Yamaha 190 // Harris 230 Toon // Riviera 4400 // 15 Reviews - 03/21/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter March 21, 2012 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
IN THIS ISSUE
- Intrepid 327 Cuddy
- Boston Whaler Factory Tour
- Chaparral 246 SSi
- Harris FloteBote GM SEL 230
- Rampage 45 Convertible
- Tigé RZ4
- Yamaha 190 Series
- Robalo R180
- Princecraft 220 WS
- Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht
- Nitro 290 Sport
- Glacier Bay Renegade 2740
- Regal 27 FasDeck
- Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge
- Chaparral H2O Sport 18
- Tahoe Q5 SF
- Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Intrepid 327 Cuddy:
An Overnight
Console Cuddy

Intrepid 327 Cuddy
The 327 Cuddy is built on the same hull as the 327 CC, but with the added bonus of accommodating overnight adventures. Can you spot the hullside dive door?

The folks at Intrepid have been very busy lately and their most recent addition to the fleet takes their revamped 327 hull and mates it with the overnight comfort of a cuddy cabin. Now, since the original purpose of this new hull design was to create a boat that could handle the new larger 4-stroke engines, you can imagine how eager we were to test this latest generation boat and see how she performs. More...

Email the builder your questions. KClinton@IntrepidPowerboats.com

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New Video

The Boston Whaler Building Process:
Big Differences You Can't See

Boston Whaler Factory
Our Capt. Steve watches as Boston Whaler's hull and deck clamshell molds come together to produce a bond unlike any other boat built.

We all know that Boston Whaler's won't sink.  And some people even know that all of its boats will float level if swamped.  But there is far more to the Boston Whaler building process than just foam and flotation.  There is the company's "secret sauce" that has made these boats a legend in nautical durability.  We recently visited the factory in Edgewater, Florida to make a video on how these boats are built.  See the video...

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Captain's Report

Chaparral 246 SSi:
The Flagship of the Wide Tech Bowriders

Chaparral 246 SSi
Along with the sweeping sheerline, this 246 also has a lot of molded-in contour lines in the hull that break up an otherwise plain surface and add style to the looks.

The Chaparral 246 SSi combines the qualities of a large bowrider with the wide open layout of a deckboat, all neatly wrapped up in a boat with the quality fit-and-finish that Chaparral is so widely known for. Our look at this largest version of the Wide Tech SSi series shows attention to detail in every corner. And while she has a long list of standard features, she also has the ability to get tricked out with select options. Now let’s go over the details and see what she’s got. More...

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Test Video

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230:
A Sterndrive Luxury Toon

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230
Shown here on a typical summer day, the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SEL 230 is a good all-around boat for the whole family from youngsters to the grandparents.

The day we tested the Grand Mariner SEL 230 was windy and choppy.  While you'll probably choose a warm sunny day to go boating, we looked at it as an opportunity to show the worst of how this boat performs. As it turns out, her worst was not so bad at all. There are not many toons on the market with a sterndrive with Bravo III dual-prop drive so our test was an eye-opener.  In the end we came away with some interesting observations on how this boat handles in choppy conditions. It's all in our test video and full report. More...

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Interior Video

Rampage 45 Convertible:
It's Not Just about the Fish

Rampage 45 Convertible
Rampage calls itself "The Offshore Authority" which sounds exactly like the boat we'd want to take cruising offshore, but it can't be all about fishing. The 45 Convertible makes a nice offshore cruiser, too.

Since families are getting more involved in boating, it makes sense that the boats are getting more involved with families. Boaters came to the realization that there was inherent safety built into offshore fishboats, so why not add a touch of luxury to the interior and accommodations for the whole family? Besides, even guys like a little comfort when overnighting to the canyons. Let's take a look at the new Rampage 45 Convertible and see how the folks at Rampage pamp the significant other. More...

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Test Video

Tigé RZ4:
More Than A One-Trick Pony

Tigé RZ4
The Tigé RZ4 is known for being a favorite of the wakeboard tricksters because she is so hot, but she can also be tamed down into a well-mannered family sportboat.

During our test we found that the Tigé RZ4 is not only a serious watersports platform for wakeboard dudes looking for just the right curl, but she is also a very capable sportboat cruiser that the whole family can enjoy. She's high-tech, has a wide pickle-fork bow for extra room, and displays some of the coolest graphics in class.  More...

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Test Video

Yamaha 190 Series:
Single-Engine Speedster

Yamaha 190 Sport
The Yamaha 190 is powered by a single jet engine that makes her fast out of the blocks and gives her a surprising top speed.

At 19'2" (5.8 m) the all-new 190 series represents a smaller version than previous Yamaha twin engine models, but the fun still comes in large doses. The Yamaha 190 is available in two models: the AR with the wakeboard tower, and the SX for sportboat fun, sans tower. If you were thinking about a small sportboat, particularly one the kids could handle by themselves unsupervised, we think the Yamaha 190 should be on your "to see" list. Learn more, see the video...

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New Features Video

Robalo R180:
A New Center Console Busts Out

Robalo R180
The R180 has a high freeboard that adds to her feeling of security. While she's still a center console, this is not a boat that shies away from family watersports.

Robalo's new R180 was designed to provide a reasonably- priced alternative to the many center consoles on the market. While her price tag certainly reflects affordability, we found that some of the features onboard speak more of an upscale charm than about a price-point bargain. While her fine handling characteristics are certainly a strong selling point, at the end of the day her features make the difference. Let's see how Robalo steps up to the challenge. Roll the video tape...

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Captain's Report

Princecraft 220 WS:
Aluminum Deckboat For All Ages

Princecraft 220 WS
The 22'2" (6.8 m) Princecraft 220 WS is a ruggedly-constructed deckboat that is light, fast and roomy inside.

There is nothing on the market that we are aware of that is quite like the Ventura line of aluminum boats made by Princecraft. Because the Princecraft 220 WS is so light, she doesn't need 350 horses for power. Because of her beam and bottom shape she is surprisingly stable. And because she is aluminum you can haul her up on a rocky beach and don't have to worry about the kids abusing her. Those are some of the things that set her apart from most boats that we cover. Step aboard and find out some of her other secrets...

Request a price quote

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Captain's Report

Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht Series II:
A Versatile Family Cruiser Gets Better

Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht
The Riviera 4400 Sport Yacht Series II has a number of improvements on the Mark I version, which we thought was pretty good in her own right.

Riviera Yachts has made numerous substantial changes on its new 4400 Sport Series II model based on owner feedback and design improvements incorporated on other models. Most of the changes enhance the utility or creature comforts and so what was a good boat, in our opinion, has just gotten better. The 4400 is designed for people who really want to use their boat to go cruising, as well as entertaining around home. Let’s take a look at this fine express cruiser and see what Riviera did...

Download brochure

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Captain's Report

Nitro 290 Sport:
Affordable Fish-N-Ski

Nitro 290 Sport
The Nitro 290 Sport is 19'5" (5.91 m) LOA with a 8'4" (2.54 m) beam and comes standard with a 150 XL OptiMax and trailer.

If you think Nitro builds only fishing boats, you're missing one water ski: Yes, the company is famous for bass boats, but they also build multi-tasking models like the Nitro 290 Sport. Styled like a runabout with comfortable seating behind a full-width windshield, the 290 Sport can tow a skier or wakeboarder, just as it can land a trophy bass. If you have been thinking about a practical crossover boat for your family, here is a good place to start. More...

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Test Video

Glacier Bay Renegade 2740:
We Test Her Offshore in Lumpy Seas

Glacier Bay 2740
We wring-out the Glacier Bay Renegade 2740 offshore to see how she will handle and how comfortable she is in a sloppy sea.

Any boat can go fast if you hang a couple of giant V8 outboards on the transom, but what happens when you use reasonable power? Say, something like twin 150-hp outboards? Second question, how does the Glacier Bay Renegade 2740 catamaran handle offshore when the wind comes up and seas get choppy? Does she pound? Does she come to a stop? What really happens? To find out we took the Glacier Bay 2740 offshore for a thorough handling test. See our video and full report...

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New Test Video

New Regal 27 FasDeck:
Regal's Largest Deckboat

Regal 27 FasDeck
If you're a big fan of large bowriders, then why not combine it with a deckboat layout for an even more spacious ride? That's what Regal has done with the 27 FasDeck and they offer it in two versions.

What could be better than combining Regal styling, its proven FasTrac hull, and the roominess of a deckboat layout all in one comfortable ride? The new 27 FasDeck has all these ingredients in a trailerable package.  With a top speed of over 46 mph she gives a thrilling ride when desired, or throttle back for more sedate tubing, or even dial it up a notch for full-blown watersports. As for what sort of handling you can expect from the 27 FasDeck, let's take a look at the full test video. More...

Schedule a test drive

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Test Video

Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge:
Maximizing Interior Room with Style

Meridian 441 Sedan Bridge
The picture of the Meridian 441 says it all -- large and roomy inside, and capable of a good turn of speed.

In our opinion the designers at Meridian have done a good job of maximizing interior volume while at the same time retaining attractive exterior lines. This twin cabin boat with two heads has a cozy salon, galley up, and as you can see above, a large flying bridge ideal for entertaining. Note that the flying bridge extends back to the transom which means the cockpit can be buttoned up with isinglass for three-season operation. See the video and full report...

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New Features Video

Chaparral H2O Sport 18:
A Premium Builder Does Affordability

Chaparral H2O Sport 18
For a boat designed around affordability, we found a lot of standard items that are normally left to the options list.

The Chaparral H2O Sport 18 was designed from the beginning as a starter boat meant to lure people gently into a premium line-up. The thinking is that once the customer gets a taste of some of the features that this boat has over similarly priced competitors, he will be a Chaparral customer for life.  Let's step on board and see how Chaparral does its version of an affordable boat. See the video...

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New Review Video

Tahoe Q5 SF:
A Cost-Effective Crossover

Tahoe Q5 SF
At just under $25,000 this price-conscious boat also happens to be easily transportable and well-built.

Tahoe's Q5 SF may not have the fishing amenities to take you to tournament level but for a family looking to combine fun on the water with some casual fishing, it may be just what the doctor ordered. The fact that Tahoe managed to pull this all together in such an affordable package, that even includes a trailer, is frosting on the cake. Today we take a detailed video walk-through to find out what makes this cost-effective crossover such a hit. More...

Request a brochure

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Joystick Control

Volvo Penta
Sterndrive Joystick:
Maneuverability
for Smaller Boats

Volvo Penta
Over six years ago Volvo Penta introduced joystick control to the boating world and changed it forever.

Knowing that boaters of twin sterndrive models want the same joystick maneuverability as larger boats with pod drives, Volvo Penta developed the black box magic for the Volvo sterndrive system as well. Taking a simplistic approach for reliability, Volvo has utilized software developed for IPS drives and the same joystick components to provide advanced control and capabilities for smaller sterndrive boats. The entire system is drive-by-wire. The boater makes the control adjustments at the helm, and the computer turns them into actions at the drive units making the boat do what the skipper wants.  We have tested many boats with the Volvo Penta Joystick system and can attest to its quick response and reliability.  Explore for yourself why we like this system....

Cruisers Yachts 330Cruisers Yachts 330
Jeanneau NC11Jeanneau NC11
Regal 35 SCRegal 35 SC


Sponsor

The Proof Is In the Test: Shurhold Polisher

Shurhold Polisher
Seen here is the entire kit as it comes retail.

The team at BoatTEST put the Shurhold Dual Action Polisher to the test on a very used and neglected boat. We used Shurhold products with this electric polisher and came away happy with the results. Come along with Capt. Steve and see for yourself...  


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

BoatTEST.com'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.

It's getting warmer out and for most of us that means the boating season is approaching. Now is the time to brush up on your skills and refresh what you may have forgotten. It’s also a good time to get the family onboard, and the BoatTEST.com Smart Boating course will help you do that in the comfort of your own living room. Based on the feedback we’ve been getting this course is not only for beginners, but for veteran boaters as well. It’s the most complete boating course available... period. Order here...

Watch the trailer...
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Lesson of the Week

Basic Rules of the Road: Part 2:
Give-Way and Stand-On Vessels

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
Stand-on versus give-way vessel. You must get this one right every time.

This week Capt. Steve covers some basic rules of the road in these lessons and guidelines. You’ll learn about the right of way for stand-on vessels and corrective measures give-way vessels must make in order to avoid collisions. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Give a man a fish and he will eat for a day. Teach a man to fish and he will sit in a boat and drink beer for a lifetime.” – R. Davis

Second Place

“Sweetie, it's common for them to swallow the whole cat.” – E. Guidone

Third Place

“I better get this in the water before the Wilsons arrive!” – M. Wagner

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 3/21/12

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.


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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.



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