Beneteau 34//Sea Ray 250 SLX//Volvo Gas Engines//16 Tests & Reviews - 07/06/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter July 6, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Beneteau Swift 34
- Volvo Penta Gas Engines
- Sea Ray 250 SLX
- Regulator 34 SS
- Prestige 500 Fly
- Bayliner 335 SB
- Triumph 215 CC
- Cranchi Zaffiro 36
- Davis Yachts 52 Express
- Evinrude E-TEC 25
- Formula 45 Yacht
- Hydra-Sports 202 DC
- Intrepid 327 CC
- Larson LXi 238
- Meridian 541 Sedan
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Dock Test
- Love Your Tender
- Sportboat Buying Tips
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Beneteau Swift 34:
Your Cruising Dream's Within Range

Beneteau Swift 34
The Beneteau Swift 34 has a LOA of 36' 7" (11.15 m) and a beam of 13' 1" (9.4 m). Some may view that size as hard to manage, but we'll prove them wrong.

Sit at a bar in any marina and sooner or later you'll hear stories of how someone's going to say goodbye to the rat race and run down the clock cruising around the country. The problem is, most of them will never do it as they consider it to be a dream that's out of reach. But Beneteau has a thing or two to say about that with their affordable Swift 34. With her semi displacement hull you can choose to cruise fast for short runs, or slow for weeks at a time. All while living very comfortably. Our full test had some revealing performance features so let's take a look at the video...

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Volvo Penta Gas Engines:
Designing for the Future

Volvo Penta
Shown here is the latest design of the Volvo Penta 8.1L fully digital engine. This engine is catalyzed and provides 375-hp.

Last year the team at Volvo Penta told us they are committed to designing the next generation of gasoline engines. We recently tested three new engines and it appears as though they are right on track. The company is producing fully computerized digital engine packages that are plug and play ready for a multitude of capabilities. Our tests have shown many of the positive aspects of the new focus on gas engine design, such at the monitoring and control features of EVC. Here are three recent engine tests on the 5.0L, 5.7L, and the 8.1L. We will soon test the all new 4.3L. Dive in here...

Volvo Penta 5.0L
Volvo Penta 5.7L
Volvo Penta 5.7L
Volvo Penta 8.1
Volvo Penta 8.1L
Volvo Penta EVC
Volvo Penta EVC

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 250 SLX:
A Bowrider With Elbow Room

Sea Ray 250 SLX
We clocked the Sea Ray 250 SLX at 45.3 mph (72.9 kph) with standard power, a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG ECT. A 380-hp MerCruiser is optional.

Our recent tests showed that if you're looking for an up-scale bowrider with lots of elbow room, the Sea Ray 250 SLX might be calling your name. Her 26' 6" (8.07 m) of LOA is enough for a sizeable forward cockpit with lounges for full-size adults, room aft for a spacious wraparound bench seat, and a private head compartment. Add the optional watersports tower for skiing or wakeboarding. Study the test results...

Brochure request

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Captain's Report

Regulator 34SS:
Is SS The New CC?

Regulator 34
Regulators are known for their ability to handle rough water. Heavy weight combined with a 24-degree deadrise has a lot to do with that, but we've found they're built to take punishment.

There's not much difference between one center console fishing boat and the next. But Regulator has done a little "outside the box" thinking with their 34's floor plan and created forward seating that wraps around the front of the console. That's an interesting move, and when you add in the engine bracket, a console that you can cook in, and that also sleeps two comfortably, then you have a boat that is worth a closer look. The fact that she's built tough is icing on the cake…a well equipped cake. More...

Request Price Quote

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Captain's Report

Prestige 500 Fly:
She Has a Full-Beam Owner's Suite

Prestige 500 Fly
Sun worshippers will enjoy the 500 Fly's sunpads on the flying bridge and foredeck. 
We'd prefer a taller radar arch.

The 49' 10" (15.2 m) LOA Prestige 500 Fly will appeal to serious cruising folks who enjoy living aboard for extended periods, but don't want to sacrifice comfort along the way. Volvo Penta IPS frees up space amidships for a sumptuous owner's suite; placing the galley in the salon not only makes the cook happier, but makes room below for two guest cabins. But why is the galley aft?

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Captain's Report

Bayliner 335 SB:
A Balance of Cost & Cruise-Ability

Bayliner 335 SB
With standard power, twin 5.0L MerCruiser sterndrives, the Bayliner 335 SB will cruise at 29.5 mph (47.5 kph) with a range of 191 miles (307 km), according to her builder. Top speed: 43.4 mph (69.8 kph).

Bayliner's queen of the fleet is the 335 SB, a 32'6" (9.91 m) LOA express cruiser that can be powered with twin MerCruiser gas or CMD diesel sterndrives. And her price (MSRP is $148,826) includes one secret "standard" that Bayliner builds into every one of its boats. Discover what she is hiding here...

Request Test Drive
Request Brochure

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Captain's Report

Triumph 215 CC:
She's Not 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.  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?

Triumph Hull Construction Watch how Triumph constructs their hulls.
Request Factory Price Quote

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Features Video

Cranchi Zaffiro 36:
A Different Sportboat Design

Cranchi Zaffiro
There are few things you can't do with the Cranchi Zaffiro 36 -- a day boat that will turn heads anywhere.

There are few places on earth quite like northern Italy, home of not only the Renaissance but also of Ferrari, Lamborghini, Gucci, Bulgari, Versace, Armani and many more of the world's high profile products.  Italian cabinet-making is the envy of craftsmen everywhere. In the middle of all of this industry and design talent are several boat builders producing elegant and refined small boats. One of them is Cranchi and our COO Christopher Hughes had a chance to get on board the Zaffiro 36 with a cameraman. Come along for the tour...

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Video Review

Buddy Davis 52 Express:
She Means Business

Davis 52 Express 52 Express
No one knew the conditions off the Carolina Coast better than the late Buddy Davis, and his 52 is designed for real fishermen.

Buddy Davis’ life’s work was fishing the edge of the continental shelf off the Carolina Coast -- first as a crewman, then as a captain, later as a big game charter boat owner, and finally as a builder putting everything he learned from the bilge up into his fishing machines. We have great respect for these kind of boat builders. The Buddy Davis 52 Express is not for everyone, but it should be considered by serious big game anglers who want to dash to the edge and back in a fully functional fishboat. Our Capt. Steve takes a first video look -- set this hook.

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In the Engine Room

Evinrude E-TEC 25:
A Little Engine with a Lot Going On

Evinrude 25 H.P.
Our test of the E-TEC 25 was performed on an Alumacraft V16. We reached a top speed of 28.1 mph and turned in a best cruise of 21.4 with a 1.4 gph fuel burn.

One look at the E-TEC 25 from Evinrude will tell you that this is clearly not an average outboard. Quite the opposite, in fact: We found it to be a feature-packed little powerhouse with a lot going for it. Gone are the days of reaching around to the side of the engine to shift, and we loved the throttle as well as steering tension adjustments. But those are just a few of the external goodies. There’s more under the cover and it’s all in our video tour of the Evinrude E-TEC 25 features. More...

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Features Video

Formula 45 Yacht:
Easy-To-Handle Express

Formula 45 Yacht
In their 45, Formula has combined a sporty express cruiser with the luxury of a yacht.

Just because you want to be in the 40-something realm of boat length, doesn’t mean you have to compromise on performance. Formula proves this with their updated 45 Yacht, now equipped with Volvo Penta IPS as standard.  What hasn't changes is fit and finish, exactly what you’ve come to expect Formula.  Capt. Steve caught up with this boat while she was on display in New York and brought the camera in for a little look-see. Take it away Capt. Steve...

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Hydra-Sports 202 DC:
Will Your Family Like Her?

Hydra-Sports 202 DC
The Hydra-Sports 202 DC is 20’ 1" of fun, but does she have what it takes to be both fish and family friendly?

We have been testing Hydra-Sports boats for many years now, and with MasterCraft taking the helm as the parent company we are seeing some interesting changes. Here is a short review of the 202 DC, a well-built and good-looking family, fish, or utility boat.  Regular readers know we like dual console boats and the 202 DC reminds us why. Take a look...

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New Boat

Intrepid 327 CC:
Not Just a Grown Up 323

Intrepid 327 CC
The 327 CC has a LOA of 32'7" (9.93 m) and a beam of 9'6" (2.89 m). The challenge was to keep the performance of the 323 that this boat replaces.

Intrepid had a remarkable success run with their 323 CC. In fact, she was their most popular model, and with good reason. But you can either sit on your laurels, or keep moving forward. Intrepid chose the latter, and did a complete redesign, not just a stretch, of the 323 and what emerged is this new 327. With an almost cult-like brand loyalty that Intrepid enjoys from their customer base, we wanted to know… can this 327 keep up? Let's look at the features and find out...

Request Brochure

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Test Video

Larson LXi 238:
We Like Her Style

Larson LXi 238:
Creative styling touches and a racy wakeboard tower turn the Larson LXi 238 into a boat that’ll turn heads. We like the triple air intakes, too. They remind us of a classic Buick.

Too many bowriders suffer from ho-hum styling, so it’s nice to see Larson making an effort to lift their LXi 238 above the fleet. By incorporating accent stripes to highlight the sinuous deck line, plush upholstery on virtually every horizontal surface, a cool optional arch that seems to defy gravity and lots of innovative detailing, the company has created a boat that should appeal to folks who think out of the box – but not too far out: Basically, the LXi 238 is a conventional bowrider built to Larson’s usual standards. And that’s good. For more about the boat, hit the jump.

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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 541 Sedan:
Light On Her Props

Meridian Yachts 541
While we were impressed with the interior layout of this new 541 Sedan, we didn’t expect a lot of surprises from the handling side of the test. How wrong we were.

This latest from Meridian Yachts is powered by twin 600-hp Cummins MerCruiser Diesel QSC engines driving Zeus pods, and we went in expecting that we’d get good performance and little else. But as it turns out, there were some interesting handling qualities that our Capt. Steve came to appreciate. Our full test video is ready for viewing, along with his full report...

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Shurhold Telescoping
Handle & Brushes

Shurhold Brushes
Shurhold's Telescoping Handle lets you wash away dirt and grime from transom to the hardtop.

The team at has rolled up their sleeves and gone to work. We took Shurhold’s Telescoping Handle and brushes out to the dock and did some cleaning. The six foot Telescoping Handle was very adaptable with four different lengths between 40” and 72”. We were able to clean the deck and then the hull with the same handle. Next we did a comparison test with the Shurhold Deck Brush, one that has been using for two years. The polystyrene bristles were all still intact and the split fiber ends were still soft. Other than some dirt, the wooden block was not cracked and the rubber bumper was still resilient. Take a look at the video to see the Telescoping Handle and brushes in action...


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 when, where and what boat you were on.

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...

Test Video

Captain Steve's First Ever
"Dock Test"

Dock Test
Captain Steve shows us all docks are not the same.

Docks come in all shapes and sizes and you can find them made out out everything from concrete to pressure-treated lumber to aluminum ladders and plywood. At BoatTEST we have seen it all when it comes to docks, so we thought it was time to start taking a closer look, branch out a bit and show our members what's out there. Come along as Capt. Steve conducts his first ever Dock Test.


Love Your Tender,
Love It True, Never Let It...

RIBs are the workhorses of cruising yachtsmen.

Elvis had it right, but some skippers get so wrapped-up in maintaining their big boat, they forget about their little ones – the tenders. They need love, too.  Almost every boat carries at least one tender, usually an inflatable or RIB. Whether it lives on chocks on the boat deck, hangs on davits or rests, tipped on its side, on the swim platform, a tender is a both useful and expensive accessory. A little TLC every now and then will make its life longer and happier. And it will make you feel good knowing that you showed affection for the little lady you keep on the side. Here’s how to keep her looking fresh and perky...

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25 Points to Compare

Sportboat Buying
Check Point #2:
How Much Horsepower? Which Brand Engine?

Sportboat Buying
Selecting the brand of boat is only half the sportboat-buying exercise. The engine selection, both in terms of brand and horsepower, are also critical -- maybe even more so. Then, there is the lower unit to think about.

Most repeat boat buyers know that new boat dealers often direct them to a boat that's in stock, rather than one that specifically meets the customer's needs or the one they walked into the showroom to see. Because of the Great Recession nearly all boat dealers are carrying far fewer boats in inventory than ever before. The result is that the boat that is best for you has a greater chance of not being there. That's why you need to figure out before you get into the showroom how much horsepower and which brand engine you want in your new boat. Here is the #2 installment in our series of "25 Points to Compare...


Sea Ray



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Lesson of the Week

How to Anchor Your Boat

Lesson of the Week
Anchors come in different types and sizes, so you need to know which anchor to use and how to use it.

This week Capt. Steve will go over nine new lessons and guidelines on the different types of anchors and anchoring procedures. Learn about the criteria when selecting a good spot to anchor, how to correctly set an anchor and the step-by-step process to ensure the anchor is secured to the bottom. Anchoring your boat in a secluded spot for the day or just off the shoreline is a lot of fun and more boaters should experience the freedom of being on the hook rather than tied up dockside.  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

"His divorce was final last week.  He got the boat!" - B. Vines

Second Place

"Honey, why don't you stand up and show them a Roman Candle." - J. Winner

Honorable Mention(s)

"I cannot believe that guy shot off all those flares just to create enough light to see my boobs." - M. Burton

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On Here?

WIGOH 7/6/11

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