Volvo Penta 5.0L vs 5.7L // New Sabre 46 // 10 Tests & Reviews - 02/09/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter February 9, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Sabre 46 Salon Express
- Larson 620
- Meridian 541 Sedan
- Seaswirl 3301 WA
- Volvo Penta 5.7
- Hatteras GT Series
- Windy 40 Maestro
- Regulator 34 SS
- Power Cat at the Miami Show
- Albemarle 300 XF
- Tiara 3100 Open
- Bayliner Line-up
- Intrepid 400 Cuddy
- Mainship 355 Sedan
- Evinrude 300
- Tips from Sea Tow
- Shurhold Products
- Reggie Starts New Venture
- John Deere Launches 425-hp
- Trophy 2303 Center Console
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Sabre
46 Salon Express:
Zeus Goes Downeast

Sabre 46 Salon Express
The new Sabre 46 Salon Express has two ensuite staterooms and Zeus pod drives with joystick. The image above is a computer drawing.

Next month Sabre Yachts of South Casco, Maine, plans to launch its new 46 Salon Express which will fit nicely between its popular 42 and 52 Express models. Word on the street is that already six of the new model have been ordered at retail. And just wait until Sabre 42 owners see the two large staterooms with queen beds and ensuite heads. With classical 20th century Downeast lines on the outside and 21st century propulsion and control on the inside, the new 46 will likely make the short list of many boat buyers looking for something new and innovative in the mid-40 foot range. We'll give you the nickel tour of this million dollar baby...

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Test Video

Larson LX 620 OB:
Starting You Out Right

Larson 620
When shopping for your first boat, the last thing you want is complication. This 16' 2'' (4.93 m)boat has basic systems and simplistic handing characteristics.

Entry level boats need to be stress free if they’re going to hook a customer on boating for life. The Larson LX 620 OB exemplifies this simple attitude with its two basic systems -- fuel and electrical -- coupled with reserved, docile handling characteristics. The third part of the entry level equation is keeping the boat affordable, and, again, Larson does a good job of that.  Let’s take a look at how she performs in our full test video.

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New Features Video

Meridian 541 Sedan: 
Why Meridian Dominates in Class

Meridian 541 Sedan
The Meridian 541's creative raised salon is indicative of the kind of fresh design ideas the company is bringing to yacht building, and if sales figures are any indicator, boaters are responding.

Last year only about 300 flybridge sedan boats were sold in the U.S. in all sizes.  Far and away the market leader in this class was Meridian Yachts, which builds just four sedan models from 34' (10.35 m) to 54' (16.45 m).  How has Meridian managed to dominate the sedan class in just a few years?  In our opinion it is because of their new sedans' styling, innovative interior layouts, and value for money.  Take a look at a recent test we did of the Meridian 541, and you'll see what we mean...

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New Test Video

Seaswirl 3301 Walk Around OB:
Roomy, Spacious, and Family Friendly

Seaswirl 3301 WA
Our tests show that this 33' 5'' (10.19 m) boat was able to reach 46.5 mph (74.8 kph) with twin Yamaha 250 four-strokes. Best cruise was 30.6 mph (49.2 kph) with a 20.8 gph (78.7 lph) fuel burn.

It takes a delicate ballet to create a combination of family cruiser and fishing rig. We think Seaswirl has gotten it right with the 3301 WA. The large fishboxes, helm setup, and rigging station layout had us craving a run offshore to the canyons. The roomy cabin with Pullman berths invites the family onboard for the weekend to the islands, or a remote anchorage. Combined with Yamaha outboard power for a smooth and quiet ride, this is one enticing package. Let’s take a video tour of the 3301 WA and go over the finer details of this family fishing package. More...

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New Video

Volvo Penta 5.7L Gas Engine:
Is It Worth the Extra Money?

Melissa to send screen grab from video Volvo Penta 5.7
Volvo Penta tells us that the 5.7 series delivers great performance throughout the speed range. But is it worth the upgrade money from the 5.0L?  Let’s take a look at the numbers and see.

By the time you’ve reached the realm where an engine the size of the 5.7L is a consideration, you’ll probably be around your second or third boat. Typical usage will fall roughly in the 20-25 foot (6-7.5 m) range for single engine applications, and generally 28-36 foot (8.5-11m) range for twins. What we’re impressed with, however, is that the 5.7 delivers a horsepower range from 300-320-hp in an engine of virtually the same dimensions as Volvo Penta’s 5.0L. So when faced with an upgrade choice in your new boat, is the 5.7 a better choice for you? Let’s take a look at some comparison tests and see how various iterations of this engine perform in different boats.

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The New Hatteras GT Series:
Forget Fishing -- They're Cruising Boats, Too!

Hatteras GT Series
Although designed for sportfishing, convertibles, like this Hatteras GT60, make excellent cruisers, too: They are fast, seaworthy, long-range boats with comfortable accommodations for the whole family or a crowd of friends. Enclose the flying bridge for cool-weather climates.

For years we've been saying that convertibles make excellent cruising boats.  The reason we've been saying that is because's Director of Testing cruised a 55' convertible up and down the U.S. East Coast for years quite happily.  Now we hear that more and more boaters are using them for cruising, and not just for fishing.  And why not? For many of the same reasons they make excellent fishing boats they make great all-weather cruisers. Their hulls are easy-riding and rough-water-capable; they are fast, turning even long harbor-hops into milk runs; they have voluminous stowage, even though some is meant for fish; and their accommodations equal those of nearly any yacht their size. Add a flying bridge enclosure and a convertible like a Hatteras GT becomes a three-season cruiser for New England or the Great Lakes. Here's more on GT Series cruising...

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Captain's Report

Windy 40 Maestro:
European Hardtop Cruiser

 Windy 40 Maestro
The Windy 40 Maestro has a LOA of 39.3’ (11.99 m) and a beam of 12.14’ (3.7 m) and a dry weight of 16,534 lbs (7.5 MT).

Windy Boats is one of the most sought after brands in northern Europe. That may sound like just talk to some folks, but when you come from a country where a full 1 out of every 7 residents owns a boat, and many of those use them every day, then those words take on a whole new meaning. What started out life as a 39 Sport Cruiser evolved into a sleek, seakindly express cruiser, and while there are some features we like and some we don’t like, one thing is for sure: Owning a 40 Maestro will give you bragging rights at the dock. Let’s take a look inside and see what Windy has to offer.

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Captain's Report

Regulator 34 SS:
Creating Controversy or Functionality?

Regulator 34 SS
Regulator’s 34 SS is a full 33’10” (10.3 m) without the Armstrong engine bracket. Power of choice is a pair of Yamaha 350 four-strokes.

How dull the world would be if everyone made boats exactly the same. That’s why we can’t fault Regulator for turning their “CC” into an “SS” for "Starboard Seating". By adding wrap-around seating in the bow, they effectively cut off the walkaround capability that most center consoles have, but created functional seating, and opened the door to another argument that probably won’t have the breadth of sail vs. power, but will carry a distinctive voice nonetheless. We’ve rarely used the entire boat to fight a fish, and as far as drifting goes, we have little trouble presenting either side to a drift. So there may be something to this design.  And, Regulator has another design twist. Let's take a look...

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Boat Show Incentives

Power Cat Group Debuts
At The Miami Boat Show

World Cat and the Miami Boat Show World Cat and the Miami Boat Show
The World Cat 320 CC, one of 11 World Cat models ranging from 23' to 33'. Eight models of Livingston Boats range from 8' dinghy cats to tenders and center consoles up to 19'.
World Cat and the Miami Boat Show World Cat and the Miami Boat Show
Glacier Bay 2740 is the newest boat in the Glacier Bay line. The 18' Carolina Cat is designed for both inshore and offshore work and is priced competitively.

In 2002 Andrew Brown and his business partner Chris Brockway bought into World Cat and quickly put the brand on the boating map as a viable alternative to the ubiquitous center console fishing monohulls. In 2009 World Cat bought Glacier Bay which had battled almost single-handedly for 23 years to make a dent in the monohull fishing market. Then, last year World Cat made two more acquisitions -- Livingston Boats and Carolina Cat -- to round out its hegemony in the world of power cats. Together, the four brands make up the "Power Cat Group" which now builds 33 different models of power catamaran from 8' to 34.' To celebrate the explosive growth of the company, the Power Cat Group is offering discounts from $1,750 to $10,000, along with travel credits and free accommodations at any of four owner rendezvous destinations this summer for people buying its products at the Miami Boat Show this year. Find out all about it...

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Captain's Report

Albemarle 330XF:
A Family Express Fishboat

Albemarle 330 XF
With her trademark wide flared bow and high freeboard, this boat is clearly not made for hanging around inshore.

Albemarle owners are people who love to fish, so you can well imagine that this 330XF comes rigged and ready for action. Designed to replace their venerable 32 footer, Albemarle added nearly two and a half feet to the beam of this latest model. And as families are becoming a bigger part of the purchase decision, the company paid the same attention to the boat’s interior. The result is a capable cruiser/sportfish that features almost everything a 40 footer has at a much lower price. That’s a win-win for customers looking to combine value and multi-tasking into their purchase decision. More...

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Tiara 3100 Open:
Tiara Icon Gets Another Makeover

Tiara 3100 Open
While this venerable model may have gone through some changes over the years, its staying power in the marketplace is remarkable.

While some may have a “don’t fix it if it’s not broke” attitude towards everything they come in contact with, the simple truth is, you need to either update or decide you can’t compete. Tiara correctly chose the former business model and as such, their popular 3100 Open has gone through a few changes over the years, but through it all has remained a popular model that's an easy and logical step up to an inboard cruiser. Let’s take a closer look at what is new in this classic boat...

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For Mom

Bayliner How-To Video:
Making Life More Fun

Bayliner Marketing Video
Thanks to the folks at Bayliner we can show you a great video capturing what really goes on in family boating. Don't miss it!

One of the downsides to making videos only of our boat testing is that we almost never get to show the fun and excitement that families have when out on the water. Nor could we afford to hire professional models, water skiers, helicopters and huge camera crews to capture all of the magical moments that make boating so alluring to everyone from kids to grandpa. But last week the new Bayliner 2011 promotional video crossed our desk and it captures a lot of the great times people have on the water which we could never produce. This short (3:43) video, which also shows many boats in Bayliner's new line-up, is great to show to your spouse, kids (or parents), so they can see how rewarding boat ownership really can be. Lights, camera, action...

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Captain's Report

Intrepid 400 Cuddy:
A Boat For All Reasons

Intrepid 400 Cuddy
The 40' (12.2 m) LOA Intrepid 400 Cuddy can handle up to triple 350-hp OBs. Her single-step hull should add a knot or two at WOT.  A colored hull is optional; white is standard.

The Intrepid 400 Cuddy combines many of the best aspects of a center console with those of an express: She has a cockpit suitable for fishing, diving or other water sports, and a cabin comfortable enough for cruising. Calling her a "cuddy" is understatement, in our opinion: It implies less than the 400 really offers -- her cabin is quite roomy. And, like all Intrepids, she rides on a fast, efficient single-step hull, is built about as tough as a boat can be, and can be customized for a wide variety of service. In short, she's a boat for all reasons, and one we think worth further investigation. Start here...

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Mainship Pilot 355:
This Downeaster Gets a New Name

Mainship 355 Sedan
Mainship says a single 315-hp Yanmar diesel will push the Pilot 355 to 23 knots and cruise her in the high teens. Both bow and stern thrusters are standard. Base price: $203,560.

What's in a name? Last year Mainship called its Pilot 355 Sedan the Pilot 31; the 2011 moniker more accurately reflects the boat's 35' 5" (10.8 m) max LOA, including platform and pulpit. Whatever you call her, the Pilot 355 is an update of the company’s successful Pilot 30. The new model has a bona fide pilothouse that turns most of the cockpit on the earlier boat into all-weather living space. (The Pilot 30 came in a hardtop version too, but she was still essentially an open-cockpit boat.) By placing the galley and dinette on deck, Mainship opened up more of the cabin below for sleeping accommodations. Here's more about this interesting Downeaster...

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Engine Video

Evinrude 300 E-TEC:
A ‘Rude Awakening

Evinrude 300:
With a no maintenance schedule of 3 years or 300 hours, 195 fewer parts than a comparable four-stroke, instant throttle response and bigger alternators, the E-TEC line has boaters all over the world considering Evinrude outboards.

While we didn’t start out intending to do a boat test, that’s pretty much what happened as we put the Evinrude 300 through its paces last year. Once we got the numbers down, it was a natural next step to compare its performance to other 300-hp two-strokes. There was a problem with that plan though -- there weren’t any! So then we compared to the Evinrude numbers a 300 four-stroke on virtually the same boat and were very surprised by what we found. Would it be faster, slower, burn more fuel or less? Well...

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How to Avoid Needing
A Tow Service

Sea Tow
If the skipper of this freighter had been able to keep his engine running perhaps this wouldn't have happened. And, where was his tow service when he needed it?

Did your grandmother ever tell you "A stitch in time saves nine?" If so, what she meant was that with a little work in the beginning (like good boat maintenance and planning ahead) you could avoid a lot more trouble, work and expense later. But sometimes no matter how prepared you are, gremlins get to work in the engine room. Here's what to do when trouble strikes...

Brought to you by Sea Tow...


Premium Cleaning Products from Shurhold


Shurhold Products manufactures “The Complete Solution” handle and accessories kit for your boat and RV. With beautiful sunshine and 88 degree weather we decided to test this product and some of its 40+ attachments. Did it perform as advertised? Swab your deck here...

Visit Shurhold to order...

Industry News

Reggie Starts New Venture

Reggie Fountain
Reggie Fountain announced recently that he is starting a new powerboat-building operation in Washington, NC.

Less than two months after announcing his departure from Fountain Powerboats, the company he founded 30 years ago and eventually sold after a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing, Fountain told Soundings Trade Only recently that he's back in the boating business with a new company called RF, or Real Fast Powerboats. "We're embarking on a new adventure," he said. "I'm not ready to quit yet. I'm going to start up what I had in a small way." More...

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Engine News

John Deere Launches New 425-HP Marine Diesel

John Deere
New John Deere marine diesel is a 9.0L 6090AFM75 Series unit.

John Deere Power Systems (JDPS) will debut its newest marine engine at the 2011 Miami International Boat Show, February 17 – 21, 2011. The PowerTech™ 6090AFM75 marine diesel engine is the newest addition to the John Deere lineup and can be rated up to 317 kW (425 hp). It is EPA Tier 2 compliant. The 9.0L 6-cylinder, electronically controlled, turbocharged and after-cooled marine engine is said to be appropriate for propulsion or generator applications. This new marine engine has obvious trawler, LRC and coastal cruiser applications. More...

European News

Trophy 2203 CC Named
"Starter Boat of Year" at London Show

Trophy 2203 CC
The Trophy 2203 CC is affordable and designed for economical operation.

A couple of years ago we published a Captain’s Report on Trophy 2203 CC and noted that we thought she was a good value. So you can imagine how pleased we were recently to learn that our opinion was confirmed when the Trophy 2203 CC was named “Starter Boat of the Year” at the London Boat Show last month. The judges included editorial writers and test drivers from Motor Boats Monthly, a leading magazine published in the United Kingdom. Evidently the “starter-boat” category was a new addition to the annual awards, recognizing the model that most effectively promotes "fun and affordable boating of the highest quality." To read what our captain had to say about the 2203 CC...

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Smart Boating'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'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.


Visit and "like" our page to watch unedited video found only on Facebook...
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Lesson on the Week

Rules of the Road:
Part 2: Give-Way and Stand-On Vessels

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover

Stand-on versus give-way vessel.  You must get this one right every time.

This week Capt. Steve covers some basic rules of the road in these new lessons and guidelines.  You’ll learn about the right of way for stand-on vessels and corrective measures give-way vessels must make in order to avoid collisions.  These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Play it again, Salmon." - M. Hintz

Second Place

“The latest anchor design. Effective, but stowage does raise issues. “ - B. Butler

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“I didn't buy a yacht for the family so that could hear my kids play chop sticks 24/7! “ - P. Sorenson

“Who said that the Florida Keys where just a chain of islands...” - J. Dooley

“Obviously one too many Fifths for Beethoven!” - D. Badger

"I'm telling you Mr. Joel, it was onboard when we left." – E. Armour

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 2/9/11

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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