of this boat – the fact that she was built by people who know what they are doing when it comes to large, seaworthy, practical yachts.
Now to the details and our recommendation...
Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk:
When we took a close look at the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk, we came away with more than a few opinions of how this boat was built and laid out. The view from a distance was of a good-looking boat and not much more, but when we took a closer look, we started to see more details evident of a good-value boat that had a lot going for it. We decided that you need to see too, so we fired up the camera and started rolling.
To take a look and see what we saw, just click here.
VanDerHeijden 1350 Steel Yacht:
Ideal for Rivers, Canals, & Lake Cruises
Thankfully there is a builder addressing the “middle market” of cruising boats with a high-quality customizable yacht. It is VanDerHeijden in Holland, a company that has earned a reputation for building steel yachts in the 11 to 33 meter range (36’ to 108’) for discerning yachtsman who do not want (or need) a megayacht, yet would like to own a quality steel vessel with fine-yacht interior wood finishing. In other words, if you would rather not own a production fiberglass boat, here is a terrific option. Finding a yard to build such a boat is not easy because most yards that can build in steel and that have a cadre of good cabinet makers chose to go for the big bucks and build megayachts or even superyachts. Happily, VanDerHeijden specializes in a niche that has always been the traditional size for most wealthy yachtsmen – the mid-range. Let us look at a 13.5 m (45’) design that is ideal for genteel cruising.
Lund 2075 Pro-V:
New "Features" Video
Lund introduced us to the 2075 Pro-V by saying it was the boat that was “most aspired to own in its lineup.” After Capt. Steve tested the boat
Part I: The Test) and then closely inspected the features of the 2075 Pro-V
Part II: The Features), we can see why freshwater anglers are dreaming about this little beauty. The fact is that she is loaded with just about every fishy feature imaginable, plus lots of bells and whistles for the “ship’s” systems. She’s a top-of-the-line Lund, and we think she gives her lucky owner every advantage and comfort possible when hunting the finny ones.
Go to the video tape and see if you agree...
Cruisers Yachts 520 Sports Coupe:
A Yacht for All Seasons
This 2 stateroom/2 head express cruiser can go most anywhere you want to go, when you want to go, so long as you can find fuel every 307 nautical miles when you are cruising her at 19.5 knots with triple Volvo Penta 425-hp IPS600 pod drives. She also comes with twin Volvo Penta 715-hp D-12s. Take your pick. Both staterooms are large and have full standing headroom. Since the 520 Sports Coupe is beamier and heavier than many boats in class, she should be more stable at anchor than many. Cruisers Yachts uses only top-grade materials and equipment so you know you’re going first-class all of the way.
Take a look at our comprehensive video investigation of the Cruisers Yachts 520
New "Features" Video
Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230:
Dressed to Impress Clients & Friends
The Grand Mariner series from Harris FloteBote is the company’s up-market series of pontoon boats. Not only has the level and the number of amenities been enhanced but the construction details are also more robust and performance-oriented. We were surprised when we looked at the creativity, innovation, and quality of materials going into the Grand Mariner series. These boats are not like your grandfather’s pontoon boat. Today we take a look at not only the layout of their SEL 230, but some of the features in the build that make a difference.
Rampage 45 Convertible:
For Serious Anglers Who Want Room
The Rampage 45 offers anglers a distinctive alternative to many other convertibles in class. She is lighter than most, but has more beam than all but one, and with 6’7” (2.02 m) headroom in the cabins even John Wayne would be comfortable aboard her. Because she has two cabins and two heads, each with its own shower stall, the Rampage 45 stands apart from most of her competition when it comes to accommodations and creature comforts. But perhaps her cockpit is her largest departure from others on the market. Note there is no mezzanine seating, which means that there is a full bait prep area with sink and easy to access freezers and lockers.
Let’s get fishy...
New Yamaha FZS PWC:
She's Nimble, Agile, and Quick
The relatively new Yamaha FZS has many new design wrinkles all directed to improving high-speed performance and agility. This Jack-be-nimble PWC has a sharp entry to slice through waves (rather than to get stopped by them), new running strakes to help you carve sharp, steady turns, and the largest engine in class so you’ve got the mojo to turn and burn. Her 1812 cc engine is supercharged and intercooled to maximize oxygen to its 4-lung engine for a shot of adrenaline on demand.
Take a look as we investigate this quick little rocket...
How Regal Does the Build
Regal Boats has been making waves as of late, and it’s not just from its boats going through the water. They’ve been getting creative with their pricing structure and it is making Regal very competitive, particularly in its larger models. But pricing alone does not a good boat make. That’s why we needed to get the inside story on how the company builds their boats, too. We visited their Orlando plant and Regal was happy to let us poke around and video things not usually seen on the regular factory tour.
Put your safety glasses on...
Evinrude E-TEC 115-hp & 130-hp Engines
Target 40% of the Outboard Market
Two years ago Evinrude introduced a pair of new engines that were designed to hit the mid-horsepower range of the outboard market which was primarily fishing boats. The new engines were specifically designed for boaters who wanted to repower, but didn’t want the initial expense of a 150-hp engine. The new engines were also intended to address new boat sales in the 16’ to 23’ range where 40% of all outboard boats are sold. The resulting products were the Evinrude 130-hp and 115HO V-4 E-TEC 2-stroke engines.
But the timing of the introduction of these two new engines couldn’t have been worse, thanks to the world economic meltdown and resulting recession during the 2008-09 seasons. But now, as the world’s economies slowly climb back toward normality, and boaters move their new-boat buying and repower plans to the front burner, it is time to once again take a look at these two powerful, mid-range engines.
Let’s drill down into the facts...
Part II: To Tow, or, Not to Tow?
Last week we ran an article explaining some of the perils of amateur boaters towing disabled recreational boats. Even professionals, using tug boats which were specifically designed for towing, get into trouble from time to time. This week we offer you two videos that we found on YouTube that show exactly what can happen when things go wrong -- even to towing professionals.
It’s hard to believe, but it’s true...
Brought to you by Sea Tow
Shurhold PVA Towel
Put Through the Ringer
When we asked the team at Shurhold what is different about their PVA towels they told us that they absorb 50 percent more water than natural chamois, making for faster and more effective drying. So we translated that in, a better job drying your boat and leaving a shine. Then we gave it a shot on our test boat after a few hours on the water in Long Island Sound. All we did was spray her down with fresh water and proceeded to wipe it down from the windscreen to the keel. The total elapsed time to completely dry a 24 foot boat was 11 minutes and 20 seconds. Take our word for it, there were no spots or streaks left behind, actually quite a nice shine. The towels come in an extra large size of 17" x 27" (43 cm x 69 cm).
Learn more here...
Dave Benbow Dies
We are sorry to report that on Monday we received a letter from Alumacraft telling us that its president and owner Dave Benbow died last week. Dave oversaw the greatest development of the company and during the last decade before the recession it consistently built and sold over 10,000 aluminum boats per year. Those tremendous unit sales made it one of the top-selling boat brands in the country year after year. Alumacraft with Dave Benbow at the helm built 46 different models of fresh water fishing boat, more different models of jon boats than we could ever count, and canoes. Alumacraft is a family-owned business and has big plans for the future.
World Cat 320 CC
Many of our members and visitors have told us they would
like to purchase a new boat this year, but are apprehensive about moving forward
in this economy. This is why the team at BoatTEST.com has created
a strategic partnership with the team at World Cat called the Factory-Backed Program.
Through this program, BoatTEST will ensure that our members receive world class
customer service and consideration as well as the piece of mind that the factory
is behind the deal and working directly with the local dealer representative. The
fact is, due to the economy there has never been a better time to buy a new boat.
If you think you are ready, and the World Cat 320 CC, or any World Cat model, fits your
needs, Sign up for the “Factory-Backed” program here--
See all World Cat models...
Picture of the Week
Only in Dreams?
See a larger picture, when and who took the picture -- and where!
Send us your favorite boating images.
When sending a photo, let us know what boat you were on, where and when the photo
Yachting – It All Started in
Holland in the 1500s
As much as we hate to admit it, “yachting” really didn’t start with powerboats but in sailboats built by the Dutch in the 1500s. The word “yacht” is from the Dutch word “jacht.” So, if you consider yourself a yachtsman you have a long and rich heritage to call your own. With so much water all around and so much wealth in the
17th century, little wonder that the Dutch were the first to create yachting as a sport. And for the same reasons, little wonder that Holland is still a major yacht builder. For those of our members who are interested in such things we offer up snippets of yachting history and trivia from both Wikipedia and the Britannica. Reading improves the mind...
Does Your Lady
Need a Facelift?
When it comes to cost vs. benefit, nothing beats a paint job. Investing in a fresh coat of color on the hull will not only make your yacht look new again, but add to its value and/or make it easier to sell when you’re ready to move up. Today, at least in the yachting world, “paint” means two-part linear polyurethane (LP). If your second-favorite lady needs a facelift, LP is the only way to go. (Stay tuned for the botox article.)Just
don’t tell Joan Rivers, because we don’t think even LP will help her...
Some Bayliner 195BR,
197SD, 215BR Models Are Recalled
Several 2010 Bayliner models with a couple of the optional packages are involved in a recall recently from the USCG. Please pass along the word if you know anyone who might own one of the models involved. The issues involved concern the boats’ navigational lights.
For more information...
Are You Looking
For a New Boat?
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 --
Calling Glacier Bay 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 Glacier
model you own.
Lesson of the Week
Important Rescue Signaling Info
This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on the procedures for sending out distress signals and calling the Coast Guard for help. If you are in distress there are several different methods to call for help such as using channel 16 on your VHF, igniting out flares, honking your horn, waving your arms in the air or using bright colored objects in your boat to call attention. You can even use a mirror to help aid your rescue. In order to improve your chances of getting help you will have to do everything you can right away, never wait for another boater to come to you. Capt. Steve will go over what to say over the radio and what information to give out. 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
To view this week’s lessons --
To view past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"As Darwin predicted, boats developed wheels and moved from water to land, eventually
spawning a new species called motorhomes" - J. Winzeler.
"Fred thought to himself, " they gotta make these portable Marine Heads a little
more private..." - R. Ybarra Iii
Honorable (almost) Mention
"Hi, I am Ron Popeil, and this is the first riding lawn mower that not only launches
boats, but slices and dices and makes julienne fries!" - M. Martin
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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