New Test: Doral 36 / 2009 Accident Report / 9 Boat Reviews - 08/25/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter August 25, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Doral 365 Boca Grande
- Volvo Penta D9
- Cruisers Yachts 560
- Meridian 408
- Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht
- Nordic Tugs 37
- Elling E4
- Regulator 30 Express
- Rodman 1250
- Mainship Pilot 31
- American Tug 435
- Boating Course Now on DVD
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- How to Buy a New Big Boat
- Ship's Systems: Water Filters
- 2009 USCG Accident Report
- Noah's Ark
- 64% of Boaters Not Worried...
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Test:
Doral 365 Boca Grande: Express Cruiser with Elan

Doral 365 Boca Grande
The 365 Boca Grande has a LOA of 39’2" with a beam of 12'6”. Our tests showed a top speed of 39.2 MPH with a best cruise of 30.4 MPH. But there is more to her story.

The first word that comes to our mind when looking over our new test of the Doral 365 Boca Grande is that she has great "Elan" -- which means, according to the dictionary, that she has "dash; distinctive and stylish elegance; impetuous ardor." This boat is not your run-of-the-mill 30-something express cruiser, but rather a boat that stands out from other boats in class -- particularly among those built in North America.

For those who are not familiar with Doral, it is a French-Canadian boat builder which has been manufacturing sportboats and express cruisers for 38 years and has kept a relatively low profile. It does not produce large numbers of units like its U.S. competitors south of the border, and as a result each boat that is built in its Grand-Mere, Quebec factory is lavished with lots of TLC. We have visited the factory and met the men and women who build these boats, most of whom have worked for Doral for over 20 years. Building these boats is their life, and the main focus of people in this small Canadian town. As a result, the fit and finish of Doral boats is hard to beat.

But what really gives Doral boats "elan" is their design, styling, and decor and the builder's can-do attitude and enthusiasm to try something different. Doral's cultural roots are a potent mix of French, British and American influences and the company's designers, in our opinion, have drawn on the best of each of these backgrounds to produce an exciting product line. Most of its boats seem to have the stylishness of the French, the class of the British and the practicality of the Americans, all rolled into one design. Take a look at our new test of the 365 Boca Grande and see what we mean...

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Engine News

Volvo Penta D9:
Big Horsepower in a Small Package

Volvo Penta D9
The D9’s footprint is about the same as Volvo Penta's existing 7.0 liter (TAMD75). Yet the 9.4 liter D9 builds in 100 more hp.

If you are buying a new boat or are re-powering in the 40' to 50' range, then you need to take a look at Volvo Penta's D9 diesel.  Volvo Penta designed the D9 with two horsepower options, a 500 and 575 hp rating. With this size and power capability the D9 is well suited for life aboard boats between 40 to 50’ (12.2 m -15.2 m) whether operating in a single or twin configuration. With EMS-2 handling the performance, and EVC handling the functions, this is a compact, clean burning engine that delivers instantaneous power when you hit the controls. More...

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Second Look

Cruisers Yachts 560:
A Huge and Powerful Express Cruiser

Cruisers Yachts 560
Not many express cruisers this side of the French Riviera push the 60’ mark like the 560 does. Without people to give it scale, this picture could show a 35-footer. You could waltz on deck, with most of your friends.

How big can an express cruiser get? We don’t know, but the Cruisers Yachts’ 560 tips the tape at 58 feet overall, with 16 feet of beam. That’s a big boat, and the express-cruiser design makes it seem even bigger, with a long, wide foredeck reminiscent of an aircraft carrier. But the big story isn’t on deck – it’s below, where the 560 Express is both cavernous (up to 6’6” of headroom) and comfortable (the master stateroom is full-beam). A pair of Volvo Penta diesels will push her nearly to 35 knots, too. If you want to discover what belowdecks volume can do for you at sea, come on across with us.

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Second Look

Meridian Yachts 408 Motoryacht:
A Tri-Cabin with Style

Meridian 408
With multiple levels, this Meridian 408 motoryacht has a surprising amount of interior room that seems to contradict her 42' 2" (12.9 m) overall length. There is nothing as roomy as a tri-cabin layout. We could live without the hardtop.

No one ever said that Meridian doesn’t think outside the box. They’re one of the only companies building in this size range that doesn’t even have an express cruiser in their lineup, relying solely on sedan bridge and aft cabin motoryachts. But where others fear to tread, Meridian is flourishing.  In the 408 Motoryacht, Meridian Yachts has made a yacht 42'2” (12.9 m) long that is based on a traditional and proven concept that is over 70 years old.  Not suprisingly, the 408’s are selling as fast as Meridian can build them. Take a look for yourself and see what the 408 has to offer.

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New Review

Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht:
This is Where Megayachts Start

Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht
The Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht is boat enough for most of us, and a good starting point for folks with megayacht lust. The open flying bridge shown here is standard, and includes a large boat deck with a hydraulic davit.  A sky lounge version is available.

When Bonnie O'Boyle, the Managing Editor of Boating Magazine, coined the word "megayacht" in 1980, she decided the class should start at 80'.  Back in those days, there were only a few powerboats built over 80'.  If the world of business has been good to you, you’re probably thinking about a bigger boat, maybe even a megayacht. And if you are, you should be thinking “Hatteras,” too. The North Carolina builder is one of the world’s best builders in class, and their 80 Motor Yacht is a good starting point for folks entering the world of "Serious Yachts." With four staterooms plus crew’s quarters, the 80 MY is perfect for entertaining family, friends or business associates. With an expansive full-beam master stateroom, it would also make a nice retirement home. For more on this “starter megayacht,” click here.

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Video Look

Nordic Tugs 37:
Is It a Boat, or a Cult Leader?

Nordic Tugs 37
Not quite a tugboat, but certainly reminiscent of one, the Nordic Tugs 37 is the company’s most popular model. (Where are the old tires hanging off the rail?) With a single Cummins diesel, it can cruise in the upper teens, or amble along at six or seven knots, sipping fuel.

It’s not a tug, and it’s not from Scandinavia, but the Nordic Tugs 37 is almost an object of cult worship: Cruising folks who might otherwise buy a trawler yacht are flocking to this boat, and to her bigger and smaller sisters, like sportfishermen used to grab every Bertram 31 that came onto the market. In New England and the Pacific Northwest, every harbor seems to have a couple of Nordic Tugs – or maybe a raft of them. When we took a cruise from Ketchikan, Alaska to Seattle recently, we counted more Nordic Tugs cruising the Inside Passage than any other brand of cruising vessel.  What’s so special about this boat? Click here to find out.

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First Look

The Dutch Elling E4:
For Canal Cruising or Ocean Passages

Elling E4:
The Elling E4 is manufactured in Holland and carries a safety rating that isn’t usually found in distance cruisers.

While she may not have the legs to cross oceans, this yacht does have the qualifications to go long distances with a safety level that other yachts can only dream about. Her low profile makes her as suited to the canals of Europe or the rocky Canadian coastline as she is for going to Bermuda or the Azores. With her CE safety rating of "A Ocean," the windward islands of the Bahamas are a snap, and as for range... 1700 miles will take you to a lot of places. Read our full report and see how this vessel may change the way you look at coastal cruising, and perhaps starting to stray far away from the world’s coastlines. More...

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Second Look

Regulator 30 Express Fishboat:
A Solid Offshore Performer

Regulator 30 Express
This man-sized express hardtop takes advantage of Yamaha’s 350s for simplicity and added room.

The Regulator 30 Express has a LOA of 38’ (because of the bow pulpit and the Armstrong outboard bracket) and a displacement of 13,208 lbs. which gives this boat the room and heft of most 33-footers. She is designed for people with small kids or, conversely, aging boomers. The 30 comes standard with a hardtop. Her 44-sq. ft. cockpit has the fishbox in the transom and bait well under the mezzanine seating. To find out more about this solid offshore boat...troll here

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Boat Review

Spanish Rodman 1250 ADV:
For Cruising or Fishing in the Med

Rodman 1250
While this comfortable cruiser may not make U.S. builders run scared, it may make them sit up and take notice.

Whether you’re into offshore fishing, or cruising, the Spanish Rodman 1250 ADV is a boat you should take a look at. 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. In all cases, this dual-stateroom, single-head boat has a lot going for it.  Just what features could make anyone want to notice? Take a look at the video and see for yourself.

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Coastal Cruising

Mainship Pilot 31 Sedan:
An Affordable Four-Person Cruiser

Mainship Pilot 31
Mainship’s Pilot 31 Sedan has a bona fide pilothouse that turns most of the deckhouse into all-weather living space. The galley and dinette are here, leaving more room below for accommodations.

Since introducing its first single-screw trawler-type yacht in the fuel-thirsty 1970s, Mainship has given us a line of economical cruisers that appeal to tradition-minded boaters. The Pilot 31 Sedan is one of them. It lives in the sweet spot for a cruising powerboat: Big enough for a couple to be comfortable living aboard on extended adventures, or a foursome on shorter trips, but small enough to be handled and maintained easily by a man and wife. Coming from Mainship, it’s also an excellent value, and won’t cost the earth to buy and keep. You can find out more about the Pilot 31 Sedan by clicking here.

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American Tug 435:
A Northwest Coastal Cruiser

American Tug 435
The American Tug 435 is a capable coastal cruiser with a LOA of 43.7’.

American Tug is owned by parent company Tomco Marine Group Inc. It’s a company that manufactures coastal cruisers.  The three principals are all long time industry specialists that came together when they were all at another company that builds coastal cruisers... the very successful and popular Nordic Tug. Now they’ve ventured on their own and so far have four boats in the company portfolio ranging in length from 36’ to 53’. As you will see, imitation is the most sincere form of flattery.  Today, we’ll take a look at the 435, Tomco’s second to come off the drafting table, and see what makes this such a capable cruiser. More...

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Boating Course Is For the Hard Core Pros, Too

Smart Boating on DVD
Even Capt. Quint could re-learn a thing or two from's Smart Boating Course.

We recently surveyed a cross section of customers who purchased our new educational 4-DVD course, and the results showed that even seasoned boaters are flocking to the purchase page. They’ve discovered what we already knew. That's video boating course is so loaded with information even experienced boaters are re-learning some of the forgotten lessens and obscure rules of the road. But certainly none of these guys want to sign up for a class and learn from the beginning again. That’s where's Smart Boating comes in. Because you can go straight to any section that you need a little freshening up on, your skills will be back to par in no time. It’s the professional guide for the average boater. Order your copy here...


Shurhold's Dual Action Polisher

Capt. Steve is not holding a waffle iron. No, its a Shurhold polisher.

A few months ago, the team got a hold of the new Shurhold Dual Action Polisher and decided to put it through a test.  Since the video of that test speaks for itself, we wanted to bring you an update on what happened after the video was made. Our COO has been using this product on his boat and his cars, each and every week. The report back is that the polisher has held up just as well as any similar professional grade electric tool. After hours of use, two advantages popped out, the adjustable handle and/or side handle, and the RPM adjustment. The handle design and configuration has reduced the amount of fatigue usually experienced with a polisher. Being able to lower the RPMs to apply product to a surface and then adjust to higher RPM settings to remove, buff and polish, has not only produced a great result, but it has saved time, about 40% over a similar product, he tells us. You be the judge, see the video...

 Only In Dreams

Picture of the Week

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.

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Boat Buying Tips

How to Buy
A New BIG Boat

How to buy a big boat
The best way to start planning the purchase of a big boat is the old fashioned way -- with a pencil and paper.

With the worst of the recent economic storm seemingly over, and before new boat prices begin the predicted climb skyward (to say nothing of possible inflation), now is a very good time to be thinking about your Next Big Thing -- and, of course, that would be a large yacht. But even if you just got your annual multi-million dollar bonus from Goldman Sachs, it takes more than money and enthusiasm to find the right boat, and best boat for your needs. It is very easy to make a mistake, and our guess is that about 50% of the buyers usually do. The best way to save money when buying a new yachts, is to get the decision right the first time.  Step into our main saloon for some suggestions...

Ship’s Systems

Water, Water Everywhere... ... and Not a Drop Worth Drinking?

Water Filters
The stainless steel Seagull IV water-purifier is effective and easy to install under the sink. It uses a dedicated faucet and a replaceable cartridge. (Photo © General Ecology, Inc.)

If the fresh water coming out of your boat’s faucet tastes like you squeegee’d it off the ship’s cat, don’t take to the bottle. Any fresh water can have contaminants that ruin its taste, and dirty fiberglass tanks will make even the purest water taste like bilge slime. But the solution is easy: Add a treatment system to your freshwater plumbing. Treatment systems range from simple filters to elaborate UV purifiers; filters will work for most of us. They are easy to install and not too expensive, and will have you reaching for a glass, not the bottle.   For all you need to know about water treatment, click here.

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Boating Safety

2009 USCG Annual Accident Report

The men and women of the USCG annually risk their lives every day to save ours.

USCG's Office of Auxiliary and Boating Safety announced its 2009 Recreational Boating Statistics report earlier this month. The report states a total of 4,730 accidents recorded by the CG in 2009 caused 736 deaths, over 3,300 injuries and about $36 million in property damage. The top 5 contributing factors to the accidents included boat operator inattention and inexperience, excessive speed, improper lookout and alcohol consumption. DUI was the leading factor in 16% of deaths. In addition, a full 86% of boat operators involved in fatal accidents had not received boat safety instruction. "Nearly 75% of the 736 people who died in boating accidents in 2009 drowned, and 84% of those victims reportedly were not wearing a life jacket," said Rear Adm. Kevin Cook, the CG's director of prevention policy. "The 2 most important things boaters can do to prevent the loss of life is to wear a life jacket and take a boater education course." Read the USCG 2009 Accident Report "Executive Summary"...

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Dutch Boat Building

Noah Built the World's First Megayacht
(aka "Ark")

Noah's Ark
This replica of the biblical Ark was built by Dutch Creationist Johan Huibers in 2007 and has been visited by over 500,000 people as it has toured around the Netherlands the last three years. But is was only 150 cubits long, not the 300 that Noah built. So...

The popularity of Johan Huibers' replica of Noah's ark has inspired him to build an "actual"-size ark which is 300 cubits long -- twice as long as the one you see in the picture above. It was supposed to launch in June of this year but is running a little behind schedule. If you never thought of Noah as the world's first yachtsman, then perhaps you should think again. The new ark will be on the order of 515' (158 m) long, with an 86' (26 m) beam, with a height of 51.5' (15.8 m) -- Paul Allen, eat your heart out! Those are the general dimensions of the biblical ark, give or take 15% as no one really knows exactly how long Noah's "cubits" were. Some archeologists have speculated the land mass where the Bosporus is today collapsed allowing the Mediterranean to pour into the area that is now the Black Sea -- thus, the flood story that lasted for 40 days. Indeed, ancient towns have been found by scuba divers off the north coast of what is now Turkey.  To see pictures of the new Noah's mega-ark and to find out what a "cubit" is...


64% of U.S. Boaters Not Worried About Chart Updates

As life-long boater Alfred E. Newman once said, "What, me worry?"

From the years 2004 through 2007 there were 2,500 accidents involving boaters hitting fixed objects, and 1,400 of those involved groundings costing $16 million, according to the USCG.  Indeed, grounding rescues rank #3 in calls for on-water assistance, coming just after battery trouble and engine failure. Little wonder, then, that a recent survey done by the Alliance for Safe Navigation of 7,570 U.S. boaters revealed that 64% didn't update their paper or electronic charts. We know that this must come as a shock to most of our readers. Possibly even more surprising, 36% of those surveyed said that they updated their navigational electronic or paper charts regularly. To find out what boaters are not doing in any great numbers and to find out how you can update your charts painlessly...

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Lesson of the Week

How to Plot a Course Using Basic Tools

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
The three basic tools you need to plot your course on a chart include parallel rulers, dividers, and a pencil.

This week Capt. Steve goes over eleven new lessons and guidelines on how to use the basic tools of the trade to plot your course on a chart. You’ll learn how to correctly use parallel rulers and dividers, and how to calculate the amount of time your trip will take using a circular slide tool. Capt Steve will also go over how to calculate time between buoys and explains why knowing your estimated time of arrival (ETA) is important. These are basic rules 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 --

To view all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Sure, she sucks a lot of fuel now, but you just wait till I get her up on plane!"
- E. Jahoda

Second Place

"If anyone needs to use the head its just beyond the galley." - M. Burton

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Trust me guys... chicks love boats, all we have to do is keep trolling the coast and they will come..." - L.C.

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On Here?

WIGOH 8/25/10

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