MasterCraft X-55//Cabo 45//14 Tests & Reviews - 09/07/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter September 7, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Bayliner 175 BR
- Scout 345 XSF
- Cabo 45 Express
- Yamaha FX HO Series
- Stingray 208 LR
- Prestige 60
- Sea Ray 185 Sport
- Godfrey Sweetwater 2486 FC
- Volvo Penta DPS
- MasterCraft X-55
- Formula 40 PC
- Andros Backwater 18
- Beneteau Swift 44
- Nitro Z-7
- Evinrude 50-hp
- Azimut Magellano 50
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Royal Purple Test Results
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Bayliner 175 BR: Popular Bayliner
Gets A Makeover

Bayliner 175 BR
With a LOA of 17'6" (5.33 m) this 1,923 lb (872 kg) bowrider is a good entry-level boat that is towable by a wide range of vehicles.

We've never been one to sit on our laurels, so when Bayliner changed its most popular model we were pleased. If the single-edged razor morphing into four blades and cassette tapes giving way to MP3 players has taught us anything it's that there is always room for improvement. We think Bayliner has managed to make some decent and well-thought out changes.  Let's see the Bayliner 175 BR...

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Captain's Report

New Scout 345 XSF:
Curves in All the Right Places

Scout 345 XSF
With famous Carolina flare and beautifully-sculptured tumble home, the Scout 345 XSF is a work of art as much as an offshore fishing machine.

Scout's newest boat, the 345 XSF center console, is also the company's largest boat and she is a beauty. With a 10' 9" (3.30 m) beam and a displacement of about 10,300 lbs. (4,681 kgs.) with twin Yamaha 350s strapped to her integrated bracket/swim platform, she has the heft to handle both offshore seas and big billfish. As striking as the 345's curves are on the outside, you ain't seen nothin' yet. A peek...

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Captain's Report

Cabo 45 Express:
A Big Peters-Designed Fishboat

Cabo 45 Express
This is what it is all about: six men on the briny matching wits and brawn with crafty billfish, as the skipper of this Cabo 45 Express backs down to make it a bit easier for his mate.

There are only a half a dozen or so express fishboats on the market over 41' and the Cabo 45 is one of the biggest. Interestingly, in the mid-40 range the Cabo 45 at 33,000 lbs. (15,000 kgs.) falls right in the middle of the group even though she is a bit longer than most. Her beam of 15' 8" (4.77 m) is also about in the middle of the range of these fishermen. At 11.5-degrees of deadrise at the transom, she is the flatest of all the express fishboats in class which should make her more stable and a bit faster, all other things being equal. Let's fish for more facts...

Request factory price quote

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New Test Video

Yamaha FX HO Series:
New Look, New Features

Yamaha FX HO Series
Seen in this front view, the new look of the FX HO is a little more striking than what we usually see from Yamaha. What is hard to make out in this image is the beautiful metallic paint they have chosen -- not a gel coat.

The Yamaha FX HO Series encompasses two machines, the FX Cruiser HO and the FX HO. Essentially these are the same waverunners except for a few cosmetic differences. When our PWC tester in residence arrived for testing, the first thing that caught his eye was the new, more angular redesigned front end. Let's see what he has to say...

Request a brochure

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Captain's Report

Stingray 208 LR:
Speed and Added Features

Stingray 208LR
The two-tone hull color option costs only $468 on the Stingray 208 LR and you have several color choices. And with the 4.3 L engine she moves.

Stingray has built its reputation by producing boats that are fast and reasonably priced. But lately the builder has stepped up and is now offering more features as standard equipment than ever before and this move has certainly added value to its new boats. The 208 LR is one of the Stingray's most popular bowriders and our quick look will show you why. More...

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Test Video

Prestige 60:
An Impressive Offshore Motoryacht

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 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, 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 motoryacht, 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...

Request a sea trial

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Bowrider Video

New Sea Ray 185 Sport:
Redesigned Based on Owner Feedback

Sea Ray 185 Sport
The Sea Ray 185 Sport features new graphics and a low, sleek windshield.

We have been testing new versions of the Sea Ray 185 Sport for nearly 10 years now, and each new version has been a step forward thanks to Sea Ray's professional engineering and design staff.  The builder takes aboard owner feedback, so a good boat has just gotten better.  Today's 185 Sport incorporates a deep cockpit and bow area which we like for safety, especially for a family. Let's take a video look...

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Captain's Report

Sweetwater 2486 FC:
A Multi-Species Fishing Toon

Godfrey Sweetwater 2486 FC
The Sweetwater has a LOA of 24' (7.32 m), but remains trailerable with a beam of 8' 6" (2.6 m). Loaded weight is 2,669 lbs (1,211 kg).

Sweetwater is part of the Godfrey Pontoon family that consists of Aqua Patio, Parti Kraft, and Sanpan Pontoons. Godfrey, which is one of the largest boat builders in the U.S, knows a thing or two about recreational boat construction, particularly when it comes to toons. There are several interesting aspects of the Sweetwater 2486 FC, but perhaps the most compelling one of all is the price -- an MSRP of $21,030 powered by an Evinrude 90-hp E-TEC. More...

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New Video

Volvo Penta's DPS:
Position Holding at the Push of a Button

Volvo Penta DPS
The real beauty of this Dynamic Positioning System is that it's activated by a button on the joystick, which means no additional holes drilled into your panel. Even the display will likely already be there.

How many times have you had to wait in the middle of a running channel for a bridge to open? How about holding position while you wait for a gas dock to free up? Or the countless other times you just had to wait for whatever reason? Wouldn't it be more convenient to just press a button and have the boat do the work for you? That's the logic behind Volvo Penta's DPS, or Dynamic Positioning System. And if you're a fan of Volvo Penta then you likely have most of the components already installed on your panel anyway. So why not add one more button on the joystick? Press your mouse's button here...

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Captain's Report

MasterCraft X-55:
Boogie & Party While You Wake

MasterCraft X-55
MasterCraft has stepped up and added stunning graphics, awesome performance, and a hard-to-match comfort level in their newest X-55.

Obviously the design team at MasterCraft has been busy. Always known for thinking out of the box, and for being wakeboat pioneers, the folks at MasterCraft have now combined an awesome wakeboat with just the right amount of luxury and amenities to satisfy not only the pros, but the families, too. And they didn't forget to add the "cool" factor either. It all comes together in the X-55, so let's climb aboard and take a look. To the board room...

Request a brochure

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Test Video

Formula 40 PC:
IPS Performance in a Class Act

Formula 40 PC
Our tests have revealed that pods usually add an average of 30 percent to a boat's fuel efficiency at best cruise.  While they also add to the price, that’s never been a problem for Formula customers.

One thing we like about the Porter family, owners of Formula, is that you always know where you stand with them. Take this 40 PC for example. One would think she's 40’ (12.2 m) overall with the bow pulpit and swim platform but you’d be wrong. This boat is actually 42' 7'' (13 m) LOA. She is 40' stem to stern, the old fashioned, and conservative, way of describing a boat's length.  How easy would it have been just to call this a 42 PC? Price is another open book with this company. Their website shows how much its boats cost, no “contact dealer for quote,” and no “give us your contact information first.”  She's a boat that we felt had to be tested.

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Test Video

Andros Boatworks Backwater 18:
A Good Flats Boat in Chop

Andros 18
The Andros Boatworks Backwater 18 has an LOA of 18' 1" (5.51 m), and a beam of 6' (1.83 m). Our test boat was powered by an Evinrude E-TEC 115.

When it comes to flats boats, there's usually a large tradeoff between handling capabilities and skinny water accessibility. With the Andros Boatworks Backwater 18 we found the opposite to be true. Our tests showed a very capable and nice handling boat in the chop, but one that allowed us to access seemingly impossible shallow water. Our full captain's report has the details on how she performed as well as a look at the features.

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Captain's Report

Beneteau Swift 44:
For Coastal Cruising World-Wide

Beneteau Swift Trawler 44
The new Beneteau Swift 44 debuted last winter at the Paris and Dusseldorf boat shows and will be arriving in the U.S. soon. She combines a traditional look with modern technology and innovative thinking.

The newest boat in Beneteau's Swift series is the ST 44, which replaces the ST 42, the model that started Beneteau's foray into the trawler market back in 2004. Like the ST 42, she is intended for coastal work, inter-island exploration, and serious cruising. This twin stateroom, two-head boat weighs 24,019 lbs. (10,895 kgs.) and is powered with twin Volvo Penta D4 300-hp diesel engines. Her price is a very pleasant surprise. Learn more...

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Video Review

2011 Nitro Z-7:
Weekend Tournament Basser

Nitro Z-7
Designed for the weekend tournament angler, the Z-7 is a boat, motor, trailer package that prices in at under 20K.

Tournament bass boats are loaded to the gills and built for one thing. So what about the weekend tournament enthusiast who doesn't need the top of the line? Nitro has what seems to be the perfect balance of features, performance and a price you can live with. Take a closer look with our video review.

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp:
Trusty Workhorse For Small Boats

Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp
The Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp is a 2-cylinder, 2-stroke engine with a 7-year warranty and very low maintenance requirements. It weighs 250 lbs. (113 kg.).

Evinrude's E-TEC 50-hp is one of the smaller outboards in the company's line. Its engineering enables Evinrude to make some profound claims regarding the lack of required maintenance, and a substantial reduction in moving parts which translates into longer life. Today, we take a look at some of the key features of this little engine and put it through a full test and performance review. Your choices with the 50: pull cord or electric start, tiller or remote, blue or white. Decisions...decisions...

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Captain's Report

Azimut Magellano 50:
Long Range Cruiser with Panache

Azimut Magellano 50
The Azimut Magellano 50 is a serious voyaging yacht, with more than 1,000 nm range at low speed. For shorter cruises, she'll top out at 22 knots. Hybrid power is available; the yacht can run at 8 knots under batteries alone, says Azimut.

Azimut is electrifying the yachting world with its Magellano line of fuel-efficient long-range cruisers, including this 51' 4" (15.64 m) Magellano 50. Introduced last year she is the mid-sized entry in the new series (a 74 is also available). Not only is the 50 a radical departure visually from Azimut's Med-style cruisers, noted for their speed, sleek styling and sybaritic accommodations, but it also has something few other yachts at this level have -- the option of hybrid power. Azimut's Easy Hybrid system adds twin 23-kW electric motors to the Magellano 50's twin Cummins MerCruiser QSB 5.9 diesels, and will move the yacht at up to 8 knots under battery power alone, in near-silence, says the company. But there's more to this innovative yacht from Azimut; to find out her other secrets...

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Shurhold Is Raising Money
For 2 Great Causes

Each year 4,150 more children—11 each day—are diagnosed with a pediatric brain tumor in the U.S. Anyone who has visited a pediatric oncology hospital ward will understand the importance of this cause.

You may know Shurhold as the company that helps make your boat clean and shiny. But behind every great company are great people. The president of the company tells us that these people and the support of their families are the heartbeat of Shurhold. We don't hear sentiment like that often and our respect for this company is now even higher than before.

This year Shurhold is teaming up to help raise money for two great causes that have hit close to its family's home. For the months of September and October Shurhold will be helping raise money to support the fights against Lymphoma and Childhood Brain Tumors. Shurhold will donate $5 per customer that places an order and will match your additional donation up to another $10. Thank you for your support.

Here's how to help and where to order...

 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 
Smart Boating DVD Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you. Smart Boating, because safe boating just isn't enough.

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. It's the most complete boating course available...period. Order your 4-disc box set here...

Watch the trailer... 


Royal Purple Motor Oil Outboard Test Results

Royal Purple
We compared Royal Purple with a leading synthetic brand on a bench test of a 40-hp outboard motor. The results were surprising.

We received a letter from a reader who said he was an engineer in the oil business. He said that he was an expert and all motor oils were the same, so how could our tests of Royal Purple show that it enhanced performance? As always, we replied that we were just as skeptical of Royal Purple's claims until we started testing their oil. The test shown here was our second and the chips fell all over -- and one landed in a very unusual place. One of the major marine engine makers tells us that they have tested Royal Purple and gotten essentially the same results we have. So, go figure. Under certain circumstances, Royal Purple seems to have improved lubricity which translates into increased fuel economy and reduced motor wear. You've never seen a test like this one...


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

Before Departing Familiarize Guests
with the Boat and Safety Procedures

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
It’s a good idea to have a passenger orientation safety briefing for any first-time boaters coming aboard your boat.  FYI - Capt. Steve is a big believer in safe sun.

This week Capt. Steve goes over fifteen new lessons and guidelines to follow before departing the dock. If you are taking guests out on your boat they should all be aware of the safety procedures aboard and you must have a life jacket for each one of them. Capt. Steve will go over important lessons on running your blower before starting the engine, taking a proactive approach if you notice any problems early on, common solutions if the engine will not start up, and how to correctly cast off from the dock. The videos presented this week are part of’s Smart 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

“They are biting like crazy on 5th and Central.” – W. Bailey

Second Place

“Now, that's a dry ride...” – A. Cuevas

Honorable Mention(s)

“Thank God we have Sea Tow!”
– M. Bykowsky

“With jet drives you really don't need a lot of water.” – G. Kryk

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 8/31/11

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