Float Like a Butterfly,
Sting Like a Bee
This is a most unusual boat for a big sportfisherman. And there's a very good reason. She's powered by three of Volvo Penta's new IPS1200 pod drives. Now we know that pods generally add about 30% to a boat's economy, but in this case, the pods were
added to give this 70-footer the agility of a lightning-fast heavy-weight boxer
when tangling with big billfish. We sent Capt. Steve to put her through a test drive...in forward and reverse.
Five control stations and joystick docking...
Tahoe Q7i SS:
Family Watersports for under 30K
Value is everything in boating these days. Our tests and reviews have shown what the Tahoe Q7i SS will deliver for under 30K. With a selection of hull graphics, wake tower, lots of storage, and some fishing features thrown in, this model should cover all your needs on the water. If you're a first time boater, this 20' 6" (6.2
m) boat, motor and trailer package is, in our opinion, a good way to get your family on the water.
Here is a walk-through of some of the features...
Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge:
An All-New Boat From the Keel Up
Long known for its popular Sundancer express cruisers, Sea Ray is making a bold
bid with this new 450 Sedan Bridge to capture boaters moving up in size to more versatile cruising
boats. The new 450 has one of the largest salons in class, plus 2 staterooms,
2 heads, a large galley and a flying bridge made for entertainment.
Check out the 450...
Larson Escape 204:
For Family Fun, and Maybe Fishing
Combining the room of a deckboat with the ride of a V-hull, the 20' 6" (6.2 m) Larson Escape 204 is a versatile family boat with more uses than a Swiss army knife. She comes standard with the bells and whistles you need for skiing, tubing or picnicking; add Larson's Fish Package and you're ready for semi-serious angling. A color-matched trailer is included as well as sterndrive power.
Find out more...
Beneteau Swift 34:
Brisk, Agile and
At first glance, you can tell that the Beneteau Swift 34 has a cruising pedigree. The more time we spent with her, the better we liked her for a cruising couple -- whether they have long range aspirations or just short range. She is easy to handle, economical to operate, has room for a second couple (or two kids) in a stand-up cabin, and best of all she is affordable. The Swift 34 will cruise happily at 15 knots all day or at 7 knots for a couple of weeks. We think that this boat can make the cruising dream possible for some people who may have thought they would never be able to pull it off.
A Dayboat Extraordinaire
MJM Yachts mixes classic Downeast design with 21st century building practice to create lightweight, efficient boats that are also very easy on the eyes to yachtsmen who like this style of day boat. The "entry level" MJM is a 29z and is available in Downeast, Express and Outboard versions.
What more do you need to know?
Triumph 191 Fish & Ski:
Have It Both Ways
If you want to fish and your kids want to ski, why not buy a boat that claims to do both? Triumph's 18' 6" (5.64 m) 191 Fish & Ski bowrider converts easily from one use to the other, simply by flipping over the aft jump seats. We think serious fishermen and serious skiers will both prefer purpose-built boats, but those who enjoy the two activities might be happy with the 191 FS as a nice compromise.
Two birds with one stone...
Bayliner 335 SB:
Queen of the "Affordable Cruising" Fleet
We love affordable boating, and who doesn't? One of the champions of the cause has always been Bayliner. This 335 SB comes standard with twin 260-hp engines, and you can opt up to Axius for joystick control, move up to 300-hp, or even opt over to 270-hp diesels. As for entertaining, she can accommodate a gang of people, and has sleeping space for six. We think the 335 SB adds up to a good value proposition.
Find out why...
New Test Video
A Wakeboat with Cruise-ability
Tigé has been trying to push the envelope with style and performance with its line of wakeboard boats. But after getting onboard and driving it firsthand, we found that it's not only a serious watersports platform, but a very capable cruiser that the whole family can enjoy. Of course when it's time to get extreme, the RZ4 can deliver on that as well.
Take a look for yourself...
Formula 37 Cruiser:
Pod Drives Or Straight Inboards?
Since her introduction in 2002, the Formula 37 Cruiser has been popular with knowledgeable
boatmen for both her design and performance. Originally powered with either gas
or diesel sterndrives, in keeping with the times Formula now offers the 38' 5" (11.71
m) LOA 37 Cruiser with pod drives, too – gas or diesel. Which package is for you?
Cruisers Yachts 330 Express:
Sterndrive Performance & Joystick Control
Have you been thinking it's time to move up to a larger cruiser, but worry about
handling it because you can’t afford pods? Cruisers has some good news for
you. Their popular 330 Express not only has the trademark Cruisers roominess and
comfort, but now comes equipped with a Volvo Penta sterndrive package with joystick.
We tested this boat in some rough water so be sure to see the report.
Pull on your boots...
Mako 212 Center Console:
11 Different Power Choices
Mako’s 212 Center Console not only has the tools that make a nice fishing package, she also offers eleven different engine choices and a host of options that, depending on the type of fishing you intend to do, will assure you a boat dialed into your parameters. The base price, with a Mercury 150 XL Optimax engine, is a no hassle, no haggle $36,995. Join us as we take a video tour of the Mako 212 CC and see if this is your
next fishing rig. Troll your mouse here...
Yamaha VX Deluxe:
What Makes This Yamaha’s Best Seller?
Whenever a builder tells us that a certain model is their best seller, we start
asking why. Take the Yamaha VX Deluxe for example. Is she Yamaha’s best performer?
Not really: She will do over 50 mph but they have faster. Is it because she’s the
least expensive? Nope, although she comes in at just $8,999 Yamaha still has less
expensive Waverunners. Surely she must have the most features then? Hardly, she’s
actually very minimalist. So what makes this the best seller for Yamaha? As it turns
out, she’s a perfect combination of all the above features, and we discuss all in
our full test video. Take a look...
Sun Tracker Party Barge 25 XP3:
Tri-Toons for Performance
Nothing brings friends out of the woodwork like a boat on a clear sunny day. The
problem is you may find yourself with more friends than your boat can handle. Problem
solved with the Sun Tracker Party Barge 25 XP3. This baby can handle up to fifteen
people and do so in style. Not only does the addition of a third tube increase buoyancy, but the lifting strakes on all three add to her performance and handling
so that even skiing is a breeze on this 25 footer. But it takes more than adding
a tube and extra seats to make a “Party Barge,” so we did a full review to see what
else this party animal brings to the show. More...
Volvo Penta 5.7L Gas Engine:
Do Computers Make A Difference?
By the time you’ve reached the realm where an engine the size of the 5.7L is a consideration,
you’ll probably be around your second or third boat. Typical usage will
fall roughly in the 20-25 feet (6-7.5 m) range for single engine applications, and
generally 28-36 foot (8.5-11 m) range for twins. What we’re impressed with, however,
is that the 5.7L delivers a horsepower range from 300-320-hp in an engine of virtually
the same dimensions as Volvo Penta’s 5.0L. So is it the onboard computer, or engineering?
Or is it both? Let’s take a detailed look at the engine and its components.
Evinrude E-TEC 115:
Evinrude's E-TEC 115 has a lot going for it. Fewer moving parts than a 4-stroke, longer life span, lower maintenance costs, and in a small enough package that it's often seen as a logical upgrade from its younger sibling, the E-TEC 90. For that reason, not only do we take a look at the features of the 115, we compare it with the features of the 90.
Let's look at the numbers...
Water Contamination Test
Shurhold Fuel Filter Funnel
If you have water in your fuel, that's bad, but if you do not know that you have water in your fuel, that is even worse. The team at Shurhold has a combination funnel and fuel filter that we decided to put to the test. With three different sizes to pick from, we took a close look at each, then proceeded with our testing. Here is the video that shows the results...
You can get all the info on the product here.
Where in the World?
Picture of the Week
See the larger picture, when and who took it -- and where!
Send us your favorite boating images.
When sending a photo, let us know when, where and what boat you were
DVD Boating Course
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...
Each year the USCG analyzes the accident reports filed the previous year and compiles the data into an informative, detailed and long report that is designed to educate
boaters as to the specific causes of accidents. Last week the USCG issued its report for 2010.
Herewith is an edited version which highlights the causes of 4,604 accidents, 672 deaths, and 3,153 injuries...
Lesson of the Week
Tips on Basic Boat Maintenance
This week Capt. Steve goes over five new lessons and guidelines on tips for doing
your own boat maintenance. It’s a great idea to keep a file with all your boat’s
manuals, registration papers, instructions for electronics aboard, and any information
on previous maintenance performed on the boat should be in a log. In these
next lessons Capt. Steve will also go over some tips on marine head maintenance,
and battery care. 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 --
Ducky Award Winner
"Don't worry -- I'll go behind the tug."
- D. Bristle
“Don't worry, honey...the wind is off the dock.” - P. Lazarus
“I have to dry my hair before dinner!”
- P. Toney
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.
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