Doral 235//Ranger Z520//Premier 251 - 05/18/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter May 18, 2011 If you cannot view  the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Rampage 45 Convertible
- Prestige 60
- Volvo Penta 5.0L
- Sea Ray 470 Sundancer
- Doral Elite 235 BR
- Formula Factory Visit
- Boston Whaler 250 Outrage
- Triumph 215 CC
- Ranger Z520 Comanche
- Premier 251 Explorer
- ZF JMS on a Viking
- Yamaha FZ Series
- Larson VEC Technology
- Shurhold Products
- Member Services
- Boating Course On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Rampage 45 Convertible: Why Mess with Success?

Rampage 45 Convertible
Rampage will equip your new 45 Convertible with twin Caterpillar C- series diesels from 715- to 1,015-hp each. We tested the boat a while back, with twin 800-hp Cat 3106s: Our test captain measured her top speed at 35 knots, best cruise around 25 kts.

The Rampage 45 Convertible is a fishboat in the classic style: Her 45' (13.72 m) modified-V hull balances speed, comfort and stability; her clean cockpit has room for moving freely around a fighting chair; she has versatile accommodations for a bunch of fishermen or an angling family; and she runs on twin Cat diesels spinning conventional props. Our contact at Rampage says she's one of the builder's best-selling models, so we thought her worth a revisit. Bring your tackle box...

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New Test Video

The New Prestige 60:
Your Ship May Have Just Come In

Prestige 60
The Prestige 60 combines a Michael Peters hull with Design Garroni styling and layout. Standard power is twin 700-hp Volvo Penta IPS900 pods. Top speed is nearly 30 knots, we're told, cruise low 20s.

The Prestige 60 pictured above is one of the most compelling new cruising yachts that we have seen in some time. She is suitable for varied missions, has styling that can appeal to most anyone who has a trained nautical eye, and has an interior layout that is hard to beat in a 60-footer or in even most boats 10' longer. The icing on the cake is her MSRP in the neighborhood of $1.4 million powered by twin IPS900 700-hp diesels. If you have been thinking of a trawler, a Downeast cruiser, or a Euro-styled express in the 60' (18.5 m) range, then we've got a boat for your short list. Find out why...

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New Test Video

Volvo Penta 5.0L Report:
270-hp Gas Engine with Two Drive Options

Volvo Penta 5.0L
We tested the 5.0L and got a bead on how this little mill performs, but is it going to be enough for you? We'll help you decide.

If you're looking at a boat in the 20' to 25' range (6.1 m - 7.62 m) then it's likely she will have a 5.0 liter engine as standard power. Volvo Penta's 270-hp version of this size engine is very popular, not only for its size, but its ability to accommodate either the single prop SX drive, or the Duoprop DPS drive. So let's take a look at what sort of performance we got out of our tests, and see if the 5.0L has enough pop for your application. More...

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New Test

Sea Ray 470 Sundancer:
Is 900-hp Enough for This Boat?

Sea Ray 470 Sundancer
The Sea Ray 470 Sundancer's stern platform looks big enough for square-dancing; it's standard, but can be fitted with a hydraulic lift for easier dinghy handling. The fiberglass hardtop with two side-by-side sunroofs is also standard. Base power is 407-hp Zeus CMDs.

The Sea Ray 470 Sundancer carries twin Zeus drives linked to Cummins MerCruiser Diesels. At 28,500 lbs. (12,928 kg.) dry weight, but with just over 900-hp on tap even with optional power, will the 470 dance the kind of tune we like? We sent our captain to run some numbers. More...

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New Test

Doral Elite 235 BR:
Elegance and BMW-Handling

Doral 235 Elite
On test day, we saw a top speed of 49.2 mph. but the real deal in this good looking boat was her spry handling.

Quite often we see boats that have either killer good looks or great handling characteristics but sometimes not both. Doral manages to combine the two in this 235 thrill ride. Not only is the fit-and-finish on par with what we've come to expect from Doral, but her quick response to the helm, coupled with an ability to cling to the turns, make this not only an exciting ride, but a eye-catching one at that. Check out this test video and experience it for yourself. Show me what 300 hp can do with a 23' 7'' boat...

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Formula Boat Construction:
How Boats Should Be Built - Part I

Formula Boats
We’ve been touting the fit-and-finish of the “Formula Difference” for years. But now we take a look at the source -- the Formula factory -- to see how they do it.

It’s always revealing when doing a factory tour, for here is where you see the heart and soul of a company, warts and all. There’s just no way to convert a factory over to a different version just so the cameras can roll.  What you see is what you get -- and it all shows in the finished product.  Today we bring you the first of a multi-part series of videos showing how Formula builds its boats.  This week we look at how it builds hulls and decks.

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Captain's Report

Boston Whaler 250 Outrage:
More Than a Pretty Face

Boston Whaler 250 Outrage
This picture gives a good idea of the size, freeboard, and potential of the 250 Outrage. Check out that hardtop and notice that there are no aluminum pipe frames taking up valuable fishing room.

The new 250 Outrage is an improvement on the old one because the company has redesigned the hull with the intention of giving her a smoother, drier ride. The fully integrated helm console with three windshields and hardtop is the latest wrinkle in Boston Whaler's continuous evolution of its product line, but her beauty is more than skin-deep. Learn more...

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Captain's Report

Triumph 215 CC:
Who Needs Fiberglass?

Triumph 215 CC
No matter what she's made of, the Triumph 215 CC has all the attributes of a serious center console fishing boat. A couple of years ago we tested the boat with a single 150-hp Yamaha outboard; she ran 43.1 mph (69.4 kph) WOT, cruised at 26.9 mph (43.3 kph) with a range of 253 mi. (407 km). Base price is $42,945 with 150-hp.

At first glance the Triumph 215 CC looks like a garden-variety center console fishboat, but get up close and you'll find there's something different about her: This 22' (6.71 m) outboard isn't made out of fiberglass, nor aluminum. She's built of Roplene, and the company says that makes her the World's Toughest Boat. What the heck is Roplene and is this boat any good?

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New Test Video

Ranger Z520 Comanche:
Stable Handling at 72.5 MPH

Ranger Z520 Comanche
We tested the Ranger Z520 powered with an Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. which brought us to a top speed of over 70 mph.

Bass boats have a lot in common with each other, so when we find one that distinguishes itself from the pack, even with just a few features, we tend to sit up and take notice. Our walk-through of the Z520 left us with little doubt that this is one of those boats, but if we had any remaining misgivings, then the test ride took care of those in short order. On the way to WOT we got a solid ride with practically no chine walk. Ranger just may be onto something here...

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Docking Technology

A Joystick System On a Viking 60

ZF Marine JMS
We gave the ZF JMS a first test in a Viking 60 convertible and declared JMS our new BFF.

Hang around the docks long enough and you’ll hear stories of how even the pros will get into tight spots that take them to the edge of their skill level, or beyond. Stuff happens, and having the right tools to get a boat into a tight slip with a wicked cross-current can spell the difference between a non-event and having banged-up topsides with black creosote smeared along the hull.  That’s why even the pros applaud ZF Marine’s new Joystick Maneuvering System (JMS). With ZF’s JMS and ZF’s Smart Command operating the props and a bow thruster, even the most unwieldy beasts in strong cross-currents can be tamed. Don’t believe us? Then check out our test video shot on an inboard Viking 60 Convertible in a crosswind and cross current. The JMS in action...

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New Test Video

Premier 251 Explorer:
Is This the Most Comfortable Toon?

Premier 251 Explorer
We tested the Premier 251 Explorer with an Evinrude 150 E-TEC 2-stroke doing the heavy work. Performance and handling were nice but the real treats were the layout and comfort level.

We love the versatility of pontoons and the large numbers of people they can accommodate. Naturally, anyone with a boat is going to be popular, so why not be able to have all your friends on at once? Of course, once those people are onboard, you want to make sure that the comfort level is all that it should be.  During our tests of the 251 Explorer, Capt. Steve took a seat in one of the cushy loungers and didn't want to get up.  Does that make it a dreamboat?

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Test Video

Yamaha FZ Series:
Competition Performance

Yamaha FX Series
Since tested the Yamaha FZ it has racked up an impressive list of race victories.

When the FZ series was introduced in 2009, one of its main focal points was the newly designed hull. This new hull included a dihedral keel, a new over-sized water inlet duct, and angled chines to help with control and stability in turns. When our own Capt. John Wenz put it to work on the water, he came away feeling that Yamaha had more than just a great new WaveRunner -- he felt that the company had a race winner on its hands as well. In fact, in 2010, the FZ has won more than ten national Pro competitions, in both open and stock, Men’s and Women’s competition including APBA National Tour, Round 1 – Expert Runabout Limited, APBA National Tour, Round 1 – Women’s Runabout Limited, APBA National Tour, Round 1 – Pro-Am Runabout get the idea. Capt. John’s prediction has proved to be correct. See the full test as well as the special “hull” feature by squeezing the throttle now...


Larson Uses VEC Technology to Increase Precision Building

Larson VEC
What's a guy in a white lab coat doing in a boat building shop?  Read on and find out.

Larson Boats uses the most state-of-the-art hull manufacturing process on the planet. It is called VEC, and it goes way beyond the vacuum resin-infusion process used by many builders of large boats. We visited the Larson factory, where the company has built over 85,000 boats using VEC Technology, to see the process in action. One of the first things we learned was that this process is continually evolving, which is having a positive impact on the boaters who are buying the boats.  Because of the high cost of the tooling, this process is limited to small, high production-run boats. More...


Shurhold Product:
Filter For Your Old Gas

Shown here is the Shurhold Mr. Funnel fuel filter.

Old gas in a can from last year can present some issues. Even fuel from dockside stations can have contaminants, and that's why Shurhold offers three different fuel filter funnels. We have used these filters at BoatTEST and can verify that sand and water are easily and effectively filtered from contaminated fuel. More...

Member Services

Mmeber Services

Why not get's expert and independent 3rd party opinion before you buy? It's FREE and our captains are standing by to answer your questions. For NEW BOATS only...



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

Pre-Departure Checklists & Filing a Float Plan

Lesson of the Week
Above is a sample float plan, which outlines the details of your trip and should be left with someone on shore.

This week’s Smart Boating lesson will go over fourteen lessons and guidelines on pre-departure checklists. You’ll learn why it’s important to file a float plan with someone who will recognize if you haven’t returned home, why checking the weather before you depart is essential especially on small boats, how to safely load your boat with gear, and why routine checks on the engine, bilge and other systems are important. 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-Ever Ducky Trifecta Winner!

First Place

"Sell it? Heck, I just bought it!" - M. Burton

Second Place

"You should have seen the boat I traded in on this one." - M. Burton

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"It's uglier than sin, don't run, but it's still a boat." - M. Burton

M. Burton has the honor of being the first member to ever win the coveted Ducky Trifecta. In addition to the coveted Ducky trophy, Burton will also received a rare Pirate Duck, and one our few remaining Devil Ducks. (We'd better not see these valuable prizes on Ebay!)

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 5/18/11

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