Bayliner 195 // Carolina Cat 23CC // Fairline Targa 58 // 12 Tests & Reviews - 05/16/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter May 16, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Chaparral 327 SSX
- Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge
- Formula 350 FX6
- Carolina Cat 23CC
- Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
- Tracker Pro Guide V-16
- Fairline 58 Gran Turismo
- Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
- Premier 290 Grand Entertainer
- ZF Marine JMS
- Bayliner 195 Bowrider
- Volvo Penta 5.7L
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Chaparral 327 SSX:
A Unique Super Sportboat

Chaparral 327 SSX
The Chaparral 327 SSX is in a class of her own by virtue of her remarkable combination of sportboat and express cruiser attributes.

In a field where few builders are willing to push the envelope, Chaparral has done that with its 327 SSX super sportboat. What makes her so super? For starters she is a bowrider with a cabin below that will sleep two or entertain four, she has an enclosed head below, and topside four people can face forward on the helm deck. Her hardtop comes standard which opens up other possibilities. We think that she is an exciting transitional boat from a sportboat to an express cruiser.  See what we mean...

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Review Video

Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge:
A Customer-Driven Design

Riviera 53 Enclosed Flybridge Image from review video
The full-beam master on the Riviera 53 is unusual for a convertible of this size.

The team at Riviera Yachts tells us that the 53 Enclosed Flybridge is the result of blending feedback from boaters, their engineers and design team to create a boat that delivers on space and comfort without a massive price tag. One example of customer-inspired design is the cockpit, with the transom-mounted double grill and sink module. Aesthetically there are pleasing finds all over this boat as well. Get on board for the full tour here...

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Review Video

Formula 350 FX6:
The Silver Bullet's Exquisite Execution

Formula 350 FX6
The Formula 350 FX6 is pictured here thanks to Photoshop in the company's favorite Bahamian waters. She looks like a rocket on water but the details are even better.

We caught up with the new Formula 350 FX6 at a boat show this winter before the builder could get her down to the Bahamas for a photo shoot. No matter because the real story with the 350 FX6 is in the details of her design and in the quality and care of her build. Our captain made a short video of the FX6 to record the fit-and-finish workmanship that went into every aspect of this boat. Eye-candy to follow...

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New Test

Carolina Cat 23CC:
Draft for Flats, Ride for Offshore

Carolina Cat 23CC
With a hull draft of only 11" (28 cm) the Carolina Cat 23CC can get far into skinny water, but boats that can do that typically can't handle more than your average wake. Not so with the Carolina Cat 23CC which likes wave jumping.

When the design team at Carolina Cat decided to build a crossover fishing boat for flats and offshore they didn't kid around. The Carolina Cat 23CC has the draft of a flats boat, the roominess of a center console, the legs for long distance, and the rough-water comfort of a deep-V.  Seriously? Can all this really come together in one boat? We asked the same question when we set out to test this latest model from Carolina Cat and the answer is a resounding… Yes! Don't believe us?  Watch the video and read the full report...

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New Test Video

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage:
A Large Fish-Dive-Cruise Platform

Boston Whaler 370 Outrage
Our 370 Outrage test found a top speed of over 50 mph and a range of 384 miles at best cruise.

The Outrage series may make you think of fishing, but since these boats handle offshore conditions so well we weren't surprised to find that most customers are using them to cruise to remote offshore locations or island getaways. That being the case, we tested the largest boat in the Boston Whaler lineup -- the 370 Outrage -- with an eye toward cruising. With a range of 384 miles, there are a lot of places we could go. More...

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New Video

Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC:
Comfortable in a Big Lake Chop

Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC
The Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC is the builder's most popular deep-V model.

The thing that surprised us the most about the Tracker Pro Guide V-16 SC when we tested her was how comfortable the boat is in a chop. The reason is that her deadrise at the transom is 20-degrees. Tracker designed her that way so she could ride well in big lakes with a long fetch. So just because her price is low (MSRP: $14,695 with 50-hp 4-stroke), don't get the idea that the V-16 SC is only for ponds and streams. See our full report and video...

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Captain's Report

Fairline Targa 58 Gran Turismo:
Unusual 3-Stateroom Layout

Fairline Targa 58GT
The Fairline Targa 58 GT has a 16'2" (4.92 m) beam and a dry weight displacement of 53,174 lbs. (24,120 kgs.).

The Targa 58 Gran Turismo is the largest boat in Fairline's Targa express series. She has a 3 en suite stateroom layout that we think is quite unusual. Forward is a huge head for the full-beam master and in the waist of the vessel are two side-by-side guest staterooms just forward of the engine room. Engine options range from twin 775-hp to 1200-hp diesels. Her décor is as modern as they come. Learn more...

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Test Video

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht:
Space and Speed

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
While you can't see them in this photo, the Intrepid 475 is powered by four mighty outboard engines which allow her to have more room aboard than virtually any boat in class.

The 475 Sport Yacht is the flagship of the Intrepid fleet. She has the largest master stateroom, the largest cockpit, and the largest about everything else of the 15 basic models that Intrepid produces. She is designed for a couple of purposes, the most obvious of which is as a move-up yacht for people who already own an Intrepid, and appreciate the level of quality, customization, and factory care that this builder provides. Intrepid sells factory-direct which is the best way for consumers to customize to their specifications. See the video...

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Captain's Report

Premier 290 Grand Entertainer:
A Toon for Party Animals

Premier 290 Grand Entertainer
The Premier 290 Grand Entertainer has a full bar pretty much like the one at your favorite snuggery on shore. Look: (A) Propane tank that fuels the grill. (B) There are a total of four "cubbies" under the bar for the bartender's supplies, things like cherries and little umbrellas. (C) Foot rest for the bar.  (D) One of six Alpine speakers on the boat. (E) Sink with pressure water system.

The 290 Grand Entertainer by Premier is the quintessential party boat. What sets her apart from other toons is her rather complete bar that will make hearty party goers feel right at home. We have gone over the boat in some detail so that our members can see what makes this boat the most sought-after invitation on the lake. Here's looking at you...

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Review Video

Bayliner 195 BR:
220-HP 4.3L Engine Is Standard

Bayliner 195
Our Capt. Steve was one of the first people to get a detailed look at the new Bayliner 195. We made a video of his in-depth inspection of the boat.

The Bayliner 195 BR made her debut at the New York Boat Show four months ago and we think she has the makings of being quite popular. She comes standard with a 220-hp 4.3 L MPI/A1 ECT carb-compliant MerCruiser and has an MSRP "as low as" $27,479. The total MSRP price with freight, fees, and fuel surcharge and "selected options" is $29,451. She will be a "move-up" boat for some folks and an "entry-level" vessel for others, but either way we think she merits your attention. See our video and report going over the details...

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Detailed Look

ZF Marine JMS:
Full System Test

ZF Marine POD 4000 Image of system from video
ZF mates its aft facing pods with its joystick control to produce the JMS system that makes docking as smooth as you please.

ZF's JMS joystick system provides several advantages to boaters and builders alike. The JMS provides boaters with a higher degree of control and maneuverability in space-limited marinas and it also gives builders the ability to offer joystick control without altering a proven hull design. Our full test of the ZF JMS on a Viking Yachts 60 showed just how capable this system really is. Take a detailed look at the system and the boat test...

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Test Video

Tigé RZ2 Platinum:
A Cool Wakeboat Goes Ritzy

Tigé RZ2 Platinum Edition
Capt. Steve puts the Tigé RZ2 into a "fishhook" turn to take this boat's measure in 20-knot conditions during our test. Note how the boat leans into the turn.

Tigé’s 20th Anniversary RZ2 Platinum is loaded to the gunwales with virtually every option imaginable. She is not only a serious performance wakeboat, but our tests show she makes a capable family sportboat as well. Between the way the RZ2 handles a chop, her roomy layout, and her patented TAPS2 wake-control feature, the Tigé RZ2 has a lot to recommend her -- and the Platinum edition is the icing on the cake. Take a look...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta 5.7L Gas Engine: Single Sportboat Application

The Volvo Penta 5.7L series delivers great performance throughout the speed range. But is it worth the upgrade money from the 5.0L? Let’s take a look at the numbers and see.

Engine performance will always be dependent upon the application whether it is a single engine sportboat or a twin engine cruiser. Here we take a look at a single engine application of this 300-hp version of the Volvo Penta 5.7LGi by putting it through a full test. After you watch this test video we suggest you check out any of the other 19 boat tests we have with this engine in various configurations. Let's throttle up for some fun...


Shurhold Dual
Action Polisher:
Sturdy and Effective

Shurhold Products
See how easy it is to use this polisher as Capt. Steve walks us through the process.

We have done a complete test with the Shurhold Dual Action Polisher and have been using it on our boats for over a year now. This is a sturdy machine that helps you create a great shine on your boat. One of the best features has been the extra long power cord with the GFIC protection. The other feature we like is the orbiting action of the buffer head. It really does prevent swirl marks. Also, the ability to regulate the rpms is very helpful; you can adapt to different projects and get the very best out of the buffing compound of your polish. Learn more by watching our test video...

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.

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Smart Boating's  
DVD Boating 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 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 Read Charts and Plot Your Position

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover

Capt. Steve explains a grid system and how to read lines of latitude and longitude to help find a location.

This week Capt. Steve goes over fourteen videos and guidelines on reading charts and how to plot an exact position by using degrees, minutes and tenths of minutes to tell anyone exactly where you are in the world.  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 --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“So who's going to do the survey, a geologist?” – G. Gosselin

Second Place

“Rare photo of an invasive mollusk cocoon.” – F. Schall

Third Place

“Presidential yacht of the Republic of Afghanistan.” – R. Davis

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On Here?

WIGOH 5/16/12

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