New Hydra-Sports 3400//11 Tests & Reviews//How to Trim - 12/01/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter December 1, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Hydra-Sports 3400 CC
- Cruisers Yachts 520
- Princess 85 Motor Yacht
- Absolute 42 Hard Top
- Intrepid 350 CC
- Meridian 441
- Sunseeker Manhattan 70
- Regal 42
- Luhrs 35 Convertible
- Grady-White Canyon 366
- Carolina Classic 32
- ZF Joystick
- Boats Trimming Themselves?
- Boat Pricing May Be Readjusting
- MarineMax Posts A Profit for F2010
- Royal Purple Motor Oil
- Donzi and Pro-Line
- Drunk Ship CaptGets Slammer Time
- Who Said “Sailing is Silly”?
- Solar-Powered Boat Arrives in Miami
- Caravelle Boat Company Has New Owners
- How to Find The Best Boat Trim
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC
One Very Cool Hot Boat

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC
The Hydra-Sports 3400 CC has a LOA of 33'5” (10.18 m), a beam of 10'4” (3.14 m) and draws just 23” (.58 m) of water. Our test boat was powered by triple V6 300-hp four-strokes.

The Hydra-Sports 3400 CC is certainly a boat you could fall in love with at first sight. We sure did. She has a soft gentle curve to the sheer line that is offset by the rakish angle of the powder-coated tower, and together the combination is nothing short of gorgeous. And for someone who is sick and tired of nothing but white, the red hull was a very welcome sight indeed. It seems the first impression is contagious, for when this boat was shown at the Ft. Lauderdale Show she was scooped up on the spot, and her new owner sat vigil throughout to make sure his precious new boat wouldn’t fall victim to the uncaring coming aboard to gawk. We can’t say we blame him, but we still need to dig a little deeper than looks, so we proceeded to do what we do: Put this beauty through a full test. The video is ready to roll, so let’s take a look at how Hydra-Sports has done. Full test video is here...

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New Video

Cruisers Yachts 520:
New Features Video

Cruisers Yachts 520
The 520 Sports Coupe only comes powered by Volvo Penta IPS pod drives.

When you think of a world-class long-distance cruising yacht, you may not at first think of an express cruiser. But the Cruisers Yachts 520 Sports Coupe is an example of the new breed of large express cruisers that have been introduced in Europe and the U.S. by a couple of builders. The 520 is an outstanding example of that type built in America. Designed with open spaces and different venues for entertaining large groups of friends, Cruisers 520 is well-executed. When it comes to performance, we tested this model with triple Volvo Penta IPS diesels and she felt like an open sport boat at the wheel. She weighs in at about 42,000 lbs and has a 15’6” beam. We found top speeds in the low 40’s and cruising speeds in the low 30’s. More...

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Captain's Report

Princess 85 Motor Yacht:
The Royal Family Grows by One

Princess 85 Motor Yacht
The Princess 85 Motor Yacht rides on a deep-V hull that gives her excellent seakeeping and handling qualities, says her builder. Propeller tunnels reduce draft, opening more cruising grounds to skippers willing to venture into thin water. Standard power is a pair of 1,825-hp Caterpillar C32A diesels, which, according to Princess, push her to 26+ knots.

Princess Yachts made a splash with their sleek-styled 95 Motor Yacht, and now the company has launched a smaller cousin, the 85 Motor Yacht. She shares the same angular,  exterior styling with the larger boat, but like all Princesses is built to heart-of-oak standards. At 84' 3" (25.68 m) overall, she's big enough to cruise virtually anywhere, but small enough to fit in any marina the owner of a yacht like this will want to go. She will sleep eight in four cabins, with a nice mix of double and single berths, so any assortment of guests can be accommodated. A pair of Caterpillar C32As will produce speeds in the high-20-knots, and long range when throttled back. In short, the Princess 85 MY might be exactly the right-sized yacht. To learn more, follow us to our Captain's Report.

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Captain's Report

Absolute 42 Hard Top:
A Med Express by Italy's Newest Boatbuilder

The Absolute 42 Hard Top is classic Med-style yacht, with lots of places to enjoy the sun: Not only is there a sunpad (required in a boat of this type), but also wraparound seating on the aft deck and a spacious swim platform. Absolute powers the 42 with Volvo Penta diesels, either IPS or Duoprop sterndrives.

Many long-established yacht builders are struggling to stay afloat, but Absolute, a young Italian boatbuilder, seems to be thriving: The company has just launched another sexy sport yacht, the Absolute 42 Hard Top. Joining a fleet that ranges from 40 to 70 feet, the 44-foot (13.4 m) LOA 42HT is a boat to consider if you're looking to jump into the world of Med-style yachting. Like so many first-class Italians, she combines a sleek exterior with tasteful minimalist decor belowdecks (why are the Italians so good at this?) to create an inviting yacht for high-profile dayboating or short-range cruising. She sleeps four in two cabins, both with heads; has a small galley adequate for preparing lunch or casual dinners; and lots of room on deck for sunning, swimming or just sitting and talking around the cockpit table. Jump in to learn more about this interesting yacht.

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Intrepid 350 CC:
Sex Appeal Meets Innovation

The Intrepid 350 Center Console has an LOA of 34’8' (10.56m), a beam of 10' 6” (3.2 m), and a fuel capacity of 251 gallons (950L).

After the 200-something foot luxury yacht tied up to the dock, a large section of the starboard side opened up and revealed... an Intrepid Center Console. Now why would this owner, who can clearly afford any boat he desires, choose an Intrepid as his yacht’s tender? As it turns out, with very good reason. Intrepids have a long history of bringing more to the table, including luxury, class, and style, than you might find in a typical center console or nearly any boat for that matter. There is no boat built guite like the Intrepid 350 CC. More...

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New Video

Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan Bridge:
Performance and Handling Video

Meridian 441
We tested the performance of the 441 SB on the waters of the Florida Intracoastal Waterway.

“Before you buy, try!” But let’s face facts... it’s not always practical to get on the water to drive every boat you are interested in, particularly  those you think may be more than you can handle. That’s where we come in. Our reader feedback has been showing marked interest in the 441 SB for boaters wanting to trade up, but they weren’t sure if they could handle a bigger boat, or more specifically... this boat. So, to show how the boat handles, and reveal her performance figures, we brought the cameras on test day and showed exactly what to expect for handling when bringing her into the dock, and what economy you can look forward to. Test video...

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Captain's Report

Sunseeker Manhattan 70:
Their Largest Flybridge Motor Yacht

Sunseeker Manhattan 70
With a LOA of 73' (22.28 m), the Manhattan is probably still going to be owner operated. Her 18'7" (5.67 m) beam allows Sunseeker to accommodate 4 staterooms plus crew quarters.

Sunseeker is one of those names that allows you to immediately put your mind onto a particular class of boat, but not necessarily a single boat in particular. We would even say the name could be regarded as iconic for style, quality, and yes, high cost. Some may view that last feature as a negative, but not Sunseeker. To them, it means that their customers are specific people who are looking for a certain style that few can provide. A style that says “I’ve arrived” and perhaps even “I’ve arrived looking better than you.” Think of taking a Bentley to your high school reunion. At 73’ (22.28 m) the Manhattan 70 is just at that size where you can have four staterooms. But are they real staterooms or berths in a closet? Has Sunseeker simply stuck with looks and speed and left out the comfort? Let’s take a closer look and see how they’ve done. More...

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New Video

Regal 42 Sport Coupe:
A Twin Stateroom Express

Regal 42 Sport Coupe
This newest Regal has a lot of features that make for a very practical cruising yacht. Regal takes full advantage of her LOA of 42'4” (12.9 m) and beam of 13’ (4 m).

The Regal Yachts 42 Sport Coupe is an open and airy yacht with two staterooms and two heads that fit nicely into a 42'4” (12.9 m) hull. It took three tries for us to finally get the test numbers on this boat, and in that three times we had a good opportunity to feel how this boat handles in varying sea conditions, wind conditions, and even docking in crosscurrents. As it turns out, throwing adverse conditions at a boat can tell you a lot about how she'll handle on nice days too. For the whole picture take a look at our full test video as we explore the handling and performance of the all new Regal 42 Sport Coupe. More...

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Captain's Report

Luhrs 35 Convertible:
The Best of Both Worlds?

Luhrs’ 35 Convertible was designed to cross back and forth across the line between cruising and fishing.

When was the last time you took the family to a boat show, and your wife said something like, “that’s a good boat for you dear, you should get it?” Yeah, we never have either. That’s why more and more manufacturers are making boats that fill dual, or even triple, roles so that everyone can be happy with the purchase. Such is the case with the Luhrs 35 Convertible. Luhrs markets the 35 with the tagline “The Best of Both Worlds” and we’ve seen that line blurred between what is built and what the customer wants when striving for a combination. While Luhrs is well known for having tough offshore capable hulls, does the 35’s layout make this an ideal weekender when the rods are staying in their storage racks? Let’s take a look and see how they’ve done, and hope that it’s not called a “convertible” for nothing! More...

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Grady-White Canyon 366:
Tough Fishboat Has a Tender Side

Grady-White Canyon 366
Grady-White is famous for building fishboats, and pioneered the Walkaround style, but their Canyon 366 is a beefy center-console. Like all Gradys, it's targeted toward the serious fisherman, but can also double as a roomy and seaworthy family boat. Power options are twin and triple outboards, up to 1050-hp total.

The 36' 7" (11.15 m) LOA Canyon 366 is Grady-White Boats's entry in the fast-growing class of large center-consoles, 35-plus footers intended to compete with convertibles in the sportfishing arena. Thanks to a center-console's inherently lighter weight, and with power options up to triple 350-hp Yamaha outboards, the big Canyon 366 can run faster than 55 mph (88.5 kph), according to builder-supplied test data – similar-sized convertibles would have to struggle mightily to match that. Faster out and back means more time over the fish, a critical advantage especially for tournament fishermen, and helpful even for weekend warriors with limited time on the water. But for most folks life is about more than fishing (or so we're told), and since any boat this size is a major investment, it's one that the whole family has to be on board for. By adding a few options, the Canyon 366 can also double as a family dayboat. To find out more about this biggest Grady-White, click here

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Captain's Report

Carolina Classic 32:
No Frills, Get-the-Job-Done

Carolina Classic 32
At 32’ (9.75 m) the Carolina Classic 32 represents an ideal step up from a smaller center console, and provides a stable platform for working offshore.

Carolina Classic is well known for making no frills boats designed with two things in mind… getting the job done and getting you back safely. Yard owner Mac Privott is well known in the Carolinas as being a no-nonsense boat builder who makes a good boat and stands behind his products and their components, even when some of the component makers won’t. That’s why we like the guy. Now with this newest launch, Carolina Classic is hoping they can entice center console owners looking to step up into stepping into an offshore battlewagon that costs far less than the sportfish boats it’s competing with. So if you’re looking for dress-to-impress style that will turn heads as you pull up to the restaurant, you’ve come to the wrong place. This is a solid, well-finished work boat out to get the job done. More...

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System Video

ZF Joystick Maneuvering System:
We Test It on a Viking 60C

The Viking 60C was our test bed for the ZF Marine JMS, or Joystick Maneuvering System.

We recently reported on the breakthrough JMS that ZF Marine had recently introduced, and we told you then that we thought it might be the next “big thing” to hit our industry. Developing joystick control on large inboard boats is a huge step and we were skeptical about how well it was going to work. We also questioned whether it was as simple as it was hyped to retrofit into an existing boat, and if the station-keeping aspect worked well enough to walk away from the helm when in a tight spot. These questions, and more all get answered in this test video as we put the system through its paces.

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Engine News

Boats Trimming Themselves?
Volvo Penta Powertrim Assist

Volvo Penta engineers make boating easy and precise with powertrim assistant.

Properly trimming your boat to get the best performance is one of those things that you are either good at, or not. This is one of the reasons that the team at Volvo Penta has developed the "Powertrim Assist" feature. The name says it all: it automatically assists in the operation of trimming your boat. As a feature of EVC, (Electronic Vessel Control). The Powertrim Assist feature will automatically monitor your boat's speed and drive position, then adjust the trim of your sterndrive to maximize performance while you drive. Take a close look with this short review video...

Boat Buying Tips

Boat Pricing May Be
(Slightly) Downward

For many dealerships an over-stocked showroom is a thing of the past.

For the last nine months we have been seeing new boat prices actually coming down here and there. It seems not yet to be a sea change, yet something is definitely going on. Several companies that have historically had pricing in the top tier of their class are now competitive with mid-tier boats. This is being done without fanfare. Rather, something else seems to be afoot -- at least here and there. Certainly corporate overhead has been minimized and the new, reduced overhead costs are making their way into product pricing in a positive way for consumers in some brands. Many builders are removing the frills, lowering the horsepower of the standard engines, and moving some non-essential standard equipment to the option list. More...

Industry News

MarineMax Posts
A Profit for F2010

MarineMax has 56 locations in 19 states making it the largest publicly traded retail boat operation in the world.

For the fiscal year ending September 30, 2010, MarineMax posted a net profit of nearly $2.5 million on sales of over $450 million, or .0055% of sales (slightly over ½ of 1%). That recorded profit was thanks to a change in the tax law, according to a MarineMax press release, that allowed for additional years of loss carrybacks which amounted to nearly a $19.6 million tax benefit. This compares to a net $77.7 million loss after taxes in F2009. Top line sales numbers were higher in 2009 because of the company’s liquidation strategy, and while sales volume was lower in fiscal 2010, gross margin was 9% higher. Read the complete press release...

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Royal Purple Motor Oil Outboard Test Results

Royal Purple Outboard Test
We compared Royal Purple with a leading synthetic brand on a bench test of a 40-hp outboard motor. The results were surprising.

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...

Industry News

Donzi and Pro-Line:
Moving To The Fountain Plant

From left, Reggie Fountain, Bill Gates and John Walker of Liberty Associates with J. Keith Crisco, North Carolina’s secretary of commerce.

Last week Liberty Associates and American Marine Holdings Chairman Bill Gates announced that its powerboat brands Donzi Marine and Pro-Line Boats production would be moved from their Sarasota and Crystal River, Florida, locations to the Fountain plant in Washington, N.C., where Fountain and Baja boats are now built. The company's 250,000 sq. ft. plant on 66 waterfront acres is huge and the building and management efficiencies are obvious. It was also announced that Baja would be re-launched as a "stand-alone brand." Together Liberty Associates and American Marine Holdings own the four brands. More...

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Shipping News

Drunk Ship Capt
Gets Slammer Time

The 590’ (181 m) South Korean STX Daisy commanded by a drunken captain without a single paper chart of the waters he was in.

If you have ever been coastal cruising and seen a large ship like the one pictured above and wondered what was happening on its bridge, now you know: Capt. Seong Ug Sin was found drunk by a USCG boarding party in Puget Sound last April. At trial earlier last month, the evidence revealed that Sin’s blood alcohol level was more than twice the legal limit. The citizen of South Korea, and captain of the STX Daisy, was sentenced in U.S. District Court in Tacoma to 14 days in prison, and 6 months of supervised release, during which time he is not allowed to sail in United States waters. What do you do with a drunken sailor?...

Acident of the Week

Who Said
“Sailing is Silly”?

Most sailors love sitting out in cockpits in the rain and cold. But, hey, why not sail while sinking for even more fun?

In the premier issue of Power and Motoryacht magazine back in January 1985 yacht designer Tom Fexas wrote an article titled “Sailing is Silly.” His essay was a laundry list of all of the nutty things sailors seem to like, such as sitting out in the rain as they motor along at 5 knots, or going below and walking on the side of the boat because it is heeled over so far. We wished Tom had lived long enough to see the picture above proving how right he really was. The man sitting in the companionway is French artist Julien Berthier who will evidently do most anything to get a little media attention. Down the hatch...

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Solar News

Solar-Powered Boat
Arrives in Miami

The Turanor Planet Solar arrived in Miami last Saturday, becoming the first such boat to cross the Atlantic. Next: The World!

The solar powered catamaran set a record with the fastest Transatlantic crossing by a boat powered solely by the sun. The Transatlantic crossing took 26 days, 19 hours and 10 minutes. The next stop for the Turanor will be in Cancun at the World Climate Conference. The boat is 102' long and 50' wide and cost about $20 million. Storage batteries aboard can power the boat for up to three days. More...


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We would all like to be better boaters and wish we knew more of the basics, and not so basics. With the 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.  Watch the trailer...

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Industry News

Caravelle Boat Company
Has New Owners

The Caravelle Crossover 240 is a deck boat with a capacity for 13 persons, this 23’ 8” (7.2 m) boat has the right stuff.

It was announced last month that two brothers have purchased the Caravelle boat company and will soon re-start production. Caravelle Powerboats was a victim of the recession and has been in limited production for about the last year. The company was founded in 1966 and managed to survive recessions, fuel embargos, and high interest rates, but the recent economic meltdown was devastating for the company which required recapitalization in order to ramp up production. has tested nine Caravelle boats over the years and has found them to be good quality and in some cases the best performing boats in their class. We are therefore happy to see that its products will once again be available in the market. The company will stay in Americus, GA. More...

Reader Mail

How to Find
The Best Boat Trim

A 350 Sea Ray Sundancer shows her stuff in calm conditions and properly trimmed.

This week a member from Ohio wrote: "I like your 'how-to' videos. Can you do one on how to trim a boat? I have a 2002 340 Sea Ray Sundancer with twin inboard V-drives, and I'm not really sure what is the best trim. Thanks, Bill P." This is a common question, and of course the answer is different for every boat. We will be making a video on the subject at our first opportunity, but in the meantime, Capt. Steve sends along some easy-to-follow advice about finding the ideal trim for your boat. Bow down here...

10 years
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Lesson of the Week

Negligent Boat Operation
Is a Federal Crime

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
Capt. Steve says if you boat smart you avoid all penalties of poor judgment!

In this week's lesson, Capt. Steve points out some examples of what boating negligence is and the penalties you face when operating negligently. The obvious lesson here is that if you practice smart boating you avoid all penalties of poor judgment. There is also a helpful video on what to do if the authorities stop you. The ten videos presented this week are part of's USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these video boating lessons every week on

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"The best thing honey, is nobody ever comes in this cove! " - T. Kiser

Second Place

"No, it's great security. Fill to leave, drain to stay. Water bill is a bit high. " - H. Knoblock

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"If this boat's rockin'..... its just the hull setting in the mud." - F. Baker

"Sometimes there is a reason anchorages are still available late in the day." - D. Bacon
"Next time I say we drive with the canvas OFF!!! " - S. Sullivan
"It looked better in the brochure. " - R. Mathias

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 12/01/10

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