New Volvo Drive//Tiara 43, Princess 54, GB 65, Monterey 40 - 07/14/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter July 14, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Volvo Penta OceanX Drive
- World Cat 290
- Tiara 4300 Open
- Fairline Targa 52 Gran Turismo
- Formula 40 PC
- Meridian Yachts Factory Tour
- Grand Banks Aleutian 65 RP
- Monterey 400 SY
- Windy Boats 42 Grand Bora
- Rodman 1250 ADV
- Princess 54
- Boating Course Now on DVD
- 19% More Assistance Calls
- Evinrude Offers 5-Yr Warranty
- Shurhold Video Test
- Picture of the Week
- Find a New Boat
- Accident of the Week
- Gulf Oil Spill Affect on Boats's AC
- Sign up a Friend
- Make Boat Water Drinkable
- Stamford, CT Waterfront
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Volvo Penta OceanX: Saltwater Ready With 4-Year Warranty

Volvo Penta OceanX
Capt. Steve found the OceanX lower unit to shift quietly and easily.

Stern drive lower units have faced serious challenges during the last 50 years as anyone who has owned one in saltwater can attest. Corrosion, particularly where dissimilar metals meet or where the unit is scratched, and water intrusion into the lower gear case and U-joint bellows, have historically caused pre-mature lower-unit failure. Last year Volvo Penta introduced its solution to this problem -- its a new lower unit called "OceanX." The whole outdrive has a titanium-ceramic coating which has been applied using a SOTA electro-deposition process. Volvo Penta says its new drive is up to four times more corrosion resistant than conventional drives in saltwater. Today we look at how these new OceanX lower units performed during a standard test. Take a look...

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New Boat

New World Cat 290 CC:
Largest 29' CC On the Planet

World Cat 290 CC
There is room for two large screens on the console for fish finders and navigation. Note orderly switches with breakers above.

The new World Cat 290 CC is about six months old and we continue to be astounded at the amount of storage and built-in amenities this boat has. When compared to monohull center consoles, of course, it has an unfair advantage. With a beam of 9'6" (2.9 m) there is just simply far more space in this fishing machine than in conventional center consoles. So not only does the 290 CC provide a wide, stable platform, its two hulls also make possible storage not found on boats with lesser volume. Our captain takes a video look at what sets the World Cat 290 CC apart from other fishing boats...

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New Boat

New Tiara 4300 Open:
Have It Your Way

Tiara 4300 Open
Open sportfishermen – some builders call them express fishermen -- are very cool boats, and the Tiara 4300 Open, the new flagship of the company's "Open" line, is no exception.

There’s a new flagship at Tiara, and it’s a doozy: The Tiara 4300 Open lets you have all the advantages of an open sportfisherman even if you never wet a line, and doesn't make you pay for lots of fishing gear that you'll never use. On the other hand, if you are an angling addict and want all that fishy gear, Tiara will build your 4300 tournament-ready. Or, you can land somewhere in-between. In short, you can have your 4300 Open just the way you want it. And no matter what way that is, you'll get a first-class boat from a company known for both quality and integrity. Tiara was about five years ahead of the rest of the industry on this approach, so let's see what the folks in Holland, Michigan are up to now...

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British Fairline Targa 52 GT:
Cross-Channel Fusion

Fairline Targa 52 Gran Turismo
Combining English boatbuilding with Mediterranean styling – including a sunroof in the hardtop – the Fairline Targa 52 should suit Europhiles on both sides of the Atlantic.

European-designed power yachts -- especially large express cruisers -- have a decidedly different style from their American cousins. European yachts are, generally speaking, sleeker, more “styled,” with James Bond-ian helm stations, Euro-trendy interiors and Riviera-nymphette-ready sundecks. A good example is the Fairline Targa 52 GT, but with a twist: It’s built in sun-starved England. The U.K. has a culture deeply rooted in the sea, maritime history, and the sport of yachting. The Brits take their boats seriously and so do we. So, put aside your bangers and mash and join us on the Targa 52 GT...

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Formula 40 PC:
Beauty and Styling with IPS

Formula 40 PC
We take a look at the new Formula 40 PC to see if she handles as we’ve come to expect from Formula.

Formula has made the IPS drives standard on the 40 PC and that speaks volumes about not only the IPS, but also about Formula's customers as well. The Formula 40 PC (for Performance Cruiser) is a concept that this premium-quality boat builder pioneered long ago by melding the high-performance of its go-fast boats with the accommodations and amenities of a Euro-styled express cruiser. Over the last couple of years with dozens of IPS-powered boats in the water all over the world, Formula has come to trust the reliability of the Volvo Penta pod drive/joystick system. Of course, the IPS's increased speed and efficiency is legendary. In case you're wondering, the 40 PC is actually 42'7" (13.10 m) length overall. Let's take a fresh look...

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Yacht Construction

Meridian Yachts Factory Tour

Meridian Yachts
All yachts are not built the same. We recently toured Meridian Yachts' new facility and brought the cameras along.

When you do something wrong, you hope no one notices. But when you get it right... well, that’s another matter entirely. Meridian Yachts has been one of the most successful builders of late and there’s a reason for that. They offer quality boats at a reasonable price, in a time when others are scrambling to get their act together in the new paradigm. Of course the build method has a lot to do with both the seaworthiness and price of the boat, so we decided to take a tour of Meridian's new Palm Coast facility and see first-hand how things are done. Put on your hard hat and safety goggles...

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Grand Banks 65 Aleutian RP:
Fast -- Or -- Long-Range Cruiser

Grand Banks 65 Aleutian RP
The Grand Banks 65 Aleutian RP can get up and move when you want to. Throttle back and you can cruise for long distances. It’s up to you.

Folks tend to equate “Grand Banks” with “trawlers,” but the company has come a long way since introducing leisurely, low-speed powerboats back in the 1960s. In those days, a trawler – more properly, “trawler yacht,” since they were really nothing like a true, round-bilged, fat-bodied trawler – was the last refuge for aging sailors. Not so today: Grand Banks builds relatively fast boats that can go slow if you want. The builder's displacement-speed-only boats have been quietly dropped from the Grand Banks line. One of the company's boats that we have always especially liked is the 65 Aleutian Raised Pilothouse. This is the model that launched the Aleutian Series, and has more recently been redesigned and restyled. She looks like a displacement LRC, but she can get up and hustle. Take a look...

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Monterey 400 Sport Yacht:
Queen of the Fleet

Monterey 400 Sport Yacht
The Monterey 400 Sport Yacht, introduced in 2008, was one of the first boats designed for Volvo IPS drives. Twin 370-hp IPS500s are standard.

Monterey's 400 Sport Yacht, the largest model in that company's comprehensive line-up, lives in a very populous neighborhood. It seems as if every boatbuilder working in this size range has an express cruiser targeted at couples or families who want a boat for simply having daytime fun on the water and accommodations enough for taking the occasional cruise. The mission of the 400 SY and others like it is to provide these non-piscatorial boaters a balance of speed, comfort, versatility and value – to give them a boat they can enjoy for a couple of hours on a Saturday, or a couple of weeks on vacation, or anything in-between. If you see yourself here, you know what to do...

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Viking Redux

Norway's Windy 42 Grand Bora:
A Seaworthy Three-Cabin Express

Windy Boats 42 Grand Bora
The Windy 42 is designed for rough weather and sunny skies as well. She's a boat for all seasons as you will see in our video tour.

Viking long boats circa 800 CE are still considered marvels of naval architecture. They were noted for being, light, fast, and extremely seaworthy. Today, Norway is still a seafaring nation and the culture there places great emphasis on the importance of boats of all sizes to its citizens' way of life. Windy is not only Norway's premier builder of express cruisers, but it is also one of the best builders of this type of boat in all of Europe, as well.  You can thank the Vikings for that -- it must be in their genes.   Join us as we take a tour of the WIndy 42 Grand Bora...

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Second Look

Rodman 1250 ADV Flybridge:
Spanish IPS Cruiser for the Med

Rodman 1250 ADV
Over the last decade more and more southern Europeans have discovered the fun of saltwater game fishing. The Rodman 1250 is a nice dual-use boat for cruising or fishing.

Whether you’re into offshore fishing, or cruising, the Spanish builder Rodman 1250 ADV has a boat for you. Rodman builds a dozen powerboat models from cabin cruisers in the mid-20-foot range (8 m) to 74' (23 m) motoryachts. Founded in 1974 the company is one of the most diversified boat builders in Europe building everything from an America's Cup sailboat to commercial vessels for oil rigs. Rodman offers the 1250 in cruise or fish mode, and both of those styles come in regular, or the more upscale “advanced” (ADV) style seen in our video tour. We think this dual stateroom, single head boat has a lot going for it. Join us for a pleasant surprise...

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New Boat

England's Princess 54 FY:
A Princess By Any Other Name...

Princess 54 FB
Built in Plymouth, England by Princess Yachts International, a division of LVMH, which owns the world's leading collection of luxury brands -- from Dom Pérignon to Feadship superyachts.

With the 2011 model year, the Princess Yachts name will be used in the Western Hemisphere after being called Viking Sport Cruisers there for the last 15 years. Certainly Princess is a world-wide brand and we have seen them all around the planet. One of the models that has always caught our eye and we find ourselves coming back to her again and again, is the 54 Motoryacht. We are drawn to the boat because of its timeless, classic lines, its accommodation plan, and the fact that it is full of thoughtful, good yacht-building details. Join us to see what we mean...

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You Asked For It... Here It Is: The
Boating Course on DVD!

Smart Boating on DVD
BoatTEST's Boating Course is chock full of information that every boater needs to be aware of, regardless of experience level.

We're happy and proud to announce that's Boating Course, narrated by our own Capt. Steve is now available in a box set of 4 DVDs. Now you can watch it in the comfort of your living room on your TV. With over 10 hours of video instruction on 4 DVDs, this course has more video content than any other recreational boating course available! It is the definitive “Professional Guide for the Average Boater”... loaded with real-world examples, and how-to do it instruction. This course will take you from beginner to the professional level of boating knowledge, or if you are an old salt, it will remind you of all the things you have forgotten. And, it's great for the whole family! To order your box set of 4 DVDs...


19% More Assistance
Calls This July 4th

Sea Tow and Fourth of July
Sea Tow has 121 franchise operations throughout the U.S., Europe, Australia, U.S. Virgin Islands and Puerto Rico.

Sea Tow reports that during the past July 4th weekend, which is traditionally one of the most active weekends of the boating year in the U.S., there was a 19% increase in marine assistance calls over last year. The company says that the excessive heat that blanked the central and northeastern U.S. seaboard and a general increase in boating activity accounted for the rise in calls. What was most interesting to us was the breakdown for what the assistance calls to Sea Tow were actually for. To rescue that info...

Article brought to you by Sea Tow...

Engine News

Evinrude Offers 5-Year Limited Warranty Until Sept. 6

Evinrude Warranty
We recently took a video look at the attributes of the Evinrude 130-hp 2-stroke outboard.

From time to time the major outboard makers offer an extended warranty program for a limited time to create a sales incentive. On Monday we received an urgent press release from the folks at Evinrude telling us that from now until Sept 6, 2010 they will be extending their factory warranty from its normal 3-year term to five years on their engines of 25-hp and greater. We think that extended engine warrantees are a great value, so if you have been thinking about buying an outboard, consider giving this offer a look-see. Read the press release...


Shurhold Video Test:
Buff Magic Taken to Task!

Sea Tow and Fourth of July
Here you can see the Buff Magic being applied and worked into the hull of this heavily oxidized and scratched hull.

Owning a fiberglass yacht with a shiny, gleaming surface is one of the joys of boat ownership. But the hard work that goes into creating that look isn't so much fun. In order to find out how well Yacht Brite Buff Magic and Pro Polish work, we recently tested on a severely neglected hull. Capt. Steve followed the standard procedures, applied the products, and all the while our camera crew was shooting video tape. See for yourself what our tests turned up...

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Picture 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.

When sending a photo, let us know what boat you were on, where and when the photo was taken.

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 to answer specific questions. 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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BP Fiasco

Gulf Oil Spill Affect On Boats' A/C Systems

Oil Spill
Welcome to the Brave New World where oil spills mean new precautions must be made.

In response to the BP Gulf of Mexico oil spill, Dometic Marine -- the world's largest maker of marine air conditioning -- has issued "Guidance Notes" regarding the operation of any water-cooled air-conditioning and refrigeration systems affected by oil.

The Guidance Notes, which include preventive and corrective actions for equipment protection, are available online. More...

Free Gift Idea

Give This Newsletter
To a Boating Friend

The e-newsletter is filled with boat reviews, engine reports and how-to info.

Why not share the information you get in the weekly newsletters with your boating friends? They’ll thank you for this thoughtful gift. Right here...

* Remember, BoatTEST does not spam. Your friends will be sent a link that they may choose to opt-in with or not.

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Accident of the Week

Barge Runs Down Disabled Duck Killing Two

A barge being propelled by a side tug (out of the picture to the right) ran down a tourist excursion amphibian boat built on the concept of the famous WW II American Duck designed by Rod Stephens. Thirty-five of the passengers "popped up" from under the barge according to eye witnesses. All were wearing PFDs.

How many times have you seen small recreational boats dart in front of slow-moving commercial vessels, just for "the fun of it."? The pictures above show the tragic consequences if the small boat loses power. The excursion Duck in the picture above had engine failure in the Delaware River last Saturday and could not get out of the 250' barge's way. Emergency radio calls to the tug went unanswered. Commercial vessels have limited maneuverability and visibility -- even if someone is paying attention at the helm. See the video, read the story...

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How To Make Boat Water Drinkable

Drinking Water
On many boats the water looks good out of the tap -- until you taste it!

Ask any ten boaters what they think of their onboard freshwater quality and at least half of them will admit to not using it for drinking purposes. Yet keeping onboard water supplies good tasting and drinkable isn’t rocket science (although some components may be traced to the Space Program). Our old friend Capt. Pauley has offered to fill us in on how to keep our boat water tasty. Take the plunge here...

Visit Capt. Pauley's Virtual Boatyard...

Real Estate

Stamford, CT Waterfront With Views of Manhattan

Real Estate
Exceptional waterfront property for sale on prestigious Shippan Point in Stamford, CT with mooring rights and just a few blocks from the Stamford Yacht Club.

On nearly 1 acre in Shippan's most prestigious waterfront location, this newly renovated 5 bedroom, 5,100-sq. foot home invites you to experience your own permanent vacation! Watch a constant parade of yachts as they pass out the harbor from Stamford's many marinas and clubs. Moor your boat in front of your house in deep water. One of only 12 houses in Stamford with views of Manhattan both day and night. Ideal for a yachtsman's retreat with a 50-min. commute to GCT. More...

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Lesson of the Week

How to Approach an Inlet and Dock
in a Strong Current

Lesson of the Week
The seas will build up more as you approach an inlet so you’ll want to watch the waves closely and notice the pattern before heading in.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to dock your boat in a strong current and how to carefully approach an inlet in heavy waves. Capt. Steve will demo some approaches that show you how to dock going into the current, and he’ll also go over how to dock with the tide behind you, and how to slowly drift into the dock with the tide. 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

"When I give it the "hammer" you'll see the rear spoiler is not just for show..."
- G. Mormile

Second Place

"It's a good thing I cut this hole in the floorboard so I can see where I'm going!"
- W. Leach

Honorable (almost) Mention

"OK, where is that guy in the Formula?"
- J. Gambill

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 7-14-10

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