Prestige 440S // Affordable Sea Fox 226 // 13 Tests & Reviews - 04/20/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter April 20, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Prestige 440S
- Andros Backwater 18
- Chris-Craft Launch 28
- Volvo Penta 5.7
- Sea Fox 226CC
- Back Cove 30
- Evinrude 50-hp
- Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius
- Yamaha 242 Limited S
- Nitro Z-9 CDC
- Spencer 70
- Harris FloteBote SL 250
- Rampage 41 Express
- PowerTech Propellers
- Boating Course On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Prestige 440S: Recalibrating the Concept

Prestige 440S
Jeanneau introduced the Prestige 440S last year to such acclaim that they embellished on the concept with two new important additions for 2011. You're looking at both of them. Can you guess what they are?

We like so many things about the Prestige 440S that it is hard to find a place to start. It is as if the builder surveyed the market and then came up with a design that was one better than other boats in the 440S's class. Having cruised on a number of 40-something express cruisers we were impressed by how well this boat can be adapted to different missions by a wide variety of boaters. Then, there is the price. As we said, we hardly know where to start. You can jump aboard here...

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New Test Video

Andros Boatworks Backwater 18:
Skinny Water Is Not a Factor

Andros 18
The Andros Boatworks Backwater 18 has an LOA of 18' 1"(5.51 m), and a beam of 6' (1.83 m). Our test boat was powered by an Evinrude E-TEC 115.

When it comes to flats boats, there's usually a large tradeoff between handling capabilities and skinny water accessibility. With the Andros Boatworks Backwater 18 we found the opposite to be true. Our tests showed a very capable and nice handling boat in the chop, but one that allowed us to access seemingly impossible shallow water. Our full captain's report has the details on how she performed as well as a look at the features.

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New Test Video

Chris-Craft Launch 28:
World-Class Classic

Chris-Craft 28 Launch
If only Chris-Craft founder Chris Smith could see the 21st century version of his classic runabout we think he would jump up and click his heels. And, she could be the fastest filly on the lake this summer. Find out how.

Chris-Craft's Launch 28 has gone through several iterations and refinements and the 2011 model offers more utility than ever before. She's stylish and elegant, but also amazingly practical, if such a thing could be said about any boat. Her combination of a wide beam and larger forward cockpit provide comfortable seating for 10 people or more. Only bare feet, please...

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New Test Video

Volvo Penta 5.7L Gas Engine:
More Power in the Same-Size Package

Volvo Penta 5.7
Volvo Penta tells us that the 5.7 series delivers great performance throughout the speed range. Let’s take a look at the numbers and see.

By the time you need an engine the size of the 5.7L, you’ll probably be around your second 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 good choice for you? Let’s take a look at some comparison tests and see how various versions of this engine perform with different boats.

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Captain's Report

New Sea Fox Pro Series 226CC:
Capable and Affordable

Sea Fox 226 CC
The new Sea Fox Pro Series 226CC has an MSRP of $45,995 powered by a single Yamaha F200 and with a list of standard items that should make some boat builders embarrassed.
Photo courtesy of Ocean Marine Group.

There are over 50 companies building center console boats, so when we report on them we must pick and choose which ones we think are deserving of our readers' confidence and cash. Sea Fox is a brand that has an MSRP at the mid-to-low side of the spectrum – a place where we sometimes find boats and organizations that don't inspire faith, so we give them a pass. Considering what we have seen, we think Sea Fox deserves to be in a very esteemed category – strong, well-built boats that are affordable and have a good value. Learn about the new 226CC Sea Fox...

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Captain's Report

Back Cove 30:
Bring All Your Friends

Back Cove 30
With her single Yanmar diesel spinning a conventional prop, the Back Cove 30 will run over 26 knots tops and cruise at 20 knots, says her builder. She's Downeast-inspired, and has an MSRP of $209,000, but she comes well-found for that price.

If you enjoy inviting lots of friends aboard to share your boating fun, the Back Cove 30 could be for you: There's plenty of built-in seating in both the deckhouse and cockpit – no need to perch on the gunwales or carry folding deck chairs. Below, you'll find a comfortable U-shaped lounge that converts to a berth for overnighting. A single diesel makes the Back Cove 30 economical; lightweight construction makes her fast. Take a seat; we'll show you more...

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New Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp:
A Small Engine with a Lot of Muscle

Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp
The Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp is a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine with a 3-year warranty and very low maintenance requirements. It weighs 250 lbs. (113 kg.).

Evinrude's E-TEC 50-hp is one of the smaller of the company's line of workhorse outboards. Its engineering enables Evinrude to make some profound claims regarding the lack of required maintenance, and a substantial reduction in moving parts which translates into longer life. Today, we take a look at some of the key features of this little engine, and put it through a full test and performance review. Your choices with the 50: pull cord or electric start, tiller or remote, blue or white. Decisions...decisions...

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Features Video

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius:
A Woman's Point of View

Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius
We were certainly impressed with the interior design and layout of the Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius, but we’re guys... what do we know?

When it comes to reviewing interiors and evaluating design schemes, no one can give the critical viewpoint that a woman can. Call us sexist if you will, but at least we tell it like we see it. That’s why when our Charity Hughes reviews an interior it’s usually one of the most watched videos in the issue. So, to see if we were spot on or way off the mark with our viewpoint of the Cruisers Yachts 48 Cantius interior, we once again turn to Charity to give us the woman’s perspective...

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Yamaha 242 Limited S:
Family Sport Package Under $50,000

Yamaha 242 Limited S
The Yamaha 242 has been improved from stem to stern.  Herseating can be rearranged five ways.  MSRP is under $49,000.

When we tested the new Yamaha 242 Limited S we found we liked the balance of performance, usable space, and price; turns out that many of you thought the same thing and bought one. Now the team at Yamaha has told us that when a boater test-drives this boat, they buy it. Well if this is true, we will need to know for ourselves. If you are currently in the market for a 22 to 25-foot sportboat, we suggest you test drive the 242 for yourself and report back to us. You can see the full test here...

Sign up for a test drive.

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Bass Boats

The Nitro Z-9 CDC:
Style and Performance

Nitro Z-9 CDC
The Z-9 CDC from Nitro is a special order boat/motor/trailer package for the professional and semi-professional angler.

Nitro calls her the Z-9 CDC, but we think "fishing assault vehicle" may be a better name.  The forward deck is more like a helicopter pad and every square inch of space is dedicated to tackle and gear storage. And if you like getting to your favorite spot quickly, our tests have shown she will get up and go at over 70 mph. Here is a short video where we point out what we think makes the Z-9 CDC shine. Bait your hook here...

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New Video

How Does the Spencer 70
Hold Three IPS Diesels?

Volvo Penta Engine Room
This engine room was planned from the start to accommodate three of Volvo Penta's newest drives connected to their D13 engines.

When Volvo Penta decided to enter the larger yacht market with their new IPS1200 pod drives, they were met with a bit of a stumbling block. No one had used them before and therefore no one wanted to be the first. So they did what any self-respecting company would do: They built their own yacht to show what the drives are capable of.  And when you're an engine manufacturer building a boat, the engine room is quite the showcase indeed. Take a look...

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Full Test

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250:
Testing a 'Toon in Rough Weather

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250
We tested the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250 on a windy and bitterly cold day. You’ll probably want to drive yours in better weather.

If you want to find out how a pontoon will handle in the worst conditions, you have to take her out in the worst conditions. That’s exactly what happened on our test of the Grand Mariner SL 250. It was cold, blowing, and raining, but the show must go on. It did, however, give us a chance to see just how this ‘toon handled in choppy water with a thin-blooded captain at the helm. Of course, we had to find a sheltered area to get the running video footage, simply because a bouncing camera won’t do, but the test was very revealing and we came away with more than a few opinions on how this outboard pontoon takes it, when Mother Nature dishes it out. You can see it all (almost) in our test video and full report...

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Big Game Hunting

Rampage 41 Express:
Taking the Fish to the Next Level

Rampage 41 Express
The Rampage 41 Express has a LOA of 41’6" (12.7 m), a beam of 16’ (4.88 m), she draws 4’ (1.21 m), and she’s all you need to land the big one.

Rampage continues to impress us not only with versatility in their cockpit layouts, but also in the fit and finish of their cabins.  For cockpit versatility, we love the removable/swap-able pod units that allow you to customize your layout to your fishing style. Down below, if you entered the boat with your eyes closed, you’d never know you were on a fishing boat. Teak and holly sole, cherry wood interior finished to perfection, a full galley... the list goes on and on. This model comes standard with ZF drives with trolling valves, which means you can upgrade to the JMS joystick system anytime you want. Check out our video of the Rampage 41 Express and you’ll see what we mean. See full report...

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Proper Props

4-Blades For Towing Power

PowerTech Props
Chances are your sterndrive sportboat came with a three-blade prop -- they are cheaper and faster than a four-blade. But will they get the job done?

Many people running boats with 3-blade props struggle in towing situations. In some cases they have to get Mom and the kids in the bow just to get the boat on plane, sometimes the boat keeps falling off plane when it is slowed down for the skier, and sometimes the boat has to be going so fast to get portly Paul up on his slalom ski he is no longer at the end of the tow rope. All of these scenarios and more are typical of the disadvantages of having a 3-blade prop on a sterndrive lower unit when towing. Here's how to give your boat some towing mojo...

Get started with the Prop Worksheet...

Smart Boating

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...

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Visit and "like" our page to watch unedited video found only on Facebook...
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How to Approach an Inlet and Dock
in a Strong Current

Lesson of the Week
The seas will build up more as you approach an inlet so you’ll want to watch the waves closely and notice the pattern before heading in.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to dock your boat in a strong current and how to carefully approach an inlet in heavy waves. Learn about a sea anchor, and what it’s used for. Capt. Steve will demo some approaches that show you how to dock going into the current, he’ll also go over how to dock with the tide behind you, and how to slowly drift into the dock with the tide. 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 --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"No way are there enough mirrors on this boat." - R. Davis

Second Place

"This is so much more fun than delivering pizza." - B. Schmidt

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"I'm too sexy for my girlfriend."
- J. Siragusali

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4/20/11

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