Nordic Tugs 26 // Nordhavn 63 // Monte Carlo Yachts 76 // 15 Tests & Reviews - 04/11/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter April 11, 2012 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Nordhavn 63
- Tigé Z3
- Nordic Tugs 26
- Monte Carlo Yachts 76
- Bayliner 255 SB
- Formula 45 Yacht
- Chaparral H2O 19
- Intrepid 327 Cuddy
- Robalo R180
- Glacier Bay 2770
- Mako 184 CC
- Chaparral 264 Sunesta
- Rinker 186 OB
- Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S
- Harris FloteBote 220 Cruiser CX
- Yamaha Demo Days
- ZF Marine's JMS
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Nordhavn 63:
The Core Strength
of This Beast

Nordhavn 63
Shown here is the new Nordhavn 63 "Silver Spray" in the gin-clear waters of the Bahamas. It seems a shame to waste such a strong boat in waters so placid.

We all know that Nordhavn boats are strong and designed to go around Cape Horn -- and, in fact, some actually do! But the question begs, how are Nordhavns constructed differently to make them so strong? For example, what is it about the Nordhavn 63 hull structure that permits it to carry a CE A rating which is "open ocean, unrestricted?" To find out, this week we take a detailed look at the core structure of the 63.  Let's drill down...

If you have specific questions, technical or design questions -- please email the builder direct--

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Captain's Report

Tigé Z3:
A Wake Surfer's Delight

Tigé Z3
Powered by a standard 343-hp PCM inboard engine the Tigé Z3 is designed to make huge wake for both wakeboarding and wakesurfing.

The Z3 is a mix of styling and function that offers a traditional bow design up front, innovative design and styling in the cockpit, and pure wake performance at the stern. Whether you are a pro who needs the perfect wake, or a weekend enthusiast who wants a huge surf wave, the Tigé wake-making system is outstanding, in our opinion.  The "Tigé Touch" screen at the helm is the icing on the cake. Let's look at the details...

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Captain's Report

Nordic Tugs 26:
She Is Back with Gusto

Nordic Tug 26 cr
The Nordic Tugs 26 was designed for the times -- past times, these times and perhaps future times. She is economical to buy and operate and is rugged, too.

In a nutshell the concept of the Nordic Tug 26 is to make cruising both comfortable and affordable for a couple on a budget. By limiting the boat to 26’ (7.92 m) and a single diesel engine, the materials and labor cost are about as low as possible in a boat that is seaworthy enough for serious, long-distance coastal cruising. First introduced in the late 1970s, you will find Nordic Tug 26s all over the country, from Alaska to Florida. The new versions are far better than the old ones, but the Mark I models are still going strong. Find out more...

Request factory price quote

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New Accommodations Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 76:
Living Spaces Look-See

Monte Carlo Yachts 76
Capt. Steve gives a personal tour through the living spaces of the Monte Carlo 76, which is as striking inside as she is outside. Her décor is as current as the latest styling expo in Milan.

The Monte Carlo Yachts 76 has won more awards than any other yacht that comes to mind. Little wonder since she’s full of clever innovations and top-end materials throughout. In this video, we take a look at the four-stateroom/four-head layout and focus on the design and use of space. Let’s step aboard, and shoes off please...

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Test Video

Bayliner 255 SB:
Stepping Up to a Pocket Cruiser

Bayliner 255 SB
Our captain reports that the Bayliner 255 SB is remarkably easy to dock thanks to its Bravo III dual-prop lower unit. She has a dry weight of 6,480 lbs. (2,945 kgs.) With an 8'6" (2.59 m) beam she is trailerable.

The Bayliner 255 SB is designed for people who want a boat for overnight cruising, day boating, or simply want to step up in size from a sportboat. With her two Bimini tops and accommodations below, a summer rain shower or morning chill will not be enough to dampen a day on the water with the 255 SB. We tested her with a single 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG and found her best cruise to be at about 30 mph for a range of 158 miles, with a 10% fuel reserve. More...

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New Test Video

Formula 45 Yacht:
Standard IPS in a Luxury Sport Yacht

Formula 45 Yacht
With standard IPS, this new Formula 45 Yacht model is a boat that anyone can operate with confidence.

Here’s a class act yacht that can take you from extended cruising for a family or two couples, to holding a full-blown catered gathering at the dockside. And best of all, her performance and handling are so down to earth, that anyone can handle this boat, even if there’s a crowd watching at the dock. Underway, we measured a top speed of 31.4 kts and a range of 250 nm at best cruise. Therein lay two of the perks of IPS. Now let’s see how she drives. More...

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Captain's Report

Chaparral H2O 19 Sport:
An Affordable Bowrider with Trailer

Chaparral H2O 19
The Chaparral H2O 19 Sport is 19'4" (5.96 m) LOA with a 7'6" (2.28 m) beam and weighs 2,540 lbs. (1,154 kg.) which makes her an easy-to-trailer package. The trailer comes standard.

Last year Chaparral introduced a new line of affordable models called the H2O Series and the 19 Sport is the largest bowrider. We have tested the H2O 18 Sport and her performance numbers are on our site for your research. However, before jumping on the 18 we recommend giving her larger sister a good look. Yes, she is only a foot bigger and 240 lbs. (109 kg.) heavier, but that might be just what you are looking for. She has a MSRP of $23,385 powered by a 135-hp 3.0 L MPI MerCruiser. Read our captain's report...

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Features Video

Intrepid 327 Cuddy:
More Tricks than Houdini

Intrepid 327 Cuddy
There's nothing quiet so exhilarating as taking a good-sized boat offshore at over 50 mph. Make that boat the Intrepid 327 Cuddy and you have the extra thrill of knowing you are in the best built, most tricked-out boat in class.

Our new features video of the Intrepid 327 Cuddy has to be seen to be believed. This is one cool, innovative, classy vessel and there is nothing quite like her on the water. Like all Intrepids, she is semi-custom and rigged to the nines for a proud owner who has been around long enough to know exactly what he wants and how a boat should be built. And like all Intrepids she does not come cheap, but because these boats are only sold factory direct the price is not as high as you might think. But no matter what size boat you can afford, you need to see the clever tricks on this new 327. Roll 'em...

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Test Video

Robalo R180:
WOT Speed of 41 mph

Robalo R180
Powered by a Yamaha 4-stroke 115-hp outboard the Robalo R180 has a best cruise speed of 20.1 mph getting 5.28 mpg and a range of 237 statute miles, with a 10% fuel reserve.

The R180 is the smallest boat in the Robalo line of center consoles, but as you can see by the numbers above she is a good performer. What is not so obvious from the numbers, however, is the boat's build quality and features. That's where our captain's keen eye and our video comes into play. Take a good look at our full report, check out the price, and then compare the R180 to other boats in class. Start here...

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Features Video

Glacier Bay 2770:
Big is Beautiful (and Roomy)

Glacier Bay 2770
All of that room and a fishing cockpit, too? Yup, the Glacier Bay 2770 has large areas in her stern, on the bow, and everywhere in between. The fiberglass hardtop is standard.

The Glacier Bay 2770 is designed to be an island runner, but one with a lot of fishing in between. Because she is a stable cat, Mom will not mind coming along and for that reason the 2770 also makes a comfortable weekend cruiser, as well as a fishing boat. In her cockpit she has every fishy feature in the book, and below decks she has a queen-size bed, something you'll rarely find in a 27-footer. We think of her as a very capable express fishboat. Find out more...

Request factory price quote

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Review Video

Mako 184 CC:
Keeping it Simple (and Inexpensive)

Mako 184 CC
Capt. Steve measures the freeboard of the Mako 184 Center Console. It is 22.5" (56.7 cm).
To see his other measurements...

The Mako 184 CC is pretty much as simple as they come, yet she also has virtually all of the built-in features anglers need for coastal encounters of the fishy kind. She has a "no hassle, no haggle" price of $22,995 that includes a 115 EXLPT OptiMax. You won’t have to kill yourself working eight days a week to pay for her. The simple life never looked so good. See our video review of the Mako 184 CC...

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Captain's Report

Chaparral 264 Sunesta WT:
Bowrider for All Passions

Chaparral 264 Sunesta
The Chaparral 264 Sunesta WT bowrider is a serious watersports platform both in freshwater and saltwater. The arch and color graphics are optional.

The Chaparral 264 Sunesta WT is a large, snazzy bowrider and is all that most people -- and young families -- will ever need in life on the water. Put on some optional equipment such as the wet bar and grill, Vacuflush head, arch tower, power sunpad aft, super sound system, the Driftwood interior package, and the 400-hp 8.1 L Volvo Penta engine and you will have the boss ride on the lake. But there is more to this boat than a pretty face. More...

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Test Video

Rinker 186 OB:
Good Handling at Speed

Rinker 186 OB
Powered by the standard Evinrude 90-hp outboard the Rinker 186 has a top speed of 34.2 mph. At best cruise she goes 17.7 mph and gets 4.45 mpg. We liked the way she handled.

The 186 is Rinker's smallest boat and as such she makes a very user-friendly introduction to the Rinker line of 22 models. The 186 comes in either a sterndrive or outboard model. We tested the outboard version which has an MSRP price of $20,999 with 90-hp engine and trailer. The sterndrive model has an MSRP of $19,999 powered by a 3.0 L 135-hp engine.  Take your pick.  Find out more about the Rinker 186 OB...

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Captain's Report

Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S:
Single or Twins

Sea-Doo 210 Challenger S
There are very few boats in this class where you can pick single or twin engines, but you can with the Sea-Doo 210 Challenger.

Our first impression of the 210 was that this model offered well thought-out space, great looks, and cool technology features. Then when we found out this model is offered with a single supercharged 1.5 L engine or twin normally-aspirated 1.5 L engines, we had to take a closer look. In a time when boaters have been looking for better all-around family sportboats, the team at Sea-Doo has been responding with models like the Challenger series. This 21’ model sells for under $33,000. More...

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Captain's Report

Harris FloteBote 220 Cruiser CX:
An Economical Toon for Summer Fun

Harris FloteBote 220 Cruiser CX
The Harris FloteBote 220 Cruiser CX has an 8'6" beam (2.59 kgs.) and a maximum passenger capacity of 12 people or 2,425 lbs. (1,102 kgs.) with two toons.

If there was ever a pontoon boat built for the times, this one is it: The Harris FloteBote 220 Cruiser CX is a stripped-down version of its larger, luxurious toon big sisters, but this one has a bare-bones price tag. Powered by a 50-hp Mercury engine this 23' (7.32 m) LOA boat can match virtually any "affordable" contender dollar for dollar. The boat is well laid out, has plenty of seating and the same rugged construction that you find on more expensive boats. Best of all Harris FloteBote will let you option out the boat exactly the way you want it for your own individual needs. Find out more...

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Test Drive Challenge

Yamaha Watercraft:
Demo Ride Challenge

Yamaha Watercraft 212
The 212X comes standard with everything seen here including the renowned twin 1812cc Yamaha marine engines.

Yamaha WaterCraft Group is sponsoring a demo ride event for anyone in the market for a new boat or PWC. The team at BoatTEST has researched this event and encourages our members to sign up and take a test ride. If you have not driven a jet drive boat or a PWC recently, we think you should as it is a critical part of your research process. All the details are located below, and don't forget to tell us what you think after your ride.

Request a test drive Yamaha Demo Days

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Docking Technology

ZF Marine's JMS:
A Joystick System
on a Viking 60

ZF Marine's JMS
We gave the ZF JMS a first test in a Viking 60 Convertible and declared JMS our new BFF.

Hang around the docks long enough and you’ll hear stories of how even the pros will get into tight spots that take them to the edge of their skill level, or beyond. Stuff happens, and having the right tools to get a boat into a tight slip with a wicked cross-current can spell the difference between a non-event and having banged-up topsides with black creosote smeared along the hull. That’s why even the pros applaud ZF Marine’s Joystick Maneuvering System (JMS). With ZF’s JMS and ZF’s Smart Command operating the props and a bow thruster, even the most unwieldy beasts in strong cross-currents can be tamed. Don’t believe us? Then check out our test video shot on an inboard Viking 60 Convertible in a crosswind and cross current. The JMS in action...


Shurhold Video Test:
Buff Magic Does the Work

Shurhold Polisher
We put Capt. Steve to work while our cameras were rolling.

Owning a fiberglass yacht with a shiny, gleaming surface is one of the joys of boat ownership. But the hard work that goes into creating that look isn't so much fun. In order to find out how well Yacht Brite Buff Magic and Pro Polish work, we tested on a severely neglected hull. Capt. Steve followed the standard procedures, applied the products, and all the while our camera crew was shooting video. See for yourself what our tests turned up...

Order Buff Magic 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'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 Smart Boating course will help you do that in the comfort of your own home. 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

Using Sound Signals
To Alert Other Boaters

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
A vessel leaving a dock in a busy channel should make its intentions clear by sounding off one long blast.

This week Capt. Steve goes over sixteen lessons and guidelines on using sound signals to alert other boaters of your intentions on the water. By using specific sound signals boaters can communicate whether they want to pass another boat to port or starboard, cross in front of a slower boat even though they are the give-way vessel, and several other things. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Only 1,000 more miles and we will be in Hawaii, keep those legs going girls!”
– D. Renaud

Second Place

"Honey, the neighbors will absolutely love what I bought for our dock." – J. Primosch

Third Place

“Little did they know that the swan dives for fish.” – J. Algarin

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 4/11/12

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