Glacier Bay 2740:
Full Test of Hull #1
In the Renegade 2740 Glacier Bay has created a fishing bowrider that has ergonomics for real men, is big on space, and handles rough-water well. For several hours
our test captain banged this boat around in 3' square ones in the Gulf Stream and
his full report explains how the 2740 handled and took the seas. While these conditions didn't allow us to max the boat's performance figures, it does give a real world look at what this boat can offer. If you have ever wondered how
a Glacier Bay cat handles offshore, you need to see this.
So with that said, let’s get right to the full test...
Request a sea trial
Yamaha VXR Waverunner:
Fast, Fuel-Efficient, and Stable
The team at Yamaha tells us that the mission of the VXR is to provide the best possible high performance watercraft in a no-frills, low-cost package. With this in mind, we set out to test and review the VXR. The first thing we noticed was that the production weight of this watercraft was only 728 lbs. and that the 1812 cc four-stroke, four cylinder marine engine was NOT supercharged. What's more, the dash and handle bars were not decorated like a Christmas tree with lots of things to look at and fiddle with. Yamaha certainly got the no-frills part right, but what about the performance and handling and who is the VXR really designed for?
Hop aboard and find out...
Doral's 295 Prestancia:
Pocket Cruiser with Panache
If you are looking for an express cruiser around 30' (9.2 m) and don't want the same plastic fantastic that everyone else in the marina has, then we suggest you give the Doral 295 Prestancia a good look. This Canadian builder does not have a lot of dealers in the U.S. and around the world, but it does have some, so seek them out, because we think you will be pleasantly surprised by what you find. What sets the 295 Prestancia apart from other boats in her size range is her authentic Euro styling, design details throughout the boat that are different from most American models, and the high quality of her construction, materials and fit-and-finish. It is seldom easy to find the best, and we think you'll agree that it's worth the effort to check out this boat.
Take a look at our newest test video...
New Glastron GT 180 BR:
Outboard-powered sportboats are making a big comeback these days among the few builders who are smart enough to offer them. Glastron is one of the leading exponents of outboard power in bowriders, and not surprisingly its GT 180 is a popular model. But this boat has more going for it than what is hanging on the transom -- she is a well-built boat with strong stainless steel hardware that you won't find on some other affordable brands. We think the GT 180 makes an ideal starter boat or a boat that parents can let their kids use without fear that they'll get into too much trouble (so long as they have had the proper instruction, of course!)
Take a look at our test video and you will see what we mean...
FinCraft 19 CC:
Made for Saltwater and Fresh
If you thought FinCraft was a brand just for multi-specie freshwater fishing, then think again. If you thought all center console boats were about the same, think again. The FinCraft 19 CC, which was introduced earlier this year, is intended for both saltwater and freshwater anglers. Most important, it is the only center console on the planet made with the VEC system. In a nutshell, VEC is the most modern, highest tech fiberglass boat-building system in the world. Its tooling is also the most expensive. What all of this means to the consumer is that its hull seems
almost as tough as metal and the boat is affordable because of its mass production.
If you are an angler, you owe it to yourself to look at the FinCraft 19 CC...
Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230:
The Inboard Version of a Luxury Toon
Our test of the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230 was conducted on a cold,
blustery day this spring with 2' to 3' chop. The pictures of the boat were
taken in a calm area so the cameraman could get video without a lot of bouncing
around. All of this is to say that our test captain put the SEL 230 through
conditions in which most people would never go boating. The boat performed
flawlessly, was stable, and was remarkably dry given the conditions. Take a look...
Video Inspection of the
Evinrude 130-hp Outboard
The Evinrude 130-hp outboard engine is unique in many ways. First, 130-hp is a place where most other outboard engine companies don't make an engine, leaving a big horsepower gap in their line. Most engine makers hop from 115-hp to 150-hp. But the 130 range is a sweet spot of ideal power for many boats in the 17' to 22' range. For most of these boats 150-hp is too much or too costly, and 115-hp may be too little power, depending on how many people are aboard and what the boat's mission is. Generally, boats in this range are deeper-V'd than they used to be for a better ride, but that also means they are harder to push.
Join us as we delve into the details of the Evinrude 130 on video...
Lund 2075 Pro-V:
Special Ops Fishing is Here!
We have seen Lund boats parked along gravel shores from Grise Fjord on Ellesmere Island just 1500 miles south of the North Pole, to Iquitos, Peru at the headwaters of the Amazon, just a few hundred miles south of the Equator. Hot or cold, rocks
or mud, saltwater or freshwater, there is virtually no special environment where
you won't find a Lund. For more than 60 years, Lund Boat Company has been building some of the best small aluminum boats on planet Earth. We tested
the Lund 2075 Pro-V which was designed for the outdoorsman for Special Ops.
This boat is loaded and is one of the most impressive up-market aluminum boats available
today. The Lund 2075 Pro-V is not cheap, and that's exactly why you need to
check it out.
Watch the video...
For Wake Dudes
Tigé Makes Big Market Share Gains
This year Tigé made a huge increase in market share. The reason for that,
we suspect, is because Tigé is building a versatile ski/wakeboard for the average
family -- AND -- has loaded the boat up with innovations the other brands don't
have. Tigé is a young (just over 20 years old), hungry company which is doing everything it can to grab customers away from the usual suspects -- and it is doing it.
take a look at the Tigé Z1 and see why it has become so popular...
Lowe Suncruiser SS 214:
Two Tubes, Hold the Complexity
The beauty of a pontoon boat is its simplicity. While some versions can be loaded with everything under the sun (that does little more than add complication and cost,)
the Lowe Suncruiser SS 214 Angler keeps it simple. With fewer accessories, there are fewer things to break. And the good news is that Lowe didn’t compromise on safety when they simplified. The tubes are 23” (58.4 cm) in diameter and contain three separate chambers. Cross members are ¾” (19 mm), and all hardware is stainless steel. Additionally, Lowe added fishing accessories to bring the package together. Best
of all, the Lowe Suncruiser SS 214 is affordable.
You can read the report here...
Wellcraft 210 Sportsman:
Trailerboat for All Seasons
We like boats that are not so specific in their purpose that they can't be used for a number of missions. That why Wellcraft calls this 21' boat the "Sportsman" -- it is designed to be used in all sorts of ways. Its open bow and windshield walk-thru means that you can use it for fishing pretty much as you would a center console or walk around. But as you can see from the tower, you can also tow a skier or wakeboarder.
Because the boat has a number of seats it is also ideal for a harbor cruise in the evening with friends to enjoy the sunset. Its 19-degree deadrise at the transom is a nice compromise between a good ride in a chop and performance.
Our video will tell you all about it...
Bass Fishing on a Budget
There are lots of bass boats around, and we doubt that one catches fish better than the others – it's the angler's skill that puts fish in the box, despite what all
the boat builders claim. We can't help you catch more fish (we have a hard time catching tuna in a can) but we can point you toward a boat that will put you on top of the bass without draining the last drop from your bank account. The Nitro Z-6 costs under $20 grand, including a trailer and Mercury OptiMax outboard. We
is a good choice for beginning boat owners, club tournament anglers or anybody wanting to chase fish on a budget. And in case you are wondering, Nitro is one of the best-selling brands on the market. If you want to learn more, click here.
Smart Boating Course
Now Available on 4 DVDs
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...
World's Best Water Hose:
Shurhold Heavy On the Boast
Manufactured with patented NTS Reflex Mesh technology to eliminate kinks, twists and tangles, Shurhold adds yet another product into the world of keeping our boats looking great. Holding true to their focus on technology and building the very best products they can, they have set the common hose squarely in their sights. Shurhold
has taken the hose and tweaked it a bit, with Grip-Tite coupling for an easy, leak free connection at the faucet. This 100% lead free hose is drinking water safe and available in three sizes of 25’, 50’ and 75’ with a diameter of 5/8''. We are not sure how to test this for you, but if it holds up half as well as the other products we have tested from Shurhold, you won’t need the lifetime guarantee they are offering on it.
Learn more here...
Only In Dreams
Picture of the Week
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
How -- and When -- to Call for Assistance
Let's face it -- calling for assistance is downright embarrassing. Most people think it's an indication that they can't handle a situation, or are afraid, or have done something stupid aboard, or don't have the rudimentary mechanical skills to solve a simple problem. We know one yachtsman who had severe engine trouble and nursed his large boat 20 miles back to the marina rather than call for a tow, and ruined his engines in the process. His repair bill was $65k. There is nothing wrong with calling for assistance and it could be your least expensive option, to say nothing of being the safest.
Here's a video explaining how to do it...
Sponsored by Sea Tow
How To Discover
When you are on plane does your bow seem too high? Is your stagnation line too far forward at max power? Is your boat lethargic out of the hole? Are you unable to reach the rated max RPMs for your engines? All of these and many more boat performance defects may well be caused by your wheels. Our first go-to place when we have questions about disappointing performance is PowerTech!. The folks there are courteous, incredibly knowledgeable, and good-humored. They've seen it all before. The best news of all
is that correcting a prop is the cheapest performance fix there is.
Watch our video of Capt. Rob and PowerTech! president Steve Powers discussing possible prop problems...
Fill out propeller worksheet
We Test Mustang's
Auto Life Vest
A major cause of boating insurance claims is the result of guests falling or inadvertently being flung overboard in high speed turns. Veteran boaters have learned over the years to stay aboard, but forget that guests do not have the same learned instincts – and the results can be tragic. Self-inflating life vests are important in case someone is knocked out in the process of going overboard. While EVERYONE ABOARD should be wearing an auto-inflating life vest, at the very least protect your guests with them.
See test of Mustang auto-inflating life vest...
Royal Purple Motor Oil
Outboard Test Results
Recently we received a letter from a reader who said he was an engineer in the oil business. He said that he was an expert and all motor oils were the same, so how could our tests of Royal Purple show that it enhanced performance? As always, we replied that we were just as skeptical of Royal Purple's claims until we started testing their oil. The test shown here was our second and the chips fell all over -- and one landed in a very unusual place. One of the major marine engine makers tells us that they have tested Royal Purple and gotten essentially the same results we have. So, go figure. Under certain circumstances, Royal Purple seems to have improved lubricity which translates into increased fuel economy and reduced motor wear.
You've never seen a test like this one...
How to find Royal Purple...
U.S. Marines Rescue
Last Thursday, Sept. 9th, the U.S. Marine Corps 15th Marine Expeditionary Unit, Maritime Raid Force, boarded the Magellan Star during a board and seizure operation in the Gulf of Aden off the Somalia coast. Marine commandos stormed the pirate-held cargo ship reclaiming control and taking nine prisoners without firing a shot in the first such boarding raid by the international anti-piracy flotilla, U.S. Navy officials said. Read all about it...
East Coast Charter Fisherman
On Sept. 3rd Capt. Thomas Henry was taking his 51' sportfishing charter boat Waterdog through the Jupiter, Florida inlet when he fell overboard from the helm on the flying bridge and died in what can only be called a freak accident. Capt. Tom had been a professional captain and avid competitor on the billfish tournament trail for 20 years and was highly respected by his peers. He was 61. At the time of the accident there was a charter party of five plus a mate aboard, but no one else was hurt.
Boat Buying Advice
Successful Boat Buying:
20 Key Questions
With so many choices it is easy to buy a boat that doesn’t quite work out. In fact, until the recent recession the average length of time a boater kept a boat before moving on to the next one was about four years. While that rapid turnover of boats is good for the boating industry, it also means that many buyers are not putting enough thought into their purchasing decisions in the first place. Buying the “right” boat -- one that you will want to keep for 10 years or so – is absolutely the best way to strike the best balance between boating enjoyment and total cost for that pleasure. Trading in a boat every 3 or 4 years until you get it right will sock you with transactional costs and depreciation losses every time you trade. Get it right in the first place and you’ll come out way ahead.
Start by answering these 20 questions about yourself...
Rescue of the Week
7 Boaters Saved Off
South Carolina Coast
A Baptist pastor and the six other members of his party were rescued 25 miles off the Charleston, S.C. coast 20 hours after their 38-footer flooded and sank up to its bow at 10 a.m. Saturday morning, Sept. 4th. Rev. Greg Owenby said the he and his crew were saved because of the good Lord, and we agree because this rescue almost didn't happen. The VHF MAYDAY transmission was stepped on so the USCG did not hear the location of the vessel. Hours of daylight searching turned up nothing and the search was called off at nightfall, then restarted later because of a phone call and a clue as to where they might be -- then the search was almost called off again because the Coast Guard chopper was running low on fuel! Talk about
a cliff-hanger! Read all about it...
BoatTEST Readers Predict Toon Boom
According to a recent article about boat sales in the boating industry trade magazine Soundings Trade Only, "The pontoon segment was the shining light in June." This phenomena was predicted by BoatTEST.com readers all spring long. Queries on BoatTEST.com under the scroll-down "Type" in the boat test search engine increased 34% -- the largest for all types of boats -- January through May of 2010 compared to 2009. BoatTEST.com currently has tests and videos of about 82 pontoon boats from 19 different companies spanning the range from 18' to 31'. Christopher Hughes, BoatTEST.com's COO said, "Because we have such a large body of boat content(reviews and tests of
over 1,500 boats), buyers naturally come to us before making a purchasing decision. Because of the large jump in queries for the generic type in the spring we knew that pontoon sales would lead all other categories this summer in sales, which has proved true." BoatTEST.com has the greatest number of people visiting its web pages looking for information on new powerboats of any website on the Internet.
Lesson of the Week
Rules Pertaining to
Different Types of Vessels
This week Capt. Steve covers basic rules of the road in these ten new lessons and guidelines on: different categories of boats and who must keep out of the way; restrictions on working vessels, fishing vessels and all other vessels which may not be able to maneuver because the nature of their work; sea planes; and why one should never anchor in the middle of a channel. These are basic rules 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 --
Ducky Award Winner
"Steer for a second honey, I need to use the head." - R. Popkave
"Gotta love those auto pilots!" - M. Pratt
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"This will be hilarious! Watch me spray this guy!" - R. Grant
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 you think needs some explanation, send it to: firstname.lastname@example.org.
(Please -- no Photoshop!)