Cobalt 323 // Scout 345 // Sea Ray 185 // How To Anchor - 04/13/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter April 13, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Cobalt 323
- ZF 2800 Pod Drive System
- Sea Ray 185 Sport
- Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.
- Beneteau Swift Trawler 44
- Larson Cabrio 857
- Marquis 420 SB
- Rinker Promotion
- Cutwater 26/28
- Scout 345 XSF
- Nord Star 40 Patrol
- Meridian Yachts in Holland
- Seaswirl 2105 CC
- Tigé Touch
- Yamaha VXR
- Shurhold Products
- Post Marine Files for Bankruptcy
- New USCG Weight Rules
- Boating Course On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Cobalt 323 Test:
One Classy Dayboat

Cobalt 323
Saltwater boaters will love the Cobalt 323 for its handling, freshwater boaters will love having the best looking boat on the lake and everyone will love the comfort and high-end features.

If anyone knows how to add “class appeal” to a day boat, it has to be the design team at Cobalt. Everywhere we looked we saw only examples of going a step further to bring out the best in quality and features: touches like quilted upholstery on the bulkheads, high-end custom-made hardware, and a stainless steel retractable walkthrough ladder that sets a new industy standard.  Throw all this together with a boat load of other features, add a top speed of over 50 mph, and you’ve got a very cool ride. All aboard...

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New "Details" Video

ZF 2800 Single Pod Drive System:
It Could Be a Game Changer

ZF 2800 Pod Drive System
A single ZF pod with dual, counter-rotating props harnesses the efficiency of a pod and the added thrust of a second prop to propel our test boat at a surprising speed and give it remarkable range.

Three weeks ago when we ran our test of the 34' center console powered by a single diesel engine driving through a single ZF pod the article scored as one of our all-time highest in reader interest.  What is not to like about a clean transom and incredible range thanks to diesel fuel efficiency when used with a single pod? Now we take a close video look at the details that make this a ground-breaking system. See history in the making...

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Bowrider Video

Sea Ray 185 Sport:
Revisiting a Classic Bowrider

Sea Ray 185 Sport
The Sea Ray 185 Sport features new graphics and a low, sleek windshield.

We have been testing new versions of the Sea Ray 185 Sport for nearly 10 years now, and each new version has been a step forward thanks to Sea Ray's professional engineering and design staff.  The builder takes aboard owner feedback so a good boat has just gotten better.  Today's 185 Sport incorporates a deep cockpit and bow area which we like for safety, especially for a family. Let's take a video look...

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New Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 150 H.O.:
A Challenging Twin-Toon Test

Evinrude E-TEC 150
A significant reduction in parts and a greatly reduced required maintenance schedule will only take you so far. The real test of an engine is the actual performance. If it won’t perform, the rest is all smoke and mirrors.

We recently ran a video tour of the features of Evinrude’s E-TEC 150, and then we wondered what its performance would be like in a challenging application -- a 4,000 lbs. (1,814 kg.) twin-toon boat.  With only two logs and lots of weight this boat is far heavier and sinks far deeper than most toons we have tested with a 150-hp outboard.  We were impressed by her hole shot time, top speed and speed at 3500 rpm. Take a look...

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New Boat

New Beneteau Swift Trawler 44:
Light, Fast, Modern

Beneteau Swift Trawler 44
The new Beneteau Swift Trawler 44 debuted this winter at the Paris and Dusseldorf boat shows and and made its US debut during the Miami boat show this past February. She combines a traditional look with modern technology and innovative thinking.

The newest boat in Beneteau's Swift Trawler series is the ST 44, which replaces the ST 42, the model that started Beneteau's foray into the trawler market back in 2004. Like the ST 42, she is intended for coastal work, inter-island exploration, and serious cruising. This twin stateroom, two-head boat weighs 24,019 lbs. (10,895 kgs.) and is powered with twin Volvo Penta D4 300-hp diesel engines. Her price is a very pleasant surprise. Learn more...

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New Boat

New Larson Cabrio 857:
The Birth of a New Series

Larson 857
Our test Cabrio 857 had a LOA of 28’1” (8.57 m) and a beam of 8’10” (2.69 m) and was powered by a Yanmar 260-hp diesel sterndrive.

After a long line of boats that get almost everything right, Larson still decided to plunge ahead and create a series that will introduce new styling, features and layouts in direct response to customer feedback. The first of the series is this new Cabrio 857.  To make it quite clear what market Larson is targeting, the company gave us an 857 (as in 8.57 meters) powered by a single sterndrive diesel engine. Find out how the diesel-powered 857 performed...

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New Boat

New Marquis 420 Sport Bridge:
In Style For The Long Haul

Marquis 420
Designed by Nuvolari-Lenard Naval Architects of Venice, Italy, the Marquis 420 SB is as modern as tomorrow both inside and out.

Hull #1 of the Marquis 420 SB was on display at the recent Miami Boat Show and we got aboard for a good look. The flying bridge model is a development of the express cruiser Sport Coupe version that was first introduced a few years ago -- which we have tested. The new Sport Bridge version keeps all of the great styling and innovative concepts of the coupe but adds a sleek flying bridge that has been expertly designed. Take off your Guccis and step aboard...

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Spring Sale

Rinker Has Big Promotion
On 4 Express Cruisers

Rinker PromotionRinker Promotion
The Rinker 310 EC (L) comes equipped with a 5.0 L MPI with Bravo 2 and the Rinker 400 EC (R) is powered by an 8.2 MPI with Bravo 3 drive. The other two models are the 340 EC
and the 360 EC.

Rinker is holding a dramatic sale promotion from now until May 1st that offers discounts worth from $27,754 up to $117,055 off the MSRP base price of four express cruisers in its line. The four boats are: 310 EC, 340 EC, 360 EC, and 400 EC. The discounts range up to 30%. To find out the details and to get a $10,000 voucher toward options, start right here...

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New Boat

New Cutwater 26 & 28:
Downeast Goes Out West

Cutwater 26/28
The new Cutwater 28 Downeast-styled trailerable cruiser is powered by a single Yanmar 6BY2 260-hp diesel and is said to cruise at 20 knots or more.

Cutwater trailerable and affordable Downeast cruisers were unveiled last winter by the Pacific Northwest boat builder Fluid Motion, builder of the successful Ranger Tugs. The Cutwater Downeaster will come in two sizes -- for now -- 26' (8 m) and 28' (8.61 m). They are both powered by single Yanmar diesel engines to save weight, and fuel, and to provide the low-end torque necessary to get these boats quickly on plane. The company has targeted couples in their 50s and 60s who want the cruising dream without having to mortgage their retirement nest egg. The MSRP starts at $139,937. Let's take a look...

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New Boat

New Scout 345 XSF Center Console:
Most Innovative of the Scout Fleet

Scout 345 XSF
The new Scout 345 XSF incorporates lots of Carolina flare in the bow and a beautifully rounded stern with plenty of tumble home and a reverse transom.

Scout's newest boat, the 345 XSF center console, is also the company's largest boat and she is a beauty. With a 10'9" (3.30 m) beam and a displacement of about 10,300 lbs. (4,681 kgs.) with twin Yamaha 350s strapped to her integrated bracket/swim platform, she has the heft to handle just the kind of seas pictured above. As striking as the 345's curves are on the outside, you ain't seen nothin' yet. Let's climb aboard...

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New Boat

Nord Star 40 Patrol:
Built in Finland with IPS Power

Nord Star 40 Patrol
Nord Star's 40 Patrol was designed from the keel up for pod power; with twin Volvo Penta IPS 600s, she'll run at 40.6 knots, cruise economically in the mid-30s, according to Volvo. The flying bridge, shaded cockpit and wide swim platform turn this Scandi boat into a warm-weather cruiser, too. Many have been sold for boating in the Med, we're told.

You can always count on the Scandinavians to produce interesting boats, and the Nord Star Patrol line is no exception. Top of the line is this 40 Patrol, which combines a quasi-military profile with an inviting flying bridge and wide swim platform. Built by Linex-Boat Oy, a family-owned company based in Kalvia, Finland, the 42'6" (12.98 m) LOA x 12'6" (3.85 m) beam 40 Patrol is designed for folks who cruise in a wide range of sea and weather conditions, not all of them friendly.  Join us for some herring and aquavit...

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Cruising Around Holland
In a Meridian 459 Sedan

Meridian Amsterdam
Who said a motoryacht with a flying bridge couldn't cruise all over Holland?

Few countries boast more waterways than the beautiful Netherlands, which is probably why the Dutch are some of the most avid boaters in the world. So then, how would an American-designed and -built motor yacht do in these waters when owned and operated by a local couple? For this Dutch treat...

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Test Video

Seaswirl 2105 CC:
For Fish or Family

Seaswirl 2105 CC
The Striper 2105 CC has an LOA of 21'6” and is easily trailerable.  Best of all, she is priced right.

Striper made the 2105 CC as an offshore fishing boat that’s also designed to keep the family happy. Her relatively high freeboard forward will help keep mom dry, and her deep cockpit will keep the kids where they belong.  And there's a head! For fishermen we found the 2105 CC to be a virtual blank canvas, waiting to be painted with the options that are specific to the mission intended, whether it is trolling, casting, jigging, or any combination.  Sounds good, but how does she handle?  Take a look...

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New Technology

High-Tech "Tigé Touch" Delivers a Programmable Wakeboat

“Tigé Touch” brings new levels of simplicity, information and control to the helm of all new Tigé Boats. We think this easy-to-use device will create a trend.

“Tigé Touch” is the newest feature to grace the Tigé line of performance wakeboard boats. This amazing instrument not only gives you complete control of the boat’s speed, but it also controls the ballast tanks, lights, tunes, bilge pumps, and a host of other accessories and equipment.  It is similar in concept to the expensive Octoplex system which we have seen on megayachts, but the “Tigé Touch” was designed and engineered by the team at Tigé strictly for the systems on board a complex sportboat. Captain Steve made a video to show us how it works. All you need is a finger...

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PWC Test

Yamaha VXR Waverunner:
Fast, Fuel-Efficient and Stable

Yamaha VXR
The 2011 Yamaha VXR was designed to be a no-frills performance watercraft at a reasonable price. Take a look at our test and draw your own conclusions.

The team at Yamaha tells us that the mission of the VXR is to provide the best possible high performance watercraft in a no-frills, low-cost package. With this in mind, we set out to test and review the VXR. The first thing we noticed was that the production weight of this watercraft is only 728 lbs. and that the 1812 cc four-stroke, four-cylinder marine engine is NOT supercharged. What's more, the dash and handle bars are not decorated like a Christmas tree with lots of things to look at and fiddle with. Yamaha certainly got the no-frills part right, but what about the performance and handling, and who is the VXR really designed for? Hop aboard and find out...

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Shurhold System:
"One Handle Does It All"

Make cleaning your boat easier with Shurhold products.

The BoatTEST team has used the Shurhold System for two years now and we like it. Even in winter, the adjustable handle and Water Blade came in handy when cleaning snow off of the cars.  There are several different handles to choose from, such as the fishing series, fixed lengths, or the different sized telescoping handles.  They all come with the Shurhold exclusive SHUR-LOK quick release system that positively locks the Shurhold handle quickly and easily to different Shurhold attachments. All in all, there are about forty of them from different brushes to boat hooks to the Water Blade. Dig into the sea bag and see for yourself...

Industry News

Post Marine Co.
Files for Bankruptcy

Collisions at Sea
The Post 53 was one of the largest boats the New Jersey company built.

Post Marine filed for chapter 7 bankruptcy last week, the latest boat builder to suffer the fallout from the Great Recession. The company had been ailing for years and never seemed to regain its footing after the devastating 10% Luxury Tax during the 1991-93 period. Nevertheless it sold new boats throughout most of the 2000s. Post was founded in 1957 and was located in Mays Landing, N.J.  More...


New USCG Weight Rules
for Passenger Vessels

Weight Rules
Existing U.S. passenger vessel capacities were based on an average weight of 140 lbs. (63.5 kgs.) set in 1942. (Yes, the pix above has been photoshopped, but we couldn't resist it.)

Last week the USCG announced that new passenger capacity rules would be going into effect in December, 2011. The Coast Guard has kept a wary eye on the growing obesity problem in the U.S. and will be raising the average weight calculation from 140 lbs (62.5 kgs.) to 185 lbs. (83.9 kgs.) -- or an increase of 32% for all passenger vessels. That means that many of these boats will be reducing the number of passengers they can take. But does this ruling affect recreational boats? The fat's in the fire...

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Smart Boating's
DVD Boating Course

Smart Boating
This set of 4 DVDs covers virtually all of the important topics you need to know to go boating safely.

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

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken and when...

See the 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 Anchor Your Boat

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover

Every boater should be proficient at anchoring.

This week Capt. Steve will go over nine short videos and guidelines on the different types of anchors and anchoring procedures. Learn about how to select a good spot to anchor, how to correctly set an anchor, and the step-by-step process to ensure the anchor is secured to the bottom.  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

“Oh, didn't I mention the kids?” – B. King

Second Place

“If man thinks... it's not worth it! it's not worth it!” – R. Justice

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“Trust me honey, in ten years you'll look back at this and laugh about it.” – J. Wilson

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4/13/11

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