Boston Whaler 210 // Chaparral 327 // Cranchi 58 // 11 Tests & Reviews - 02/29/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter February 29, 2012 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Boston Whaler 210 Montauk
- Chaparral 327 SSX
- Cruisers Yachts 310 Express
- Formula 270 SS
- Premier 290 Grand Entertainer
- Regal 28 Express
- Sea Ray 500 Sundancer
- Tahoe Q7 SF
- Wellcraft 232 Fisherman
- Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly
- Cobalt 26 SD
- Yanmar ZT350
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Boston Whaler
210 Montauk:
Flexible Functionality
for the Family

Boston Whaler 210 Montauk
The 210 Montauk can fish with the best of them but also makes into a watersports platform for most any purpose.

The 210 Montauk represents Boston Whaler’s latest launch, as well as the largest in the popular Montauk series. She comes equipped to not only handle the fish, but also to be a versatile family watersports or utility boat. Indeed, over the years, probably more Boston Whalers have been used for general watersports than for fishing, both in fresh and saltwater. The new 210 Montauk continues that tradition of functional flexibility -- fishing, cruising, towing or entertaining. Learn more...

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Captain's Report

2012 Chaparral 327 SSX:
There's Nothing Quite Like Her

Chaparral 327
The Chaparral 327 SSX won the National Marine Manufacturer Association (NMMA) Innovation Award for boats in its class last year when it was a prototype.

There is nothing on the market quite like the Chaparral 327 SSX: She's part family bowrider, part performance-minded sportboat and part overnight cruiser.  The new 327 SSX from Chaparral has a deep-V hull, standard fiberglass hardtop, and a huge full-beam cabin. Now the 2012 model has a number of improvements over the award-winning prototype we reviewed last year. An innovative boat just got better. Designed for boaters moving down from big, expensive express cruisers, and up from small, limited bowriders, the Chaparral 327 SSX is one of the most functional and versatile new boats to come along in years. Here’s more...

Request a brochure

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Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 310 Express:
Surprise: She's For Real Cruising!

Cruisers Yachts 310 Express
The 310 Express has a LOA of 31'3" (9.53 m) but she has the interior feel of a much larger boat.

The 310 Express is the smallest in the 11-model Cruisers Yachts lineup, but she's no starter boat.  In our test she had a top speed of 44.2 mph and a best cruise of 23.2 mph giving her a range of over 150 miles. For a family of four or two couples on a weekend getaway, the 310 Express is a good way to begin enjoying the cruising lifestyle.  Find out why...

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New Video

Formula 270 SS:
Performance Weekender

Formula 270 SS
From her high gloss hull to her plush seats, the Formula 270 SS is one comfortable and good-looking sportboat.

Formula is no stranger to adding upscale features to its product line, and this 270 SS has the right ingredients to make your days on the water a class act. She’s got a lot of thoughtful touches and a few clever innovations thrown in, and if you get the urge to just stay out and drop the hook, she can accommodate overnights just as easily. Our features video walkthrough was made at the New York Boat Show, and if she’s this good looking on the hard, just wait till you see her in the water. More...

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Captain's Report

Premier 290 Grand Entertainer:
Who Needs a Waterfront Restaurant?

Premier Grand Entertainer
If pontoon boats are designed to hold a party, why not do it in style? A grill and full bar should do the trick.

It’s satisfying when a boat does her job well. This Premier 290 Grand Entertainer is like the difference between eating and dining. A full bar, gas grill, and the capacity to invite all your friends along for the ride are what we call a good time on the water. It’s about time that someone stepped up and made the pontoon experience an evening to remember. Let’s see what else this 290 Grand Entertainer offers in our full report. More...

Request factory price quote

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New Test

Regal 28 Express:
Pocket Cruiser with Regal Styling

Regal 28 Express
With a 300-hp Volvo Penta 5.7 powering our test boat, we reached a top speed of 41.2 mph. At best cruise she had a range of 140 miles.

The competition in the 25’- 35’ (7.6 m - 9.1 m) express cruiser market is tough, but Regal doesn’t seem too worried. After seeing the style and comfort level of their latest 28 Express, that mindset is not surprising. We found her to be a comfortable ride with good amenities and tailor-made for a weekend getaway. Let’s take a look at our full captain’s report from a recent test to see how she stacks up. More...

Download spec sheet

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Test Video

Sea Ray 500 Sundancer:
She's Also a WaveDancer

Sea Ray 500 Sundancer
At the dock, the 500 Sundancer presents as a lady ready to impress. She also handles well here with Zeus pods and joystick maneuverability.

It’s not hard to find a boat that handles well in calm, protected water, but that’s not how a real cruising boat spends its time. Cruising means getting there and back and being able to handle lumpy conditions.  So that’s what we tested the new Sea Ray 500 Sundancer in… snotty seas in a narrow inlet. In our minds, this is the perfect combination for a test of this type of boat. So join us as we head out Miami’s Haulover Inlet to see how the 500 handles it. More...

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Captain's Report

Tahoe Q7 SF:
Affordable Cross-Species Cross-Over

Tahoe Q7 SF
The Q7 manages to fill a need for families wanting to bounce between fishing and watersports.

When it comes to buying a boat, some want to fish, some want to play, and then again… some want both. The Tahoe Q7 SF is a combination sportboat that is at home hauling tubes across the lake or raising fish of any stripes.  Tahoe manages to pull it off in a boat that is affordable as well. Our full report on the Q7 SF tells the story.  More...

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New Video

Wellcraft 232 Fisherman:
Fishing in the Heavyweight Class

Wellcraft 232 Fisherman
Power options for the 232, come in either 200-hp or 250-hp from Evinrude, Mercury or Yamaha.

Wellcraft’s 232 Fisherman was designed for the serious angler looking for a serious fishing boat. Wellcraft is one of the higher-end brands and that attitude is reflected throughout the build of this center console. Our experience testing Wellcrafts has shown that they're easy to control and handle, mostly due to their rock-solid stability. This particular model tips the scales at 3573 lbs. (1620 kg), which definitely puts her in the heavyweight category for her class. Let's see how she performs...

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Captain's Report

Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly (aka 58 Fly):
Let's Entertain Them!

Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly
The Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly was introduced last summer and it fills out the company's line that extends from 29' to 66' (8.8 m to 20.1 m).

Cranchi is one of Italy's oldest boat companies and makes 18 models, all designed to be low, sleek and fast. In Italy, it seems, no one wants to go slow from one marina to the next, or out to Porto Cervo or across the Adriatic to the Dalmatian coast. The Fifty 8 Fly has three staterooms, two heads, an aft galley and has at least five places where the babes can work on their tans. She is powered by twin IPS Volvo Penta diesels and she has a top speed in the low 30- knot range, depending on engines and weight. Find out more...

Request a brochure

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Captain's Report

New Cobalt 26 SD:
Deckboat with Class

Cobalt 26 SD
The 26 SD is Cobalt’s sole deckboat model and it’s first since 2000.

Cobalt joins most other major sportboat builders with a new deckboat offering in its 26 SD. This 5500 lb. (2496 kg.) boat is trailerable yet as you can see in the picture above, has room for a large gang. She is pretty much what we'd expect to see from Cobalt, but there are also some pleasant surprises. This is a builder known for innovation and there are a couple of new tricks on this new deckboat. Find out more...

Design your Cobalt 26 SD

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Engine Test

Yanmar ZT350:
A Third Sterndrive Choice

Yanmar's rugged, saltwater-ready, dual-prop sterndrive lower unit can be used with any brand of diesel or gas engine.

All things being equal, a sterndrive system is far more efficient than conventional, straight-shaft inboard propulsion. For that reason it was natural that Yanmar -- a major builder of inboard diesel engines for commercial and recreational vessels -- would want a sterndrive lower unit of its own to offer to its customers. A second reason Yanmar would want its own lower unit would be not to have to rely on a third-party vender to make it as tough and long-lasting as they wanted. Third, by providing the diesel engine, marine gear and sterndrive lower unit only one company would be responsible for all of the components in a Yanmar propulsion system. Thus the ZT350 was born. It is incredibly strong and versatile and can be used with gas engines as well. Let's look at the numbers...


Shurhold Products:
Filter For Your Gas

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. Watch the video... 

 Order 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.  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

What Should I Do If My Boat Capsizes?

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
Capsizing in a sailboat is much different than a powerboat. As you see in the picture above, you can help right the boat by getting up on the centerboard and using your weight to bring the boat back over. You will not be able to right a capsized boat.

This week Capt. Steve goes over four lessons and guidelines on what you should do if your boat capsizes. First and foremost get your life jacket on. Stay with the boat and try to get as far on top of the boat as possible in order to keep your body out of the water. Remember, you want to keep your body temperature from dropping. Do not attempt to swim for help as you will just exhaust yourself. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. 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 --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Maybe its the combination of butt sniffing and gas fumes, but I think I'm falling in love.” – M. Burton

Second Place

“People's Exhibit #1 in the mysterious disappearance of Michael Vick.” – R. Davis

Third Place

“Did you see the tail on that Shih Tzu?”
– B. Tuleya

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 2/29/12

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