Everglades 275// Top 10 Safety Tips//Launching Advice//11 Tests & Reviews - 05/26/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter May 25, 2011 If you cannot view  the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Harris FloteBote 250 GM SL
- Marlow Yachts 57E CB
- Tahoe 215 Xi
- Yamaha 242 Limited S
- Cruisers Yachts 520 SC
- Meridian 341 Sedan
- Prestige 440S
- Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA
- ZF Single Pod 2800
- Larson 850 I/O
- Everglades 275 CC
- Albemarle 330XF
- Safe Boating Tips
- Volvo Penta 8.1L
- Shurhold Products
- Member Services
- Boating Course on DVD
- Picture of the Week
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Harris FloteBote:
250 Grand Mariner SL
Sporty and Deluxe

Our test Grand Mariner had a test weight of 3,884 lbs (1,762 kg) and was powered by a 225-hp Mercury Verado.

Harris FloteBote added performance to their deluxe pontoon boat by adding a center tube with what they call "XTR" (Extreme Turning Radius).  The XTR features include lifting strakes and a set of spray fins, that give the toon very nimble handling -- almost as good as a sportboat.  See the Harris FloteBote 250 Grand Mariner SL features video...

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Captain's Report

Marlow Yachts 57E CB:
For Serious Cruising, Fast or Slow

Marlow 57E CB
The Marlow 57E CB has a remarkable layout plan that should satisfy even the most demanding owner -- 3 staterooms plus crew quarters aft. And she has a proper saloon!

At $1.550 million the Marlow 57E CB is as affordable as any boat in her class, but price is not what caught our eye. Rather we are intrigued by her unorthodox concept: she is an “expedition” yacht designed for, and capable of, semi-displacement speeds. This means that you can cruise along at 8 knots displacement speed, or pour on the coal and go 20 knots. Her layout is clever and unusual and one of the most functional we have seen in this size range. More...

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New Video

Tahoe 215 Xi:
Fish, Ski, Cruise, Dive...Party!

Tahoe 215 Xi
With far more room in the bow than a traditional bowrider/runabout, the Tahoe 215 Xi is a combination fishing rig and on-water party platform with a length overall of 21' 6" and a beam 8' 6".  Under 30K.

When researching a 21' boat you should always consider how and where you plan to use the boat. The Tahoe 215 Xi is an example of a deckboat which offers fishing features and the room to bring along several friends. Her bow design allows plenty of room for two people to fish from and the cockpit layout provides almost as much room as a pontoon boat. In this video review we look at a few key features...

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Family Report

Yamaha 242 Limited S:
One Owner's Final Report

Yamaha 242 Limited S
Beaching the 242 was no worry because of its jet drives. These two 14-year-old boys learned to drive the boat last summer, one they will remember all their lives.

Last year we followed a family of six -- including four teenaged boys -- with their Yamaha 242 Limited S over the entire summer, receiving reports from them every two weeks or so. Here is their final report explaining how each one used the boat, along with their feedback and opinions about its functionality and durability. Feedback on the 242 Limited S starts here...

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New Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 520 Sports Coupe:
Express Cruiser For All Seasons

Cruisers Yachts 520 SC
The Cruisers Yachts 520 is a 42,000 lb (19,051 kg) hardtop express cruiser which is built like a tank to handle most anything.

The Cruisers Yachts 520 SC is part of a new wave of express cruisers that offer more space and multiple entertainment venues. But there's more to this story than that. Mainly, this 520 is equipped with triple IPS500s. But does this boat really need that much power, and if so, is it drinking fuel at an alarming rate? For those answers, we put it to a full test, and the answers were a bit of a shocker...even to us.

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New Test Video

Meridian 341 Sedan:
New Offshore Test in 20 Knots

Melissa will send screenshot when the video is finalized. Meridian 341 Sedan
Don't let the size of the Meridian 341 mislead you -- this is a real cruiser.

The Meridian 341 Sedan is the company's "entry level" yacht, but don't let that description fool you.  This boat has two cabins, a large salon, the helm on a spacious flying bridge, and an aft deck.  We filled her with fuel and water and tested her in seas up to 3' in 15-20 knots of breeze.  Off the record, Captain Steve told us he was surprised by how well the 341 handled the conditions.  So, she's "entry level," but she has beef to go offshore.  See the new test...

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New Features Video

Prestige 440S:
A Feature-Packed Express Cruiser

Prestige 440
At 43' 9" (14.3 m), this classy express cruiser represents one of the best values for the money that we've seen in this class.

Times are tough, and that means buyers are getting smarter, and more discriminating. Prestige knows this, and has been making a lot of waves lately with their ability to provide more boat for less money. Equally important, they don't compromise on things that matter to experienced boaters: expertly installed systems, strong construction, and traditional functionality.  Take a look at our new features walkthrough of the 440S and you'll see what we mean. New video...

Request a full brochure

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Test Video

Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA:
A Cozy Cabin on a CC Hull

Seaswirl 2105 WA
The Striper 2101 WA is built on the same hull as their 2105 CC, but she has a lot more going for her.

When Seaswirl built the Striper 2101 WA they used their proven hull from the 2105 CC for the foundation.  The hull is deep-V, the freeboard is relatively high for this size boat, and the enclosed foredeck makes this 2101 WA drier and safer offshore when it gets rough.  She can stay out when open boats should be headed home.  Let’s take a video tour...

Request factory price quote

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Features Video

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

ZF 2800 Single Pod DriveZF 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 with diesel power.

Recently 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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New Boat

Everglades New 5 Series 275 CC:
Designed and Built to (Near) Perfection

Everglades 275 CC
The new Everglades 275 CC is at the top of her class no matter how you look at her.

In our opinion Everglades is the Rolls Royce/Bentley brand in the center console category. Since this company's beginning over a decade ago it has come on strong and quickly, building boats from the get-go that were SOTA, fishy as they come, and packed with innovations. With the three new Series 5 boats -- the 275 CC, 295 CC, and 325 CC -- Everglades has embarked on its Mark II versions of these boats which are making good vessels even better. Let's look at the new 275 CC...

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Features Video

Larson 850 I/O:
Some Fresh Air in Sportboat Design

Larson 850 IO
Capt. Steve takes a look at the boat's hard chine and lifting strakes on the Larson 850 which has a 18' 5'' LOA.  Dry weight is a mere 2,450 lbs (1,111 kg) which means that you can tow the 850 with even the smallest truck or midsized car.

When you take a design for an 18’ 5’’ (5.64 m) bowrider and compare it casually with others on the market, most of the boats may seem about the same.  There’s only so much a naval architect can do to a boat this size, some dealers will tell you. But nobody told the design team at Larson that, and they actually managed to create some features in the 850 I/O that raise the bar on what an "entry level" boat entails. So with that in mind, let’s run the features video and see what Larson decided to include in their entry level bowrider. Look and learn...

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Captain's Report

Albemarle 330XF:
A Family Express Fishboat

Albemarle 330 XF
With her trademark wide flared bow and high freeboard, the Albemarle 330XF is clearly not made for hanging around inshore.

Albemarle owners are people who love to fish, so you can well imagine that this 330XF comes rigged and ready for action. Designed to replace their venerable 32 footer, Albemarle added nearly two and a half feet to the beam of this latest model. And as families are becoming a bigger part of the purchase decision, the company paid the same attention to the boat’s interior. The result is a capable cruiser/sportfish that features almost everything a 40 footer has at a much lower price. That’s a win-win for customers looking to combine value and multi-tasking into their purchase decision. More...

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National Safe Boating Week

Top 10 Safe Boating Tips

Safe Boating Week
This "watergoer" is prepared. Even Fido knows life vests are #1 on the BoatTEST.com Top 10 Safety Tips, but some of the other suggestions might not be so obvious.

Each year about this time the President of the United States declares "National Safe Boating Week".  The reason that he declares it now, is because this coming weekend -- Memorial Day weekend in the U.S. -- is one of the biggest boating accident weekends of the year. The President and the USCG hope that the proclamation will alert "watergoers" (his words, not ours) to take a few extra moments planning for safety before they rush pell-mell to get on the water. Here are BoatTEST.com's 10 Top Safe Boating Tips...

Test Video

Volvo Penta 8.1 Gi (375-hp): Performance Test & Inspection

Volvo Penta 8.1
We recently showed a video tour of the features of this big block V8 engine. Now it’s time to put it to the test.

When it comes time to test an engine, we try to find a boat that represents the typical application for which the engine was designed. In this case, the test boat was a day cruiser with a test weight of 13,350 lbs (6,276 kg). Let’s see how our venerable 8.1 Gi did for top speed, time to plane, and most importantly, fuel consumption. Welcome aboard the test platform...


Shurhold Product:
Filter For Your Gas

Shown here is the Mr. Funnel fuel filter from Shurhold.

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...

To get 20% off any Shurhold Mr. Funnel Fuel Filter -- use Coupon code BT3 at check out.

Ask Captain Steve

Launch Ramp
Maneuvering Advice

Launch Ramp Advice

Close quarters launch ramp maneuvering on a busy weekend can cause some angst in boaters who have not had much experience. To avoid trouble, plan what you are going to do, then follow your plan. Single-engine sterndrives, in particular, can be tough to handle in tight spaces, and that is the crux of this week's question to Capt. Steve. To get his advice...

Member Services

Member Services

Why not get BoatTEST.com'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...

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Smart Boating

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 BoatTEST.com'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

Tips on Boat Launching and Retrieval

Lesson of the Week
Once you get the knack of it, launching and retrieval of your boat is not as complicated as it may look. Just be sure to practice, and take it slow before going at it alone.

This week Capt. Steve goes over guidelines on the step-by-step process to launching and retrieving your boat. Learn some basic tips on maneuvering your vehicle with the trailer and how to back it up properly.  Capt. Steve will even show you how to do this if you’re boating alone.  Just remember practice makes perfect. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Congratulations son! I would have bought you a car, but I couldn't pass this baby up.”
- W. Herbert

Second Place

“Son, with the proper boat, you'll get all the girls! This is how I met your mother!” 
- M. Mart

Honorable (almost) Mentions

“Son, when you have no idea where you are going, how you get there really doesn't matter.” - R. Brinkman

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 5/25/11

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.

We need reader help!

If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation, email it to us.

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All articles, Captain's Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.