Chaparral 244 // Nitro 290 // Sea Ray 310 // 14 Tests & Reviews - 07/04/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter July 4, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Carolina Cat 23CC
- Chaparral 244 Xtreme
- Intrepid 375 Center Console
- Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius
- Evinrude ICON
- Harris FloteBote Factory
- Jeanneau Leader 10
- Mako Pro Skiff 17 CC
- MasterCraft X-2
- Nitro 290 Sport
- Robalo R247
- Sea Ray 310 Sundancer
- Tahoe Q8 SSi
- Tigé RZ2
- World Cat 255 DC
- PowerTech 4-blades
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Carolina Cat 23CC: 
A Multi-Tasking Cat

Carolina Cat 23 CC
The Carolina Cat 23CC brought us up to 44.7 mph with a pair of 115-hp Yamaha 4-strokes. Best range at cruise speed was 295 miles.

When a company intends to make a crossover boat it's usually a combination of fishing and family fun, with token features for each mission at best. But this Carolina Cat 23CC has a whole new take on multi-tasking. She has the running draft of a flats boat, the roominess of a center console, the legs for long distance traveling, and the rough water handling of a deep-V all rolled into one. With this much utility, surely the ride has to give, right? Wrong!  Join us on the test ride...

Request factory price quote

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Captain's Report

Chaparral 244 Xtreme:
Making Waves in a Big Way

Chaparral 244 Xtreme
The Chaparral 244 Xtreme has a LOA of 24'4" (7.42 m) and a dry weight of 4700 lbs (2132 kg).

Who would have thought that a company known for making luxury sportboats and small cruisers could ever have a chance in the ski/wakeboard market? But that's exactly what happened when Chaparral came out with its Xtreme line-up. The 244 Xtreme has both a deep-V bottom and ballast bags which together can make a huge wake.  Then, there is Xtreme's striking styling.  Make no mistake about it, Chaparral is not just kidding with its intention of competing in this highly specialized market. More...

Request a brochure

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New Test Video

Intrepid 375 Center Console:
Improving A Blue-Blood Breed

Intrepid 375 Center Console
With triple Mercury 300 Verados, the Intrepid 375 Center Console tested out at 62 mph WOT.

The new Intrepid 375 Center Console was originally designed to replace the 370 Center Console with a boat that provides more comfort, sleeker styling, and the ability to carry larger engines.  What emerged is a new thoroughbred center console that is the envy of connoisseurs of elegant boat flesh.  It's important to see how a boat is built when money is no object.  Let's take a look...

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Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius:
An Open Floor Plan Cruiser

Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius
With a best cruise range of 309 statute miles the 41 Cantius has long cruising legs for a short weekend.

The 41 Cantius has the same open floor plan and cruising capability as her big sister (the well-known 48 Cantius) while still providing a capable weekend retreat at a price that puts her within reach of more people.  And like the 48, our tests have proven her to be a solid-handling boat in sloppy offshore conditions. See how she runs...

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Test Video

Evinrude ICON:
Digital Controllability for Outboards

Evinrude ICON
Digital engine trimmed, cruise control, single lever controllability, and synchronization of up to 5 engines are just some of the features available with Evinrude ICON controls.

The days of running sliding control cables from the helm all the way back to the engine through a fairly tortuous route are well behind us as far as many builders are concerned. Now it's a matter of a simple wire run and digital controls for control shift and throttle. Adding another control station is as simple as running another wire and swapping between stations can be done at the push of a button. Evinrude's entry into the world of digital controls is called ICON and to find out just how capable it is, we did a full test of the controls to see what they offer.  More...

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Construction Process

Harris FloteBote:
Not All Toons Are Created Equal

Harris FloteBote
Harris FloteBote toons are built differently from the rest in several important ways. 

This spring pontoon boats as a class had the largest year-over-year sales increase of any type of boat on the market.  But what separates the good toons from those that are off-key is more than price.  There is far more to good toon construction than meets the eye as you will see in our Harris FloteBote construction video. See how it is done...

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Captain's Report

36' Jeanneau Leader 10:
Clever Utilization of Space

Jeanneau Leader 10
The express cruiser market is a highly competitive one and Jeanneau intends to do much more than compete.

At 36’ (10.85 m) the Jeanneau Leader 10 hits the sweet spot of the size range between young couples moving up and empty-nesters moving down, and does so with a level of affordability that Jeanneau has become known for. This Leader 10 offers two private staterooms with a roomy salon and galley that allows two couples, or a family, to cruise in comfort.  Jeanneau leaves the build quality in, yet is able to keep the price from getting out of hand by cutting back on the non-essentials. Take a look at what we mean...

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Test Video

Mako Pro Skiff 17 CC:
Light Boat, Heavy Work

Mako Pro Skiff 17 CC
With an LOA of 17'4" (5.28 m) and a dry weight of 950 lbs (430 kg) the Mako Pro 17 Skiff CC is easy to transport.

Anybody who's been around work barges is familiar with the utility that skiffs inherently have. The Mako Pro 17 Skiff CC features an inverted V-hull that draws only 8” (20.3 cm).  She's capable of carrying heavy loads of nets across shallow waters or tackling rough water to get to the coastal ledges. Look at our full test video...

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Review Video

MasterCraft X-2:
Time to Wake Up

MasterCraft X-2
With wraparound seating, 70 cu ft (6.5 cu m) of storage, and a removable cooler, the MasterCraft X-2 is much more than just a wakeboat.

MasterCraft is one of the premier builders in the rarefied atmosphere of inboard-powered ski/wake boats.  Long known for its superb styling and high-quality fit-and-finish, we find that the X-2 is no exception. While the X-2 may be a small package with it’s 20’ (6.1 m) length overall, she packs an abundance of amenities in a garage-friendly package. More...

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Test Video

Nitro 290 Sport:
Nitro Goes For The Family

Nitro 290 Sport
The Nitro 290 Sport features the company's rapid planing bottom design and a wide range of crossover features that will keep everyone in the family happy.

Normally we see builders of bowriders throw a trolling motor on the bow and call it a "crossover" fishing boat.  Here we see just the opposite. This time it's a company known for making affordable bass boats and doing a crossover into the watersports category. Nitro seems to have made a good combination that goes beyond the token fishing features that we normally see. This is a boat designed for the whole family and she is not just a warmed-over bass boat. Take a look at our full report...

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Captain's Report

Robalo R247:
A Dual-Console For Any Mission

Robalo R247
The Robalo R247 is designed to be a versatile utility boat for all manner of missions including cruising, fishing, waterskiing, diving, or just blasting around. The hardtop is optional.

The dual console Robalo R247 certainly qualifies as belonging in the salty category. At 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg) dry, with a single 300-hp engine and a 22-degree deadrise at the transom she is not afraid of lumpy water offshore. But because she's able to handle conditions like that, she has a lot of appeal for boaters looking to head beyond a protected inlet. Depending on whether you're fishing with the guys or playing with the family, Robalo offers the options for exactly the mission planned. Take a look...

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Captain's Report

Sea Ray 310 Sundancer:
She's Loaded and Built Right

Sea Ray 310 Sundancer
At 31' (9.5 m) the Sea Ray 310 Sundancer is just the right size boat for many families who need little more than a day boat and a weekender.

Few models are as recognizable as the Sundancer series from Sea Ray; indeed, the builder pretty much invented the express cruiser type as we know it today. With the 310 Sundancer Sea Ray is providing consumers with a nice balance of features and amenities at a reasonable price. Although she's gone through some minor changes over the years, the model has stayed largely the same and faithful to her roots. May we have this dance?

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Test Video

Tahoe Q8 SSi:
54.3 MPH WOT with 300-hp

Tahoe Q8 SSi
The Tahoe Q8 SSi has features we normally see in more expensive boats.

The Tahoe Q8 SSi is the flagship of the Tahoe runabout line-up and we found her to be a well thought-out family boat. With a 300-hp Mercury Centurion engine, she reached a top speed of 54.3 mph with pleasing handling characteristics. The builder quotes a price of under 29k for her. The rest of the story...

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Test Video

Tigé RZ2 Platinum Edition:
Loaded to the Max

Tigé RZ2 Platinum Edition
Seen here in high-wake mode, the Tigé RZ2 Platinum Edition is a wakeboat that is designed to have it all.

Tigé tells us that its RZ2 was designed for those who want both big wake and high style. She's tricked out for performance and has virtually every available option.  Tigé calls her the Platinum Edition and we'd be willing to bet that she will leave wake duded wanting little else.  Let's take it on a test ride...

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Test Video

World Cat 255 DC:
Offshore Performance with Crossover Features

World Cat 255 DC
The World Cat 255 DC has an LOA of 26’ (7.92 m) and because she's a cat has the roominess of a much larger boat.

The World Cat 255 DC had some interesting features that made her pretty evenly split between a serious offshore fishing boat, a family runabout, and an entertainment platform that can handle large crowds. With her twin hulls and narrow entry she's able to handle herself well in sloppy conditions. Full test video...

Factory price quote

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Propeller Maintenance

4-Bladed Props:
Is One Right for You?

PowerTech Propellers
Which prop is better -- one with three or four blades?

Most boats come with a 3-bladed prop, but that doesn't mean that it's right for your particular application. Are you looking for more speed or more power? Are you racing to the fishing grounds or slogging your way through foul weather? Do you spend more time towing skiers or wakeboarders? All these are questions to be asked to determine whether a 3-bladed prop is right for you or perhaps a 4-bladed one might be the way to go. Check out this article to help you make a decision and then fill in the prop worksheet. You might be surprised at what you find...

Prop worksheet


Shurhold Shag Bonnet: Microfiber Polish Tool

Shurhold Products
To make your boat look the best that it can be you need the right tools. This is one of them.

Shurhold has developed a new microfiber polishing tool that it calls the Brite Bonnet Final Polish Pad. Designed to fit on the Shurhold Dual Action Polisher, the design provides you with more microfiber area coming in contact with the surface being polished. A feature that BoatTEST likes is that the Bonnet is designed with a vapor barrier so you can quickly and easily install it over a wet waxing pad and don't need to worry about moisture bleeding through. The purpose of this shaggy new tool is to remove the excess wax and complete your final buffing. You can order online or learn more about this product 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  
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 Handle Your Boat
in Different Sea Conditions

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover 

You don’t want to be out in a small boat like this one in the above sea conditions, but knowing how to maneuver your boat should you encounter rough seas is important.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on understanding wave characteristics and how to handle your boat in different types of sea conditions. Learn how to approach a head sea and make the ride more comfortable for you and your passengers, learn how to handle the boat in a following sea. 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

“But Hon, it's never too cold to be on the water!” – J. Barton

Second Place

“Dear Santa, I hope my father understands what I want this time...” – E. Baki

Third Place

“Evidence that PWCs existed in the Ice Age.” – C. Wells

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 7/4/2012

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