Tiara 4500, Everglades 320, Smokercraft 172, Yamaha FX SHO - 10/12/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter October 12, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius
- Smokercraft Pro Angler 172
- Everglades 320 EX
- Bayliner 197 SD
- Tiara 4500 Sovran
- Yamaha FX SHO Series
- Intrepid 475 SY
- Chaparral 284 Sunesta
- Meridian 541 Sedan
- Evinrude ICON
- Beneteau Swift 34
- Volvo Penta 5.0L
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Royal Purple Test
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius: The Second in a Popular Style

Cruisers Yachts Cantius 41
We think the profile of the new 41 Cantius is one of the smartest-looking in class.  The hardtop has a sunroof and moonroof with enough room left over for antenna arrays.

It started with the 48 Cantius, and now this… the 41. On that boat we were impressed by the innovative use of space, the seamless transition from the aft deck to the helm entertainment center to the salon below, and now it continues with a smaller and therefore more affordable version. If you were a fan of the first, and who wasn't, then you're going to love this new 41 Cantius even more. Join Capt. Steve as he takes a test drive on what is destined to be a legacy in the making. More...

Request a brochure

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Captain's Report

Smokercraft’s Pro Angler 172:
Five Keels Give Her A Tough Bottom

Smoker Craft Pro Angler 192
A high freeboard and a wrap-around windshield large enough to duck behind are comforting features for anglers aboard Smokercraft's Pro Angler 172.

The “bread and butter” model of Smokercraft’s popular five-boat, Pro Angler aluminum line is the 172. She was designed from the keel(s) up for freshwater anglers who face rough conditions both above and below the water and require a boat designed to be rigged for the type of fishing they enjoy. Let's see what makes her different from other aluminum boats on the market...

Request factory price quote

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Captain's Report

Everglades 320 Express:
For Those Going Up, Down, or Sideways

Everglades 320 EX
The Everglades 320 EX evidently appeals to a certain category of offshore angler who is looking for a fast, comfortable ride out to the fishing ground in a stylish boat with all of the amenities.

The Everglades 320 EX seems to be at a very interesting nexus of boat-buying migration. We say "migration" because every owner comes from another boat, and usually another fishing boat. The 320 EX is very expensive ($420,977), somewhat narrow (10’8”/3.25 m), and it is built by a relatively new company (just 11 years old) -- yet despite all of that, anglers are leaving some of the biggest and most prestigious names in boat building to get into the Everglades 320 EX. What is going on here, and why does the 320 EX appeal to certain boaters from all over the waterfront? Let's investigate...

Request a brochure

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New Test Video

Bayliner 197 SD:
Passenger Capacity - 10, Fun Factor - 11

Bayliner 197 SD
If you have a boat, you're likely to be a very popular person. With seating for 10 including the captain, you'll have no worries about leaving someone behind.

With so much room on this Bayliner 197 SD you may have trouble deciding if today will be for dining, sunning, tubing, or just hanging out at anchor while the kids swim off the stern. And since every seat has storage, plus a roomy sole locker, go ahead and load her up with the day's supplies. One thing Bayliner didn't leave off was the performance, and we set out to show exactly how well she behaves in our full test video, now ready for viewing. More...

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Captain's Report

New Tiara 4500 Sovran:
Steady As She Goes

Tiara 4500 Sovran
The new Tiara 4500 Sovran replaces the popular 4300 Sovran and in the process, refines an express boat that was already an elegant lady.

The new Tiara Yachts 4500 Sovran is powered by twin 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600 units with Joystick Control, and features the simplicity, modern styling and well-engineered, professionally-installed systems that we have come to expect from Tiara. The 4500 Sovran is a coastal cruiser and a day boat with an emphasis on functionality and solid performance, thanks to the IPS system and its proven hull shape Let’s take a look...

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Test Video

Redesigned Yamaha FX SHO Series:
A Longer Hull Improves Handling

 Yamaha FX SHO Series
The new FX SHO series seen here is longer than the old models and has improved handling when riding seated or standing.

For 2012, the team at Yamaha has redesigned the FX SHO series watercraft by making the hull longer, installing true mechanical neutral, and giving the front end a lower, more aggressive look. We put the FX SHO and the FX Cruiser SHO through rigorous tests so that we could tell you all you need to know about these two new machines. With the same 1812cc four-stroke, four-cylinder marine engine as previous models, power was not an issue. What did surprise us was the handling. Here is the full video...

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New Test Video

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht:
Outboards Lower CG, Increase Room

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
With 1400-hp on her stern and a deep-V hull the Intrepid 475 is designed to be a trans Gulf Stream rocket ship.

The Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht is the nautical upward evolution of the company's line into what can only be called a "sport yacht."  Because she is powered by outboards her profile and CG can be low, therefore making her more seakindly.  And because there is no engine room, more interior space is left for accommodations and stowage.  We tested her with four 350-hp Yamaha V8s.  Watch the video...

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Features Video

Chaparral 284 Sunesta:
She Stretches the Envelope

Chaparral 284 Sunesta
The 284 Sunesta has a LOA of 28’4” (8.64 m) and a beam of 9’ (2.74 m) that carries far forward.

When it comes to incorporating edgy design elements that add functionality, our test of the Chaparral Sunesta 284 showed just how far this builder will go to improve the boating experience. From the swim platform and stern seating to the cockpit forward through the clever bow area, Chaparral's design team has created a 28' sportboat that may become a new benchmark in class.  Let's see why...

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Features Video

Meridian 541 Sedan: 
Huge Forward Saloon is a Winner

Meridian 541 Sedan
The Meridian 541's creative raised saloon is indicative of the kind of fresh design ideas the company is bringing to yacht building, and if sales figures are any indicator, boaters are responding.

Last year only about 300 flybridge sedan boats were sold in the U.S. in all sizes.  Far and away the market leader in this class was Meridian Yachts, which builds just four sedan models from 34' (10.35 m) to 54' (16.45 m).  How has Meridian managed to dominate the sedan class in just a few years?  In our opinion it is because of their new sedans' styling, innovative interior layouts, and value for money.  Take a look at a recent test we did of the Meridian 541, and you'll see what we mean...

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Test Video

Evinrude's ICON System:
Drive-By-Wire Is the Future

Evinrude ICON
Once the control cables were severed and replaced with wires, it opened up a whole new level of how we control our boats.

We love the possibilities that digital control has opened up on outboard-powered boats. Evinrude has created its own version called ICON, with the “I” standing for intelligent. Smart controllers now allow us to experience push-button controllability on the company’s E-TEC line of outboards. As we will soon see this is, as they say, the tip of the iceberg. Let’s step to the helm and see how Evinrude does digital controls.

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Features Video

Beneteau Swift 34:
Cruiser For 2 (or, 4)

Beneteau Swift 34
We measured a top speed of 27 kts and a best cruise of 14.7 kts, yielding a range of 245 nm with a 10% reserve.

When we tested the Swift 34, it was immediately apparent that this is a boat that a cruising couple could be quickly attracted to. Not only does she have docile single engine handling characteristics (she has both a bow and a stern thruster), but Capt. Steve demonstrated that the shorthanded captain will have no problem tying her up alone. But what most defines the 34's cruising heritage is her layout. High bulwarks, wide decks, a galley right next to the helm, and salon just abaft, plus a flybridge with additional gathering space. It all comes together in our features video of how Swift makes a fast cruiser. More...

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Features Video

Volvo Penta 5.0L Gas Engine:
Midrange Workhorse

Volvo Penta 5.0
When it’s time to move up to a V-8, the venerable 5.0L is usually the first choice.

You’re at the dealership and it’s time to select engine options.  "Standard power is a 4.3L, do I really need more than that?", you quite naturally ask yourself.  If you’re like most boaters and want to either fill your boat with friends or do a lot of towing, or both, then we think you should consider moving up to the 5.0L. That move will give you a boost from 190-hp to 270-hp at the cost of roughly 50 lbs (22.7 kg) and about 4” (10.1 cm) in length and 3” (7.6 cm) in height, and yes, a bit of dough.  Learn about the 5.0L...

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Shurhold Snap-Stick:
No More Corroded
Snaps or Zippers

Before laying up your boat for the winter, protect your snaps and zippers.

If there is something that all boaters can relate to, it's corrosion.  So how about when you go to uncover the boat and you can’t get the snap to unsnap, or you can’t get the zippers to move? (#*?@&#!!) The team at Shurhold has a simple and effective product that can prevent this from happening and keep your language civil. Snap-Stick is designed to keep your snaps and zippers from corroding and also act as a lubricant. Use it when laying up your boat to protect gear all winter.   Watch a video on the Snap-Stick to see it in action....

You can get all the info on the product here. 

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

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

Watch the trailer...


Royal Purple Test
On a 40-hp Outboard

Royal Purple
Capt. Steve adjusts the rpm on a 40-hp outboard on our outdoor test bench.

The last time we tested a sterndrive in Long Island Sound, those of little faith said that wind, waves and changing current could have affected our results. This time we tested Royal Purple against a leading synthetic brand of motor oil in a 40-hp Mercury EFI 4-stroke engine, on a test stand with a hose feeding fresh water through the engine. No wind, waves or current to affect the results -- which were full of surprises for everyone. Let’s go to the video tape...

How to find Royal Purple...


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

Preparing Your Boat for Transport

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
Towing your boat is a big responsibility. Make sure to follow the proper steps and guidelines when preparing your boat for transport.

This week Capt. Steve goes over six new lessons and guidelines on tips to safely trailer your boat. Before towing pay close attention to your boat’s clearance and make sure all items on the boat are stored away properly, and the load aboard is properly centered. Before a long tow, weigh your trailer and load to make sure you are within regulations.  The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Smart 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

“Now I know why my dog likes to stick his head out of the window!” - R. Davis

Second Place

“Jim conquered his fear of speed. Now if he could just get over his fear of water.”
– J. Karnitz

Honorable Mention(s)

“How's Rick doing on the skis?” – G. Smith

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 10/12/11

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