11 Tests & Reviews//Saltwater Outdrive//P1 Racing Picks Evinrude - 01/19/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter January 19, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Volvo Penta OceanX
- Harris FloteBote 230 Crowne
- Scout 201 Bay
- Glastron GT 205
- Hatteras GT54
- Evinrude 150 E-TEC
- Larson Senza 206
- FinCraft 17 DC
- Bayliner 185 Bowrider
- Formula 34 PC
- Tigé RZ2
- Yamaha FX HO
- Tahoe Q7i SS
- Should You Render Assistance
- Shurhold Products
- Evinrude 250 E-TEC Selected
- New York Boat Show
- Woman Wins Yachtmaster
- Floating Greens Correction
- Buddy Davis Obituary
- Member Services
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Volvo Penta
OceanX Outdrive:
Made For Saltwater

Volvo Penta OceanX
When it comes to outdrives there are a lot of innovations to the new OceanX, but we needed to start with a performance evaluation.

Anyone who has boated in saltwater has seen the damage it can inflict. Even if it hasn’t happened to you, you can’t walk across the marina parking lot without seeing a boat on the hard with a corroded outdrive. Volvo Penta has long been aware of the Achilles' heel of all sterndrive systems -- saltwater corrosion. The company has spent years of R&D to develop its new, corrosion-resistant OceanX lower unit. While it may not eliminate corrosion altogether, the new outdrive has proven thus far to slow it down to a crawl -- and it has a 4-year limited warranty. Before looking at the individual features of the OceanX, we did what we do best. We did a performance evaluation on it. Take a look at the video and see how it handled the test platform boat, and then jump over to the features to see how Volvo Penta built an outdrive for saltwater...

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Tooning Up

Harris FloteBote 230 Crowne:
This 'Toon Rules the Lake

HFB Crown 230
Harris FloteBote's 230 Crowne, at 25' (7.6 m) LOA and 8' 6" (2.6 m) beam, rides on 23' (7 m) aluminum pontoons linked by aluminum crossbeams and transom. An optional PIII performance package adds a center tube with lifting strakes and a stepped running surface, and boosts maximum power from 150- to 225-hp.

Harris FloteBote's the top-of-the-line series -- Crowne -- is the one that this 54-year old brand calls its "king." A close look at the 230 Crowne convinced us that literally a lifetime of experience has gone into this finished product because virtually everything has been done right and with a level of taste that one might be surprised to find on a pontoon boat. The execution of 230 Crown shows the maturity, customer savvy, and building wisdom that can only come with years in business. The 230 Crowne is an unusual pontoon boat and we think deserves your scrutiny if only to use it as a bench mark upon which to measure other products on the market. See what we mean...

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First Look

Scout 201 Bay Scout:
For In-Shore and Skinny Water

Scout 201 Bay
The Scout 201 Bay Scout packs all the fishability you need into a pocket-sized package. Maximum power is a 225-hp OB, but she performs well with 115-hp, according to Yamaha tests.

Scout Boats' 201 Bay Scout is a near-shore and thin-water fishing boat with all the gear serious anglers need and very little that they don't. At 19' 10" (6.0 m) LOA and 1,600 lbs. (726 kg) with engine she's easy to trailer, launch and recover. Her motor-up draft of 10" (25 cm) makes her fine for poling across the flats chasing bonefish, while her 18-degree deadrise bottom is a good compromise between comfort running fast in a chop and stability at rest. She has casting decks fore and aft, a live well in the console and plenty of rod racks. In short, she's all the fishing boat most folks need. Cast your line here to find out more.

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Test Video

Glastron GT 205 BR:
A Watersports Workhorse With Thrills

Glastron GT 205 BR
When we sent Capt. Steve off to test the GT 205, he came away with a grin on his face that lasted for days. Top speed was 48.9 mph (78.7 kph) with a 17 gph (64.4 lph) fuel burn with 225 horses, but you can opt up to 270-hp.

When a boat looks good, there’s a certain sense of satisfaction you get as it turns heads. Just as with owning anything, when it’s admired, you feel a little more proud. If you throw in good performance, it’s like frosting on the cake. That’s the combination we found when we tested the GT 205 BR from Glastron. Our boat was equipped with the optional wakeboard tower, which added to the eye appeal and upped the ante on functionality. Today, we offer the full performance and handling video from our test on Lake Michigan. How would this look behind your car? More...

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New Boat

Hatteras GT54:
A Convertible For Yachtsmen

Hatteras GT54
The all new Hatteras GT54 is a yacht for all seasons and reasons.

First Hatteras Yachts launched the GT60, which was designed to break the 40-knot barrier and look good doing it. Now it is launching the new GT54. Look for her at the Miami Boat Show in February. Hatteras Yachts' new GT line combines traditional Carolina exterior styling with Hatteras's renowned construction and engineering, with Carolina's famous high-quality interior joinery. And if any builder in the U.S. knows what a cruising powerboat yachtsman wants, it is Hatteras. That is why its new GT54 will be a true convertible: made for cruising or big game fishing, take your pick -- or do both. Let's take a look...

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Outboard Report

Evinrude 150 E-TEC:
We Take a Look "Under the Hood"

Evinrude 150 E-TEC
Captain Steve takes off the cowling to see what sets the Evinrude 150-HO apart from the others.

For the last several years Evinrude has made some bold claims about the properties of their E-TEC line of engines... things such as extended life, years before requiring initial maintenance, and then there’s that "continuing to run with no oil" claim. We decided to take an in-depth look at some of the components in a typical E-TEC, in this case the 150-HO model, and see what it is that makes them... well, what they are. But more to the point, we set out to answer the question of what is different about them, and can they keep running for up to five hours with no oil. Check out our latest video tour of the Evinrude 150-HO E-TEC and see if you’re convinced that this engine solves a lot of problems, or just puts a new coat of paint on them.

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New Features Video

Larson Senza 206:
A Family Watersports Boat
with a Luxurious Side

Larson Senza 206
When Larson created the Senza 206, they not only added killer looks to the boat, but luxury as well. And for performance, our tests showed a top speed of 51.2 mph with a Merc 5.0 MPI EC 260-hp engine with a Bravo 3 outdrive.

Larson tells us that the Senza 206 is their top seller. The 20' 6" (6.25 m) LOA boat’s performance and handling certainly have a lot to do with that (she is actually one of the best performing boats we have tested in class), but far and away her looks are what give the best first impression. When we saw the Senza, all we could think was… “wow, what a cool looking boat.” She has a low profile tinted windscreen that gives her a look of speed, even while sitting on the trailer. But that's just one of the features that this ride offered. Today, we take a look at what is inside, and see whether Larson’s clever add-ons add to the top seller's utility and functionality, or if she simply gets by on good looks alone. More...

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FinCraft 17 DC:
Fully Loaded For Multi-Species

FinCraft 17 DC
With a fully equipped package, including trolling motor and fish finder, you can be hooking this rig up to your car and fishing all for under $20K. Our tests showed a top speed of 35.9 mph (57.8 kph), which means this will be a hard boat to get into trouble with.

One would be hard pressed to find a comparably equipped fiberglass boat for the same price as the 16' 11" (5.16 m) LOA FinCraft 17 DC. An aluminum boat might come close, but that’s about it. Since this boat is so cost effective, one might think that it's built cheaply and thrown together. It's hull is made quickly -- in less than one hour -- by the most expensive hull-laminating equipment on the planet. The secret to both the low price and its durability is VEC technology, and FinCraft is one of the few companies that can utilize it. If you have always wanted a fiberglass boat that was as economical as aluminum, you finally have your wish. Find out more...

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New Features Video

Bayliner 185 Bowrider:
New Model Year & New Standard Features

Bayliner 185
Bayliner decided to add some features to the standard features list of their entry level bowrider. Our tests of this boat showed a best cruise fuel burn of 5.8 gph with the base engine.

The Bayliner 185 is a popular model because it is small, easy to handle and is priced right. With the new 185 for 2011 Bayliner has added several more items to its standards list which gives it even more value. Some of the new items we noticed for this model year are the black hull color, a matching painted trailer, power steering and tilt-steering among other things, all of which we go over in detail in our latest interior examination video, now ready for viewing. If you haven’t seen how this boat handles, be sure to take a look at the performance and handling video as well. See it now...

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New Video

Formula 34 PC:
A Fast Cruiser with Upscale Fit-and-Finish

Formula 34 PC
We found the Formula 34 PC to be a great handling boat, but the real star of the show is the interior, as you’ll see in this details video.

When testing the Formula 34 PC we feel a little like the Maytag repairman in the washing machine maker's TV commercial that ran for decades. In this case it seems like there is not much for us to complain about or gently criticize when we test and inspect Formula boats. The reason is that when money is almost no object and it is a family owned and run business, and the credo of that family is to build the best boat possible, the folks on the shop floor embrace the culture. The ethos flows down from the top. Recently we spent a couple of days at the Formula factory and personally saw six employees spend the better part of eight hours buffing the Imron paint on a new 35-footer. Now you know why Formulas are the glossiest yachts at a boat show. Let's look at the Formula 34 PC...

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Test Video

Tigé RZ2:
Your Wake-Up Call

Tigé RZ2
Not only does Tigé make a boat that can dial in wake to precise levels, it also makes incredibly good looking boats, in our opinion. (Watch the video and see how many of these babes you can spot there.)

Take a test ride with us in the 22' 0" (6.7 m) Tigé RZ2, a boat that has some of the most sophisticated technology in class. With a-unique-to-Tigé Convex V hull and TAPS² technology, this is a boat that allows you to dial in your exact wake like never before. Tigé also created Tigé Touch, a touch screen control pad that allows you to program the specific set of operating parameters for the ballast, trim, and speed into one of 20 different named parameters so that you can return the boat to them at the touch of a button. And they put all this into one of the coolest looking boats on the water. Check out our latest test video and you’ll agree... cool is hot.

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Yamaha FX HO:
A "Mid-Level" Package With "Can-Do"

Yamaha FX HO
With an affordable price and competitive performance, the FX HO is one of the best selling waverunners in the Yamaha lineup.

Yamaha bills their FX lineup of PWCs 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.” More...

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Tahoe Q7 SSi:
Sporty, Stylish and Affordable

Tahoe Q7 SSi
The Tahoe Q7 SSi measures in at 20’6” and is packed with family fun features.

Tahoe's 20' 6" (6.2 m) LOA Q7 SSi is a good-looking sportboat package that seems to leave out very little. She is powered by a standard 190-hp MerCruiser 4.3L V-6 sterndrive that the builder claims will push her to speeds approaching 50 mph -- we haven't tested the boat. She has a respectable list of standard features and offers a generous selection of options. She is also packaged with a custom matched trailer and comes to you with Tracker Marine’s famous “No hassle, No haggle” pricing structure that takes the pain out of negotiating the “real” street price when you get to the dealership. The only money factors that changes that add cost are delivery and dealer prep charges. Strap on your boards and follow us...

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Should You Render
Towing Assistance?

Sea Tow
“To tow, or not to tow,” that is the question. And it is a complicated one. But there is a right answer.

If you came upon the boat pictured above we’d like to think that you’d stop and help in any way you could. But just what does that mean? Could doing the right thing lead to something going horribly wrong? To get answers to these questions and others we sent Capt. Steve to sit down with the folks at our new sponsor, Sea Tow. Here's his report...

Sea Tow is a sponsor of BoatTEST.com...


Shurhold Dual Action Polisher Tough and Effective

Seen here is the entire kit as it comes retail.

If you have ever worked with a buffer/polisher, you know that there are many choices and variations when it comes to pads. You probably have also experienced the same frustration the BoatTEST team has with the pads soaking up all the product. Let’s face it, the point of the polish is to be on the hull or surface you are trying to polish, not getting soaked up into the pad. Shurhold claimed they found a way around this issue, and you know what? They did. We recently put this to the test with not just the Shurhold brand of polish, but with two other brands. We wanted to make sure it wasn’t the polish that was preventing the absorption. At the risk of sounding too positive, there really is a difference. This is worth further exploration...

Visit Shurhold to order...

Hero of the Week

Sheriff on Jetski
Saves 2 Sailors

Monroe County (New York) Sheriff Deputy Frank Trinca Jr., left, receives the Captain David P. Dobbins Award from Steve Wischmann, deputy sector commander, U.S. Coast Guard Sector Buffalo, on Tuesday. (Max Schulte staff photographer)

We love it when we hear about people using powerboats to save fellow blow-boaters in distress. In this case it was a trained officer of the law grabbing a handy jetski to dash out onto a choppy Lake Ontario to rescue two sailors even though the USCG was on the way. The lesson here is that whenever anyone can render assistance immediately, it is the thing to do no matter what type of boat is at hand. Read all about it...

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Racing News

Evinrude 250 E-TEC Selected
For P1 Super Stock Racing

Evinrude1 Evinrude2
BoatTEST.com’s Capt. Steve tested the Evinrude 250 H.O. E-TEC in 2010 and the video was broadcast world-wide on the Internet and on YouTube. The 2011 P1 international racing series runs from May to October and in six countries. Race promoters say the new stock design is revolutionary.

Last week Powerboat P1 Management Ltd unveiled its new P1-28SS race boat at Autosport International in Birmingham, U.K. The new P1-28SS (28’ super stock) race boat is rigged with BRP's Evinrude 250 H.O. E-TEC engine. "The Evinrude brand clearly sets the benchmark when it comes to the world of outboard engines and BRP's product is synonymous with dependability, durability, and the performance required in a race environment," said Robert Wicks, Powerboat P1 chief operating officer. Read more about 2011 P1 racing and why the Evinrude 250 was selected...

See test video of the 250 Evinrude H.O. E-TEC... 

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Show Time

New York Boat Show
Jan. 19-23, 2011

New York Boat Show
Boat builders and dealers are getting ready to put their best boats forward at the huge Jacob K. Javits Convention Center in the Big Apple.

The oldest boat show in the U.S. will be celebrating its 106th anniversary this month, Jan 19-23, in New York City.  Do your research on BoatTEST.com then check out your short list in person at the show.  Remember the new boat buying paradigm: for the most part boats now need to be ordered in advance of construction. Get your new boat order in as soon as possible to ensure delivery before the season starts. Visit the NY Boat Show website...

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European News

British Babe Wins Yachtmaster of Year Award

Emily Penn, 23, of Penarth, Wales, U.K. is seen here at the helm of Earthrace aboard which she crewed on its record-setting power voyage around the world in 2009.

Emily Penn was named RYA “Yachtmaster® of the Year 2010” and was presented with her award by HRH The Princess Royal at the London International Boat Show last week. Emily was selected for the top award despite fierce competition from more than 3,200 Yachtmaster candidates worldwide who qualified last year. They were entered by RYA’s team of Yachtmaster examiners who work across the globe. More...


Floating Greens:
The Next Big Thing?

floating green
Made by "Aqua Greens," golf courses all over the world can now order any size floating green they want. And from the looks of that hole, they come in all sizes too!

It seems that we never learn to stick strictly to testing boats, because virtually every time we stray afield we get into a sand trap, so to speak. Last week we ran an item on a floating green at the Coeur d' Alene golf resort in Idaho and we took the golf course at it word when it said it was the "only" floating green in the world. One of our members living in Thailand immediately wrote to say there was one in Bangkok -- the "only" one in Asia. A little research on the net uncovered a company that makes them for a living -- they must be all over.
T-off here...

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Last Build

The Legendary
Buddy Davis
Dies at 62

Buddy Davis
Buddy Davis was building over 35 boats a year on the Outer Banks until he was stopped by the luxury tax.

Buddy Davis died last Sunday night, Jan. 16th. We received this sad news just as we were going to press with this issue of our weekly newsletter. We invite our readers to send in their pictures of Buddy and his boats as well as any remembrances so that we can share them with our readers. We will compile them into a fitting tribute to this remarkable man in next week's edition. Email them to: editorial@boattest.com.

For those who did not know Buddy, he was a self-made man who lived on North Carolina's Outer Banks, starting out as a mate on sportfishermen running out into the Atlantic for big game and became in the late 1980s the builder of one of the country's most successful offshore fishboat brands.  He will be missed by all who knew him.

Member Services

Are You Looking
For a New Boat?

The staff at BoatTEST.com has helped thousands of members with their new boat buying from boats 15' to over 100'.

If you are currently researching a new boat, the BoatTEST.com staff will be happy to provide their expertise and guidance to you via email. This is part of our "Member Services" program and there is no charge. We do not sell boats and we are not a dealer. Our purpose is to provide you with our insights, experience and recommendations, and to leverage our industry relationships in your favor. We're ready to help you with a personal response...


Visit BoatTEST.com and "like" our page to watch unedited video found only on Facebook.

Facebook page...

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Smart Boating

BoatTEST.com's Boating Course

Smart Boating
When we transferred our popular CD boating course over to DVD, we had no idea it would sell so well ...or in so many places.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about BoatTEST.com's Smart Boating Course, it’s clearly not only for beginners, but also for veteran boaters as well.  Perhaps that is why the NMMA started promoting the course after just one look.  Order your copy here...

Watch the trailer...

Where in the World

Picture of the Week

Find out where this picture was taken and when...

See a larger picture, when and who took it -- 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 was taken.
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Lesson on the Week

"Must Carry" Gear for Boaters

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover 

Captain Steve wants the smart boater to be prepared.

In this week's lesson Captain Steve goes through essential (not required) supplies that every smart boater should have onboard. He explains why these supplies are necessary and gives examples as to when they will come in handy. The 12 videos presented this week are part of his USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Captain Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST's USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch Captain Steve's video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Welcome to Finland." - S. Groover

Second Place

"You hit the macerator pump switch again, didn't you Helen?" -R. Davis

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Maybe naming her 'Capital Gain' sends the wrong message." - P. Lazarus

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 1/19/11

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: lis@boattest.com.

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All articles, Captain's Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.