New Larson 857 // Eastbay 46 vs Sabre 46 // 11 Tests & Reviews - 02/16/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter February 16, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Spencer 70
- Larson 857 Cabrio
- Cruisers Yachts Cantius 48
- Glastron DX 215 BR
- Rampage 34 IPS
- Sea-Doo Factory Tour
- Hydra-Sports 3400 CC
- Bayliner 192 Discovery
- Eastbay 46 vs. Sabre 46
- Prestige 440S
- Baja 30 Outlaw
- Yanmar 370-hp V-8 Diesel
- Premier 250 RF
- Glacier Bay at the Miami Show
- We Test Sea Tow Towboat
- Shurhold Products
- USCG Recall
- Pole Paddles Across Pond
- BoatTEST Research
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Custom Spencer 70: Costs the Same As A Production Boat

Spencer 70
The new Spencer 70 Penta-gone on her way out to the fishing grounds early one morning. Note that this 4 stateroom convertible is set up to do some cruising, too.

For the last few years the hot name in custom big game sportfisherman boat building has been Spencer Yachts, located in Wanchese, North Carolina. This small town on historic Roanoke Island, part of the Outer Banks, has seen 80 years of building boats specifically for chasing big game fish off the Carolina coast. With the passing of Palm Beach's Rybovich brothers, owner/designer/builder Paul Spencer is very close to claiming the mantle of king of custom sportfish boatbuilding, an honor that goes as far back as the 1920s and includes brands such as Ernest Hemingway's Wheeler, Pilar. Recently we spent some time talking with Paul Spencer about his new 70-footer and in the process discovered that he can build a large high-quality custom convertible for about the same price as a similar production boat. If you want to know more about Paul Spencer, the new Spencer 70, the IPS system that drives it, and how to buy such a boat...take this bait...

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New Boat

Larson Cabrio 857:
New Design, New Features

Larson 857 Cabrio
The Larson Cabrio 857 has a LOA of 28'1" (8.57 m) and a beam of 8'10" (2.69 m). Most impressive is the list of standard features that leave you wanting for very little.

When designing a day cruiser, there are a lot of choices, and if you aren’t going to do something a little different,  then you’ll get lost in the mix. Often we see one or two things we like in each boat, but Larson seems to have gone ahead and combined most of our favorite traits into one boat, the Cabrio 857. This new Cabrio is the latest in a series that represents the future of the company’s cruiser lineup. Let’s take a close look at what the future of Larson holds.

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New Features Video

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius:
Built for Cruising or Entertaining?

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius
Cruisers Yachts has created a cruising boat with three separate entertainment areas that flow into one another. Is this an ideal cruiser, or better fit for entertaining? We think both.

Open and airy are the first words that come to mind as we stepped aboard the new 48 Cantius. With an open aft cockpit, fully enclosed helm deck complete with settee and entertainment center leading into a roomy salon with nearly as much natural light as the upper deck, this is a boat that challenges the norms. Go ahead and invite your friends onboard… all of them, there’s plenty of room. In addition, the helm is all glass and ultra modern, and the engine room is one of the most organized and accessible we’ve seen. Clearly, this is a boat deserving of a closer look, so let’s run the cameras as we tour the new 48 Cantius by Cruisers Yachts.

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Test Video

Glastron DX 215 DB:
An Affordable Watersports Platform

Glastron DX 215 DB
The Glastron DX 215 DB has an LOA of 20'11”, and a beam of 8'6" (2.6 m). Her capacity is 10 persons, which can make for an interesting, and crowded, time on the water.

Glastron’s DX 215 is designed to combine the qualities of a pontoon boat with those of a sport monohull. This means that now you can take your friends (probably all of them) on the water in style. But Glastron is also known for keeping the prices of their boats reasonable. We’re wondering if that means that they’ve compromised on a few key ingredients in the build, layout and equipment. To find out, we did a full performance evaluation and walkthrough to see if the DX 215 DB is a good deal, or a good deal less.  Take a look at our full test video and read the full captain’s report to see what we found.

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Features Video

Rampage 34 IPS:
Its Interior Is World-Class

Rampage 34 IPS
Rampage nailed it by being one of the first fishboats to adopt IPS for full-astern fish chasing, and now we take a look at her interior, and get some pointers on yacht connoisseurship.

When they mated their popular 34 Express with twin IPS drives, Rampage created a very functional and incredibly maneuverable fishing machine that was also a trend-setter. Then Rampage went on to create a stunner of an interior as well.  Capt. Steve takes us below decks on the Rampage 34 IPS and points out -- chapter and verse -- exactly which details set this boat apart from the interiors you wash down with a garden hose. Watch the video...

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Inside the Factory

What Changes Are Taking
Place at Sea-Doo?
Heritage of the Rotax engine Technology Behind the Rotax Engine
The heritage of the Rotax engine. Technology behind the Rotax engine.

For many years we have been testing and reviewing Sea-Doo PWCs and jet boats, and for many years we have been receiving emails from boaters about their experiences with these products. Leading the industry in cutting edge design and technological gadgets, Sea-Doo has also had to deal with some reliability issues. The company is now well into a concerted effort to focus as much on reliability as looks and technology.  Let's go behind the scenes to find out more about their engines and components.

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New Features Video

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC:
Fish the Middle Grounds or Canyons

Hydra-Sports 3400 CC
Our tests showed a top speed of 47.5 kts with a 79.4 gph fuel burn.
At best cruise we calculated a range of over 350 nm.

Hydra-Sports’ reputation for building solid offshore boats has manifested itself again, this time in the 3400 CC. Not only is this a good looking boat, but the fit and finish is top end and the feel of a solid hull is evident when busting through the chop. This is an open boat that we’d have no reservations about taking far offshore. But that’s only half the story, for if the boat isn’t equipped to handle the challenge of offshore fishing, then the strength and handling are wasted. Fortunately for us, Hydra-Sports is run by guys who love to fish...

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Captain's Report

Bayliner 192 Discovery: 
A Boat for Family Adventures

Bayliner 192 Discovery
With seating for five, plenty of stowage and a cuddy cabin big enough for camp-cruising, the Bayliner 192 Discovery could make many boating families forget bowriders. Price: ($29,142 MSRP).

You don't have to spend a million bucks to have a great time on the water – investing about $35,000 in a boat like Bayliner's 192 Discovery will do the trick for many boaters, especially those with a sense of adventure. The 19'4" (5.89 m) LOA Discovery combines a large cockpit with seats for five for day trips with a cuddy cabin roomy enough for two adults or three kids to sleep overnight. The optional Bimini top and camper canvas turns the boat into a seagoing RV capable of longer camp-cruises for folks who don't mind roughing it a bit. A selection of MerCruiser sterndrives provides the punch. Let's take a look...

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Eastbay 46 SX vs. Sabre 46 Salon Express

Eastbay 46 SX Sabre 46 Salon Express
The Eastbay 46 SX is powered by a Zeus pod drive system. The Sabre 46 Salon Express is powered by a Zeus pod drive system.

In 2010 only about 450 new express boats were sold in the U.S. in the 40’ to 49’ range, and most of those were open Eurostyle designs, not Downeast-style hardtops. Perhaps as few as 50 boats were sold in the mid-forty foot range that were hardtops with traditional-looking lines. That’s a pretty rarified audience, but both Grand Banks (the builder of the Eastbay 46 SX) and Sabre Yachts (builder of the Sabre 46 Salon Express) are now going mano-a-mano for a handful of yachtsmen who find this style and size appealing and want to keep the cost under a million dollars. This week we compare these two boats...

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Captain's Report

Prestige 440S:
This Euro-Express is Attractively Priced

Prestige 440S
The Prestige 440S combines the talents of an American designer, an Italian stylist and a French boatbuilder. Standard power is twin Volvo Penta IPS500 diesels. The opening sunroof is also standard.

The Mediterranean must be awash in 40-some-foot express cruisers, all of them similar in most respects. At first glance this 43'9" (13.36 m) LOA Prestige 440S seems like just another member of the class, but she has something most of the others don't: A smaller price tag. Prestige is one of the Beneteau Group companies, and keeps up the family tradition of selling quality yachts at attractive prices. With twin 370-hp Volvo Penta IPS500 diesels, the only power available, the Prestige 440S starts at an MSRP of just $515,375 in the U.S. What does that buy you?

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Baja 30 Outlaw:
A Classic Come Back

Baja 30 Outlaw
The Baja 30 Outlaw has carbon-fiber reinforcement in the hull laminates, so she'll take a heck of a beating and still come up smiling.

Bajas have been built in the Fountain Powerboats factory for the last couple years, but there is new management in charge of the brand. You haven't heard much about Baja lately, but we expect that is about to change.  The Bajas were re-engineered and they ended up being better, stronger, and more reliable than before.  And they have always been fast.  To find out more about the 30 Outlaw, throttle up here...

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Engine News

New Yanmar 370-hp
V-8 Marine Diesel

Yanmar 370-hp V8 Diesel
Mating Yanmar's new 370-hp diesel with its new high-torque outdrive gives boaters some interesting options for both new boats and repower.

The big engine news which will be unveiled tomorrow at the Miami Boat Show is Yanmar's new V-8 diesel which will be offered in models ranging from 320-hp to 370-hp. It weighs 992 lbs. (450 kgs.) and Yanmar says it will have exceptionally high torque throughout its rpm range. It has an hydraulic clutch and can be used as a straight inboard, V-drive, or with Yanmar's new ZT370 dual propeller sterndrive. Read more...

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Captain's Report

Premier S-Series:
'Toons for the Fast Crowd

Premier 250 RF
Premier S-Series pontoons come in two sizes, each with a choice of layouts. But all the S-Series 'toons have the company's fast PTX technology tubes, which boost speed, handling and load capacity. This is a 250 RE, with a corner-mounted transom door.

Most people don't use "pontoon" and "high performance" in the same sentence very often, but Premier is trying to change that: The company's S-Series of 'toons rides on patented 3-tube PTX technology to improve speed and handling, permit bigger outboards and add passenger capacity. And since no two 'toon-iacs agree on the best deck arrangement, Premier offers four options in each of the two sizes of S-Series boats: That's eight 'toons to pick from! For another math lesson...

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Glacier Bay 2740
Has $10k Rebate

Glacier Bay
The Glacier Bay 2740 with hardtop is powered by twin 150 Yamaha outboards.

It is Miami Boat Show time but you don't have to actually go to the show to get a $10,000 factory rebate on a Glacier Bay 2740 powered by twin Yamaha engines -- you can get the deal at any authorized Glacier Bay dealer so long as the transaction is consummated by February 28, 2011. The company calls this its "Bay Bucks" winter show customer loyalty event. Delivery must be made by June 1. If you can make it down to the Miami Boat Show, which starts tomorrow, to see the 2740, there may be even more incentives and treats in store for you at both the Glacier Bay and World Cat displays. It the cats' meow...

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We Test the First Ever
Sea Tow Towboat

Sea Tow
Back in the early days, Sea Tow developed a rep for getting out to assist in short time. So we wondered, how fast could this first Sea Tow boat go?

Once upon a time, the U.S. Coast Guard came to the assistance of yachtsmen in any manner of distress. Then, in the early 1980s, the Federal Government decided that rich boaters could take care of themselves and the USCG would only respond if life was in danger. It wasn't long before a guy named Joe started towing in stranded boaters. Then a light bulb went on, and Joe set out to get a bank loan, buy a boat and start his own towing company. But the banks laughed and sent him packing. Today, Joe is not necessarily laughing back, but certainly smiling as his Sea Tow franchise has over 121 locations and is growing stronger every year. And that first boat??? Still plying the waters of Long Island Sound, actually. It’s quite a bit different from your boat, and that had us wondering, what makes a tow-boat and how does this first one perform? To find out we put it through a full test and checked out the features of Sea Tow One. More...

Brought to you by Sea Tow.


7 Deadly Sins
of Boat Maintenance

Shurhold Buff Magic
Yacht-Brite cleaning products, by Shurhold, ensure that you will not harm marine surfaces or the environment, yet still get your boat clean.

We can tell you right now that the #1 deadly sin of boat maintenance is “Procrastination and Neglect.” Environmental buildup – soot, carbon, dirt, mildew, mold, green scum – can damage your boat quicker than you think. Gelcoat, wood, isinglass, and plastic are all porous and once they become impregnated sometimes it can be nearly impossible to clean them without ruining the surface. Neglecting maintenance will reduce the value of your boat and make it hard to keep clean. There are six other sins and they are not so obvious – in fact, our guess is that you have been using a few of these harmful products for years. Discover the other 6 deadly sins...

USCG Recall

Brunswick Trolling Motor
Malibu LX

The January 2011 USCG Recall Notice.

An electrical problem with a Brunswick trolling motor harness and a flotation issue with one of the Malibu models are on the USCG recall list for January, 2011. As always, if you know anyone who has one of these products we urge you to pass along this notice to them. Read recall notice...

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Geriatric News

64-Year-Old Pole Paddles Across Pond

Aleksander Doba
Aleksander Doba paddled ashore in his boxer shorts in northeast Brazil two weeks ago, completing a transatlantic kayaking expedition that lasted almost 99 days and spanned 3,320 miles.

Forgive us kind reader for digressing from our normal fare of boat and engine reviews while we take the measure of a 64-year-old seafarer who obviously has yet to hear about outboard engines. Or, perhaps skipper Aleksander Doba purposely rejected horsepower in favor of his own reliable, more economical and low-emission willpower. His custom-built vessel was 23’ (7 m) long and 39” (1 m) wide. As we often say, we couldn’t make this stuff up. Any yachtsman who has cruised any distance knows that kayakers are virtually everywhere, but Mr. Doba deserves our approbation for proving that life begins at 64 – or, at least that it can if one has a mind to do it. Start paddling here... News

84% of Boat Buyers Research Boats
on the Net

According to a recent industry study 84% of new boat buyers are doing their research on the Internet -- more than any other avenue of study, including boat shows and magazines. So long to the printed page!?

At the end of each year we look over our server records to monitor the growth of's use by the world-wide boat-buying community. And each year our research sessions grow by leaps and bounds.  The reason new-boat buyers come to is simple. All builders claim to be making the best boat on the planet, and that is precisely why thousands of potential buyers come to our website each day. Our job is to help the consumer differentiate one boat model from its competitors to greatly improve the buyer's chances of choosing the most satisfying boat and engine for his purposes. Thank you, dear reader, for making such a success in 2010!

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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.

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Lesson on the Week

Rules of the Road:
Power Vessels vs. Sailing
In Narrow Channels

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover

Navigating safely in narrow channels.

This week Capt. Steve covers basic rules of the road in these twelve new lessons and guidelines on: navigating safely through narrow channels, using caution with larger vessels in narrow channels, how to signal to another boat when there’s a blind spot, overtaking another boat, and rules for power-driven vessels versus sailing vessels when crossing paths. 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

“I tried to explain to Mark that his throw of the football at an average speed of 20 mph, coupled with the boat's velocity of 40 mph, and Dave's boat velocity in the opposite direction at 40 mph, combines for a total relative football speed of 100 mph. That should be just enough to knock Dave unconscious when he tries to catch the ball. Despite my master's degree in physics, they still never listen... Oh, and I'm sorry for what's about to happen to your boat. “
– W. Leach

Second Place

“I used to ride with him, until they started the whole shirts and skins thing.” – M. Burton

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“Look at that Doris, we are about to witness two simultaneous winners of the Darwin Awards!” - D. Brown

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 2/16/11

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