MJM 40z, Tahoe Q8 SSi, 14 Tests & Reviews - 11/10/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter November 9, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Tahoe Q8 SSi
- MJM 40z
- Spencer 70
- Bayliner 255 SB
- Evinrude 50-hp
- Beneteau GT 49 Fly
- Cruisers Yachts 350 Express
- Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
- Mako 212 Center Console
- Formula 400
- Sea Ray 330 Sundancer
- Nitro Z-9
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- PowerTech Props
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Tahoe Q8 SSi:
Family Ready Sportboat

Tahoe Q8 SSi
The Q8 SSi is the largest runabout in the Tahoe fleet.

Boaters tell us that when looking for an all-around family sportboat at a reasonable price, they also expect a quality fit and finish, comfort and features. Our recent test of the all new Tahoe Q8 SSi showed that this boat seems to provide all the above as well as some very good handing characteristics. The Q8 is the flagship for the Tahoe line and has been under constant development each year.  See what we liked and what suggestions we had in this full test video....

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New Test

MJM 40z:
A Cruising Couple's Boat Defined

MJM 40z
At 43' 2" (13.16 m) some may feel that the 40z is too big for a shorthanded crew. We'll show that it's not.

If your retirement plans call for casting off the lines and heading off for distant shores to explore your horizons, then have we got a boat for you. Not only is the MJM 40z remarkably fuel-efficient, but she is also built to demanding standards in terms of strength and sea-keeping abilities. She is a very unusual boat from almost any standpoint and we think she is truly exceptional. We put her through a full test. Take a look...

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Test Video

Spencer 70:
Float Like a Butterfly, Sting Like a Bee

Spencer 70
When it comes to the hard-hitting game of offshore fishing, turning on a dime when fighting a trophy fish is critical.

This is a most unusual boat for a big sportfisherman. She is powered by three of Volvo Penta's 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...

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New Features Video

Bayliner 255 SB:
You Won't Believe It's 25'

Bayliner 255 SB
When you step aboard the 255 you'll be thinking as we were…27'…28'. Certainly not 25'.

So it turns out that the design team at Bayliner is not only adept at keeping the price down, but masters of deception as well. This 255 is a case in point where we thought the boat was much larger than it actually is. In addition, we were impressed with how the cabin wasn't just "thrown together" but quite thoughtfully laid out. We already showed how well this boat handles, now see how well it handles your overnights. More...

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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 very low maintenance requirements.

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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New Test Video

Beneteau Flyer Gran Turismo 49 Fly:
Exceptionally Good Handling

Beneteau Flyer Gran Turismo 49 Fly
The Flyer Gran Turismo 49 comes in two versions, one with the flybridge and one without. LOA 51' 2" (15.6 m) with a 14'1" (14.08 m) beam.

So here's a boat that has an option for a flybridge, and since the lower helm is so nicely done, we were hard pressed to determine if we liked operating this 49 from the flybridge or the lower helm better. We suppose for Beneteau, that's a good problem to have. As for the handling, this boat is built by the Beneteau Group, and from our test experience, they have a knack for getting it right. Our latest test video will show just what we mean. More...

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New Test Video

Nitro Z-9:
Performance Bass Rig

Nitro Z-9
Seen here is Christopher Hughes, BoatTEST.com’s COO putting the Z-9 through a high-speed test run.

It is not often that we test a boat and do not have any suggestions for the builder. This was the case for the Nitro Z-9 bass boat, in our test of the 2012 model. If you are a bass fisherman then you will recognize that the Z-9 is loaded with the right features in the right locations. Don't let the "bass boat" title deter you. In our opinion, any fisherman who appreciates performance, being on the water and a well laid-out fishing rig should seriously look at this boat. One of the features this boat had that is difficult for us to show you in a test is its comfort. Take a look at the full video and see what else the Z-9 brings to the table...

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New Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 350 Express:
If Looks Could Kill

Cruisers Yachts 350 Express
The optional hardtop really adds to the exterior, but the helm with its leather dash adds the looks to the interior.

It was the killer good looks that first hooked us on the 350 Express but the fact is, she also handles quite well. With the Axius sterndrive joystick, we were able to maintain our composure while docking, an important feature since every head in the area was all eyes on this beauty. Let's see about the handling with the full test and performance evaluation. More...

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New Features Video

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht:
The Roominess That Outboards Provide

Meridian 541
When it comes to large yachts very few builders will power them with outboards.  After looking at the accommodations in this 475 SY, we have to ask, why not?

While other builders may think that inboards are the only way to go, the design team at Intrepid begs to differ. By powering with outboards, they've managed to create useable space in this 475 SY that would normally be taken up by a large engine compartment. Our latest features video of this beautiful boat will show how she not only offers two private staterooms with an option for a third, but also how Intrepid manages to create one of the strongest boats in the industry by incorporating the cabin components into the structural design. Strength, beauty and performance… what more could you ask? More...

Request factory contact

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Captain's Report

Mako 212 Center Console:
Offshore Family Fisherman

Mako 212 Center Console
The Mako 212 is designed to make coastal fishing comfortable for family members and capable for the avid offshore angler.

The market targeted for the 212 Center Console for 2012 are saltwater anglers who have families and require a well-built boat that’s as comfortable on the water as it is on the wallet. We think Mako continues to hit their mark with the model that has proved popular with fishing families for nearly a decade. Come aboard...

Request a brochure

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Test Video

Formula 400 Super Sport:
Bowrider Handling in a 40+ LOA

Formula 400 Super Sport
This is the boat that introduced the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick to the world. Now it's as common as the sterndrive, but Formula did it first.

At first we were impressed with the add-ons... you know, sterndrive joystick... EVC... automatic trim adjust…etc. But after we got to play around, and really started cranking and banking, we came to be blown away by just how much this boat would take and keep coming back for more. While you may never handle your 400 SS this way, it sure is nice to know that you can, and she handles it like the lady she is. Here is a test of the boat that started a revolution… the Formula 400 SS. It's playtime...

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Captain's Report

Sea Ray 330 Sundancer:
Let it Entertain You – and Yours

Sea Ray 330 Sundancer
The 330 Sundancer is designed to be a comfortable cruiser at the dock and on the open water.

According to our source at Sea Ray, the 330 Sundancer is built specifically for the active boater who appreciates owning a premium watercraft to share with friends and family whether entertaining dockside or cruising between ports.  But the real story is broader than this as our recent test has shown.  Now standard with the Axius joystick system the 330 can easily be maneuvered and docked by any member of the family. More...

Request a brochure

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Shurhold Products:
Filter For Your Gas

Shurhold Filter
Shown here is the Mr. Funnel fuel filter from Shurhold.

Old gas at the end of the season can present some issues. Even fuel from dockside stations can have contaminants, and that's why Shurhold offers three different fuel filter funnels. We have used these filters at BoatTEST and can verify that sand and water are easily and effectively filtered from contaminated fuel. More...

Visit Shurhold.com

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...


How To Discover
Prop Problems

If you were disappointed in your boat's performance this summer now is the time to start finding a solution for next season.

When you are on plane does your bow seem too high? Is your stagnation line too far forward at max power? Is your boat lethargic out of the hole? Are you unable to reach the rated max rpms for your engines? All of these and many more boat performance defects may well be caused by your wheels. Our first go-to place when we have questions about disappointing performance is PowerTech!. The folks there are courteous, incredibly knowledgeable, and good-humored. They've seen it all before. The best news of all is that correcting a prop is the cheapest performance fix there is. Watch our video of Capt. Rob and PowerTech! president Steve Powers discussing possible prop problems...


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

How to Approach an Inlet and Dock
in a Strong Current

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
The seas will build up more as you approach an inlet so you’ll want to watch the waves closely and notice the pattern before heading in.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven lessons and guidelines on how to dock your boat in a strong current and how to carefully approach an inlet in heavy waves. Capt. Steve will demo some approaches that show you how to dock going into the current, and he’ll also go over how to dock with the tide behind you, and how to slowly drift into the dock with the tide. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” 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

"Frank will never know the difference. My husband can fix anything with his magic tape ..." - R. Wolfson

Second Place

"I love a gag as much as anyone, but your husband's new boat? Now he's crossing the line." -P. Lazarus

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 11/9/11

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All articles, Captain's Reports, video content or other material which appear on BoatTEST.com and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of BoatTEST.com and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of BoatTEST.com or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 BoatTEST.com advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. BoatTEST.com makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.