Fire (i.e., "Buy"), Ready, Aim, Research
Each week we correspond with dozens of BoatTEST.com members who are planning to buy their next boat, or first boat, and we are constantly struck by how wide of the mark many new boat buyers are. By that we mean when pressed many buyers really have one mission in their subconscious minds, but are consciously considering a boat that won't come remotely close to fulfilling the assignment. As it turns out, this is not an unusual phenomenon: Real estate brokers tell us that home buyers do the same thing -- which is to say, fall in love with houses that are not really practical for their family or bank account.
Since boats are usually the second most expensive thing that most people buy, after their house, buying the wrong boat can be just as expensive as buying the wrong house. We know from experience that the picture above will have most boatmen drooling over it -- but what would one do with it, and how, where and why would anyone use it? This week we offer you six tips on how to make sure your next boat does what you want it to do -- even though you might not be aware of it now. Take a seat on our couch...
Bayliner 175 BR:
Boating Just Got a Whole Lot Easier
Bayliner claims that the 175 BR is their hottest selling boat. We had no reason
to doubt them, but considering the quality of Bayliners lately, we could see why. After looking
her over, we found little that we didn’t like about this fun runabout. Bayliner
also wants us to believe they’ve
come of age in designing boats able to squeeze more performance out of less horsepower. To that we say
“really?” We can’t prove that by just looking her over, so we put the 175 BR through a
full test to see just how she performs. And since we were taught to share, our test video is ready to roll...
Chaparral 284 Sunesta:
New Test Video of the Flagship Sport Deck
Combine a performance hull with a roomy interior, a boatload of standard features
and stunning good looks and what do you get? In Chaparral’s world, you get the 284 Sunesta. We previously reported on the features of this eye-catching day boat, and now the full test video has worked its way through the editing process and is ready for viewing. We were impressed when we first took a look at this boat, and after operating it, our opinion only went up. No it’s not for everyone, which makes owning one that much more attractive. Let’s take a look and see how she performs.
MJM 29z Downeast:
Light, Fast, Frugal and Green
The MJM 29z Downeast looks like a sedan but is built like a racer, using high-spec materials and meticulous lamination techniques to create a boat that's light, fast and fuel-efficient. Designed by Doug Zurn and built by Boston BoatWorks for MJM Yachts, the 32' 5" (9.88 m) LOA 29z should appeal both to long-time powerboaters tired of high fuel bills and to folks switching from sail to power – not surprising, since one of the company’s founding fathers is Bob Johnstone, the eminence grise of J Boats, maybe the world's most successful racing production sailboat builder. With minimal accommodations, the 29z Downeast is more of a dayboat and overnighter than a cruiser, but let's be honest: That's how most of us use our boats. Single diesel power keeps maintenance and operating costs low.
Find out what else goes into this atypical powerboat...
Yamaha AR240 High Output:
Can You Say “Watersports?”
Yamaha has recently added more power to their popular watersports boat and appropriately renamed it “high output.” If the package weren’t popular enough, it’s now even more of a serious fun-on-the-water machine that should leave little to be desired. As far as options go, there aren’t any: This boat comes to you fully equipped and loaded for bear. Let’s take a look at the test video and see how this boat handles with more power, and see if the jet drives are as full of get up and go as their propeller spinning counterparts.
Time to get wet...
Parti Kraft Celebration 250 Parti Deck:
All You Need Is Food and Drink
Parti Kraft pontoons are made by the Godfrey Boat Company, which has been building toons since 1958. This company tells us that they pioneered the concept of aluminum pontoons, and now offers a choice of four different series; one of them is Parti Kraft. Her
builder said that the Celebration 250 Parti Deck is designed to be an on-the-water fun fest loaded with luxury features that will have your guests overstaying their welcome.
Let’s take a closer look at the Celebration 250 Parti Deck and see how they’ve done.
Glastron GT 180:
Entry Level Bowrider with Appeal
Our test of the GT 180 aired recently, and showed that this starter package is not only a docile handling boat, but a respectable performer as well. But looking at the video will not help you determine if the boat is comfortable, or if she will fit your needs. For that you have to get onboard and look at the details, and some of the more pertinent options. So today, we take a closer look at the Glastron GT 180 with an eye towards usability and functionality, and we’ll see if she feels as good as she handles.
Seaswirl Striper 1905 CC:
New Take on Form Following Function
Our first look at the Striper 1905 CC by Seaswirl showed some departures from what we normally see coming out of the company’s Little Falls plant. Gone were the hard lines and sharp edges, replaced with rounded gunwales and sleek curves. We also found her to be a very nice handling boat in our full test. Now, we take a closer look at how they’ve kept the fishing functionality in the package, and find out
if this good looking boat can pass muster when the fish start running.
Larson LX 620 O/B:
Larson’s Entry Level Is Full of Choices
When we tested the LX 620 O/B, it was easy to see how this boat would be a treat for a family with kids yearning for the keys. It’s a simple boat with simple systems,
and that makes a combination that keeps boating fun. Another feature that we liked, however, was the ability to add options that can truly make the LX 620 your own. Let’s take a look at the layout and some of the available choices and see how Larson allows you to dial in your boat your way.
Pro-Line 23 Bay:
Skinny Water Special
When the fish start running into shallow water, it doesn’t necessarily mean the end of the day. With the Pro-Line 23 Bay, it means it’s just starting. This boat not only has the shallow draft needed to cruise the shoals and bars, but with a max 300-hp you’ll probably get there ahead of the other guys. In addition, we found her to be well-equipped, with a no-frills basic setup that keeps the price down. And with a long list of options, you can truly customize your 23 Bay to suit your type of fishing, even if it keeps changing.
Let’s explore the 23 Bay and discover how we can now fish the shallows without getting in over our heads...
Yamaha FX HO:
A Mid-Level Package of Can Do
Yamaha bills their FX lineup as "mid-level," and that probably has a lot to do with how well these models sell. With four models in the FX series, the HO is in the starting segment, next to the Cruiser HO. It’s the perfect recipe when you want to spend a little more to get a lot more, but aren’t necessarily heading off to the races. We tested this model and found acceleration, top speed and economy to be right in the sweet spot that gives bragging rights without breaking the bank. Today, we offer a look at both the performance and features of this popular Waverunner,
that only Yamaha seems content to call “mid-level.”
Cuddy For the Rhine
European boaters looking for a slick cuddy should include Europe Marine's Viper V203 on their short list. At 6.25 m (20' 6") overall, the V203 combines German quality with an attractive starting price and a long list of accessories and optional power, including several diesels. Her builder, Europe Marine, has been in the boating business since 1988, and not only builds Vipers from 5.38m (17' 8") to 9.80 m (32' 2") but also imports Four Winns, Glastron, Rinker, Monterey and Quicksilver boats; runs its own dealership, with a 2,000 sq. m. (21,500 sq. ft.) showroom; operates a 30-boat marina on the Rhine River; and provides winter storage and full marine services in a 3,000 sq. m. (32,300 sq. ft.) facility. You can buy your Viper and have all your boating needs met without ever leaving Europe Marine.
For more about this cuddy from the Germany...
Smoker Craft 182 Pro Mag:
Good Value in a Family Fishboat
Smoker Craft's 182 Pro Mag is designed for serious fishermen. The 18' 2" (5.54 m) LOA x 8'0" (2.44 m) beam Pro Mag has aerated livewells fore and aft; in-deck and under-gunwale rod stowage; a walk-through windshield that makes it easy to step onto the large casting platform forward; reinforced gunwales for mounting downriggers; hydraulic steering for precise control of the 150-hp outboard that's the most popular power option. In short, she's a fishing fanatic's dreamboat. But add a couple of options and the 182 Pro Mag can double as a family boat, too.
To find out what they are...
in Two Versions
Yamaha is offering two new four-strokes that we want you to take a look at; the F25 and the “High Thrust” T25. Yamaha tells us these engines were created to target the aluminum fishing boat customer, as well as the inflatable and small pontoon boat user. They are built with a new cylinder block and head, as well as a streamlined engine cowling. To see how they perform, we sent our COO, Christopher Hughes, down to Georgia to put both motors through their paces and bring the results to you in this video.
Check out how they performed...
Formula 240 Bowrider Sport:
If you are a connoisseur of sportboats, chances are Formula heads your list of dreamboats.
The Formula 240 Bowrider Sport comes equipped with just about everything you need
to start a summer of boating fun. If you want to use the boat in saltwater we would
recommend the freshwater engine flush option ($460), otherwise you are good to go.
Standard power on this 5,000-lb. (2268 kg.) 240 is either a MerCruiser 5.0 L MPI
Bravo III or a Volvo Penta 5.0 L GXiC DP, rated at 260-hp and 270-hp, respectively.
The MSRP price of the Formula 240 is $86,200 with the MerCruiser. To find out more...
We Test the First Ever
Sea Tow Towboat
Once upon a time, the U.S. Coast Guard came to the assistance of yachtsmen in any manner of distress. Then, in the early 1980s, the Federal Government decided that rich boaters could take care of themselves and the USCG would only respond if life was in danger. It wasn't long before a guy named Joe started towing in stranded boaters. Then a light bulb went on, and Joe set out to get a bank loan, buy a boat and start his own towing company. But the banks laughed and sent him packing. Today, Joe is not necessarily laughing back, but certainly smiling as his Sea Tow franchise has over 121 locations and is growing stronger every year. And that first boat??? Still plying the waters of Long Island Sound, actually. It’s quite a bit different from your boat, and that had us wondering, what makes a tow-boat and how does this first one perform? To find out we put it through a full test and checked out the features of Sea Tow One.
Brought to you by Sea Tow
Handle & Brushes
The team at BoatTEST.com has rolled up their sleeves and got to work. We took Shurhold’s Telescoping Handle and brushes out to the dock and did some cleaning. The six foot Telescoping Handle was very adaptable with four different lengths between 40” and 72”. We were able to clean the deck and then the hull with the same handle. Next we did a comparison test with the Shurhold Deck Brush, one that BoatTEST.com has been using for two years. The polystyrene bristles were all still intact and the split fiber ends were still soft. Other than some dirt, the wooden block was not cracked and the rubber bumper was still resilient. Take a look at the video to see the Telescoping Handle and brushes in action.
Captain Steve's First Ever
Docks come in all shapes and sizes and you can find them made out out everything from concrete to pressure-treated lumber to aluminum ladders and plywood. At BoatTEST we have seen it all when it comes to docks, so we though it was time to start taking a closer look, branch out a bit and show our members what's out there.
Come along at Capt. Steve conducts his first ever, Dock Test.
Special 20% Discount
Yes! You Can Be a Better Boater!
We would all like to be better boaters and wish we knew more of the basics, and
not so basics. With the BoatTEST.com DVD boating course our own Captain Steve will
walk you through everything from boat handling to navigation to safety. First time
boaters have told us this course was the “best way to learn proper boating” and
experienced boaters have told us they “learned many new things” that will help them
become even better boaters. It really is one of the best and most informative boating
courses around, easy to use and best of all, easy to retain the information. This
course is approved by the USCG and is even recommended by the NMMA! Order today!
Order your copy here...
Regularly it sells for $79.95 plus P&H. Now you can order it for just $63.95
plus P&H -- a $16 discount.
Where in the World
Picture of the Week
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Cayago SEABOB: Underwater Scooter
Under the heading "cool toys for big boys," comes the SOTA SEABOB by Cayago, which is undoubtedly the Mercedes of underwater scooters. Its battery is based on the same technology that is used in earth satellites and is said to last 18 years. Its charge will last from 1 hour to 2 hours 30 minutes, depending on how fast you run it. It is ideal for getting from shore out to some coral heads in a hurry and has lots of other applications for both work and play. Made in Stuttgart, Germany, the home of Porsche, this high-performance underwater scooter has a high-torque electric motor powering a water jet, and it is so fast your only problem will be hanging on.
Capt. Steve discovered the SEABOB at a boat show and says he can’t wait to use one...
Sentence of the Week
50 Months in the Slam
For Boat Sinking
If you have ever thought about sinking your boat, you may want to read this story. The wheels of Justice grind slowly, but at least in this case they finally caught up with a boater who was evidently somehow complicit in the 2007 sinking of his vessel. Goodness knows why he would want to do such a dastardly thing. He was convicted by a federal jury last year of violating the Clean Water Act and failing to mark a hazard to navigation. While he was acquitted on the charge that he allegedly willfully caused the sinking of his boat, it seems that the judge threw the book at him for other charges that did stick at his sentencing last Wednesday.
If only Perry Mason were still around...
Rescue of the Week
3 Men Rescued
After 18 Hours In Gulf
A disabled 23' fiberglass outboard-powered express fishboat that was taking on water eventually succumbed to a wave over the stern and capsized on November 12th, 20 miles west of Clearwater, Florida. While the boat was filling with water the boat's three occupants had time to don their life jackets, discover their VHF radio wasn't working and try to use their out-of-date rescue flares only to find that they wouldn't work either, according to published reports. Thankfully, the son-in-law of the skipper knew the float plan and called the USCG when the fishermen did not return by 7:30 pm.
Find out more about this capsize and rescue...
Local news video...
Fickle Finger of Fate
Lack of $15 License
Costs Team $1 Million
It all happened last June 14th during the 52nd Annual Big Blue Rock Fishing Tournament off North Carolina, but earlier this month a judge found the mate aboard the vessel that caught the biggest marlin in the tournament guilty of fishing without a license. Peter Martin Wann was ordered to pay $133 in court costs and received a suspended 10-day prison sentence. Wann failed to pass a lie detector test at the tournament and officials discovered that he bought his license after the fish had been caught. That tardy license cost his mates about $1.2 million. Some captains grumbled at the committee’s decision to disqualify the boat that caught the 883-lb. blue marlin, and reportedly a civil suit is being filed. Read more...
Lesson of the Week
How to Anchor Your Boat
This week Capt. Steve will go over nine new lessons and guidelines on the different
types of anchors and anchoring procedures. Learn about the criteria when selecting
a good spot to anchor, how to correctly set an anchor and the step-by-step process
to ensure the anchor is secured to the bottom. Anchoring your boat in a secluded
spot for the day or just off the shoreline is a lot of fun, and more boaters should
experience the freedom of being on the hook rather than tied up dockside. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos
presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course
which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
To order all lessons --
Ducky Award Winner
"Looks like the salesman was right --babe magnet." - G. Winn
"Whatta mean we're too different? You like boating, I like boating..." - J. Algarin
Honorable (almost) Mentions
"Does it come with warp drive?" - P. Scott
"Hi sailor, new in town?" - R Davis
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