New Boston Whaler 170, Bayliner 195, Malibu 22//Prestige 440//13 Tests & Reviews - 02/15/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter February 15, 2012 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Regal 1900
- Beneteau Swift 52
- Bayliner 195 Bowrider
- Sea-Doo RXP-X 260
- Robalo R200
- Meridian 341 Sedan
- Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless
- Rinker 290 EC
- Prestige 440S
- Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX
- Malibu 22 MXZ
- Silverton 50 C
- Seaway 24 Offshore
- Volvo Penta DPS
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Regal 1900:
Evolving Bowrider
Loaded With Details

Regal 1900
The Regal 1900 has been a popular bowrider for years, but if you have not seen the 2012 model you should because Regal never stands still.

The Regal 1900 has been around for a long time but it has gone through the natural evolution of model changes throughout the years. This latest version combines a sporty hull with good performance and a pleasing comfort level inside. We recently tested this latest launch, and came away impressed with her performance. Let's take a first look at the full report. More...

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Test Video

Beneteau Swift 52:
Small Boat Handling, Large Boat Comfort

Beneteau Swift 52
Those big hullside windows are a feature that we haven't seen in this type of boat. Notice the Portuguese bridge and wide side decks.

Here's a boat that struck a chord with our test captain. Three separate staterooms including a full beam owner's suite make an idea size for most owners to accommodate friends and family.  When you finally kick them off the boat, the 52 is easily handled by a husband and wife team.  Even if your husband and wife team means one person does all the work, it's still manageable and can be docked by one person. If you don't like to get your hands dirty changing oil, there are even accommodations for crew. This could very well be the ideal coastal cruiser for enjoying the cruising life. Let's see how she handles on our full test and performance review. And we'll dock her single handed...

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New Review Video

New Bayliner 195 BR:
The Latest Affordable Bowrider

Bayliner 195 Bowrider
With an LOA of 19' (5.8 m) and a beam of 7'11" (2.4 m) the Bayliner 195 BR will allow you to spend the day on the water with eight of your friends joining in the fun.

Bayliner is all about affordability, and at the same time building a boat that is seaworthy and safe.  The new 195 BR is the latest launch from Bayliner and we think she has the makings of being quite popular. The 195 BR made her debut at the New York Boat Show, so let's take a look at the report and video to see what our test captain thinks of the latest offering from Bayliner. More...

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New Review Video

Sea-Doo RXP-X 260:
Good Looks and Hot Technology

Sea-Doo RXP-X 260
From what we've seen in the RXP-X 260, the marriage of looks and technology may be made in heaven.

There's certainly no arguing that Sea-Doo knows how to make a good-looking watercraft. This RXP line has all the lines, styling, and curves that we love. Now we see that with features like Intelligent Throttle Control, Intelligent Brake and Reverse, the S3 hull, and the Ergolock System among other new features, this PWC is more than just a pretty face.  Let's take a walk-through...

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New Review Video

Robalo R200:
Sizing Up Affordability

Robalo R200
Robalos have always been known for having high freeboard and that design theme is followed in the R200.

We recently spied the all-new Robalo R200 at the New York Boat Show and were immediately impressed. This is a company that prides itself on keeping their boats affordable, seaworthy and fishy.  What's more, Robalo proves that price does not have to be off the Richter Scale in order to build a solid, feature-rich boat.  In our opinion the R200 offers a lot of bang for the buck. Let's take a look and see...

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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan:
Good Entry-Level Cruiser

Meridian 341 Sedan
As we head offshore to discover how the Meridian 341 performs in rolling seas, our captain gives some tips on how to handle this boat.

Moving from a small boat into a cruiser that can go offshore can be a big jump for many boaters. One strategy to ease into the cruising lifestyle -- and into larger boats -- is to start on the small side, say, in something like the Meridian 341. To give you a feel of what it is like to handle one of these boats powered by twin 8.2 L gas engines, we took the Meridian 341 into the Atlantic with a full load of fuel. Then we docked her to test the Integrated Vessel Control (IVC) system with both bow and stern thrusters. Watch the video...

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Captain's Report

New Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless:
Versatility Built on a Solid Platform

Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless
The Boston Whaler 170 Dauntless has a length overall of 17' (5.2 m), a beam of 6'10" (2.1 m), and draws only 11" (.28 m).

Boston Whaler has taken its popular Dauntless line and extended it lower in size with the all-new 170.  This center console has been carefully designed to perform a number of missions for an active water-oriented family: fishing, towing, sun bathing, swimming, and just cruising along the coastline with friends or the family dog. Because she weighs only 1,680 lbs. (762 kgs.) without the engine, she can be easily trailered. With a 6'10" beam (2.08 m) she is a cinch to launch and will fit in virtually any garage. Learn more...

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Captain's Report

Rinker 290 EC:
Sleek, Comfortable Cruiser

Rinker 290 EC
The new Rinker 290 Express Cruiser is Nautic Global Group’s first 2013 model-year boat to be introduced.

Rinker’s new 290 Express Cruiser model features an entirely new deck and open cockpit layout adopted from the popular 310 Express Cruiser. Recognizing that this cruiser is used primarily for day cruising and entertaining, the designers have maximized cockpit and bridge seating. Most important, Rinker has maintained its tradition of providing a lot of boat for the price. Let’s take a look...

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Features Video

Prestige 440S:
An Express Cruiser For the Rest Of Us

Prestige 440 S
At 43'9" (14.3 m), this classy express cruiser represents one of the best values for the money that we've seen.

Do you really need granite countertops in your express cruiser? How about teak and holly decks? No? That's no surprise to the team at Prestige, and their growing list of customers seems to prove the point.  The folks at Prestige determined long ago that other materials work just as well while keeping the price down. And since Prestige transfers those savings to you, it's easy to see how this builder's customer base is growing. Today we take a look at this beautiful 44' cruiser and see just what sort of quality goes in and what sort of features we're happy to see left out. It's all about the value...

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX:
Let's Take the Family Fishing

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX
The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX has been redesigned from the deck up to provide fishing features on a family level.

In our opinion, one of the best ways to bring a family together is with everyone going out for a relaxing day of fishing. The Bass Buggy 18 DLX certainly has the family level fishing features, and since it's a pontoon boat it has the capacity to bring the entire gang together for a day on the water. Her systems are uncomplicated, she's easy to handle, and the price is a bargain. Let's load up the cooler and go for a test ride. More...

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New Boat

New Malibu Wakesetter 22 MXZ:
Strictly for Wild Wakesters

Malibu 22 MXZ
The 22' Wakesetter 22 MXZ is a new -- and very hot -- boat in the Malibu line-up for 2012.

Malibu's new 22 MXZ is a hot new wakeboat designed for the elite corps of wake aficionados who like to do their tricks in front of a large, admiring audience. Malibu has pushed the helm back and put a pickle fork on the bow to maximize the seating and sunning area for the wakedudes' babes. Below, more V has been added to the boat's bottom to help create even more wake. If all of this isn't enough, then add the optional Power Wedge which drives down the transom farther, creating as much wake as 1200-lbs of ballast, according to the builder. The wake tower is standard and this boat is hot to tow. Read all about it...

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Captain's Report

Silverton 50 Convertible:
A Value Option For Offshore

Silverton 50 Convertible
The Silverton 50 Convertible has most of the utility of other boats in class but is priced a lot lower. Her beam is 16'3" (4.88 m) and she displaces 47,600 lbs. (21,591 kgs.).

We don't hear much out of Silverton these days but its models offer fishermen and cruising folks alike good-sized yachts at a reasonable price. Every builder has its niche and Silverton has long targeted it boats to the value-oriented market. The fact that there are so many old Silvertons in marinas is a testament to their longevity.  Today we look at the flagship of the Silverton fleet, the 50 Convertible, which we think makes a capable coastal cruiser as well as a fishing boat. More...

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Captain's Report

Seaway 24 Offshore:
Classic Downeast Style

Seaway 24 Offshore
Built in coastal New Hampshire, Eastern Boats’ Seaway 24 Offshore carries a classic “Downeast” design atop a hull that has been popular for cruising and fishing New England’s coastal waters for generations.

When Eastern Boats of Milton, New Hampshire, purchased its competitor to the north, Seaway Boats of Oxford, Maine, they immediately merged the strong suits of both traditional-style boat builders to produce a line of vessels worthy of carrying both companies' names. The Seaway 24 Offshore from Eastern Boats is an example of a boat that maintains the lines and handling merits of the classic Downeast style while keeping the boat simple and affordable. More...

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Features Video

Volvo Penta DPS:
Position Keeping Made Easy

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.

While you may not feel the need to have an automated system hold the position of your 18' (5.49 m) bowrider, when you start getting into larger boats, having an extra set of hands holding the boat's position becomes a blessing. Take your 30-something express cruiser and hold position against a fair tide while you get the dock lines out, or the 40-something sportfish holding for a drawbridge on an overcrowded waterway... those are the times when you'll thank Our Lady of Blessed Digital Controllability for the joy of being able to do it all at the touch of a single button. Let's take a look at just how Volvo Penta's digital positioning system works. And while we're at it, we'll discuss when not to use it...


Shurhold Contest:
Visit Us at the Miami Show


Visit Shurhold in the Wellcraft Booth D99 at the Miami Boat Show.  There you can see the debut of Shurhold's new project boat -- a Wellcraft 340 Coastal -- and sign up to win a $500 Detailer's Dream Pack. Get all the details here... 

Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
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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 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 here...

Watch the trailer...

Visit us on Facebook and "like" us to see the latest, plus some behind the scenes looks.

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Lesson of the Week

How to Prepare for Man Overboard

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
If you see someone fall overboard, toss out a throwable device right away and keep your eyes on them at all times.

This week Capt. Steve goes over thirteen lessons and guidelines on how to be prepared for a man overboard emergency. Having practiced this drill ahead of time with your crew or passengers is important since MOB happens so quickly that people have very little time to react. Learn how to pick someone up in the water and position the boat downwind, how to improve your chances of getting rescued, what a Williamson turn is, and how to treat someone once they’re back aboard for hypothermia.  The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved Boating Course. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Yep, the fish are right under the boat.”
- G. Miller

Second Place

“Nope, no barnacles.” - S. Robson

Third Place

“Get a load of this, she turns on a dime.”
– D. Kellner

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WIGOH 2/15/12

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