Sea Ray 205 // Azure AZ258 // Jeanneau NC 11 // 17 Tests & Reviews - 07/18/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter July 18, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Azure AZ258
- Sea Ray 205 Sport
- Carolina Cat 18CC
- Chaparral 246 SSi
- Cypress Cay Cayman 250
- Formula 240 Sun Sport
- Harris FloteBote GM SL 250
- Intrepid 375 CC
- Jeanneau NC 11
- Mako 184 Center Console
- Nitro Z-9
- PowerTech Propellers
- Robalo R200
- Tahoe Q7 SF
- Tigé R20
- Yamaha Jet Drives
- Evinrude 130
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

New Azure AZ258:
Sporty BR with Euro Flair

Lead Photo
The new Azure AZ258 has an LOA of 25’ (7.62 m) with a trailerable beam of 8'6" (2.59 m), but the big story is that the brand is now under the management of KCS International Incorporated.

This past January, Azure Boats was bought by KCS International Incorporated, the company that owns Cruisers Yachts and Rampage Sport Fish Yachts.  
KCS International Incorporated did not rush into production with its new acquisition; rather, it carefully surveyed the market and made over two dozen product enhancements to the boat. The 2013 AZ258 is being manufactured by a company that has historically only built large express cruisers and sportfish boats, and that is why the new Azure line is refreshingly different. More important for the consumer, KCS only knows one way to build boats -- with high-quality materials and world-class fit-and-finish.  Today we take a look at one of the builder’s four 2013 bowriders, the AZ258. More...

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Video Review

Sea Ray 205 Sport:
Going for Fit-and-Finish

Sea Ray 205 Sport
We think the Sea Ray 205 Sport has a lot going her way -- fit-and-finish and noteworthy performance with the 4.3L 220-hp Alpha One.  Look at the numbers...

Selecting a boat in the 20-something single-engine sportboat market can be confusing. That is why our test and review of the Sea Ray 205 Sport focuses on what we feel are important "differentiating factors."  Most noticeable to us when first boarding the 205 is the overall fit-and-finish.  People paying a little more want to know they are getting a little more... or, maybe a lot more.  Let's start our look with the exterior and work our way through this solid, 50-mph sportboat. More...

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Captain's Report

Carolina Cat 18CC:
An Entry-Level Catamaran

Carolina Cat 18 CC
The 18'2" (5.53 m) Carolina Cat 18CC has an 8'1" (2.48 m) beam and weights 1,200 lbs. (545.45 kgs.).  Best of all is her affordable price tag.

The Carolina Cat 18CC provides a no frills, entry-level, center console boat that has the versatility to handle skinny water with her 9” (22.9 cm) draft as well as a rough chop with her narrow entry bows.  And being a cat she is as stable a boat as any 18-footer on the market.  She comes with features that we were surprised to see as standard on such a price-oriented boat. Moreover, with a 115-hp engine the team at Carolina Cat tells us that she has a top speed of 35 mph and a cruise range of 120 miles. More...

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Captain's Report

Chaparral 246 SSi:
Upscale Bowrider with Deckboat Room

Chaparral 246 SSi
The Chaparral 246 SSi has a relatively high freeboard for boat in class which makes her drier and safer. 

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 fit-and-finish that Chaparral is known for. Our testing of other Chaparral models has confirmed that its "Extended V-Plane Hull" actually gets its boats on plane faster and with less bowrise.  And there's more...

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Test Video

Cypress Cay Cayman 250:
Tooning Up for Value

Cypress Cay Cayman 250
Our test Cypress Cay Cayman 250 was powered by a 225-hp Mercury Verado. The T3 package can handle a 250-hp Verado or a 225-hp Honda.

There are many toons on the market at all different price points so the problem for consumers is to find good quality at an affordable price.  That is exactly the market niche Cypress Cay has targeted.  But there is more to the Cayman 250 -- she is also a good handling tri-toon.  Today's video is all about the performance. Let's step aboard as we take her for a ride. More...

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Captain's Report

Formula 240 Sun Sport:
High Performance & High Style

Formula 240 Sun Sport
The Formula 240 Sun Sport has a LOA of 24’ (7.32 m) and a trailerable beam of 8'6" (2.59 m). She is much more than a cuddy sportboat.

The Sun Sport series from Formula is a line of closed-bow sportboats that is focused towards cruising and entertaining amenities without giving up speed and performance. This Formula 240 Sun Sport is the smallest of the five-boat series and she carries much of the same amenities as her bigger sisters. More...

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Test Video

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250:
A Premium-Comfort Pontoon Boat 

Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250
With an LOA of 26'4" (8.03 m), a trailerable beam of 8'6" (2.59 m), and luxurious accommodations, the Grand Mariner SL 250 is a top-of-the-line toon.

The boat was tested in one of the choppiest conditions we've ever tested a pontoon boat in.  The water was so choppy that we could not steady our video camera and therefore the shots we have were taken in protected water.  But take our word for it; the Grand Mariner SL 250 handled the conditions well.  Aside from the wind and temperature, the Harris FloteBote Grand Mariner SL 250 performed like a lady and the luxurious feel to her accommodations transferred directly to the ride.  Grab your coat and come see...  

Request factory price quote

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New Features Video

Intrepid 375 CC:
A Close-Up Inspection

Intrepid 375 CC
During our test the Intrepid 375 CC had a top speed of 62 mph powered by triple 300-hp Mercury Verados.

The Intrepid 375 CC can be configured in any number of ways because the builder specializes in customized boats.  They are all sold factory-direct which means customers work directly with the designers and builders.  As a result of owner requests, Intrepid has a much-deserved reputation for its clever designs and innovations.  Today we take a look at two versions of the 375, one for cruising comfort and one for tournament sportfishing. And each is still one-of-a-kind...

Have a specific question? Email the builder (727)-548-1260

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Test Video

Jeanneau NC 11:
A Practical Design for the Cruising Set

Jeanneau NC 11
The 35' 7'' (10.85 m) Jeanneau NC 11 is a new concept (NC) for boaters who take the sport seriously and want a cruiser that has both remarkable utility and value.

The Jeanneau NC 11 is probably one of the most deceiving boats we've tested. At first glance she seems like an average cruising boat. However, once we stepped aboard and started experiencing the versatility that this cruiser has to offer, we realized that nothing about the NC 11 is average.  Our full test video shows that this capable cruiser will keep passengers comfortable and cruising in style without breaking the bank.  Let's take a look...

Jeanneau NC 11 ChartDownload Performance Data Request factory price quote

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Review Video

Mako 184 Center Console:
Value and Fish-Ability

Mako 184 Center Console
At 18'4" (5.59 m) the Mako 184 Center Console can certainly be considered entry-level but she still comes with features that are typically reserved for larger boats.

The Mako 184 Center Console has all of the needed features for spending a day wetting a line with the built-in features that we've come to expect from Mako. Let's step aboard and see what this value-oriented company does so right. More...

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Test Video

Nitro Z-9:
Taking It to the Tournament Level

Nitro Z-9
The Nitro Z-9 tested with a top speed of 71.1 mph with a range at that speed of 189 miles.

With most bass boats compromising the same basic design parameters and fishing features, the differences become about handling, tertiary amenities and price. The Z-9 is a proven workhorse on the tournament level.  And, her price is right.  Let's take a test ride and see what the Nitro Z-9 brings to the party. More...

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PowerTech Propellers:
Match the Prop to the Job

PowerTech Propellers
With so many variables we strongly recommend research into which prop will be best for your boat, engine, and application.

Most stock boats come with stock props.  Generally speaking they do an adequate job for a broad range of applications.  But since they are inherently a compromise, boaters wanting superior performance for a specific job often need a special prop.  Today we feature an interview with Steve Powers, president of PowerTech Propellers to discuss the factors that determine the ability of a propeller to accelerate. How good is your propeller?

Fill out PowerTech's diagnostic form...

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Review Video

Robalo R200:
Keeping Affordability in Fishing

Robalo R200
Robalo didn't compromise on build integrity as this R200 is among the heaviest in class at 3,000 lbs (1,361 kg), but she has a price on the light side.  Note her high freeboard.

Robalo is a company that prides itself on keeping its boats affordable, but it also has some pretty high standards when it comes to hardware and fishing features.  We think Robalo has managed to find a good balance between the fishing amenities boaters are looking for, build integrity, and reasonable pricing. It all comes together in the Robalo R200. Let's take a look...

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Review Video

Tahoe Q7 SF:
Bringing Families a Choice

Tahoe Q7 SF
Tahoe’s 20'6" (6.24 m) Q7 SF offers families a choice of on-water activity options at an affordable price.

The Tahoe Q7 SF was designed to appeal to everyone in the family whether they're looking for fishing, cruising, swimming or tow sports. Because she can be easily trailered she is quite suitable for summer vacations to distant locations as well as around home.  Tahoe's strong suit is price and value.  And that price is...

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Captain's Report

Tigé R20:
Entry-Level Price/Professional Quality

Tigé R20
The Tigé R20 is an inboard-powered wakeboat that we think has a lot to offer.

Tigé focuses on premium, professional-grade wakeboats but that mindset has not allowed the design team to forget the entry-level end of the spectrum. That is where the mission of the Tigé R20 comes in. She is designed to be affordable, while still giving the quality ride that Tigé boats are so well known for. So how did Tigé manage to keep the price down?  By leaving off all the options that many people may not even need. Grab your boards and see...

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Jet Drives

Yamaha Jet Drive Watercraft:
Leading a Trend for the Future

Yamaha Jet Drive
Twin Yamaha jet pump units installed here show how they do not stick below the bottom of the hull, making for improved shallow water capabilities.

Over the last few years we have tested every Yamaha Watercraft Group boat and PWC model and have found several features you should know about. The most important feature, of course, is the jet drive propulsion system.  Our tests have shown that Yamaha's boats are on the high end of the performance curve when it comes to WOT and fast out of the blocks. Another feature is the technology behind the purpose-built four-stroke, four-cylinder marine engines designed from the inside out for this specific application. Learn more...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 130-HP:
High-Tech 2-Stroke Power

Evinrude 130

We tested the E-TEC 130-HP on a Carolina Skiff DLV 218 Elite with a test weight of just over 3,300 lbs (1,497 kg).

That headline makes a pretty bold statement but it's an accurate one.  Evinrude's innovation in 2-stroke technology has made it one of the most reliable engines on the market and competitive with 4-stroke engines in fuel consumption in many applications.  And with nearly 200 fewer parts, what's not to like?  Two 130s can easily replace a single 250 offering better redundancy for offshore work.  On to the proving grounds...


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, 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 Be a Responsible PWC Owner

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover 

PWCs have earned their rightful place in the boating world and their owners have responsibilities just the same as do those of bigger vessels.

This week Capt. Steve goes over four lessons and guidelines on PWC laws and being a responsible PWC owner. You should know your local laws before heading out on your PWC. Remember PWCs can only run during daylight hours between sunrise and sunset since they do not have any running lights as boats do. 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

“Paddle faster I hear banjo music!”
– J. Beleski

Second Place

“It's proof that with enough beer, duct tape, and time anything is possible. After all we are the intelligent species.”
– B. Fahrenbruck

Third Place

“So, did this ever happen to your Ford?”
– C. Daley

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 7/18/2012

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