The New Cruisers Yachts
Rough Water Is Her Game!
On a gray, overcast day last month while storms were marching through Minnesota and Wisconsin we tested Cruisers Yachts' new 48 Cantius in Green Bay, an arm of Lake Michigan. It was far too rough to get fair performance numbers and very difficult even to get video steady enough to watch. But what we did get was a good feel for how hull #1 of this 48-foot boat handled herself in snotty conditions. In the process we also gained new respect for some of the advantages of Volvo Penta IPS pod drives and what they can do that those little appendages called rudders cannot.
If you can't make it to the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show (which starts tomorrow) then tune
into our newest video shot aboard her. Strap yourself in here...
Bayliner 180 OB:
Viva la Simple Life
Boating is supposed to be a fun pastime, so when your ship finally comes in, you
may not be the type of person who wants the challenges of a large, complicated boat
while you’re trying to unwind. Sometimes, “keep it simple stupid” (KISS) is a much
better mantra for some people when getting on the water – and there is nothing wrong
with that! Probably the best example of the simple boating lifestyle is the Bayliner
180 OB. It’s easy to operate, easy to maintain, and easy to store. About the only
maintenance items you’ll need are a can of boat polish and a rag. We recently sent
Capt. Steve to put the 180 OB to a full test and let us know what he thought. You
can read his full report and see the test video here...
New Test Video
New Yamaha VXS:
Performance & Test
When we asked Yamaha what their criteria were when they designed the VXS they told us this: To bring to the market a high performance watercraft that was economical, no-frills, but powerful and fun. With this in mind we set out to test the new VXS and see how they did. With an MSRP of $10,899 it is priced well under many
PWCs and includes a 1812CC four-stroke, four-cylinder marine engine in a nimble lightweight package.
Climb aboard with us as we take the VXS out for a test ride...
Seaswirl 2105 CC:
For Both Family and Friends
Striper made the 2105 CC as an offshore fishing boat that’s also designed to keep the family happy. We’re not sure what it takes to make a center console family friendly, but it probably starts and ends with a head in the console and bow cushions. There really isn’t much more that can be done with a center console. As for the fishermen, that’s another story. For them, we found the 2105 CC to be a virtual blank canvas, waiting to be painted with the options that are specific to the mission intended, whether it is trolling, casting, jigging, or any combination. For those folks, the message is clear. The 2105 CC is ready to deliver. But all that is just talk if the boat doesn’t handle well, so to make that determination, we put it through a full test.
New Test Video
Larson LX 850:
52.7 MPH with a 4.3L MPI
There’s not a lot that you can do with the layout of a bowrider. At least that’s what we thought until we saw the Larson LX 850. By adding in some clever features to an otherwise normal layout, Larson created a bowrider that had us taking a second look. Combined with her good looks, great handling, and WOT speed, this is a boat that deserves a much closer inspection. And what better way to do that than to put her through a full test.
The test video is ready to roll...
The Lower Unit
MerCruiser Bravo III Outdrive:
Beef, Thrust, and Corrosion Resistant
Counter-rotating props are only the beginning of the story of MerCruiser’s highly successful Bravo III drive. This ruggedly constructed lower unit is designed to harness up to 525 horses and keep on ticking through rough, high-speed offshore abuse. It also has a 3-year limited corrosion warranty.
See Capt. Smith’s video review...
Glastron DX 215 Deckboat:
An Affordable Watersports Platform
Glastron’s DX 215 is another deckboat that’s designed to take the qualities of a pontoon boat and match them to a sport monohull. This means that now you can take your friends (probably all of them) on the water in style. But Glastron is also known for keeping the prices of their boats at a reasonable level. We’re wondering if that means that they’ve compromised on a few key ingredients in the build, layout
and equipment. To find out, we did a full performance evaluation and walkthrough to see if the DX 215 is a good deal, or a good deal less.
Take a look at our full test video and read the full captain’s report to see what we found.
Bennington 2574 RLi:
Waterfront Luxury for a Toon
The 2574 RLi is part of the luxury line-up that Bennington offers. With four entry
points, plush seating, and a raised helm, this is not only a comfortable boat, but
the possibilities for customizing her to fit your needs are vast. A long list of
options ranging from simple decking and stereo decisions leads into the more versatile
amenities such as chaise lounges, galley choices, storage, and entertainment centers.
The result is a pontoon boat that has been adapted and built to your specifications
and needs, rather than having you adapt to the boat. With that said, it all starts
with the boat. Today, we take you on a video tour of the 2574 RLi. What you add is up to you...
Sea-Doo RXT-X 260:
Bringing Muscle to the Water
Muscle cars have their place in the world, and so do muscle-bound watercraft. The
Sea-Doo RXT-X 260 is, quite simply, a power shot of adrenaline that’s sure to get
your heart pounding. With its proprietary features like intelligent brake and reverse,
X-Steering, and iControl, your need for speed will be met with confidence in her
controllability. Check out this video here...
Tahoe 215 CC OB:
The World's First Center Console Deckboat!
We like innovation and out of the box design thinking. Well, here it is, folks:
The world's first fish & ski deckboat with center console, outboard and livewell.
The Tahoe 215 CC OB is designed for a family whose boating spans the gamut of activities, and whose adventures unfold on fairly sheltered waters. The 215 CC
OB is a floating multi-tool vessel, combining the qualities and equipment of a bass boat – pedestal seats, rod holders, livewell and tackle trays -- with those of a typical deckboat – ski stowage, removable tow pylon, lots of seating, boarding ladders fore and aft. The MSRP with a 150-hp Mercury OptiMax is $29,995.
For more on this multi-purpose deckboat (or is it a fishing boat?)...
Larson Uses VEC Technology
To Increase Precision Building
Larson Boats uses the most state-of-the-art hull manufacturing process on the planet.
It is called VEC, and it goes way beyond the vacumm resin-infusion process used
by many builders of large boats. We visited the Larson factory, where the
company has built over 85,000 boats using VEC Technology, to see the process in action. One of the first things we learned was that this process is continually evolving, which is having a positive impact on the boaters who are buying them.
Trophy 2206 DC:
A Family Bowrider/Fishboat
There is probably no boat type that is more versatile or more at home in any boating
setting than a dual console fishing boat. The salty anglers will accept you, and
the sportboat crowd will wonder what you know that they don’t. Trophy has
the philosophy of giving
lots of value and utility for the buck. And, they
are rugged. When we were in Alaska and British Columbia this summer we saw
dozens of them. It seems to us that the 2206 DC does an excellent job of being a successful crossover between family bowrider
and basic fishing platform – all at an affordable price! The Trophy 2206 DC does
not have all of the esoteric gadgets and gilhickies of flat-out fishing machines,
but she doesn’t have the price tag either. In fact, her MSRP with a 200-hp Mercury
Optimax engine is just $43,540. Capt. Steve steps aboard and shows us what you get for your money...
The New Axis A22:
Wakeboat for the Times
For too long, ski and wakeboat builders have clung to the notion that their boats
can be expensive, and enough people will pay the price to make it a good business.
Indeed, for decades, ten to twelve thousand people a year paid a hefty premium to
own an inboard-powered, specially designed and superbly built skiboat from one of
five or six builders in class. Well, the folks at Malibu, a longtime builder of
performance ski and wakeboats, have introduced a price-point wakeboat that is not
only affordable, but capable of holding her own in the competitive wakeboat realm.
The result is an entirely new company called Axis Wake Research, and its first launch
was the Axis A22. She is not a dual-purpose boat, but a wake-only tow boat. Capt. Steve gives a tour...
Chris-Craft Silver Bullet:
Coolest 20-Footer on the Lake
Only 150 of these special, silver 20’ runabouts will be built, say the folks in Sarasota. The MSRP price tag is $75,688, base, with a 270-hp stern drive engine. She’s just for a select few – people who are not only connoisseurs of classic runabouts and can appreciate the painstaking coachwork that has gone into this sculpture on water, but also people who can afford to put their artwork in the water and not worry if it gets wet. The 20’ Chris-Craft Silver Bullet is a special boat for special places, owned by special people.
To find out more about this Limited Edition boat, and if you qualify...
New Crownline 270 BR:
Design Flare and Utility
If you have been wondering about Crownline Boats, which is under new ownership --
it still has its long-time management team and it is doing fine, given the times. In late summer the new company launched its 1,000th boat since its start-up in the fall of 2009, from its Frankfort, Illinois plant. Frankfort is a small town that relies heavily on the fortunes of Crownline so the building of its boats is very much a community affair. The company plans on introducing four new boats before the end of the year.
Crownline’s 270 BR is designed to hold a lot of people.
Its walk-through to the
bow is as large as we’ve seen on any bowrider. The boat
is suitable for skiing, tubing, and wakeboarding, or just hanging out and swimming.
With a 300-hp 350 Mag single engine the boat has an MSRP in the low $80s. Capt. Steve takes us on a video tour...
MasterCraft CSX 265 SS:
A New Category of Boat
Introduced several years ago with much fanfare, somehow the MasterCraft CSX models -- which stands for “Cross Sport Xtreme” – have gotten lost in the last year or so with the general turmoil caused by the Great Recession in the industry.
The introduction of the CSX concept was a bold stroke in an industry not known for startling innovation. By taking the best elements from a number of different and popular categories of boats, MasterCraft created what is – to our mind – a completely new species of boat. It is one designed for the new generation of young people – people who want to stay physically fit, are not bound by the pigeon-holing constraints of their parents in any one sport, and who want to enjoy it all. By keying on the three healthiest aspects of boating – fishing, wakeboarding and scuba diving – the CSX could appeal to families who boat as a lifestyle rather than a hobby.
To illustrate what we mean, Capt. John takes us on a video tour --
Read Capt. John Wenz’s full captain’s report and boat test --
We Test the Evinrude
E-TEC 250 H.O.
The Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. got its H.O. designation for being "high output." We thought that may have been just talk, but our tests show differently: the 'Rude 250 H.O. definitely walks the talk. We ran it on the back of an Action Marine 23 Offshore, and we were impressed during the test. This is one engine you need to check out.
Full report with a fill-in on what "H.O." brings to the party...
What Happens After You Call For
Assistance On the Water
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 just to 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...
Single-Engine Docking Made Simple
One of the most popular test videos we have broadcast over the last few months is
the one of Capt. Steve demonstrating how easy it was for him to dock the single-engine
Bayliner 285. Reader mail has asked that we show it again, so here it is. Just after Capt. Steve made this video he called the BoatTEST.com headquarters in Stamford, CT, to say that this boat was so easy to handle at the dock he could "make it deal cards." We didn't quite know what he meant until we saw the video.
If you've ever wondered what that is like, take five...
Do Your Props Have the Right Cup, Rake, Slip, Pitch & Hub?
The more we research some subjects the more we discover that some of the assumptions we have operated on for years are not correct. There is probably no field in the boating world that is more of a black art, or where there is more misinformation,
than in re-propping. But getting the right prop is not really a matter of Voodoo. It's more a matter of finding out there is a prop problem in the first place, then finding an expert you can trust who can recommend what you need. We hit the important basics and examine some alternatives in this short report on prop basics.
Cut to the chase...
Fill out this simple worksheet to find out what prop is right for you...
Pro Polish from Shurhold
When the team at Shurhold told us that their Pro Polish was “Better than an old fashioned wax” and one of the reasons was that it was a
“polymer based formula with cosmetic grade ingredients,” we just had to send it to our skunk works for testing. The results: when applying you could see swirl marks and water spots disappear, and when buffed off, the resulting finish looked just as advertised, a nice deep luster with a showroom shine. But that was not enough, so after a week of use and four washings, with only drying the surface, we took a picture. We’d say this passed the test.
Get complete product information here...
Use Coupon Code # btp and receive 10% off when you order Pro Polish.
Special 20% Discount
BoatTEST.com's Smart Boating
Makes a Perfect Holiday Gift!
For much of the world December is the season for gift giving, so BoatTEST.com is offering you a 20% discount on our acclaimed boat handling, piloting and seamanship course that comes on 4 DVDs. Approved by the USCG and recommended by the NMMA, BoatTEST.com's Smart Boating Course narrated by Capt. Steve regularly sells for $79.95 plus P&H. Now you can order it for just $63.95 plus P&H -- a $16 discount!
ATTENTION INTERNATIONAL MEMBERS -- Order now to be sure your copy arrives in time for the holiday season. (Tempus Fugit!)
Only In Dreams
Picture of the Week
Each week we receive photos of our members enjoying their boats all over the world -- from the Kimberley on Australia's remote and rugged northwest coast to Uganda's Lake Victoria. Our readers love seeing them all, in the process discovering not only new places, but also boat builders they (and we) have never heard of. This week we received some pictures from a BoatTEST.com member about as far removed from the normal boating scene as one can get. Clue: they have one of the shortest boating seasons on planet Earth.
To find out where and when...
"Why I Bought A
Four Winns H210"
Each week we receive mail from our members from around the world telling us about the new and used boats they have just bought. We appreciate these letters as they help us keep our finger on the pulse of actual boat buyers so that we can anticipate changes in consumer sentiment. Last week we received a particularly informative letter from a member who had replaced his old 21' bowrider with a brand new 21' bowrider of a different brand. This is a bit unusual because boaters usually move up or down in size when buying a new boat -- but Scott Lenzmeier and his family decided for them it was better to upgrade the quality, power, utility and functionality of a 21' boat rather than go up in size. Find out their reasons...
Angler Loses $1.4 Million
By 9 Minutes!
It took only one day -- including nine minutes of sheer angst -- for the world's richest marlin-fishing competition to produce Hollywood-style drama and extreme disappointment. Eight large marlin were weighed last Wednesday, for considerable riches, during the first day of the three-day Bisbee's Black & Blue jackpot tournament off Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. The big one didn't get away, but the prize money did.
At the end of the three-day tournament "C-Bandit" was the top prize winner, pocketing
$614,613 for a 549 lb. (249.5 kg.) black marlin. The team aboard "Dream Weaver"
won a total of $440,238 and caught a 484-lb. (220 kg) black marlin.
Begins at MasterCraft Plant
Early this year MasterCraft purchased Hydra-Sports and it just announced that the line's transition to MasterCraft's modern building facility in Vonore, Tenn., is complete. Given the fact that Hydra-Sports has 16 boats in its product line, with scores of individual molds, that has been a tremendous accomplishment. MasterCraft is not only one of the leading ski/wake boat builders in the world, but also one of the most quality-oriented small boat builders. Company president and CEO John Dorton said, "...we have identified and implemented many improvements that strengthen both the quality and functionality our owners are looking for." The company is now in the hunt for new dealers both in the U.S. and all over the world.
Readers Boat Buying
Some of this week's questions were --
Bass boats for fishing in the Gulf of Mexico?
From a pontoon to a Bryant sportboat, info please.
Which open fishing boat for Caribbean waters?
Why so many videos on new Doral boats?
To see our answers to these reader letters...
Arrest of the Week
2 Boat Brokers
Jailed in Florida
Since boat sales are booming in Australia, why not sell American boats there? And, hey, if the boats are stolen, they can be sold cheap to the Aussies, rendering a high margin for the perps, and it's a win-win for everyone, right? Maybe not. Mark A. Conner and Lawrence P. Plumstead might be reconsidering their international boat sales scheme after being arrested last week. Conner is said to be the owner of Suncoast
Marine at 8290 Bay Pines Blvd., St. Petersburg, FL., which on his website in the "Boats for Sale" section promotes "24 Hour Video Surveillance," and brags about "advertising worldwide!" Read more...
Trusty British Dog Swims With Friendly Dolphin
Our old friend and long-time BoatTEST.com member Bill Noble has gotten back home from a long summer of cruising his 42' Downeaster in New England and has sent a lovely video to us to share with the rest of our members. The video records an everyday occurrence that evidently takes place near a hotel in the U.K. Mr. Noble has edited out any commercial reference to the hostelry, so we can't tell you where to see this match-up in person. Perhaps some of our U.K. readers will let us know. We used to pay Noble an honorarium in Coors Light for published submissions, but that will have to wait until we find out where this watery spectacle takes place. Watch the video...
Engine Buying Tips:
Match the Horsepower to the Mission
The engine is the most important and most costly component in your boat. To a large extent, as the engine goes, so goes your boating experience. Making a mistake on your powering package -- either under-powering or over-powering -- can be costly. Here we present Installment #7 from Martha Comfort’s Boat-Buying Handbook.
This week we cover RIBs, aluminum boats, bass boats, bay boats, sportboats, ski-wake
boats, center console boats, and pontoon boats.
Get in gear here...
Lesson of the Week
Distress Signal Requirements
This week we’ll go over seven lessons and guidelines on distress signal requirements. If your boat doesn’t have a built-in horn make sure you have a handheld air horn. You are required to carry a sound device such as a horn or whistle, at all times. Boaters are required to have a minimum of three day flares, which emit an orange smoke, and a minimum of three night flares, which emit a red light. These flares need to be Coast Guard approved and readily accessible, and like any other device aboard they must be inspected to make sure the expiration date is still valid. Even if you have flares aboard, but they are expired, you will be in violation of Coast Guard requirements. Capt. Steve will also go over what vessels are not required to carry any day signals. 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 past lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Happens every time he kicks Muffin off the couch and passes out -- she pees on his head and he thinks its boat spray."
- R. Davis
“He keeps smiling like that and mumbling something about ‘horse power’ and ‘knots’...it's just gross.” - J. Algarin
Honorable (almost) Mentions
“I know he must be dreaming about food, he's mumbling something about pickles and forks..." – L. Ladd
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Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.
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