New Sea Ray 450 Sedan // Handling Boats Offshore // 13 Tests & Reviews - 04/27/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter April 27, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge
- Hydra-Sports 3000 CC
- Prestige 440S
- Cruisers Yachts 420
- Alumacraft Classic 165 CS
- Chaparral 216 SSi
- Targa Tarfish TF1040
- Evinrude ICON
- VDH Dynamic 1700
- Sun Tracker Party Barge 25
- Turkish Cruising
- MasterCraft X-15
- Wellcraft 35 Scarab Sport
- Princess 72 Motor Yacht
- Shurhold Products
- Boating Course On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge: 2012 Model Runs
With Zeus Power

Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge
In the new 450 Sedan Bridge, Sea Ray replaced traditional propulsion with Zeus pods, spun by twin 480-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesels. A 2012 model, the new 450 should be available by this summer. Expect to pay around $1M for a well-found boat.

Will pod power mean the end of straight shafts? Maybe, if Sea Ray's new 450 Sedan Bridge is an indication of things to come. Always an innovator, Sea Ray has replaced the drivetrain of last year's 450DB with twin Zeus pods. We think that alone would justify waiting a couple of months for the 2012 Sedan Bridge to hit the market (she's due this summer, says Sea Ray), but redesigning the hull for pods resulted in a raft of other improvements, too. Find out what they are...

Request a 2012 brochure

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New Video

Hydra-Sports 3000 CC:
She's No Dilettante

Hydra-Sports 3000 CC
Hydra-Sports is now owned by the same company that builds MasterCraft.  Savvy center console boat builders are all watching to see what kind of changes will be made.

The Hydra-Sports 3000 CC has taken on a new look for 2011, but that is not all that has changed. Hydra-Sports offshore fishing boats have always been as fishy as they come, tough and reliable. But now that they're being built in the same factory as some of the fanciest freshwater tow boats, will they become -- how shall we say it? --a little more delicate?  We think our new video will answer that question. Take a gander at this...

Request factory pricing

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New Test

Prestige 440S:
We Put Luxury and Value to the Test

Prestige 440S
With an MSRP of $548K this classy yacht represents serious value for the money. But will our test show it to offer a lot, or a whole lot less? Only one way to find out...

If you read our recent report on the Prestige 440S, you know we were impressed. She has a very functional layout, as well as curves that would make a dolphin jealous - but eye candy will only take you so far. A bargain is only a bargain if you don't end up with buyer's remorse. Granted, that's an unlikely scenario with a boat of this caliber, but this boat isn't typically bought to sit at the dock. She's got legs and she needs to use them. So to see just how far her reach extends, and how the ride will be getting to the end of the journey, we put her to the test. Our full performance and handling review, as well as our full test video, are now ready for viewing. Will she pass your standards?

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New Video

Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe:
Focusing on Design and Materials

Cruisers Yachts 420 Sports Coupe
The Cruisers Yachts 420 is an example of how efficient space utilization and professional design make for an elegant express cruiser.

The team at Cruisers has been telling us how they are reacting to feedback from boaters with regard to their interior designs. They tell us they have focused on designs with contemporary styling, colors, woods, and fabrics that are fresh and exciting both in Europe and America.  Charity Hughes takes a look at the new 420 interior, and lets us know how well they've done.  See here...

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New Test

Alumacraft Classic 165 CS:
An Inexpensive Starter Fish Package

Alumacraft 165 Classic
One way to ensure a good buy is to package a boat with everything you need, and then make it affordable. We think that Alumacraft has done just that with the Classic 165 CS.

We love when a good value comes along and slaps us in the back of the head with its obvious benefits. The Alumacraft Classic 165 CS is such a boat, with good handling and a host of features that will make it a sure hit on your short list. Aside from the value that the boat/motor/trailer/fish finder/trolling motor package delivers, the construction technique is first-rate. Our test showed that the ride benefits from the thick hull and the double bow plating. But what sort of performance does the boat deliver? For that, you just go to the test video for the answers.

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Test Video

Chaparral 216 SSi: 
A Bowrider With Creative Features

Chaparral 216 SSi
How many times have you looked at your buddy's boat with a tinge of jealousy at how cool the features were? With the 216 SSi, the green eyed monster will be yours to enjoy instead of experience.

Just one look and we were hooked on the Chaparral 216 SSi. I mean seriously, look at the chromed engine intakes, the large sun pad, the comfortable seating... it's all good.  When we got to drive it, it was like meeting an old friend who just happened to be carrying all kinds of fun. Today we offer a full performance review and test video that shows off some of the cool features in addition to the outstanding handling. It's a "see it to believe it" sort of thing, so dock your mouse here...

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Captain's Report

Targa Tarfish TF1040:
Is She a Fishboat, or Pocket Cruiser?

Targa TF 1040
Designed for "recreational fishing," according to her builder, the 10.75 m (35' 3") LOA Targa Tarfish TF1040 has berths, a galley and head in her center-cabin. She's powered by single or twin diesel outdrives up to 542-kW (740-hp) total.

In Finland, they call Targa boats the "4X4s of the sea," and one look at the company's 10.75 m (35' 3") LOA Tarfish TF1040 will tell you why: Not only is she built to typical Scandinavian standards, but her weathertight pilothouse, deep forward cockpit, uncluttered afterdeck and basic-but-adequate cruising accommodations mean she can wear many hats. Targa says the Tarfish TF1040 is for fishing, but we see her as a miniature expedition yacht, one that would be ideal for adventures in less-than-tropical climates anywhere. Learn more here...

Request a brochure

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New Video

Evinrude ICON:
Digital Controls for Evinrude E-TEC Engines

Evinrude ICON
By eliminating cables from the control stations, Evinrude is able to change the way the controls talk to the engine, and how the engine talks back.

The days of running shift and throttle cables from the helm to the engines are a thing of the past. With electronic controls, we are now able to add features to the control stations that were previously unavailable. In addition to being smooth as silk, Evinrude's new ICON electronic controls add push button RPM changes, engine synchronization, and single lever controllability for up to five Evinrude E-TEC engines, among other things. That's why we decided that it was time to give Evinrude's electronic controls and gauges a once-over to see how well they work...and if we need a manual.

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Steel Yachts

Dynamic 1700:
A Dutch Treat in Steel from VanDerHeijden

VanDerHeijden Steelyachts 1700 Dynamic
There is nothing in the world of yachting quite so special as owning a well-built steel boat, in our opinion. The 57’ (17.3 m) Dynamic 1700 is reminiscent of classic Burgers and Stephens from days gone by. And nobody does steel better than the Dutch.

Fiberglass is nice, but skipper a steel boat just once and you won’t want glass again. There’s something reassuring about having a steel hull under your deck shoes, but not many builders work in steel on this side of the Atlantic.  Steel is popular in Europe, though: the Dutch have been leaders in steel boatbuilding for generations. From what we can see the Dynamic 1700 from VanDerHeijden Shipyards will do nothing but enhance steel’s reputation. Even more surprising is the price – comparable to what you will pay for a production fiberglass boat. Better still, it’s a custom yacht. So if you’re ready for a real boat, read on...

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The Pontoon World

Sun Tracker Party Barge 25:
New Features and Under $30K

Sun Tracker Party Barge 25
Our tests have shown this pontoon boat will easily cruise over 30 mph and has all the amenities to act as your on-water central command.

We could not resist showing you the latest evolution of the Sun Tracker Party Barge 25, with 26'' diameter multichambered pontoon logs and several new features for 2011. Having a proper balance of comfortable seating and usable deck space is the key to a great pontoon design and we think this model has it. Although this video was produced by Sun Tracker, it covers all the items we would show you anyway. And with a boat/motor/trailer package priced at under 30K, it is well worth your time to watch. Step here...

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Cruising in Turkey:
It's Easier Aboard a Meridian

Meridian in Turkey
An overhead view of the Meridian Yachts 391, a model tested by the team of captains.

Istanbul is a destination: Straddling the Sea of Marmara and the Bosporus Strait, this centuries-old city stands at the geographic and cultural crossroads of Europe and Asia.
You may not know it, but if you have a Meridian Yacht and you plan to visit Turkey, you will not be alone. Trio Deniz, Turkey’s exclusive Meridian Yachts dealer, has an expert team ready to support any Meridian owner, whether visitor or resident. Step into Asia...

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New Video

MasterCraft X-15:
 Evolution in Design for Generation Next

MasterCraft X-15
The X-15 from MasterCraft is the latest evolution in all around tow boats for those who demand performance and aesthetics.

When it comes to tow boats, only a few names stand out - one of them is MasterCraft. Our years of testing have proved why: These boats consistently deliver exactly what the discerning water sports boater is looking for. In our opinion the X-15's interior design, layout and overall fit and finish overshadow its very good performance and handling. Here are some of the items we think you should focus on...

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Captain's Report

Wellcraft 35 Scarab Sport:
Wide Beam, Cuddy Improve the Fishing

Wellcraft 35 Scarab Sport
To create the 35 Scarab Sport, Wellcraft started with a race-proven deep-V hull, then added beam for more room, a cuddy cabin and console head for more family comfort. True to her race heritage, the 35' 4" (10.76 m) LOA Scarab can handle up to 900-hp (671-kW).

Fishermen like to go fast, but they also need plenty of room, so when Wellcraft modified their go-fast Scarab hull to build this Scarab Sport, they added more than a foot of beam. That allowed for a console wide enough to hold a head without crowding the gunwales. Finally, Wellcraft replaced the forward seats with a two-berth cuddy. The result is a serious fishing boat that's also comfortable enough for overnighting or long, long days on the water. But what about cooking?

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Captain's Report

Princess 72 Motor Yacht:
Four Staterooms, and a Hidden Surprise

Princess 72 Motor Yacht
Princess introduced the 72 Motor Yacht in the U.S. at the Miami Boat Show in February, and she sold right away. Worldwide demand for this yacht is so high, we're told the next one won't be available in the States until the end of this year. Price? Figure on spending $4.5 million.

Despite the oft-lamented world financial crisis, Princess Yachts International of Plymouth, England, is building and selling yachts like gangbusters. Their latest model is the four-stateroom (five, if you count crew's quarters) 72 Motor Yacht, 73' 4" (22.35 m) LOA of luxury in the typical Princess style. But while most folks will focus on the sybaritic saloon and flying bridge and the regal accommodations, we were most impressed by something we discovered on deck. What was it? Find out here.

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Shurhold's Water Blade:
Dry It Faster

Shurhold Water Blade

We want to pass on a helpful hint for drying your boat: the Shurhold Flexible Water Blade helps. When we put this product to the test, we were not very excited. Let’s be real -- drying your boat is a pain, and nothing will change that. Or so we thought. We found that the Flexible Water Blade actually conformed to the shape of the hull and removed all of the water. It leaves the surface streak-free and is very easy on the arms and back.
Visit Shurhold to order...

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...

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.


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

How to Handle Your Boat
in Different Sea Conditions

Lesson of the Week
You don’t want to be out in a small boat like this one in the above sea conditions, but knowing how to maneuver your boat should you encounter rough seas is important.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on understanding wave characteristics and how to handle your boat in different types of sea conditions. Learn how to approach a head sea and make the ride more comfortable for you and your passengers, and how to handle the boat in a following sea. 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

"I don't really need a prince...I already have a boat." - P. Jones

Second Place

"Before I kiss you, which BoatTEST captain did you say you'd turn into?" - R. Wilkerson

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"If you can apply sunscreen to my back, you're in." -N. Jo

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4/27/11

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