34' Pocket Trawler // 11 Tests & Reviews // Heavy Weather Tips - 01/26/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter January 26, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Meridian 541 Sedan
- Cruisers Yachts 330 Express
- Bertram 700
- MasterCraft 300
- Intrepid 245 CC
- Princess 64
- Pro-Line 26 Super Sport
- Corvette 340
- Regal 35 Sport Coupe
- Nord Star 31 Patrol
- Volvo Penta EVC
- Tips from Sea Tow
- Shurhold Products
- Buddy Davis Remembrance
- Fairline 58 Wins Award
- Boating Course on DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Meridian 541 Sedan:
We Test The Largest
In The Lineup

Meridian 541 Sedan
While we were impressed with the interior layout of this new 541 Sedan, we didn’t expect a lot of surprises from the handling side of the test. How wrong we were.

It took a lot of waiting in order to get our hands on this new launch from Meridian. Every time one came off the line, the owners couldn’t wait to take delivery so we got moved down the list. Finally, one became available, and we jetted down to Florida to get at the controls before anyone changed their minds. This latest from Meridian is powered by twin 600-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesel QSC engines driving Zeus pods, and we went in expecting that we’d get good performance and little else. But as it turns out, there were some interesting handling qualities that our Capt. Steve came to appreciate. Our full test video is ready for viewing and it, along with his full report, will tell the whole tale.

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New Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 330 Express:
Sterndrive Power with Joystick Control

Cruisers Yachts 330 Express
With twin 375-hp Volvo Penta gas 8.1 engines, our test boat reached a top speed of 48.9 mph and a best cruise of 33.3 with a fuel burn of just 15 gph. That means a range of 463 miles.

Have you been thinking it's time to move up to a larger cruiser, but worry about handling it because you can’t afford pods?  Cruisers has some good news for you. Their popular 330 Express not only has the trademark Cruisers roominess and comfort, but now comes equipped with a sterndrive joystick. Now you can have joystick controllability for a fraction of the cost of pods, and get a very capable cruising yacht that you can dock like a pro. She also features the same level of fit and finish as Cruisers' 560, and even uses most of the same components. But the question remains, can this boat handle choppy seas or is she destined to be a dock queen?  For the answer, you’ll need to watch the full test video and get Capt. Rob’s take on how she felt underway.

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Sportfish Video

Bertram 700:
Equal Parts Battlewagon and Cruiser

Bertram 700
As you can well imagine it takes a lot of horsepower to move 128,000 lbs (58,000 kgs) of boat to the coveted 40 mph: In this case, twin 2200-hp MTU V16’s. Our tests showed a top speed of 41.8 mph.

We’re seeing a lot of sportfish boats being bought and used solely as cruisers due to their inherent ability to take as much as Mother Nature wants to dish out. That attitude suits Bertram just fine since they offer their top end 700 with no fewer than three salon configurations. If you are into fishing, rest assured this company, that started the sportfish boat genre, hasn’t forgotten its roots: They’ve equipped the 700 with both bells and whistles enough to keep any hardcore fisherman happy. For the whole story, take a look at our test video of the queen of the Bertram lineup.

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New Features Video

MasterCraft 300:
Miss Skiboat, Meet Mr. Cruiser

MasterCraft 300
When this couple came together, it was a marriage made in day boat heaven. And MasterCraft saw no need to skimp on the features. Just like the rest of the lineup, this one is packed to the gunwales with high-end items.

This new MasterCraft 300 has been generating her fair share of buzz in the boating industry, and with good reason. Since she’s the first cruiser that this ski and wakeboat company has launched, a lot of people were waiting to see just how she turned out, and we were at the front of the line ourselves.  MasterCraft didn’t disappoint. With teak everywhere, adjustable sun lounge, circular dining area, retractable aft awning, and a whole shopping list of additional perks, this turned out to be a very interesting boat. Good thing we brought along our cameras for the full tour, which is viewable here.

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New Boat

Intrepid 245 Center Console:
This Speedboat Can Wear Many Hats

Intrepid 245 Center Console
Intrepid built this 245 Center Console for display at the upcoming Miami Boat Show. She has the optional bright "white/white" gelcoat (standard "Intrepid white" is more a bone white) with just a light grey boot stripe – very classy, in our opinion. Max hp is 400, but the single Mercury 300 Verado will push her plenty fast. Price? $110,000 with this power.

Some people think Intrepid's 24' 10" (7.57 m) 245 Center Console is a fast fishing boat, while others contend she's a speedboat with rod holders; her hullside door makes her the ideal dive boat, say SCUBA enthusiasts, but folks enjoying their megayachts know the 245 CC is perfect as a tender. Funny thing is, the 245 CC can be all these things – it just depends on how you set her up. Intrepid's niche is building high-end, highly customizable boats, and the 245, although the company's smallest model, is every bit as adaptable as her larger sisters. How would you rig your 245 Center Console? Here's some advice...

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Motor Yacht

Princess 64 Flybridge MY:
She's Ready for Her Close-Up

Princess 64
The Princess 64 Flybridge Motor Yacht is a four- to five-2stateroom cruiser with a full-beam master amidships and a VIP cabin forward. Standard power is a pair of 1,015-hp Cat diesels.

The new Princess 64 Flybridge Motor Yacht will make her U.S. debut at the Miami Boat Show in February. An evolution of the company's successful Flybridge 63, the 64' 0" (19.45 m) LOA Princess 64 is for the cruising man or woman with means and taste who is ready to step into a first-class mid-sized motoryacht. Her standard twin 1,015-hp Cat C18 diesels should push her to 31 knots top end, cruise at 27, according to her U.S. importer, Viking Sport Cruisers; larger Cats are available. But cruising isn't all about speed – there's comfort, too. Does the Princess 64 measure up?

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Pro-Line 26 Super Sport:
Isn't It Time To Go Fishing?

Pro-Line 26 Super Sport
Pro-Line's 26 Super Sport arrives ready to fish, even with only standard equipment, but most fishermen will want some extras. With twin 150-hp four-stroke OBs on the transom, a well-set-up 26 SS will cost around $90,000. Top speed, according to the builder, will be around 45 mph (72.5 kph). Max power is 450 hp.

If you want to go fishing offshore, but don't want to go broke, Pro-Line has a boat for you: Their 26' 4" (8.03 m) LOA 26 Super Sport combines a roomy, easy-to-trailer fishing platform with power options up to 450-hp, plenty of fish-worthy standard equipment and lots of extras to let you build just the boat you want. With 22 degrees of deadrise, she'll be comfortable running in a chop; at 7,040 lbs (3,193 kg) trailer weight, she'll also be comfortable behind your full-sized pickup or SUV. With twin 150-hp Suzuki four-stroke OBs, her MSRP is $87,346, putting her squarely within range of lots of dedicated fishermen without trust funds. What else does the 26 Super Sport have to offer? Find out here...

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Classic Trawler

Corvette 340:
Pocket Trawler Built Right

Corvette 340
According to her builder, the new Corvette 340 has a top speed of nearly 24 knots with standard power, twin 315-hp Yanmar 6LP-315-STP diesels. (CMD 330-hp QSB 5.9s are optional.) Base price for the two-stateroom trawler yacht is $415,000 FOB Taiwan.

A couple of weeks ago we asked BoatTEST.com readers what boats they'd like us to test in the upcoming year, and several suggested the new 34' 10" (10.62 m) Corvette 340 trawler yacht. The Corvette 340 is an improvement on Corvette's earlier 320, not only 2' 10" (86.4 cm) longer but with a full-beam raised afterdeck that creates a larger master stateroom. The first 340 arrived in the U.S. at the end of 2010 and will be on display at the Miami Boat Show next month; we're working on setting up a full test. In the meantime, here's an introduction to whet your appetite. If you're hungry, dig in...

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New Boat

Regal 35 Sport Coupe:
New York Show Stopper

Regal 35 Sport Coupe
Buyers of Regal's new 35 Sport Coupe can choose from several twin-sterndrive packages from MerCruiser or Volvo Penta, including Volvo D3 diesels. Options include Volvo's new OceanX Duoprop outdrives, designed for long life in salt water, and EVC joystick control. The hullside window is only on the starboard side; to port, cabin joinery gets in the way.

It takes a lot to make New Yorkers stop and take notice, but last week many of them did just that, when Regal introduced the new 35' 2" (10.7 m) 35 Sport Coupe at the New York Boat Show. The fourth in Regal's Sport Coupe line (the others are the 52, 46 and 42), the 35 SC has an angular profile reminiscent of the Riviera or Costa Brava, a single-level enclosed cockpit that can be air-conditioned and heated, a sliding hardtop to let in the sun and salt breezes, a cabin with ample sleeping and seating spaces and a compact but well-equipped galley. We think the Regal 35 SC will appeal to a boating couple or small family who combine lots of dayboating with the occasional weekend cruise. To see if you agree, read on...

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First Look

Nord Star 31 Patrol:
For All-Weather Cruising or Work

Nord Star 31 Patrol
Look at this boat scoot! Powered by twin Volvo Penta D4 diesels this relatively light Nord Star 31 can get to places in a hurry.

We received a letter last week from one of our readers in Newfoundland. He was looking for a 30’ (9.2 m) boat that he and his wife could take cruising along the Newfoundland and Labrador coasts, and do some fishing in as well – and he wanted our recommendation. The answer was that he should look to boat builders who specialized in building boats for the northern latitudes, not sunny Florida. Basically that means Scandinavian builders, those in the Pacific Northwest as well as those in the Canadian Maritime Provinces. Having recently been aboard the Nord Star 40 Patrol we naturally thought of the Finnish boat builder Lenix-Boat Oy. That company makes eight models from 24’ (7.38 m) to 40’ (12.3 m). Let’s take a look at her...

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Engine News

Volvo Penta’s EVC (Electronic Vessel Control): Why Stay Analog In A Digital World?

Volvo Penta EVC
When a group of engineers speak a language that consists of 0’s and 1’s, wonderful things can happen. When they are also boaters, life on the water takes a dramatic turn.

Capt. Steve still clings to a world where diesels knock and blue smoke smells like victory. He spent most of his career repairing busted engine linkages and bleeding hydraulic steering systems.  To him, and others like him, this is boating. But maybe not anymore: When we got our first look at Volvo Penta’s new digital EVC operating system, we knew it was opening a doorway to the future of boating much as their pod drives had done. When the opportunity came to test it on Volvo Penta’s 31' (9.45 m) EVC demonstrator boat, there was only one person that we wanted to have at it. If Volvo Penta could convince Capt. Steve that this was the way to go, others would surely fall in line.

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Are You Ready
for Heavy Weather?

Sea Tow
People usually get caught in heavy weather when they are not expecting it. Do you know what to do if you find yourself in it?

All boats are built for a specific range of conditions. It is important that every boat owner know the conditions for which his boat was designed, the capabilities of his boat and the limitations. Secondly, all boat owners should know how to manage their boats and their crew when conditions turn challenging. Obviously, small open boats are the most vulnerable to capsize, but it can happen under certain circumstances to virtually any boat no matter how large or capable. This week we are reprinting an article that originally appeared in Sea Tow’s quarterly magazine, Lifelines. It is full of sage heavy-weather boat handling advice for owners of everything from Jon boats to large motoryachts. Batten down the hatches...

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


Test of Shurhold
Buff Magic

Seen here is the headlight lens of a 2005 minivan that has become dulled by the sandblasting effects of road debris. We have just brushed on a coat of Buff Magic in preparation for buffing out.

The team at Shurhold recently told us they had designed and formulated their Buff Magic product with jeweler's rouge to be an effective metal polish, as well as a buffing and polishing cream. They tell us it is effective on oxidation, clear coat staining, surface rust, tarnish, and plexiglas scratches, among some of the applications. We have tested Buff Magic on boats before, so this time we wanted to notch things up a bit and conduct a challenging test, on a vehicle headlight lens. So did the Buff Magic claims hold up? Find out why we still recommend Shurhold products to our members and readers here...

Visit Shurhold to order...


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

Facebook page...

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Buddy Davis:
A Boat-Building Giant

Buddy Davis 47 Buddy Davis 61
The Buddy Davis 47 was popular on the American east coast and many were built in the 1980s and early '90s. The Buddy Davis 61 was the company's second production boat and became popular among offshore anglers.

As we reported last week Buddy Davis died Jan. 16th, and with him went one of the great names in offshore sportfish boat building of the last three decades. What makes Buddy’s story so compelling is that he grew up on the Outer Banks of North Carolina in a community of 500 people where there wasn’t much work unless you made your own by following the sea. He started out as a mate on a local charter boat and over the years served his apprenticeship not only to become a big game fishing boat captain but also a renowned boat builder. At the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show in October of 2006 BoatTEST.com editor Jeff Hammond interviewed Buddy about his big-boat building career from its beginning to its end, which he announced publically for the first time in the interview. We captured on video in Buddy’s own words what set his fishing boats apart from the production boats of the era. See Buddy’s reflections on his career...

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UK News

Fairline Targa 58 Gran Turismo Wins
“Motor Boat of the Year” Award 2011

Fairline Targa 58
BoatTEST.com identified the Fairline Targa 58 as an innovative and noteworthy boat soon after her launch last spring. We are gratified that U.K. boating writers this month agreed.

Fairline Boats, a leading U.K. luxury motoryacht manufacturer, has been given the “Motor Boat of the Year” Award 2011 in the "Sportscruiser Above 45 ft" category for the Targa 58 Gran Turismo. The yacht was launched January 2010. This is the third consecutive year that Fairline has won a “Motor Boat of the Year” Award. These awards are made by a panel of boating journalists who work for Motor Boats Monthly and Motor Boat & Yachting magaizines, which are both owned by the same publishing company. BoatTEST.com also thought the Fairline Targa 58 was noteworthy and reviewed it summa cum laude last March.  To find out what BoatTEST.com’s captain had to say about the new Fairline just after the boat’s launch... 

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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 of the Week

How to Prepare for Man Overboard

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover 

If you see someone fall overboard, send out a throwable device and keep your eyes on them at all times if you are one of the passengers.

This week Capt. Steve goes over thirteen new lessons and guidelines on how to be prepared for a man overboard emergency. Practicing this drill ahead of time with your crew or passengers is important since man overboards happen so quickly that people have very little time to react. Capt Steve will go over how to pick someone up in the water and position the boat downwind, how to improve your chances of getting rescued, what a Williamson Turn is, and how to treat someone for hypothermia once they’re back aboard. 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 --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner- Grand Cayman

First Place

“You need to clean the radar screen. There is a big spot on it.” – J. Muller

Second Place

“Just keep your bearing, they always give way. “ – D. Stumpf

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“Auto Pilot 101 (Remembering to turn it off.)” – T. Merza

“Where personal yachts really come from.” – W. Leach

“Tag, You're it!” – V. Premen Jr.

"Traditional greeting among Alaskan cruise ships." - P. Lazarus

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 1/26/11

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.

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If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation, send it to: lis@boattest.com.

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