FinCraft 1850 // Larson 240 // Evinrude 300 Test - 08/04/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter August 4, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Larson Cabrio 240
- Bavaria Sport 28
- FinCraft 1850 DC
- Bayliner 160 OB
- Crestliner 1650
- Formula Difference
- Glastron GLS 235
- Harris FloteBote SL 250
- Regal 2300
- Tigé RZ2
- Sea Tow Procedures
- Evinrude E-TEC 300
- Sailfish 2660
- Campion Allante LX 925
- Yamaha 242: Wakeboarding
- Boating Course Now on DVD
- Shurhold Snap-Stick
- Platinum Equity Buys Triton
- Picture of the Week
- Safety Tip: Floating Alone
- Share the Newsletter
- Member Services
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Larson Cabrio 240: Weekends Will Never
Be the Same

Larson Cabrio 240
Larson built this stepped hull pocket cruiser with an 8'6" (2.6 m) beam making it easily trailerable.

When it comes down to free time, most us have to make the best of what little there is. Taking a cruiser on the road to your weekend destination, and then spending nights aboard, is a great solution. While the Larson Cabrio 240 is trailerable, she should also have long legs. A 300-hp engine, which is just below the largest offered, should give her a range of about 185 miles at best cruise and that can take you to a lot of places without searching for fuel. Let’s take a look on board and see what features she has and take a look at the price, which by the way is below what it was four years ago. More...

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First Look

Bavaria Sport 28 Review:
Rugged German Construction 

Bavaria Sport 28
The Bavaria Sport 28’s high freeboard and pugnacious profile say “North Sea,” not “Mediterranean,” and “anoraks,” not “bikinis.” No sunpad on the foredeck, either. It’s built far inland in Germany, near the Main River.

Did you know it’s possible to travel by boat all the way across Europe, from the Black Sea to Rotterdam? Neither did we, until we investigated the Sport 28 from Bavaria Yachts, a new boat with a couple of interesting quirks. Built near the Main River, part of the spiderweb of rivers and canals that make inland Europe prime cruising territory, the Sport 28 should be ideal for exploring these waterways, and adequate for short trips offshore, too. But we wonder if the boat will appeal to the mainstream sport-cruiser buyer. Why not? For more on this, click here...

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New Test

FinCraft 1850 DC:
We Test Their Top Model

FinCraft 1850 DC
While testing the FinCraft 1850 DC, we found her to have handling and performance more closely matched to a sportboat.

It’s always interesting to go on a boat test and see just what sort of attention we generate at the dock. When we brought the FinCraft 1850 DC to the ramp, a crowd started gathering, and then came the questions. How does it handle? It’s fiberglass so it must be expensive? Does it come fully featured or is everything on the options list to keep the price low? Frankly, we were asking the same questions ourselves, and in our full test video, and full captain’s report, we answer all of the above, and more. This is one to check out.

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Bayliner 160 OB:
Simple Boating is Simply Fun

Bayliner 160 OB
We tested the Bayliner 160 OB on a hot and humid South Florida day. At under $11,500, we see a lot of possibilities on who may enjoy this type of boat.

We were thrilled when we saw that Bayliner was producing their 16’ (4.88 m) boat once again after a long hiatus. When boating is simple, boating is fun. It’s an easy mantra to recite but the fact is, when you start complicating things, then fewer people know what they’re doing and fewer will enjoy it. The more sophisticated a boat is, the more things there are to go wrong, more things to take care of, more things to distract one from the simple joy of being on the water. Take a boat with just an outboard, fuel tank and battery and see who gets to run it. We found the Bayliner 160 OB to be a great boat, whether it is a first timer testing the waters, or a retired old salt towing it to his next vacation spot. The possibilities are endless and to show you, just take a look at our test video...

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Fishing Ready

Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk:
Fully Loaded Starter Package

Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk
We tested the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk and came away with a top speed of 41 MPH with a 9.5 gph fuel burn. Best cruise was between 3.5 and 4.1 gph.

When we tested the Crestliner 1650 Fish Hawk, we wanted to see if it was a nice handling boat with docile turning performance that kept everyone comfortable throughout all our maneuvers. We also needed to determine if the mix of features and stability made for an excellent fishing platform. Once we started looking at the all-welded construction and light towing weight, we really started thinking that this boat could have a lot going for it. Today, we take you through the test of this capable boat and show whether she has the “right stuff” for your type of fishing. More...

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Builder Quality

We Explore the “Formula Difference”

The Formula Difference
When looking at your next boat purchase, we think there are some features that rarely get noticed that set one boat apart from another.

When shopping for a car, there are differences between brands that stand out, and these differences not only affect the price, but the way the car feels. Boats are the same way. Some are made to get the most people on the water for the least amount of money; others are made to be much heavier on the creature comforts. At Formula Boats, there is definitely a difference in how they do things when compared to other manufacturers, and it’s what they like to call the “Formula Difference”. Today, we’re taking a video tour of just some of the items we’ve noticed that make the Formula Difference, and hopefully it will help you discover some things to look for in your next boat. More...

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Sport Boats

Glastron GLS 235: Second to Largest in the Glastron Luxury Series

Glastron GLS 235
The Glastron GLS 235 measures in at 23' 9" (7.24 m) LOA with a beam of 8'6" (2.6m). With a 300-hp Volvo Penta we reached a top speed of 47.4 MPH.

Glastron says that their GLS series is catering to the boater wanting luxury in their sport boating, without being hung out to dry in the process. We tested the GLS 235 to see if she delivered on that mission, and to see how she handled. We are pleased to report that she felt like a much larger boat and had some amenities that were notable for a boat in this class. She can be powered with your choice of either MerCruiser or Volvo Penta engines and up to 400-hp, which we figure should get just about anybody up on skis even with a boat load of friends. To see more on the GLS 235, just take a look at our full test video.

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Full Test

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250:
Testing a 'Toon in Rough Weather

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250
We tested the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250 on a windy and bitterly cold day. You’ll probably want to drive yours on a sunny day.

If you ever want to find out how a pontoon will handle in the worst conditions, then you have to take it out in the worst conditions. That’s exactly what happened on our test of the Grand Mariner SL 250. It was cold, blowing, and raining, but the show must go on. It did, however, give us a chance to see just how this ‘toon handled in choppy water with a thin-blooded captain at the helm. Of course, we had to find a sheltered area to get the running video footage, simply because a bouncing camera won’t do, but the test was very revealing and we came away with more than a few opinions on how this outboard pontoon takes it, when Mother Nature dishes it out. You can see it all (almost) in our test video and full report...

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Second Look

Regal 2300 Sportboat:
She's Fast, But Is That All?

Regal 2300
With a Volvo Penta Duoprop 320-hp 5.7 GXi, we reached a top speed of 52.5 MPH.

When we put the Regal 2300 through a full test, we were more than a little impressed with what we found. As it turned out, this stepped hull speedster topped out at 52.5 MPH, and handled turns like stepped hulls should. But a boat isn’t all about speed and handling- it’s got to come to the table with functionality, amenities, and a real heart, as well. Our second look at the Regal 2300 was with that in mind. Part II of our testing is to see if she brought the features and interior character that would match her performance and handling. Let's take a video look and you can judge for yourself...

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Tigé News

Tigé RZ2:
A Look at the Details

Tigé RZ2
Tigé tells us that they wanted to push the envelope on design and looks with the RZ2. Let’s see how they did.

When you take wakeboat performance and combine it with forward thinking features, you just might have an attractive package on your hands. The Tigé RZ2 had a lot of features worth noting, but the standouts in our opinion were possibly the collapsible tower that was loaded with features in itself, and the Tigé Touch for customizing your ride characteristics. Of course this is inarguably a great-looking boat but we need to look at the whole picture to know how it fits when we get on board. So let’s go to the video and see how things come together on the Tigé RZ2. More...

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What Happens After You Call For 
Assistance On the Water

Sea Tow
We all know that Sea Tow offers memberships for their services, but the question is... are they worth it?

It’s a beautiful sunny day, and it’s finally a time when you don’t have to be on call for work, the family is together, and it’s stopped raining for a change. Looks like it’s time to dust off the boat keys and get on the water. But after only an hour run from the dock, suddenly... nothing but the sounds of silence from your engine. Time to call for an assist. Now here’s the question. What’s the difference between calling as a member and as a non-member of Sea Tow? It’s easy to just say “duh, the price,”, but there’s a little more to it than that, and it may make you think again on whether the price of the membership is actually worth it. Let’s take a look and do a little comparison shopping. More...

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Engine News

Evinrude E-TEC 300-H.P.:
Why This Engine is So Reliable

Evinrude E-TEC 300
We tested the Evinrude E-TEC 300-H.P. on a Dusky 233, and came away with some impressive numbers.

Let’s see... take a 2-stroke 300-hp outboard, add in a “no maintenance” schedule of 3-years/300 hours, forget about oil changes entirely, and at the end of the season, the engine fogs itself automatically, with no trips to the dealer, and what do you get? In our opinion, you get a pretty good set-up. And it’s exactly what we found in the Evinrude E-TEC 300-hp. Since this engine has no valves, belts, camshafts or pulleys to adjust or replace, and in fact has 195 fewer parts to need maintenance or go wrong than a comparable 4-stroke, we thought we’d take a look and see what it does have. As it turns out, the answer is, quite a lot. Take a look at our video tour and see for yourself...

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Second Look

Sailfish 2660 WA Pilot House:
Versatile Fishboat with Unique Hull

Sailfish 2660
The 2660 WA Pilot House version is just one of four ways you can order the Sailfish 2660. Folks in northern climes who want to extend their fishing season should take note.

When you think of the top five or six builders of fishing boats under 30 feet, chances are the name Sailfish doesn’t come up. But, maybe it should! The Cairo, Georgia-based company, housed in a modern facility just north of the Florida state line, has been around for 20 years. During that time the company has built a variety of boats for both offshore and inshore fishing, including this Sailfish 2660. It comes in a variety of flavors – center console or walkaround, with pilothouse versions of both. Designed for the serious, dedicated sportfisherman – if you don’t fish, move on – the 2660 should be on your list if you think fishing is just a little less important than breathing. For more...

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Captain's Report

Campion Allante LX 925:
Pocket Cruiser from Canada

Campion Allante LX 925
With twin 5.7 GXi Volvo Pentas, the Campion Allante LX 925 will go fast, according to company figures. At any speed, it’s a slick boat, well-built and elegant.

You might not have heard of Campion Marine, but it’s Canada’s largest independent fiberglass boat manufacturer. For more than 36 years, the family-owned company has been building luxury cruisers, family runabouts, sport utility, fishing, wakeboarding and high-performance boats in its factory in Kelowna, British Columbia, on Okanagan Lake. Top of the Campion line is the Allante LX 925, a 30’ (9.14 m) express cruiser that turns heads wherever it appears. But looks aren’t everything. The Allante LX 925 is built using materials and techniques not often applied to mid-sized express cruisers. If you’re looking for a high-quality boat for family adventures, you owe it to yourself to hit the jump. More...

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Yamaha Update

Yamaha 242 Family:
The Wakeboarding Test

Yamaha 242
Thirteen-year-old Carter prepares for his first attempt at wakeboarding.

Our "test family of four teens” has been at it again - this time they have reported back on how the Yamaha 242 delivers when it comes to wakeboarding. They have sent us the latest batch of pictures from the day older brother Philip was going to teach younger brother Carter how to wakeboard. We also have some interesting feedback from Mom and Dad regarding safety. Hook on your tow line and ease the throttles forward to find out how things turned out, and to see if Mom dared to try the wakeboard this time.

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Ooops! If Only They Had Watched Smart Boating!
Now Available on 4 DVDs

Smart Boating on DVD
In response to customer feedback, our popular video boating course is now available in a 4-disc DVD box set. Great for learning at home. Takes you to the professional level.

The response to the Smart Boating DVD has been overwhelming! Learning from home is the way to go, and videos keep the lessons in your mind long after the classroom lectures are forgotten. Smart Boating is perfect for both the beginners, and the seasoned salts wanting to brush up on their knowledge, filled with information that every boater needs to know. This is the course with more... more concise rules of the road, more emergency procedures, more navigation... it’s all here. Smart Boating... because safe boating just isn’t enough! Order yours today! Order your copy here...


Shurhold Snap-Stick:
No More Corroded
Snaps or Zippers

Shurhold Snap Stick
This is a lubricant and protectant for snaps and zippers.

If there is something that all boaters can relate to, it's corrosion.  No matter where it is, it’s annoying and damaging. So how about when you go to uncover the boat and you can’t get the snap to unsnap, or you can’t get the zippers to move? (#*?@&#!!) The team at Shurhold has a simple and effective product that can prevent this from happening and keep your language civil. Snap-Stick is designed to keep your snaps and zippers from corroding and also acts as a lubricant. The thing the BoatTEST team likes most about this product is that it is easy and fast to use. You just rub a little on the male end of each snap from the stick. It's like a giant lip balm for your boat. For your zipper, it just as easy. In fact, we think you will end up finding several other uses for it just as we did. Watch a video on the Snap-Stick to see it in action....

You can get all the info on the product here.

Promo: FREE Tube of Snap-Stick with any purchase. Coupon Code: BTSS Exp. 8/30/2010

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Industry News

Triton Fiberglass Boats
Bought By Platinum Equity

Triton 1 Triton 2 Triton 3
Triton 21XS DC is a head-to-head competitor to Ranger Boat models. The 301 XD is the largest model in Triton's line of offshore fishing boats. The Triton 220 Escape is one of the brand's Fish & Ski models.

Last Thursday morning another shoe dropped as the boating industry continues to consolidate. Brunswick Corporation, the largest builder of boats in the world with more brands covering more categories than any other boat-building conglomerate, has divested itself from all Triton fiberglass boats. It will continue to own the Triton aluminum freshwater fishing and bass boat brands. A division of Platinum Equity, the investment firm that purchased about half of Genmar's boat companies in January, bought the Triton fiberglass assets and will move production to the Ranger Boats plant in Flippin, Arkansas. It was also announced that boat brands owned by Platinum Equity would continue to buy Mercury outboard engines. Also being produced in the Ranger factory are Stratos and Champion bass boat brands. Take a look...

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Picture of the Week

Only in Dreams?

Picture of the Week
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10th year anniversary

Safety Tip

Floating Alone

Floating Alone
We bet the folks on this yacht are very happy they invested in a liferaft. If rescue isn’t immediately at hand, you’ll be happier and safer in a raft.

Here’s a good way to waste your money: Buy a liferaft and expensive inflatable PFDs, both items not required, and maybe not even approved, by the U.S. Coast Guard. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, both will sit, unused, for years, just taking up space and reminding you how much fuel you could have bought with what you spent on them. You can meet the safety requirements with el cheapo PFDs – which you’ll never wear, and maybe not even try on. But if one day you go overboard farther than swimming distance from safety, you’ll find your sense of value has changed. Then, if your fancy inflatable PFD and raft save your life and your crew, you’ll think you got the best deal in town. For more on how to choose and care for lifesaving equipment, click here.

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To a Boating Friend

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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 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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Lesson of the Week

How to Trim Your Outboard or Sterndrive Boat

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
Trimming your drive correctly will give you a better ride and better fuel economy.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to trim your outboard or sterndrive boat. You’ll learn about the advantages of trimming your drive correctly, how to reduce bowrise, when to raise your drive, what to look out for, and how to make sure you never run your engine dry. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Smart Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"300.00 duck blind." - J. Fisher

Second Place

"Let me see you do this with your fancy pod drives." - G. Himes 

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Roger, Sea Tow.  I am aware my coordinates are not on the water - over."
- R. David

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On Here?

WIGOH 8-4-10

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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.