Hurricane 217 // Hydra-Sports 3600 // Cabo 44 // 10 Reviews - 05/30/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter May 30, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Hurricane SunDeck 217 OB
- Ilmor Engines and Formula
- Boston Whaler 210 Montauk
- Hydra-Sports 3600 VX
- Meridian Yachts 541 Sedan
- Regal 24 FasDeck
- Yamaha FX SHO
- Cabo 44 HT
- Tahoe 215 Xi
- Sea Ray 500 Sundancer
- Robalo R200
- Evinrude 130 H.O.
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Hurricane SunDeck 217 OB:
"Utility" is the
Name of the Game

Hurricane SD 217 OB
The Hurricane SunDeck 217 OB can hold 10 people in comfort. Kids will love jumping off both its bow and stern to enjoy the water.

The Hurricane SunDeck 217 OB is built by the company that started the deckboat concept 20 years ago or so. It has continued to build boats that are a variation on the theme and now has 36 models in three different product lines. They all have a few things in common: broad bows, lots of seating, low freeboard, and a port-side helm in all but one model. We've chosen the SunDeck 217 OB to review because it is typical of the Hurricane breed, yet because she has an outboard, she is a little different. More...

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Captain's Report

Formula 400 Super Sport:
Powered by 2 Ilmor 725-hp V-10s

Formula 400 Super Sport Ilmor
The latest Formula 400 Super Sport model is powered by twin, aluminum-block 725-hp V-10 gasoline engines made by Ilmor Marine.

Formula announced last week that it has partnered with Ilmor Marine to make available one of the most powerful gas engines on the planet in the 400 Super Sport. The Ilmor 725 MV10-725 is a high-performance, marinized engine that uses the 8.4 L Dodge Viper V-10 aluminum block. The engine is naturally aspirated for greater fuel efficiency and longer engine life. There is no word yet from the folks at Formula as to what the 400’s top speed might be with the twin 725s, but given that we recorded a WOT speed of 61.6 in a 400 Super Sport powered by twin 525-hp engines, clearly we should be seeing adrenaline-pumping racing speeds. More...

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Test Video

Boston Whaler 210 Montauk:
A New Flagship for the Montauk Series

Boston Whaler 210 Montauk
With a length overall of 23'6" (7.16 m) the new Boston Whaler 210 Montauk is the largest in the Montauk fleet.

For fans of the Boston Whaler Montauk line who figured they weren't quite large enough for their tastes, there's good news; Boston Whaler has now created a larger version of this classic crossover between family fun and fishing. The new 210 Montauk takes her position at the head of the pack in a line-up that starts at 15'5" (4.7 m) and previously topped out at 19’ (5.8 m). We have tested the 210 Montauk and just completed our video.  See her now...

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Captain's Report

Hydra-Sports 3600 VX:
When Offshore Means Overnight

Hydra-Sports 3600VX
Hydra-Sports' reputation for handling big water comes into play with this 3600 VX.

You're not going to catch big fish by sticking close to home. Serious fishing is measured in days, not hours, and that means a boat is needed that can go offshore safely and in comfort. The Hydra-Sports 3600 VX delivers with big water performance and luxury accommodations. And that's just the beginning of the details that this big rig brings to the table. Let's take a look at the full report for an in-depth look. More...

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Features Video

Meridian Yachts 541 Sedan:
Spacious and Modern

Meridian 541 Sedan
The 541 Sedan represents the largest in Meridian Yachts line-up and the innovative interior is one of the most unusual we've seen.

There are three distinct gathering areas on the main deck of the Meridian 541.  Located smack in the middle of them is its galley which makes serving handy and keeps the chef involved in all the action. The salon is forward and elevated giving outstanding sightlines.  But best of all, the 541 comes in a package built on affordability. Let's take a look at the details and see how Meridian Yachts has done in our full features walk-through video. More...

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Test Video

Regal 24 FasDeck RX:
Deckboat with a Regal Air

Regal 24 FasDeck
At 24'3" (7.3 m) the Regal 24 FasDeck has the roominess of a much larger boat.

The Regal 24 FasDeck RX has space for many of your friends and the features to keep them entertained all day. Because she's built on Regal’s FasTrac hull concept she not only has impressive speed and economy but also very sporty handling characteristics. She also has slightly higher freeboard than other deckboats.  See our test...

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Test Video

Yamaha FX SHO Series:
Extreme Performance and "Luxury"

Yamaha FX SHO
The FX SHO and Cruiser FX SHO differ only in a few of the amenities. 
But both versions have mojo.

Some people want to have that racing performance feel that only a high-end machine can provide.  Some want to have a "luxury" feel and top-end features. Then again, some people want it all, and that’s the realm of the FX SHO series of WaveRunners from Yamaha. Loaded with features and powered by the supercharged 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, super-high output Yamaha 1812cc marine engine, the FX SHO WaveRunner gave our test captain a feeling of "luxurious exhilaration." Lets watch the test ride...

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Captain's Report

Cabo 44 Hardtop Express:
Taking on the Battlewagons

Cabo 44 HT
The Cabo 44 Hardtop Express is 47'7" (14.5 m) LOA and weighs in at 46,000 lbs (20,865 kg).

We found the Cabo 44 HTX to be a compelling compromise between the lighter open express fishboats and much heavier convertible battlewagons. Her 16’6” (5.06 m) beam is carried well forward which gives her a surprising amount of interior room. Her features allow her to compete with larger boats and Cabo's reputation for attention to detail means she has practical utility.  Let's take a look at the full report of the 44 HTX.  More...

Request a sea trial

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Review Video

Tahoe 215 Xi:
Deckboat for Fish & Tow

Tahoe 215 Xi
The Tahoe 215 Xi is a deckboat that can be used for fishing on lakes or rivers. Our tests proved the WOT speed to be 48.5 mph with a 4.3 L sterndrive.

The Tahoe 215 Xi is an example of a deckboat which offers fishing features and the room to bring along several friends for nearly any watersports activity. Her bow design allows a place for two people to fish from pedestal seats and the cockpit layout provides lots of open room. In this video we look at a few important key features. Look...

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Test Video

Sea Ray 500 Sundancer:
Big-Water Capable

Sea Ray 500 Sundancer
Sea Ray's 500 Sundancer is just as capable entertaining a crowd at the dock as she is getting a family to a distant destination.

Some people may think these larger Sea Rays are for either sitting at the dock looking pretty as a weekend retreat or for making sedate cruises in protected water. We think that the 500 Sundancer is actually a very capable offshore cruiser.  During our test this winter we took a 500 Sundancer offshore to the Gulf Stream through Miami's Haulover Inlet on a rainy day with a stiff wind running against a fair tide. Our video captured it all.  Take a look...

Request factory price quote.

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Review Video

Robalo R200:
Featured Up, Priced Down

Robalo R200
With a length overall of 20'7" (6.27 m) and a dry weight of 3,000 lbs (1361 kg) the Robalo R200 has the stones to handle coastal operations.

Robalo has a knack for loading their boats with features without pricing themselves above most of the competition.  We found her to be well loaded with everything but bait and tackle.  Let's see how they've done...

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Test Video

Evinrude 130 H.O. E-TEC: Filling An Important Need

Evinrude 130

We tested the E-TEC 130 H.O. on a Carolina Skiff DLV 218 Elite with a test weight of just over 3,300 lbs (1497 kg).

The gap between 115-hp and 150-hp is a big one by outboard engine standards.  For many applications 115-hp is not enough power and 150 is more than needed, and a lot more expensive.  That's why Evinrude built a 130-hp unit.  So why does Evinrude bother? Because it correctly realized that this engine can offer so many more possibilities over larger four-stroke engines. Its lightweight allows a lower CG and two 130s can easily replace a single 250 offering redundancy for offshore work. Let's put her through a full test and see exactly how this 130-hp workhorse fares. Take a close look with this short video...


World's Best Water Hose? Shurhold Says No Kinks

Shurhold Products
There is nothing worse than a kinky garden hose. Now, Shurhold solves the problem.

Manufactured with patented NTS Reflex Mesh technology to eliminate kinks, twists and tangles, Shurhold adds yet another product into the world of products. Shurhold has taken the hose and tweaked it a bit, with Grip-Tite coupling for an easy, leak-free connection at the faucet. This 100% lead-free hose is drinking-water safe and available in three sizes of 25’, 50’ and 75’ with a diameter of 5/8''. It has a lifetime guarantee. Learn more...

Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken.

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

Waterskiing Safety Tips

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover 

When pulling a skier always have a minimum of three people on board. The third person’s job is to watch the water-skier at all times.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven lessons and guidelines on waterskiing safety and the laws boaters should abide by.  Capt. Steve will also go over some basic hand signals which allow the skier and observer to communicate most effectively. 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

“Let's go! They are opening a Chinese restaurant in Newfoundland.” – J. Smith

Second Place

“For a trolling motor they have a Chihuahua.” – R. Davis

Third Place

“Global warming rears its ugly head at the Iditarod.” – J. Holcombe

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On Here?

WIGOH 5/30/12

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