EVC from Volvo Penta // Hinckley T44 // 6 New Reviews - 08/11/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter August 11, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Formula 353 FASTech
- Volvo Penta EVC
- Hargrave 76
- Cruisers Yachts 300
- Meridian 391 Sedan Bridge
- Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
- Kahlenberg Horns
- Hinckley T44
- GB 47 Eastbay FB
- Cheoy Lee 65/72
- Azimut 64 Motoryacht
- Silverton 42 Convertible
- Boating Course Now on DVD
- Shurhold Water Blade
- Picture of the Week
- Safety Tip: Oil Analysis
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Formula 353 FAS³Tech:
The Inside Story

Formula 353
What’s under the engine hatch took our test 353 to a top speed of 81 MPH, but what is under that long foredeck?

The term “Go-Fast” has become a commonly used phrase not only to describe how a boat performs, but the boat itself. So now, having a “Go-Fast” is as much a status symbol as the muscle car counterpart. Of course, if you’re looking for yacht quality finishes and gloss teak interiors, you’ve come to the wrong department. But that doesn’t mean that the fit and finish of your “Go-Fast” has to be Spartan either. It’s here where Formula Boats, a company long known for their fit and finish, adds that Formula Difference to their version of what a “Go-Fast” should be. Let’s take a video look at how it came out.

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Engine Technology

Volvo Penta EVC:
Piloting in a Digital World

Volvo Penta Electronic Vessel Control (EVC)
When a group of engineers speak a language that consists of 0’s and 1’s, their innovation is strong. When they also happen to be boaters, life on the water takes a dramatic turn.

The technological leap forward, regardless of the application, is hard to ignore. Remember when your video recorders went digital and suddenly you could watch any show on your drive, even if it was in the middle of a lineup? That’s thanks to thinking digitally. Now, we can reap the benefits of a digital world while piloting our boats care of Volvo Penta’s EVC, Electronic Vessel Control. It’s digital controllability for small boats, and it’s going to rock your world the same as the digital recorder took hold on land. Capt. Steve takes a look at the features of Volvo Penta’s EVC and its benefits...

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Motoryacht Handling

Hargrave 76 Motoryacht:
Can This Yacht Handle Confined Spaces?

Hargrave 76 Motoryacht
BoatTEST put the Hargrave 76 through its paces on the water of South Florida. But to get it out to open water was like threading a needle.

Normally, when a yacht is tested, the company representatives drive the boat themselves until it gets to open water before handing the helm over to any other captain. This time, however, Hargrave did things a little differently, and it gave us a rare opportunity to see another side of how this ocean-going yacht handles. For our test, the folks at Hargrave flipped Capt. Steve the keys while the yacht was still miles up the narrowest, and most winding navigable waterway in the U.S.  On his way to open water, Capt. Steve got plenty of chances to check out maneuverability, bow thruster effectiveness, and overall responsiveness to the helm at low speed. It was a rare opportunity and we took advantage of it to show you what no one else has. Check out the performance video here...

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New Captain's Report

Cruisers Yachts 300 Express:
Does it Make for a Good Transition?

Cruisers Yachts 300 Express
The 300 Express is the smallest boat in Cruisers lineup that extends to 56’ (17 m). But does the same quality of workmanship go into this boat or is it the neglected stepchild?

When we look at a boat in the low 30-foot range, two questions immediately come to mind. Does a company skimp on quality when it also happens to be its smallest boat, and can it make a good transition for someone moving up from a smaller boat? The thing is there’s a lot of competition in this size range because it’s so popular. While a 30-something is a good transitional size, it takes a bit more than that to make it, and that’s why we stepped aboard the Cruisers Yachts 300 Express to see what it brings to the game. To find out for yourself, check out our full report.

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Detailed Look

Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan Bridge:
Two Staterooms, Two Heads,
But Can You Still Move Around?

Meridian 391
Part of what is making Meridian Yachts a force to be reckoned with is the way they handle their layouts on boats such as this. But while it fits the hull, does it fit the customers?

It’s so easy to take a blank piece of paper and start filling in a design of a layout, but in real life, things just don’t seem to work smoothly.  There ends up being a lot of tweaking involved. Meridian has managed to squeeze a lot into a relatively small package with their 391 Sedan Bridge, and came away with two staterooms, and somehow found room for two heads all in a boat just under 40’. So the question remains, does it work? Let’s step aboard and see.

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Dockside Review

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage:
The Battle for Center Console
Supremacy is ON!

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
Boston Whaler packed in a lot of innovation in its 37' 6'' (11.4 m) x 11' 6'' (3.5 m) fishing machine, but did they get it right?

Larger center consoles are giving full-sized sportfish boats a serious run for their money. When Boston Whaler first pulled the curtain back on its 370 Outrage in Miami, everyone was impressed. But that wasn’t good enough for Whaler and they continued to tweak the design to get it just so. Then along came the Norwalk show, and the 370 was rolled out again, still with much fanfare. Now, the 370 (v2.0) is nearly 1100 lbs (499 kgs) lighter, but still heavy on features. This is a serious contender for king of the center console wars, but is it worth the price, or overpriced? Well, in our opinion...

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New Review

Hinckley T44 Mark II:
A Tale of Two Talarias

Hinckley T44
Marrying traditional design with modern power, the Hinckley Talaria 44 Flybridge is lusted after by yachtsmen around the world. And now there’s a Mark II version that’s even better. It’s too new to have a photo.

Many knowledgeable yachtsmen say Hinckley is the Rolls-Royce of boats, but we disagree: We think Rolls-Royce is the Hinckley of cars. The Southwest Harbor, Maine, builder has been launching some of the world’s finest yachts since Henry Hinckley built his first 36-footer in 1933. Combining traditional craftsmanship with modern materials and methods, Hinckley yachts are state-of-the-art, despite their traditional styling. The company’s popular Talaria 44 is typical: It has old-time lines, including a radical tumblehome transom, and a jaunty profile reminiscent of the 1940s and 50s. But look under the water and you’ll see not propellers, but Hamilton waterjets; under the gelcoat, Kevlar and carbon fiber. If you want the best, and have the resources, Hinckley is where you should shop, and the Talaria 44 might be a good place to start. For more, move to the next page.

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Out of the East

Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB:
Far Eastern Downeaster

Grand Banks 47 Eastbay FB
Grand Banks says the 47 Eastbay FB’s modified-V hull is designed for both efficient cruising at displacement speeds and get-there-today planing speed when fuel burn isn’t an issue. Modern electronically controlled diesels help in both instances.

Grand Banks made it OK to own a powerboat built in the Far East. The first company to market “trawlers” as yachts (actually they were rugged-looking, low-speed, long-range boats far removed from true fishing vessels), in the boat-crazy 1970s Grand Banks became the go-to vessels for sailors moving to power; long-range cruising families and liveaboards; and even everyday folks who wanted something different from the typical sedans and convertibles that inhabited American marinas. And they still are: Today the company builds modern versions of those original boats – they call them the Heritage Series – and they continue to appeal to the same kinds of folks. But not everybody wants a “trawler,” so Grand Banks also builds the Eastbay series, slick, fast, Down-East inspired yachts exactly opposite in philosophy to the original boats. For more info, hit the jump.

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Motoryacht Design

Cheoy Lee 65/72 MY:
Bravo for Classic Styling

Cheoy Lee 72
No swoopy Eurostyling here: The Cheoy Lee Bravo 65/72 Motor Yacht has a timeless profile and angular styling inspired by boats of a generation ago. But it sits on a modern, fuel-efficient Tom Fexas hull.

Cheoy Lee’s Bravo 65/72 Motor Yacht is proof that classic design is timeless. Inspired by the masculine, New World boats of the early post-World War II years, Tom Fexas incorporated angles and straight lines, not Euro-swoops, to create a yacht whose profile reminds veteran boaters of yachts from a generation ago – maybe that’s two generations (we are getting older faster than we realize). Cheoy Lee was one of the first companies to build large production yachts in fiberglass, and Fexas designed most of them. Many knowledgeable boatmen feel the Bravo 65/72 was one of their finest collaborations. For more on this classic in the making, hit the jump.

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New Model

Azimut 64 Flybridge:
A Little Bigger, A Little Better

Azimut 64 Motoryacht
Based on Azimut’s successful 62 Evolution, the new 64 reinterprets that yacht’s strong points. It’s Class A certified, meaning approved for all sea and weather conditions, too.

Never content to float on its laurels, Azimut has just introduced a new 64 Flybridge, a sexy Med-style cruiser the company says is the natural heir to the very successful 62 Evolution. So new that few people have actually seen one in the fiberglass, the 64 looks even more 21st-century than the rest of the Azimut line, although there’s a strong family resemblance to the 62E from which it spawned. The new boat is just, well, a little bit more than the old one: The superstructure is just a tad more rakish, the hullside windows just a little bit bigger, the overall impression just that much more space-age. If you’ve been sitting on your checkbook waiting for a boat that lights your fire, maybe it’s time to uncap your pen. For more on the newest from Viareggio, click here.

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Focus on Value

Silverton 42 Convertible:
Value From the Jersey Shore

Silverton 42 Convertible
Not just for fishing, this Silverton 42 Convertible will be fine for cruising or just messing about on a boat. We like the stainless rails, too often omitted for style reasons on boats like this. A foredeck davit is optional.

Boats are expensive, sometimes ridiculously so, but you don’t have to pay a king’s ransom for a solid, well-appointed yacht that will give you and your family years of pleasure. Through smart management and efficient production practices, the Silverton Marine Corporation builds quality boats at reasonable cost; the result is excellent value for Silverton’s customers. This 42 Convertible is a good example: It’s hundreds of thousands less than similar boats from elite builders, but perfectly suitable for cruising, fishing – in fact, for most boatmen’s needs. Learn more here.

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BREAKING NEWS BoatTEST.com’s Smart Boating Course Eliminates the “I Don’t Have Time” Excuse!
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, it takes you to the professional level of boating knowledge.

The biggest excuse for not taking a boating course is “I don’t have time,” and frankly, it’s a valid excuse. Classroom courses are effective, and in some cases required if you need certification, but getting to a class and sitting through the schedule just isn’t in everyone’s timeframe. So instead of skipping the learning altogether, try learning at home with the most complete course ever developed. BoatTEST.com’s Smart Boating Course will take you from “never stepped on a boat” to “seasoned professional” all in one 4-disc DVD box set. There’s simply no excuse for not knowing everything you need to know about boating anymore. Watch it with the whole family! Order your copy here...


Shurhold Water Blade,
Dry It Faster

Shurhold Water Blade

We want to pass on a helpful hint when it comes to drying your boat: the Shurhold Flexible Water Blade helps. When we put this product to the test, we were not very excited. Let’s be real, drying your boat is a pain, and nothing will change that. Or so we thought. We found that the Flexible Water Blade actually conformed to the shape of the hull and removed all of the water. It leaves a nice dry path, like when you squeegee your car's windscreen. Windows, deck, hull, every place we used it, it worked great. We even went back and sprayed the boat again to dry it with a chamois and towel. And the winner is? The Water Blade, hands down! Streak-free and very easy on the arms and back.  Order the Water Blade here...

Get a free Water Blade Adapter with the purchase of a Water Blade. The adapter will allow the Water Blade to be used on any Shurhold Handle to reach the hard to get to places. Coupon code: btwb Exp. 9/15/2010

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Product Review

Kahlenberg Horns:
Can You Hear Me Now?

Kahlenberg Horns
Manufactured from bronze and brass, Kahlenbergs are made to last for the long haul.

One prolonged, two short every two minutes... . If you are sounding that signal in restricted visibility, you more than likely need the other guy to avoid you, as you may not be able to avoid him. So it stands to reason that you need your signal to be heard, and a simple electric horn just may not have what it takes. Now is the time for air. Kahlenberg Horns are widely known in Megayacht circles, but now they have a line specifically for smaller boats in the 25’ (7.62 m) to 45’ (13.7 m) range. Because once in a while, a boat that size may need to be signaling that she’s disabled, and can’t get out of your way. More...

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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.

10th year anniversary

Safety Tip

Oil Testing

Oil Testing
A simple, inexpensive oil analysis can save you thousands on engine repairs, and prevent breakdowns before they happen. Photo © Blackstone Laboratories.

Is your engine wasting away under your deck shoes? One day will something in its innards finally reach the breaking point, bringing things to a rapid, inconvenient, and usually expensive, halt? Could a little preventative maintenance now save you big bucks later on? One way to find out is by having your lube oil analyzed regularly – at every oil change is best. The cost is minimal, and the detailed lab results will tell you if all is well inside your crankcase – or if it’s not, what to do about it. Oil analysis isn’t just for diesels, either. For more information on this vital preventative maintenance procedure, click here.

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Lesson of the Week

Staying on Course and Taking a Bearing

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
Wind and current can push you off course, so pay attention to the compass to make sure your heading is correct.

This week Capt. Steve goes over nine new lessons and guidelines on setting a course and taking a bearing. Capt. Steve explains that bearings are the basic forms of determining your position, and you should always look around to get your bearings with a point on land. Other basics covered in these lessons are the differences between nautical and statute miles, and using speed and distance to find out time to travel. These are basic lessons which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Smart Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

To view all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Nothing runs faster or jumps higher than a rental." - S. Havell

Second Place

"Captain Steve worked really hard to get the BoatTEST editors to notice his boat handling skills." - C. Crane

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"These photo caption contests have finally jumped the shark!" - R. Grant

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 8/11/10

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.

We need reader help!

If you have a picture that needs some explanation, send it to: lis@boattest.com.
(Please -- no Photoshop!)

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All articles, Captains’ Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com 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. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.