New: Chaparral H2O 18, Sea-Doo 210, Henriques 42, 12 Tests & Reviews - 10/05/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter October 5, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Cruisers Yachts 540 SC
- ZF Marine POD 4000
- Nitro Z-9
- Intrepid 327 CC
- Bayliner 175 BR
- Altima 63 Pilothouse
- Cypress Cay Cayman 250
- Chaparral H2O 18 Sport
- Sea Ray 270 SLX
- Henriques 42 Charter
- Rinker 196 IO
- Prestige 60
- Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- PWC Safety
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Cruisers Yachts
540 Sports Coupe:
Fastest Large Cruiser
in the Marina?

Cruisers Yachts 540 SC
The Cruisers Yachts 540 Sports Coupe has a LOA of 54’3” (16.6 m) and a beam of 15’6” (4.7 m). Her displacement is 42,000 lbs. (19,051 kgs.) which places her firmly in the large yacht category.

For boaters who are ready for the reward of a large yacht, and by that we mean one with standing headroom in the mid cabin, adult-sized everything, first-class amenities, and with sea-keeping abilities that can shrug off summer squalls, then the Cruisers Yachts' 540 Sports Coupe should be on your shopping list. While she is big, she is also nimble, says our Captain. Read his report...

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Engine Room

The New ZF POD 4000 Series: 
Pod Drives for Engines Up To 1200-hp

The ZF POD 4000 Series was designed to accept a maximum of 1200-hp. Note the eight rubber mounts that attach the pod -- and its driving force -- to the boat's stringers and not to the hull or the engine.

If you own or plan on owning a large boat with engines up to 1200-hp, then you need to read this. We recently had a chance to conduct a full test of the ZF POD 4000 series drive system (with joystick) installed on a 76–foot motoryacht where it propelled our 106,000-lb. (48,181-kg.) test boat to an impressive top speed of 34.3 mph. Not only that, but the easy joystick maneuvering and docking that we have been experiencing for the last four years on 40-footers is now possible for big motoryachts and convertibles. Get our full report on this important new product...

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New Test

Nitro Z-9:
First Full Test and Review

Nitro Z-9
The 2012 Nitro Z-9 is powered by a Mercury OptiMax Pro XS 250-hp.

The team at Nitro had four simple goals when developing the new 2012 Z-9: performance, fishability, comfort, and affordability. Our recent test and review reveals how they achieved these goals. It’s important to remember that the Z-9 has been a proven workhorse on the professional bass tournament circuit for years and has been undergoing subtle modifications each year. With most bass boats comprising essentially the same overall design, the important differences boil down to handling, durability, and price. What bass boat buyers need to know...

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New Test Video

New Intrepid 327 CC:
Built for Twin 350-hp V8s

Intrepid 327 CC
With a pair of Yamaha F350 four-strokes bolted onto the transom we hit a top speed of 55.5 kts. Best range at cruise speed was 301 nautical miles with a 10% reserve held back. That's 150 miles out and back.

When we stepped aboard the Intrepid 327 CC, we were completely blown away by the attention to detail and design touches that rank her in most anyone’s book at the top of her class. That is why megayacht owners – people who can afford any center console made – choose Intrepid by a noticeable plurality. But we still needed to see if she could perform well enough to qualify for discerning owners looking for a step-up boat from smaller CCs, a lateral switch from same sized CCs of lesser quality, or as a step-down boat from fuel-guzzling battlewagons. It will probably come as no surprise that she performed extremely well, but to see just how well, we present the full test video of the Intrepid 327 CC. More...

Request a test drive

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New Test Video

New Bayliner 175 BR:
A Popular Boat Gets a Makeover

Bayliner 175 BR
The 175 shown here includes the optional "Flight Series" package, which adds to the utility of this popular bowrider.

Bayliner is not only very good at keeping the prices of their boats down, but also for getting good performance out of minimum horsepower. We've always been of the opinion that their entry level 175 had enough power with the standard 135-hp sterndrive engine to participate in watersports. Apparently Bayliner thought so too -- so, in addition to upgrading some of the interior features, they've added an optional watersports package including a towing arch. And to prove to the "show-me" crowd that she actually can tow a wake boarder, we stepped up the test parameters to include exactly that. More...

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Captain's Report

Altima 63 Pilothouse:
Motoryacht on a Mission

Altima 63 Pilothouse
The Altima 63 has a 17’4” (5.28 m) beam, a displacement of 69,500 lbs. (31,590 kgs.) and is highly customizable. As you can see she has a semi-displacement hull which means you can cruise on plane or at displacement speeds.

The Altima 63 was designed for the serious cruisers who do not want to be limited by displacement speeds of 7 or 8 knots, but who also do not need to go 30 knots. She is designed to cruise comfortably at 17-18 knots with minimum horsepower in a planing motoryacht that is heavy enough to be comfortable in all but the nasty conditions. We think this 63’ (19.20 m) motoryacht is a perfect size for an owner/operator who is looking for a practical long range cruising yacht in the $2.150 million range. Learn more...

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New Video

Cypress Cay Cayman 250:
A Tri-toon Loaded With Amenities

Cypress Cay 250
The helm of the Cypress Cay Cayman 250 has a luxurious helm seat and one of the best wind diverting cowlings we have ever seen on a pontoon boat.

If you have ever wondered why pontoon boats are the largest-selling single category of boats sold in the U.S. then you need to watch our new video on the interior of the Cypress Cay Cayman 250. It is a remarkable watersports platform which not only rivals sportboats in speed, but blows them away when it comes to comfort, amenities and creature comforts.  If you have never heard of Cypress Cay, then you are in for an eye-opening treat. Let's go to the video tape...

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New Boat

Chaparral’s New H2O 18 Sport:
A New "Entry-Level" Boat Line

Chaparral H2O 18 Sport
The 18 Sport is one of a new four boat H20 fleet designed and manufactured by Chaparral.

Billed as the H2O Series and targeted directly at a sea of traditional low-priced entry-level sportboat brands, Chaparral Boats is taking a bold step forward as it launches into the entry-level boat market. What does Chaparral bring to the competitive arena of selling boats at nationally advertised prices? Styling, quality and performance. Utilizing a number of features from its highly successful -- and more expensive -- SSi Series, Chaparral is going full speed ahead with a four boat line that features 18 and 19 foot offerings in Sport and Ski Fish configurations.  More...

Request factory pricing

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 Sea Ray 270 SLX:
A New Sea Ray with Style

Sea Ray 270 SLX
The Sea Ray 270 SLX is LOA 28'6" and with a beam of 9', she felt much bigger during our test.

We tested the 270 SLX on Lake Tellico in Tennessee on a cool spring day. By the looks of things, the team at Sea Ray has been busy ratcheting up the eye-appeal and substance of the new 270 SLX.  This boat clearly has the style and looks, but does she have the bones?  Find out for yourself in the test video...

Request test drive

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Captain's Report

New Maine Coaster 42 Charter:
Henriques-Built Fishboat/Trawler

Henriques 42
The Henriques Maine Coaster 42 Charter is 45' (13.71 m) LOA with a 14' 9" (4.49 m) beam and displacing 36,000 lbs. (6,363 kgs). She can be rigged for fishing or coastal cruising -- and she is a four-seasons boat. We can also see her as a dive boat, patrol boat or most anything else.

When we asked Natalia Henriques why the company designed its new boat to look like a North Sea trawler she answered that with the economy in the tank it was decided to go back to a fundamental type boat that could be used for fishing or cruising and "keep the glitz down." And she might have added -- to also keep the price down. The base boat you see above sells for $591,000 (without the tower), powered with twin John Deere 550-hp diesels, factory direct. Let's learn more...

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New Features Video

New Rinker 196 Captiva I/O:
Filling a Gap in the Lineup

Rinker 196 IO
Just look at how far back the windshield carries, creating good cockpit depth, which means more safety.

Rinker had a hole in their lineup that really needed to be filled and they did it with the new 196 series which includes an I/O and outboard version. Today, we take a look at the features of the I/O and see how they've done. As it turns out, we found her to be quite comfortable and loaded with storage.  And, she's affordable. Let's take a look at the 196 Captiva I/O...

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New Test

Prestige 60:
An Impressive Motoryacht

Prestige 60
We think the Prestige 60 is extremely well-executed in virtually every detail, obviously the work of veteran cruising boaters who know how such a motoryacht is used and what it must have.

When we learned that Prestige Yachts was going to expand its line of motoryachts into a new class that would go as large as 85' (26 m), we decided to fly our captain and crew to Cannes to test the Prestige 60, which represents the first of this new lineup. The Prestige 60 is no average yacht, a fact confirmed last year when she was awarded "European Boat of the Year" by nine European boating journalists. While we had seen the boat before and liked what we saw, we had not tested her until now. Here's our full test Captain's Report...

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New Boat

New Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S:
Your Option -- Single or Twin Engines!

Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S
The new 2012 Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S is one of the few sportboats that gives consumers an option on the number of engines.

Our first impression of the 210 was that this model offered well thought-out space, great looks, and cool technology features. Then when we found out this model is offered with a single supercharged 1.5L engine OR twin normally-aspirated 1.5L engines, we had to take a closer look. In a time when boaters have been looking for better all-around family sport boats, the team at Sea-Doo has been responding with models like the Challenger series. This 21’ model sells for under $33,000. Let’s take a closer look...

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World's Best Water Hose: Shurhold Says No Kinks


Manufactured with patented NTS Reflex Mesh technology to eliminate kinks, twists and tangles, Shurhold adds yet another product into the world of keeping our boats looking great. Holding true to their focus on technology, they have set the common hose squarely in their sights. Shurhold has taken the hose and tweaked it a bit, with Grip-Tite coupling for an easy, leak free connection at the faucet. This 100% lead free hose is drinking water safe and available in three sizes of 25’, 50’ and 75’ with a diameter of 5/8''. It has a lifetime guarantee they are offering on it. Visit Shurhold 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...

PWC Safety

PWC Videos --
7 Minutes to Safety

PWC safety from A to Z.

There were several reports of PWCs exploding or catching on fire during last year. In the two reports where the PWCs were identified, the units were older, which means that PWCs – just like boats – are far more prone to having fire issues as they age. It makes sense. PWCs are built to USCG and industry standards, but years of pounding, vibration and lack of maintenance take their toll. This week Allstate is sponsoring three safety videos that each last about 2 minutes. Watch and follow the advice and you should have a safe, fun ride on your PWC. See all Allstate safety videos...


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

Pre-Departure Tow Vehicle Check

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
Make sure your vehicle is capable of towing your size boat and has all the appropriate gear and equipment inspected before heading out on the road.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on pre-departure tips for your tow vehicle. Just because you have an SUV, that doesn’t mean it’s fit for towing a boat. Check your vehicle towing capacity first and make sure all the paperwork for towing a boat behind your vehicle is up to date.  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

“TOP SECRET: Russia's new 4-WINNS rocket launcher displaying stealth technology which allows it to appear as a bowrider.” – G. Zier

Second Place

“Hey, I had to sell my truck to buy the boat!” – R. Bernhardt

Honorable Mention(s)

“And this is BEFORE they got into the beer. “ – R. Davis

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 10/5/11

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