New Meridian 541 & Four Winns V305//12 Tests & Reviews//IPS for Big Game - 12/15/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter December 15, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Meridian 541 Sedan
- MasterCraft 300
- Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius
- Hydra-Sports 4200 SF
- Volvo Penta IPS
- Kadey-Krogen 52
- Concept 4400
- Princess 50 Flybridge
- Viking 42 Open
- Four Winns V305
- Pearl 60 Motoryacht
- Ferretti Group Top Producer
- Elegance 54
- Hargrave 76
- Sea Tow Award
- Shurhold Products
- How-to Extinguish a Fire
- New NYYC Commodore
- Cruise Ship Disabled
- Shark Gets Five In Egypt
- Kramer-Aranow Conviction
- Dog Rescue
- Safety Tip of the Week
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Meridian 541 Sedan:
An Innovative Interior

Meridian 541 Sedan
The Meridian 54' was introduced this year and becomes the largest boat in the Meridian fleet.

The new Meridian 541 Sedan is the second boat in the company’s lineup that has been designed completely around the Zeus pod propulsion system. That may not mean much at first glance, but it does make a major difference. Because it allows the builder to move the engines farther back in the hull, there is much more room for creating living space. In this case, the 53’10" (16.4 m) hull is able to accommodate ample entertainment space and sleep 6 in three staterooms with two full heads. Add to that the main deck layout that we think deserves applause and Meridian has a formula for continuing the sales success it has seen the last couple of years.  This boat first launched 10 months ago, but because retail customers have been so anxious to get their new 541 we were only able to get one for a test last week.  Read our Captain's Report.  Video to come in a week or two...

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New Video

MasterCraft 300:
It’s All in the Details

MasterCraft 300
When we looked at the exterior of the MasterCraft 300 we were impressed with the details of the boat’s curving lines and sleek profile. Now we take a look at the interior.

It’s always interesting to see how boats affect people. Some don’t cause a second glance, others bring stares and questions. The MasterCraft 300 is one of the latter. It’s hard not to notice this boat, and once you’re onboard, it’s even more eye-catching. Today, we follow up on our test video and take a detailed look at some of the features of the interior. Come aboard with us and see what MasterCraft calls a "day boat."

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New Video

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius:
Biggest 48 Express Afloat?

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius
The Cruisers Yachts team has been very good at getting the most out of livable space on a boat and the 48 Cantius is no exception.

 The Cruisers Yachts design team seems to have a gift for making a boat appear larger inside than outside. You’re never going to duck in the salon, never going to squeeze yourself into a berth, and you certainly won’t feel claustrophobic in the head. So when we went aboard the 48 Cantius, we fully expected that we’d see more of that roominess. Given that this was hull #1, we also figured that we’d find the need for some tweaking here and there. Take a look at the features video and see what we found...

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New Video

Hydra-Sports 4200 SF:
A 1400-horse Battle Wagon!

Hydra-Sports 4200 SF
We’ve seen quad V6s and triple V8s but this... this is something new and Hydra-Sports and Yamaha are taking their time to get it right.

When you decide to make a large center console, you better plan on making it top heavy with standard features. You also better plan on a long list of options to keep everyone happy. At Hydra-Sports, we think they’ve done both. This boat has so many features that we even contemplated breaking our video into two parts in order to cover them all. But in the end, we figured that it’s worth sitting a little longer to see what this boat brings to the table.  Find out what makes it such an attractive proposition for those wanting to trade up from smaller center consoles, and even to trade down from a larger sportfish. More...

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Why IPS Is Gaining Favor
Among Sportfishermen

Volvo Penta Sport Fishing
The 70' custom-built Spencer "PentaGone" has ably demonstrated to the big game sportfishing community how agile a big boat can be with IPS drives when fighting fish.

Big game fish are often found where the going can get rough; alternatively, fishing in "destination" tournaments can mean traveling 1500 miles or more from home port. For those two reasons alone, big convertibles are often the fishing machines of choice for serious anglers. In addition to being roomy, they are simply more comfortable in a seaway. But the downside to these behemoths has always been that when a feisty marlin is hooked up and darting from port to starboard, forward and back like an underwater torpedo, the captains have a hard time keeping the transom pointed at the fish. Big marlin and tuna can swim at up to 40 miles an hour. Try chasing one in a 70-footer! And that is exactly why more and more of the world's top big game fishermen are specifying IPS pod drive systems in their new boats. This year a number of anglers with IPS systems brought home the silverware...and big bucks. Hook up here...

Review all IPS videos and tests.

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New Boat

Kadey-Krogen 52:
Filling a Long-Vacant Gap

Kadey-Krogen 52
The new Krogen 52 measures 57'9" (17.6 m) LOA with a hefty 17’3” (5.26 m) beam. Kadey-Krogen expects this long range cruiser to achieve 4850 nm at 6.00 kts.

Kadey-Krogen has long had a gap in its lineup of long-range cruisers, right in the middle of the range between 48’ and 58’. Yes, we know they’ve had the 55’ expedition, but that was a distinctly different layout that met the needs of a much different customer. When the company set out to create the 52, it needed to respond to specific customer demands. Thus, this new vessel can be thought of more as a little sister to the 58’, than as having anything in common with a 55’. But aside from the similarities, this boat will stand alone as a long range cruiser in her own right, and make her own mark on the world of distance voyaging. The first step to the horizon is here...

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Captain's Report

Concept 4400 Sport Yacht:
A Big CC or a Sport Coupe

Concept 4400 Sport Yacht
Thanks to her LOA of 44' 4" (13.5 m), the Concept 4400 Sport Yacht has room for both plenty of cockpit space and a cabin suitable for overnighting and weekend cruises. Each 4400 is custom-built and sold factory-direct from her builder near Miami, Florida. Outboards up to quad 350-hp are available; triple 300s are most popular.

The Concept 4400 Sport Yacht is two boats in one: Aft, she's a center-console, with fishing and day-cruising amenities; forward, she has an air-conditioned cabin suitable for romantic weekending a deux or taking longer fishing trips through the islands. Designed by a top naval architect whose boats have won a string of trophies, and custom-built to high-performance standards by a fussy boatshop near Miami, the 4400 is a capable offshore speedster, too: Her builder claims over 60 mph (96.6 kph) with triple 300-hp Mercury outboards, faster with maximum power, 1,400 horses. Folks looking for a boat able to wear two hats should give her at least a once-over. Or maybe that's three hats: The 4400 also comes as a Coupe! Step aboard to find out more...

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New Yacht

Princess 50 Flybridge:
A Pocket Megayacht

Princess 50 Flybridge
The Princess 50 Flybridge looks Mediterranean, but she hails from Plymouth, England – where sunny days are prized, bad weather is taken in stride.  That's why Princess yachts are built as well as any production boats in the world.  We think the Princess 50 is the biggest little motoryacht you'll find.

If only mad dogs and Englishmen go out in the midday sun, what about owners of flying bridge yachts, like this Princess 50? The 49' 2" (14.98 m) Princess is just what the doctor ordered for sunny days, especially now that medical experts tell us we need more vitamin D (which the sun creates in one's skin), it helps prevent all kinds of maladies. What better place to catch rays than on the Princess 50's flying bridge?  If Noel Coward owned a Princess 50, he never would have written that line about mad dogs, nor wasted his shillings on a Jamaica estate.  This compact motoryacht has all you need for short or long cruises.  To find out more about how a Princess might be good for your health, follow us below...

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New Boat

Viking Yachts 42 Open:
Designed for Zeus Drives

Viking Yachts 42 Open
This is the first photo of Viking's new 42 Open, right after her launch in New Jersey for preliminary sea trials. She has twin Cummins MerCruiser 600-hp diesels spinning Zeus drives. Before her public debut in Miami in February, she'll get a tower and glass in her windshield. (That's a larger Viking in the background.)

Viking Yachts plans on introducing their new 42 Open in February, 2011, at a VIP Preview in Florida two weeks before her public introduction at the Miami Boat Show. One of two 42' 7" (12.97 m) cousins – the other is a 42 Convertible -- announced at last year's Miami show, the Open combines a large, fishable cockpit and a center-console style helm with a two-cabin interior suitable for cruising. Not only are the 42 classmates the smallest Vikings of the modern era (the company built a 35 Convertible and Express in the 1980s), but they're also the company's first boats designed from scratch to be powered by Zeus pod drives. Clearly, it is wise for Viking to be moving into smaller, edgier boats in this economic climate. Our contact at the company said they've already sold 6 42-footers, and the first Open hasn't even been launched yet. Join us to learn more...

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New Boat

Four Winns V305:
Innovative Hardtop Express

Four Winns V305
The unusually tall profile of the new Four Winns V305 – bridge clearance is 9' 9" (2.97 m) -- creates massive headroom under the arch which also serves as a hardtop. It also gives the boat a huge windshield for great visibility when standing at the helm and easy walk-through access to the foredeck.

Four Winns introduced a new cruiser, the V305, at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in October. Based on the company's V435, the 30' 5" (9.27 m) V305 combines practical exterior styling with an aggressive profile and innovative layout that moves the galley into the cockpit.  Intended for one or two couples to enjoy a day on the water, the V305 has a cockpit filled with seating: a face-to-face dinette with a large table (converts to a sun pad); a bench/aft-facing lounge; a double-wide helm seat. And there's a big swim platform, low enough to the water to make for easy on and off. By thinking out of the box, Four Winns' designers have created a boat that can be used both for entertaining and longer cruising by one or two couples with a minimum of compromises.  This new boat is a "must see"...

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From Europe

Pearl 60 Motoryacht
"Such Stuff As Dreams Are Made On"

Pearl 60
The Pearl 60 has huge interior volume but manages to have remarkably pleasant, even sleek, exterior lines, in our opinion.

Who would have thought that a breath of fresh air in motoryacht design would come from Jolly Old England? But that is exactly where Pearl Motor Yachts is located; not only that, but its factory is in Stratford-upon-Avon! If “All the world’s a stage,” as the old Bard wrote, then the Pearl 60 will be a player on it. Our COO, Christopher Hughes, stumbled across this yacht while visiting a boat show in Europe and was impressed by the creative use of space in the interior and the pleasing overall lines. A four stateroom boat this size with a full beam master and a proper VIP cabin is a neat trick – as is putting the master in the stern. The boat is available in Europe and other places around the world, but not yet in the U.S. See video of why Christopher is so excited...

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Industry News

Ferretti Group Is Top Producer of Yachts
80' (24 m) +

With marketing pictures like the one above no wonder the Ferretti Group is reportedly building more boats over 80' than any other yard in the world. It just goes to show you the power of positive thinking.

The Ferretti Group ranks #1 on Showboats Magazine's list of 80' (24 m) + builds on order for 2011. The group consists of Ferretti Yachts, Pershing, Riva, CRN and Ferretti Custom Line brands. Azimut-Benetti ranked #2 and the Azimut brand itself accounted for 37 builds on order, more than any other single production boat brand, followed by Sunseeker with 31 orders and Ferretti Yachts with 27. On average about 200 boats over 80' (24.6 m) have been delivered each year for the last decade world wide.  More... 

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European Lady

Elegance 54 From Drettmann:
Multi-Cultural Motoryacht

Elegance 54
The Elegance 54 is a three stateroom motoryacht with a full beam master.

The Elegance 54 is marketed in Europe by the large German marine firm of Drettmann, home office in Bremen, and sales offices in Spain, France, Croatia and Dubai. Elegance is just one of several lines of boats that Drettmann handles. The Elegance 54 has a 15’6” beam and a displacement of about 53,000 lbs. Like all of Drettmann’s boats there is a great degree of customization that can be accomplished and the firm endeavors to match buyer needs with the final build. Let’s take a look at the interior of the Elegance 54...

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Motoryacht Trial

Hargrave 76 Motoryacht:
Sea Trial Performance Test

Hargrave 76
Capt. Steve steers a new Hargrave 76 down the New River in Ft. Lauderdale on the way out to a video sea trial offshore. How does she behave on the edge of the Stream?

If you have ever wondered what it's like to be steering a 76’ motoryacht down the twists and hairpin turns of the New River in Ft. Lauderdale, then you’ll enjoy Capt. Steve doing just that. Steering from the flying bridge, he takes this exciting new Hargrave 76 out for a sea trial, putting the yacht through handling maneuvers in addition to our normal speed trials. Steve is an old hand at commanding large motoryachts and has some interesting things to say about the behavior of this one. If you ever dreamed of owning one of these beauties maybe it is time to start getting comfortable at the helm. Take it away Capt. Steve...

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Rescues of the Year

USCG Brass Honor 8 Sea Tow Captains For Saving Lives

Rescues of the Year Rescues of the Year
(L-R) RADM William Baumgartner, Capt. Les Trafford (owner of Sea Tow Shinnecock/Moriches; accepting on behalf of Capt. Vitale) and Capt. David McBride (L-R) Capt. Joseph Frohnhoefer III, Capt. Pete Murphy, owner of Sea Tow Port Jefferson and Capt. Joe Frohnhoefer, Sea Tow’s founder/CEO.

U.S. Coast Guard Rear Admiral William Baumgartner and the USCG's 7th District Commander, Capt. David McBride who is also Chief of the USCG's Search and Rescue, presented "Awards for Efforts Above and Beyond" to eight Sea Tow captains at Sea Tow's 28th Annual Meeting held Dec. 1-3, 2010, in Delray Beach, FL. Sea Tow Services International is not only the world's largest professional marine assistance organization, but as the ceremony demonstrated, it is also a band of brothers and sisters on the water saving lives. Find out about these important rescues...

Sea Tow is a sponsor of


Shurhold Telescoping
Handle & Brushes

Shurhold Products
Shurhold's Telescoping Handle lets you wash away dirt and grim, from transom to the hardtop.

The team at has rolled up their sleeves and gotten 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 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.


Fire Safety

How to Extinguish
An Engine Room Fire

Fire Safety
Fires that start in the engine room must be stopped immediately or the consequences can be serious.

Several weeks ago we ran an item about a large yacht that had an engine room fire start as the boat entered the Palm Beach inlet. The boat made it to the dock and all hands were able to get off before the vessel was ruined by the inferno. We found ourselves wondering why a large, multi-million-dollar yacht didn't have an automatic engine room fire extinguishing system, or if it had been overcome or had failed, why weren't the engine room air intakes closed? Perhaps they couldn't be. All fires on boats are serious, but there is nothing worse than an engine room fire because it is fed by the fuel circulating there. Here's a stitch in time...

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Club News

New York Yacht Club
NYYC BurgeeInstalls New Commodore

Peeking through the windows of the New York Yacht Club on 44th St in New York City one can see the festive Christmas decorations in its famous model room. (Dan Nerney Photo)

Early this month the New York Yacht Club, like dozens of clubs around the world, held its annual meeting and installed its new officers. The NYYC was founded in 1844, and is the oldest yacht club in the U.S.  Currently the club has something on the order of 3,200 members who reside not only in the New York metro area but also all around the world. It is truly an international yacht club, and one that promotes the finest traditions of both sailing and power boating. The club's new commodore is Robert Towse, an internationally-known ocean racer who has campaigned several sloops named Blue Yankee on both sides of the Atlantic. To read more about the NYYC and its new flag officers...

Cruise News

Cruise Ship Disabled After Bridge Damage

Clelia II
A passenger aboard the National Geographic Explorer took video of Clelia II as she battered her way north, reportedly making only one knot of headway.

For the last week we have all seen video on TV news of the 290' (89 m) cruise ship Clelia II plowing into 30' and 40' head seas in Drake Channel south of Cape Horn. The small cruising ship has a displacement of 4,077 t, a beam of 50' (15.3 m) and draws 12' (3.6 m). She was originally launched in 1990 as Renaissance Four and reportedly was refurbished at a cost of $19.2 million in 2009. According to reports a railing was torn out by a boarding wave and broke windows on the bridge, causing a deluge of water to soak the ship's electronic controls. This source said the engines continued to operate, contrary to early reports. According to our sources the boat has been sold and is scheduled to be renamed Orion II upon acquisition in May, 2011. See the video without the talking heads...

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Shark of the Week

5 Shark Attacks At Egyptian Resort

Shark Attack
Sharm El-Sheikh is a Red Sea Resort on the southern tip of the Sinai Peninsula. An Egyptian patrol boat searches for sharks.

Hoping to protect the local tourism industry over July 4, the beach resort's mayor initially downplays the danger of shark attacks - but is forced to bring in a marine biologist and a shark hunter when things turn really ugly. That was the story line in Jaws, Steven Spielberg's 1975 blockbuster movie, and a similar scenario is currently being played out in real life at the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh. Take a bite of this...

Rescue of the Week

Dog Sans PFD
Nearly Drowns

Dog Rescued
Fido is clearly in water over its head as it dog paddles around in confusion finding no way to get to shore.

If you are a dog lover then you know never to take your pooch boating without a dog PFD. Our experience is that most dogs don’t seem to mind wearing them. While most dogs are good swimmers, the fact is, just like people they can quickly get worn out swimming. Unlike people they don’t know how to flip over on their backs and float -- they just simply drown. Thankfully this waterborne photo story has a happy ending. Jump in here...

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Kramer's Conviction Upheld in Aronow Murder

Don AronowBen Kramer
Ben Kramer, in handcuffs, the owner of Apache Powerboats, was convicted in the early 1990s of having Cigarette builder Don Aronow murdered.

Last week a Miami-Dade judge declined to throw out the conviction of Benjamin Kramer in the 1987 assassination of power boat mogul Don Aronow. Aronow had been one of the pioneers in offshore racing, winning both the world and U.S. championships several times. Perhaps he is remembered most for the boat companies he started to build offshore racing boats, including Formula, Magnum, Donzi and Cigarette. Ben Kramer is a convicted drug smuggler who was made famous by his attempt to escape from prison by helicopter. More...

Safety Tip

Floating Alone

Floating Alone
We bet the folks on this yacht are very happy they invested in a liferaft. If rescue isn’t immediately at hand, you’ll be happier and safer in a raft.

Here’s a good way to waste your money: Buy a liferaft and expensive inflatable PFDs, both items not required, and maybe not even approved, by the U.S. Coast Guard. Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, both will sit, unused, for years, just taking up space and reminding you how much fuel you could have bought with what you spent on them. You can meet the safety requirements with el cheapo PFDs – which you’ll never wear, and maybe not even try on. But if one day you go overboard farther than swimming distance from safety, you’ll find your sense of value has changed. Then, if your fancy inflatable PFD and raft save your life and your crew, you’ll think you got the best deal in town. For more on how to choose and care for lifesaving equipment, click here.

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Last Chance for 20% Discount

Our DVD Boating Course Makes
a Great Gift 

Smart Boating
Have you gotten holiday gifts for all of your crew?

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 the best and most informative boating course around, is approved by the USCG and is even recommended by the NMMA! This is your last chance for Christmas! 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...

10th year anniversary

Where in the World

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
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Lesson of the Week

Requirements for Recreational Boaters

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
Capt. Steve explains requirements for all boaters.

In this week's lesson, Captain Steve takes you through boat registration and boat lettering, and points out the safety of and requirements for life jackets. The thirteen videos presented this week are part of's USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Top four reasons to own a boat.”
- M. Lopez

Second Place

"’My god! Is that our daughter?’ ‘No it isn't! ‘Yes it is!’ ‘No it isn't!’" - R. Koenig

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“Yeah, we got all the fat people off the boat!” - T. Prince

"Who says a cool boat can't buy you friends." - B. Bloomingdale

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 12/15/10

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

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