New Formula 290, FinCraft 19 CC, Rampage 30, Doral 25 - 06/23/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter June 23, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Formula 290 FX4
- Lund 1625 Rebel XL SS
- FinCraft 19 CC
- Rampage 30 Express
- Lowe SunCruiser SS 214
- Doral Monticello
- Triton 21HP DC
- Regal 2100 RX
- Bayliner 245 Cruiser
- Hatteras 68 Convertible
- Mako 264 CC
- Cabo 38 Flybridge
- Yamaha 242 Limited S
- Evinrude E-TEC 25 H.P.
- New from Volvo Penta
- Shurhold Products
- Tips from Sea Tow
- Royal Purple Outboard Test
- EPA Delays E-15 Decision
- Picture of the Week
- Find a New Boat
- Calling all Formula Owners
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Formula 290 FX4
Rocks the Sportboat World

Formula 290 FX4
This was the first-ever photo taken of the new Formula 290 FX4 in the builder's test tank at the factory. The builder released these pictures and others last Friday after a strict news blackout.

For several months we knew something big was coming from Formula. The builder had imposed a news blackout that reminded us of the U.S. Air Force's efforts to keep the stealth fighter secret years ago. Then, a couple of weeks ago we got a call from the Formula executive office, telling us that if we would send our test crew to the company's new waterside showroom facility and dock in Long Island, New York on Monday June 14th, we would find it worth our trouble. Nothing more was said. Once we arrived there, Formula asked us to stay mum until they officially announced the boat last Friday. This week one could almost hear the collective "wow" as word started getting around on Formula's stunning new 290 FX4. Not only is this 29-footer an exciting advancement in American sportboat design, but it is merely the first of a number of new boats Formula is planning with new lines and styling, that is sure to send our friends in Milano and Torino back to their drawing boards and CADs. In one fell swoop Formula has left conventional sportboat design in its wake. The video of our test is still being edited and it should be released shortly so you can see this beauty in action and get all of her performance numbers. This week we offer you a preview of what is to come in our Captain's Report with photos. Step aboard here...

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Lund 1625 Rebel XL SS:
Simplicity Has a Beauty all its Own

Lund 1625 Rebel XL SS
With simple systems and her extremely lightweight, this is truly a no muss/no fuss boat.

When we think of premium aluminum freshwater boat brands, several names come to mind. One of them is Lund. Perhaps the reason we make that association is that we have seen them used at expensive fishing lodges in northern Canada as well as being used by Inuit hunters on Ellsmere Island, which is about the last island you’ll hit before finding the polar ice cap. The 1625 Rebel XL SS is a Lund alright, and it is made in the same factory in New York Mills, Minnesota, with the same materials as all of the rest of the Lund boats, but we’ll let you in on a little secret: its price tag will shock you (in a pleasant sort of way). We have tested the 1650 Rebel XL and have posted the performance numbers. This week our testing captain is going to show you a new video on the features of this tidy, no fluff and no non-sense fishing boat. Crank up the projector...

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New Test

New FinCraft 19 CC:
A New Center Console at a Killer Price

FinCraft 19 CC
If you judge a boat by its price, you may have to realign your thinking when you step aboard the 19 CC by FinCraft...which has big boat features.

Let's cut to the chase: Yes, a brand's reputation, features and fishy stuff are important, but the real thing that drives center console sales seems to be price for a lot of buyers. Not surprisingly, with one exception (Boston Whaler), four out of five of the largest-selling center consoles are low price-point brands. Now there is a fifth low price-point brand entering the center console market -- it is the FinCraft 19 CC. The MSRP on this boat is $23,599 with a 115-hp Mercury Optimax on its transom. But there is more to this boat than just low price.  It is the only fishing boat built by VEC technology which leap-frogs it instantly over brands built the old-fashioned way which sell on the only thing they have going for them, low price. We test the new FinCraft 19 CC and stand her up to scrutiny -- something that most price-point builders avoid...

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First Look

Rampage 30 Express:
It Has Big-Boat MoJo

Rampage 30 Express
At 31” (9.45 m) LOA, the Rampage 30 Express makes a great transition boat for those moving up from center consoles and walk-arounds.

The Rampage 30 is the smallest boat in the six-model Rampage fleet. We are reminded of the old real estate adage about not buying the largest house on the block, but rather the smallest. The theory is that the more expensive houses will pull up the value of the smallest. Something similar is at work here with the Rampage 30 only in reverse for the consumer's advantage. Namely, the same materials, engineering, equipment, joinery work, and corporate culture that make the larger Rampage yachts stand-outs in their classes goes into the 30-footer. It receives all of the TLC as the big boats because that is the shop-floor culture. For that reason and several more which we will point out, we think that the Rampage 30 is a "must see" boat in this size range. Troll here...

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Lowe SS 214 Angler:
Two Tubes, Hold the Complexity

Lowe SS 210 Angler
Here’s an easy handling boat that the family will love. And there’s little you can do that will get you in trouble.

The beauty of a pontoon boat is in its simplicity. While some versions can be loaded with everything under the sun that do little more than add complication, the Lowe Suncruiser SS 214 Angler keeps it simple. With fewer accessories, there are fewer things to break. And the good news is that Lowe didn’t compromise on safety when they simplified. The tubes are 23” (58.4 cm) in diameter and contain three separate chambers. Cross members are ¾” (19 mm), and all hardware is stainless steel. Additionally, Lowe added fishing accessories to bring the package altogether. It’s the Lowe Suncruiser SS210 Angler, and we stepped onboard for a full test. You can read the report here...

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Doral News

25' Doral Monticello:
Two-Cabin Luxury Pocket Cruiser

Doral Monticello
It's hard to believe that Doral has packed so many amenities and so much room into just 25' (7.69 m) -- but it has done it with panache. And, she's trailerable!

The 25' Monticello by Doral is one of the most remarkable pocket cruisers on the market, and certainly she is one of the most luxurious. With wraparound cafe seating in the bow which doubles as a berth and a double bed amidships, this little beauty is a great way to move from the world of sportboats into cruising. And, if you are down-sizing, then the Doral Monticello might be just the ticket as it has the styling and performance that are normally associated with larger express cruisers. She also comes with a Yanmar diesel engine option. When launching this lady anywhere in the world you'll have the classiest pocket yacht on the ramp. Step aboard and see what we mean...

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New Test

Triton 21HP Elite DC:
77 mph with a 250 OptiMax

Triton 21HP
Jam the big foot pedal to the metal and she takes 3.2 second to get on plane and 7.1 seconds to hit 30 mph.

If you're looking for a sleek, bad bass boat that looks as fast as she really is, then take a look at our new test video of the Triton 21HP Elite DC. HP, in case you haven't guessed, is for high performance, and as you can see from the numbers above, she has that in spades. Best cruise is 35 mph at 3500 rpm getting 5.3 miles per gallon -- which we think is pretty impressive. Our captain gives you the lowdown on the boat's handling and other performance characteristics in this brand new video hot off the editing machine. Crank 'er up Harry...

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Regal News

Regal 2100 RX:
Maximizing the Fun

Regal 2100 RX
Not only is the 2100 RX a boatload of fun, she’s got the looks to thrill as well.

We’d like to think that when our captains get onboard boats they are testing, that their mindset will be all business. But sadly, that’s not always the case. There are those times when the boat is so much fun, that the test becomes a distraction to the boat itself. We are told that such was the case with the Regal 2100 RX test. It turned out to be a boatload of fun and then some, evidently. So what is it about this boat that was so cool? Why did our captain and video cameraman even find time for waterskiing on test day? And why are we actually paying our test crews to do this sort of "work"? Take a look...

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Bayliner News

Bayliner 245 Cruiser:
Your First Cabin Cruiser?

Bayliner 245 Cruiser
Capt. Steve tested the Bayliner 245 on Florida’s Intra-Coastal Waterway and managed to spend time running up and down the narrow canals checking out the waterfront. It was a great use of this pocket cruiser.

With a LOA of 24’ 1” (7.34 m) and a trailerable 8’5” (2.57 m) beam, we think the Bayliner 245 makes an ideal step up from a bowrider to a pocket cruiser that can take you exploring by day and then make a cozy night out on the hook. Not only is she a comfortable cruising boat, but it’s small enough to trailer, which means you can take it on vacation and create camping vacations across America’s waterways. And if you’re looking to step up from a smaller boat, then this makes an ideal transitioning platform. Join us as we take a look at the details of the Bayliner 245 Cruiser and see what your first cruiser might look like. Step into a new world...

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Second Look

Hatteras 68 Convertible:
Largest Battlewagon in Class

Hatteras 68 Convertible
At 140,000 lbs. (65,513 kgs.) displacement, the Hatteras 68 is the largest convertible in her size range by virtue of her beam which is 2' to 3' (.6-.9 m) wider than any other convertible in class.

The Hatteras 68 is built both in the flying bridge configuration and also in the enclosed FB style seen above. This enclosed addition to large convertibles is growing in popularity because the top deck is a virtual "sky lounge" similar to those seen on large motoryachts. One of the greatest drawbacks to convertibles vs. conventional motoryachts for people wanting to do a fair amount of cruising in them, is the space given up forward on the main deck compared to a motoryacht of the same length. In essence, for cruising types, the enclosed bridge deck recaptures that "lost" saloon space by creating a "duplex" arrangement. The enclosed bridge and the extra two to three foot of beam of the Hatteras 68 together create a most compelling cruising convertible in class for people who want to both cruise and fish. Let's explore the concept and the Hatteras 68...

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Second Look

Mako 264 Center Console:
On the Comeback Trail

Mako 264 CC
Mako used to have a diehard brand loyalty back in the day. Now it’s making major strides to regain that ground in a recovering economy under Tracker Marine ownership.

There was a time when the words center console and Mako were almost used interchangeably. Time, however marches forward, and now there are more players in the field – more than 50, in fact. Mako is still here though, and launching new products to keep up with a changing industry. Now a Tracker Company, Mako is using the same no hassle/no haggle pricing structure that has moved a lot of fiberglass off showroom floors across the country with price-point bowriders and bass boats. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular boats in the line, the Mako 264 Center Console...

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First Look

Cabo 38 Flybridge Fishboat:
Fishing Fanatics Only

Cabo 38 Flybridge
The Cabo 38 Flybridge is a no-compromise, hard-core fishing machine that is designed for speed and an active cockpit.

The last few years many boat builders have morphed their express fishboat models into “hybrids”, “cross-overs” , or most any other name that might entice Mama and the kids aboard to make a sale. They often signal that this is a “dual-purpose” fisher/cruiser in their promotional pictures or at boat shows by putting a queen bed in the bow along with a designer bed spread and a “throw blanket” with fringe on it carefully laid across the bed on the diagonal. That silly “throw” is like catnip to women. You won’t see any of that on a Cabo. This is an express for fishermen (and fisherwomen) who know that a boat is a sophisticated piece of equipment to get out into the briny to boat slimy, smelly, bloody fish. It is a place where men drink beer, make a mess, and don’t eat quiche. Drill down on the Cabo 38...

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Teen Report

Teen Boys Give Yamaha 242 a Workout

Yamaha 242 Limited S
Since the point of being on the water is to have fun, Carter waits his turn as Jonathan hooks up the tow line for Philip's turn on the inflatable.

With more than a month on the water in their new Yamaha 242 Limited S, our "test family of four teens" has come to a common agreement -- they all love the stern design of the 242. Initially, when the boat was purchased, the boys told us what they liked most were the overall looks and the wakeboard tower. But after spending several weekends on the boat, the stern has become the boat's star feature. And it’s not just for the boys, Mom and Dad are big fans of it, too. Let's take a look at why...

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Engine News

Evinrude 25 E-TEC:
The Little Engine That Can And Does

Evinrude E-TEC 25 H.P.
We ran a full test of the Evinrude E-TEC 25-HP to see if it lived up to its claims. 
All important controls are right on the tiller.

If you’re the type that tends to judge by size, then with the Evinrude E-TEC 25-HP you’ll find yourself on the wrong side of the assumptions line. This engine may be small in size but it’s big on features. And we’re not talking features that are added to a spec sheet for fluff, like high gloss paint. These are features that we found ourselves using to full advantage on test day, and when you’re on the water with this workhorse, you’ll use them, too. So what sort of features can be added to a 25-hp engine that can be so important? Funny you should ask...

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Volvo Penta's New Dynamic Positioning System Is Like an Extra Hand

Volvo Penta DPS 6
There is nothing like having an extra hand at the helm so the skipper can dash out to put on fenders or throw a line. Volvo Penta's new Dynamic Positioning System makes it all possible.

Last August we announced in an article the new Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System. Given the financial turmoil at the time, to say nothing of it being August, it is not surprising that this important development was missed by a lot of boaters. The Dynamic Positioning System is controlled by software that integrates with Volvo Penta’s electronic platform, EVC. In effect, it holds your boat stationary at a point on the water through GPS coordination with the IPS system. This new capability has many very useful applications, particularly when boating short-handed. To find out more...

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Shurhold Products Brush
One Year Test

Shurhold Products
Our ultimate test: four teenage boys cleaned everything they could find with it.

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

Find out more about Shurhold Products here...

Safety Tip

Running Aground
Is Only Half the Problem

Sea Tow
This angler must have been chasing bone fish with his boat rather than a long cast. We wonder what has happened to his running gear as he waited for high tide?

As most regular readers know, Sea Tow is one of our sponsors, so when a friend of ours ran aground and was aided by a Sea Tow captain a month ago, our ears perked up. It seems that our friend chose to believe what he was seeing on his chartplotter while going north on the ICW and cut inside a nav buoy because "there was plenty of water." Seeing other boats do the same thing, he thought it was safe for him, too. Yup, his 60' twin inboard motoryacht ended up hard aground. Find out what happened next...

Brought to you by Sea Tow


Royal Purple Test
On a 40-hp Outboard

Royal Purple Outboard Test
Capt. Steve adjusts the rpm on a 40-hp outboard on our outdoor test bench.

In case you haven’t noticed, a number of’s readers are outspoken skeptics when it comes to the tests of Royal Purple synthetic motor oil.  (We were skeptical at first, too.) The last time we tested a stern drive in Long Island Sound those of little faith said that wind, waves, and changing current could have affected our results. This time we tested Royal Purple against a leading synthetic brand of motor oil in a 40-hp Mercury EFI 4-stroke engine, on a test stand with a hose feeding fresh water through the engine. No wind, waves or current to affect the results -- which were full of surprises for everyone. Let’s go to the video tape...

How to find Royal Purple...

Engine News

EPA Delays E-15
Decision Again

EPA waver
The EPA could rule on the E-15 waver as early as this fall.

The EPA announced this week that its "on track" to reach a decision on whether or not to grant a wavier requested by ethanol interests to allow E-15 to be mixed into the U.S. gasoline supplies. It said that the Department of Energy would complete its testing of the effects of E-15 on different types of engines by the end of September. The National Marine Manufacturers Association (NMMA) has opposed increasing the ethanol content in marine fuel to 15% contending that it can cause engine damage, and that its full effects on older engines is unknown. Ethanol interests have expressed their frustration over the EPA's delay. More...

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Pictures of the Week

Only in Dreams?

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken and when...

See a larger picture, when and who took the picture -- and where!

Send us your favorite boating images.

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 --

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Formula 310 BR
Formula 310 Bowrider
Formula 34 PC
Formula 34 PC
Formula 350 Sun Sport
Formula 350 Sun Sport

Owners Reviews
Calling Formula 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. No matter what Formula model you own.

Formula 353 Fastech
Formula 37 PC
Formula 370 Super Sport
Formula 400 Super Sport
Formula 40 PC
Formula 45 Yacht

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Lesson of the Week

Boat Engine Maintenance Tips

Lesson of the Week
Follow some simple tips to help protect the life of your engine and its components. If you incorporate routine checks before you head out for the day you will be one step ahead.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on engine maintenance and properly caring for the components such as batteries, belts, and hoses. Get in the habit of doing an engine check each time you board the boat. Spend the extra 5 minutes to check the oil and clean the sea strainers of any debris. You will save yourself a headache and a lot of expense down the road if you do happen to encounter an issue and suddenly you’re offshore. Pay attention to any abnormal noises or sounds you may hear from the engine as this could be a sign something is wrong. Never ignore a sound that doesn’t seem right. 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

“Annual re-creation of USS Monitor vs CSS Merrimack battle in Hampton Roads, VA, scaled back due to the economy.”
– R. Davis

Second Place

“Its official, she got the Malibu mansion, the Bentley, and 5 million bucks, I got the boat!!!!!!!!” – V. Fiscella

Honorable (almost) Mention

“Too late did the crew of the SS Bunny Rabbit realize that the SS Taliban had connected their water cannons directly to the port-a-potti.” - E. Jahoda

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 6-23-10

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