10 Boat Reviews // How To Buy Right // Shark Eats Man - 09/08/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter September 8, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Mother Goose Cruise to Alaska
- Doral 325 Intrigue
- Formula 34 PC
- Hydra-Sports 4100 SF
- MasterCraft 300
- Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
- Four Winns V475
- VDH Steelyachts DD 1700
- Jeanneau NC 11
- Cobalt 373
- Intrepid 43 Sport Yacht
- Vri-Jon Contessa 40RX
- Fleming 75
- Cummins QSC 8.3L
- Boating Course Now on DVD
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Target the Right Boat For You
- Stamford Waterfront
- Shark Eats Man
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Mother Goose Cruise
To Alaska and Back

Mother Goose Flotilla
Most of the time the Mother Goose flotilla stayed within a mile or two of each other, but it tended to follow closely behind the leader as it threaded its way through the bricks.

One of the 10 Greatest Cruising Grounds on earth is the famous "Inside Passage" that stretches from Olympia, Washington north to Glacier Bay and Skagway, just beyond Juneau, Alaska. Last month our editor took time out from his normal duties and chartered a 42' 1990 Grand Banks Motoryacht from Ketchikan, Alaska through the bottom two-thirds of the Inside Passage to Bellingham, Washington. The 18-day trip covered 700 miles and put 75 hours on the engines. What made this cruise a bit different and also interesting is that it was a "cruise-in-company" organized by NW Explorations out of Bellingham, Washington, with four chartered GBs and one leader GB -- thus it is called the "Mother Goose Guided Flotilla." This program has been going for six years, and our editor reports that it was a first-class operation from beginning to end.  To find out what the cruise was like, how much it cost and should you do it... 

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New Test

Doral 325 Intrigue:
Euro Styling with Innovations

Doral 325 Intrigue
With a beam of 11’2” the Doral 325 Intrigue has a spacious salon and even room for side decks.

The Doral 325 Intrigue is one of those boats with a lot of possibilities. Her French-based European flair is evident in her lines and styling and it was very pleasing to both the eyes and touch. The highlight, though, was her solid handling and smooth ride. This is a boat that both first timers and veterans of the waves will feel right at home on. Take a look at our full test video to see just how luxury and spacious design are obvious on the Doral 325 Intrigue, with room for overnights, long weekends, or just a short evening cruise...

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New Video

Formula 34 PC:
A Stylish Cruiser with Upscale Fit and Finish

Formula 34 PC
We found the Formula 34 PC to be a great handling boat, but the real star of the show is the interior, as you’ll see in this details video.

The Formula 34 PC shows another example of the quality that goes into Formula Boats. Yes they’re more expensive, but even a cursory look at the details video shows the workmanship that makes the difference. Ultraleather, dovetail joinery, solid wood instead of glossy laminates... it’s all part of the adage that you get what you pay for, and with Formula, you get a lot. Take a look at our Formula 34 PC details video and see the examples for yourself...

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Second Look

Hydra-Sports 4100 SF:
Center Console Battlewagon

Hydra-Sports 4100
Our test of the 4100 SF showed a top speed of 55.2 MPH and a best cruise of 35 MPH. Fuel burn at best cruise was 41.8 GPH.

If you take a Convertible Sportfisherman and then take the Hydra-Sports 4100 SF and put them side by side you’ll have some interesting comparisons. They both have over-the-top features, and can catch a fish with the best of them on both, but there is a big difference between the two. The 4100 SF can cost half as much, costs less to operate, and handles with much more sportboat-like capability. That combination makes this a very attractive boat for someone interested in trading up from a smaller center console, as well as someone trading down from a larger convertible. This is a boat you have to see, and it’s all here in our full test video.

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Second Look

MasterCraft 300:
A Dazzling Departure

MasterCraft 300
The MasterCraft 300 has an LOA of 33’9” (10.3 m) and a beam of 11’ (3.35 m).

There’s so much new and different in the MasterCraft 300 that we had to take a second look, and so should you. Not only is the cockpit layout unique, but there’s no cruiser with the layout of this cabin either. Not only is it unusual, it’s functional and comfortable. But there’s more… MasterCraft seemingly bought stock in a teak lumberyard as it’s literally everywhere in this boat. Power choices include a pair of 350- or 400-hp gas engines and a 350 CMD diesel. It’s a cruiser with a sportboat pedigree and it all comes together in the MasterCraft 300. Our video tour is proof in the pudding.

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Engine News

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick:
 Easy Docking for Everyone

Volvo Penta Sterndrive JoystickVolvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
We put the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick through a full test and showed just what it’s capable of.

Are you the type who has trouble docking your sportboat? Are you also sick and tired of seeing how the boats with pods are the ones that get joysticks and can move any way the stick moves? And are you equally sick of the thought of having to pay for pods just to get a joystick? So are we, but there’s good news. The design team at Volvo Penta (yes the pioneers of pods) have decided that joysticks should be for everyone, even the lowly sterndrive boat owner. Today, we take a look at the capabilities of the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick, and whether it takes a complete retrofit to get it onto the average boat. It’s all here in our full test video.

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Captain's Report

Four Winns V475:
A Boat With Super Utility

Four Winns V475
That’s the biggest swim platform we’ve seen in a while, at least on a boat not quite 50’ long. If for some reason you don’t want a platform as big as your back yard, Four Winns will delete it and give you $6,400 credit. Not us: We want it because there is so much you can do with it.

The last time we visited this boat, back in 2008, Four Winns called it the V458; today it’s the V475. What’s in a name? We don’t know, but whatever you call it this is an interesting boat for folks craving a comfortable floating weekend home. A huge swim platform can handle a couple of lounge chairs, the enclosed deckhouse has enough creature comforts for the most sybaritic – and can be made even more luxurious with a few options – and the cabin will sleep the owner and mate and a couple of guests, too. In short, if you want a cottage on the water but don’t want to see the same scenery day after day, maybe the V475 is worth a look. We think so, and will tell you more if you hit the jump...

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Captain's Report

VanDerHeijden Dynamic De Luxe 1700:
What’s the Biggest Advantage of Steel?

VDH Steelyachts Dynamic Deluxe 1700
The Dynamic De Luxe 1700 combines classic lines with modern steel construction, and at reasonable cost, too. Steel allows for lots of custom work, so you can have your Dynamic De Luxe just the way you want her.

Building in steel has many advantages: Steel boats are strong, long-lasting, osmosis-free and easy to repair. But one advantage is often overlooked: Because they are built without molds or other expensive tooling that locks-in many aspects of the design, steel boats are easy to customize, too. One builder that's making the most of this is VanDerHeijden Steelyachts in The Netherlands. VanDerHeijden is a master at creating elegant smaller boats in steel, and from what we can see, the yard's Dynamic De Luxe 1700 will do nothing but enhance their reputation. So if you’re ready to build a custom steel yacht, read on...

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Captain’s Report

Jeanneau NC 11:
Scandi Sedan for Three Seasons

Jeanneau NC 11
Photographed near Stockholm, the Jeanneau NC 11 cuts a distinctly Scandinavian figure, even though she comes from an Italian designer by way of the French builder. Truly international, the NC 11 should be ideal for those wanting a three-season boat. (NC stands for “nouveau concept.”)

When Jeanneau introduced the NC 11 at this year’s Dusseldorf Boat Show, the company intended to sell the boat primarily in Northern Europe. Its enclosed pilothouse, lack of a flying bridge and optional cabin heater and stern windlass shout “Scandinavian” loud and clear. But you don’t have to live on a fjord to take advantage of these features, which will extend the boating season for anyone who lives in the temperate zones. And thanks to Jeanneau’s knack for styling and décor, even when its cold outside, you might feel just a hint of warm Mediterranean breeze in the cabin. For more on the NC 11’s unusual effect on meteorology, click here...

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Captain’s Report

Cobalt 373:
Beauty And Brawn

Cobalt 373
Externally, the Cobalt 373 resembles many other express cruisers, but the Neodesha, Kansas, boatbuilder adds extra strength under the skin.

Cobalt Boats says their 373 cruiser, the largest in the company’s stable, is “beauty matching brawn bow to stern.” OK, marketing folks have never been known for understatement, but this is an express cruiser, and as a class of boat this type is not known for being stressed by its owners.   Typically, express boats are used in sheltered waters under friendly summer skies – they don’t have to be built like icebreakers, and most are not. But is Cobalt different? Have the folks there gone over the top in hype, or does this boat really have something special under its sleek fiberglass skin? To find out, click here and let’s see what gives...

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Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht:
Only For Discriminating Buyers

Intrepid 43
The Intrepid 430 Sport Yacht looks as good today as when she was first launched, probably because she was a boat ahead of her time.

Intrepid was started in the early 1980s just as the U.S. economy was coming out of one of its down cycles, and founder/CEO John Michel got just about everything right from the start. He sensed that there was an opportunity at the high end of the center console market so he started there and never looked back. His boats were beautiful, innovative and semi-custom, so veteran boaters who were high rollers and knew exactly what they wanted could get it at Intrepid. For the last 25 years or so Intrepid has been the most powerful force in offshore open fishing boat design and conceptualization. Even though the Largo, Florida company builds only a relatively small number of boats each year its influence on the industry is huge, going far beyond its numbers. It has largely set the trend in the offshore, outboard-powered open boat class. This week we take a look at one of the most influential Intrepids, the 430 Sport Yacht. Let's go back to the future...

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Holland News

Dutch Vri-Jon Contessa 40RX:
For European Cruising

Vri-Jon 40 Contessa
The Contessa 40 RX (12.3 m) is built by Vri-Jon for coastal, canal and river cruising.

One of the great things about cruising Europe is the incredible system of canals and rivers that connect the continent from the English Channel to the Black Sea. European yachtsmen can spend a lifetime exploring the quaint towns and historic waterways which make their way through 11 countries without ever having to enter open water. One of the limited factors, however, is the height of the boat, as many of the bridges were built in the 19th century when barges were relatively small and low (and pulled by animals.) For that reason, the profile of many European boats is low, and they often have hinges on arches and the superstructure to make them even lower. Join us for a video look at the Contessa 40 RX powered by a single 166-hp diesel...

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Fleming 75:
A Serious Cruising Boat

Fleming 75
The Fleming 75 is a raised pilothouse trawler-type yacht that is as shippy as they come on the outside and has an interior that is as classy as any yacht her size.

When you get up to 75' virtually all of the fiberglass boats produced are pretty well built. The boats cost so much to construct and competition is so keen, a substandard boat that size will quickly become the white elephant at the boat show, and few builders can afford that. Most builders use the same engines, equipment, and construction materials. For many of the models on the market there is even a remarkable similarity in design profile. However, there are still significant and important differences in the boats in this class. Those distinctions among brands -- in addition to obvious things such as displacement and beam -- are in how the boats and their many systems are put together, the orderliness of the what you can't see behind the bulkheads and below decks, the experience of the engineers and shop foremen who make dozens of decisions a day on minor details which were not covered by the naval architect as the boat goes together, the reliability of the warranty promise, the financial health of the builder, and the actual after-market service rendered. The Fleming 75 and the brand itself has a sterling reputation on all counts. Let's take a video look at the Fleming 75 as our editor interviews a captain who has cruised and maintained one...

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Diesel News

CMD (Cummins) QSC 8.3:
In a 37' Strike Yacht

Cummins QSC 8.3L
The engine room of a 37' Strike fishing boat is able to hold twin CMD QSC 8.3 diesels.

Our Capt. Rob Smith interviewed Capt. Rick O'Neil of Strike Yachts about the Cummins 540-hp diesels in the company's 37-footer. Capt. O'Neil had recently returned from a round trip run from Florida to Corpus Christi, Texas and reports on their performance. Several years ago Cummins partnered with MerCruiser for marketing and sales purposes, thus the CMD (Cummins MerCruiser Diesel) appellation that you often see associated with Cummins Marine diesels. Watch the video...

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Oops! If Only They Had Watched BoatTEST.com’s Smart Boating Course!

Smart Boating on DVD
Even the pros agree, the information in BoatTEST.com's Smart Boating Course is perfect for every level of boater.

Learning from home is the way to go, and videos keep the lessons in your mind long after the classroom lectures are forgotten. This is a perfect course for both beginners, and seasoned salts wanting to brush up on their knowledge. The lessons are by subject in 4 DVDs in a boxed set and the course is filled with information that every boater needs to know. Learn how to dock, anchor, handle rough inlets, put out fires, and...how to keep from running aground. Order your copy here...


Dual Action Polisher

Shurhold Dual Action Polisher
Seen here is the entire kit as it comes retail. Assembly of the handle took our in house technician sixty seconds. Note the extra long power cord with the GFCI built in.

The team at Shurhold has been at it again, this time their aim was to improve on, the buffing & polishing process. With many boaters turning to a more DIY approach over the last year, Shurhold wanted to give them something to help out. This new Dual Action Polisher is a marine specific professional grade tool designed for everyday boaters to provide the ability to buff, wax, and polish their boat like a professional. Couple this with the proper pads and Shurhold's award winning compounds and you will have a shiny new finish in no time. You be the judge, see the video...

As an added incentive when purchasing a dual action pack you will receive a FREE $40 bonus pack with purchase of buffer. The pack includes ProPolish Pad, ProPolish, and a Microfiber Towel. Offer Exp. 9/30/2010. Visit Shurhold and order now...

 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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First Time Boat Buyer

How to Target The Right Boat For You

Target the Right Boat
So many boats, so little time. Finding the one "right boat" has never been more difficult than it is today. Here's some much-need help for the consumer.

As you begin to evaluate your many boating options, you may feel overwhelmed by the selection -- there are literally dozens of types of boats available, hundreds of brands, and thousands of models to choose from. How can you possibly select the appropriate type, brand and model that is absolutely the best boat for you? If you are a veteran boat owner, have you analyzed why you want a new boat and what it will take to keep you happy for more than the first season? If you are a first time powerboat buyer, you might wonder of you should start with a small boat, then get a bigger one in a year or two? Or, can you start with a boat the size of the one you would eventually like to end up with? In order to get some sage advice from someone who has helped boat buyers find their dream boat for over 20 years, we went to a respected West Coast yacht broker and author of The Boat-Buying Handbook, Martha Comfort. This is the first article in a series designed for both veterans and first time boat buyers to help them get their next boat purchase right! (Pay attention, there will be a quiz at the end.) The fun starts here...

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For Sale

Waterfront Property
Stamford, CT
Real Estate

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. The fun starts here...

Shark News

Tiger Shark Eats Man In the Bahamas

It is not clear if the person was dead or alive when eaten by the 12' shark. The shark was caught 38 miles south of New Providence Island last Sunday morning.

Just as the deep sea fisherman was about to cut the hook from the shark’s wide open mouth and let him go, out jumped a human foot. “Everything was intact from the knee down,” said Bahamian investment banker Humphrey Simmons, “it was mangled, but there was still flesh on the bone.” That ended a day of fishing for Mr Simmons and his two companions who spent most of the morning trying to get away from sharks. The rest of the gory story...

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Lesson of the Week

It's the Law:
You Must Help a Disabled Boat

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
Always offer to provide assistance to another boat if you see it is in distress.

This week Capt. Steve goes over new lessons and guidelines on the importance of helping other boaters that may require assistance. There are countless numbers of reasons why a boater may need assistance. For example, their motor may have broken down, or they ran out of gas, or perhaps there is a life threatening situation aboard with only minutes to spare. Whatever it may be, it is the law to help out another boater that’s in distress. If you fail to render assistance or choose to ignore them and the accident results in someone’s death you could be prosecuted for a felony. Even if no one dies, you can still be prosecuted for a misdemeanor. So the lesson here is, be a smart boater -- but be a friendly one too. These are basic procedures 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

"Mom's home!" - T. Zizzo

Second Place

"He said put it anywhere!" - R. Mathias

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Good! There's still room for another two."
- R. Black  

"I don't mind splitting the slip fee, but remember next month, I am on top!"
- G. Beasley

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 9/8/10

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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.