Sea Ray 370 / Monte Carlo Yachts 70 / Hydra-Sports 3600 VX - 09/05/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter September 5, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Hatteras Yachts 60 Motor Yacht
- Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
- Monte Carlo Yachts 70
- Bayliner Cabinetry Close Up
- Beneteau Swift 52
- Glacier Bay 2770
- Hydra-Sports 3600 VX
- Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan
- MJM 40z
- Nitro 290 Sport
- Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18
- World Cat 320 EC
- Yamaha FX SHO Series
- Evinrude Direct Injection System
- Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
- Sea Tow Test
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Hatteras Yachts
60 Motor Yacht:
Engine Room Review Video

Hatteras Yachts 60 Motor Yacht; IMAGE 350 WIDE
This Hatteras Yachts 60 Motor Yacht is built for ocean cruising and her engine room demonstrates that she is fully prepared for blue water.

Because is directed towards owner/operators, once we got aboard the Hatteras Yachts 60 Motor Yacht we made a beeline for the engine room. It is there that the men are separated from the boys. Was she built for cruising the ditch and hanging out behind a Ft. Lauderdale home, or is she intended for serious offshore work like going down island? One good look at the engine room will tell us what the builder intended as her true mission. Take a look at our video and find out. More...

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 370 Sundancer:
Sterndrives & Bravo III Become Standard

Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
The new Sea Ray 370 Sundancer now has Axius joystick control as an option on its sterndrive propulsion package.

V-drives and 310-hp engines used to be the standard for this model, but no longer. Sea Ray listened to its customer's feedback and that paved the way for the 375-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG engines with Bravo III outdrives as the new standard. However, V-drives are still available for those buyers who want them. Some people may lack confidence to move up to a boat this size and that is why we tested this latest model with Axius joystick functionality. Now she docks as easy she drives. Just take a look at our full test and performance review. More...

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Captain's Report

Monte Carlo Yachts 70:
Modern Elegance with Sizzle

Monte Carlo Yachts
From bow to stern the Monte Carlo Yachts 70 has her own distinguishing look.

When reporting on boats we always try to find important factors that distinguish the subject boat with others in class. Ironically, in the larger yacht category this can be difficult since almost all builders fill these yachts with some of the finest furniture and materials, and most good builders use what is generally considered to be the best equipment on the market. But in the case of the Monte Carlo Yachts 70, the differentiation is much easier. She is literally built differently than virtually all other yachts in class. Today we are going to focus on her bow. More...

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In the Factory

Bayliner Factory:
Process and Materials

Bayliner Factory -- Chris at the open Chief Operating Officer Christopher Hughes at the Bayliner manufacturing facility in the automated wood cutting area.

You may not know it, but Bayliner uses some of the same processes when manufacturing its boats as do many builders of larger boats. Today we take a video-look at the materials and processes Bayliner uses for all of it's wood interiors. Among all boats in class Bayliner has the advantage of being part of the Brunswick Group and can thereby leverage the best practices learned throughout all of the other Brunswick brands. Come along for our tour of the woodworking section. More...

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Test Video

Beneteau Swift 52:
Small Boat Handling, Large Boat Comfort

Beneteau Swift 52
Those big hullside windows are a feature that we haven't seen often on this type of boat.
Notice the Portuguese bridge and wide side decks.

Here's a boat that struck a chord with our test captain. Three separate staterooms including a full beam owner's suite make an idea size for most owners to accommodate friends and family. And when the crown is gone, the Swift 52 is easily handled by a husband and wife team. Even if the husband and wife team means one person does all the work, it's still manageable and can be docked by one person. Let's see how she handles on our full test and performance review. And we'll dock her single handed...

Follow the Great Loop Cruise.

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Test Video

Glacier Bay 2770:
For Big Water Fishing/Cruising

Glacier Bay 2770
The Glacier Bay 2770 topped out at 40.9 mph and had a best cruise range of 329 miles. And she comes with the peace of mind of heading offshore with the security of completely redundant systems.

If the plans for boating continually call for heading offshore in less than ideal conditions, perhaps it's time to consider taking a look at the Glacier Bay 2770. She's a redesigned of one of the company's most popular models and we think they've managed to make their bestseller into an even better boat. Let's take a look at our complete test and performance review to see how she handles. More...

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Captain's Report

Hydra-Sports 3600 VX:
When Offshore Means Overnight

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

Real fishermen are not going to catch big fish by staying close to the harbor. Serious fishing is measured in days, not hours, and fishing at this level requires a boat that can go offshore in safety, and in relative 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 captain’s report for the in-depth look. More...

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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan Bridge:
Comfort Meets Value

Meridian 391
Our test boat was powered by twin 425-hp Cummins diesels that gave us a best cruise range of 266 miles.

Meridian Yachts has managed to squeeze a lot into a relatively small package with its 391 Sedan Bridge. We’re talking about a real cruising yacht with two staterooms and two heads all in a boat just under 40’ (12.2 m). But once we got past a clever layout we were more impressed with the way she handles. She not only maneuvers gracefully while cruising, but with Total Command that level of grace continues back at the dock.  Full performance review video...

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Test Video

MJM Yachts 40z:
A State-of-the-Art Construction

MJM Yachts 40z
Bob Johnstone of J/Boats fame and designer Doug Zurn have created an elegant, luxurious and fuel-efficient performer.

Our tests show that the 40z has a top speed of 40.2 kts and burns only 44 gph at that speed. Such efficiency results from the designer's background in tweaking the best performance out of a boat’s hull. Beyond the performance, the 40z is incredibly strong as she is built from lighter, stronger, Kevlar/epoxy composite technology… a technique also developed for racing hulls. Add to the mix a pair of Volvo Penta IPS drives to really round out her great handling, particularly when docking. Full test review...

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Test Video

Nitro 290 Sport:
Versatility Comes Standard

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

Who better to build a fishing boat on a runabout hull than a company built around fishing? The Nitro 290 Sport has everything a family needs for spending a day on the water skiing or tubing. She also has a lot more than the transitory token fishing features we usually see in a crossover boat. As it turns out, this is truly a boat that the whole family can get onboard with. Take a look at our full report...

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Test Video

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX:
Fishing with the Whole Family

Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX
The Sun Tracker Bass Buggy 18 DLX has been redesigned from the deck up to provide fishing features on a family level.

Here's a pontoon boat that's designed for a day of fishing, but with the roominess to bring the entire family out to relax at the same time. She has all the ingredients of pain-free boating with uncomplicated systems, easy to handle performance and the best part… the price is a bargain.  Let's take a look at our full test review....

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Captain's Report

World Cat 320 EC:
Ergonomics Are the Key

World Cat 320 EC
The World Cat 320 EC is part of a lineup that has excellent sea handling capabilities that serve to make her such an accomplished offshore boat.

It’s nice when a quality boat and its ergonomics really come together. Such is the case here as we found the World Cat 320 EC to be a comfortable fit in every area. Whether standing at the helm, fishing in the cockpit, or turning in for the night in the cabin, her size and ergonomics are well thoughtout. She’s also a good mix of fishability and comfort thanks to her roomy layout and ergonomic styling. But our full report says it all much better, so let’s take a look.  Read the full report...

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Test Video

Yamaha FX SHO Series:
A Marriage of Power and Features

Yamaha FX SHO
The FX SHO and Cruiser FX SHO differ only in a few of the amenities.

When it comes to WaveRunners, some people want to have that racing performance feel that only a high-end machine can provide. Others, however, want to have a luxury feel and top end features. Then again, some just want it all, and that’s the realm of the FX SHO series from Yamaha. They’re loaded with features and powered by a supercharged 4-cylinder, 4-stroke, super high output Yamaha 1812cc marine engine. Just the right combination of luxurious exhilaration. Let's watch the test ride...  

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Engine Technology

Evinrude Engine Technology:
Leading Two-Stroke Innovation

Evinrude's direct injection oil distribution manifold allows operation of the E-TEC engine for up to 300 hours without having to add oil. In addition, no maintenance is required for 3 years / 300 hours. That means no inspections or adjustments, no changing gearcase lube, no spring tune-ups.

When we test an Evinrude engine one of the first things we notice is how quiet the engines are. Then when we shift into gear, we usually have a double-take as it is so quiet when shifting you wonder if it did. These are features that are easily observed, but there are many differentiating factors that may not be so obvious. Today we go under the engine cover to look at the technical innovations and design features that make Evinrude two-stroke outboard engines so unique. More...

Ask a repower question.

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Volvo Penta
Sterndrive Joystick:
Docking with the
Greatest of Ease

Volvo Penta
Part of the beauty of the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick is that it doesn't take up a lot of console space.

The Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick has made it possible for the captains who are nervous around the dock to finally be able to move up to a larger boat with confidence. But just how maneuverable is it and can it really move the boat in any direction with sterndrives? Just watch this video as we demonstrate docking a 30’ (9.14 m) bowrider, side–to, with only inches to spare both fore and aft.  Prove it... 


We Test the First Ever
Sea Tow Towboat

Sea Tow
Back in the early days, Sea Tow developed a rep for getting out to assist in short time. So we wondered, how fast could this first Sea Tow boat go?

Once upon a time, the U.S. Coast Guard came to the assistance of yachtsmen in any manner of distress. Then, in the early 1980s, the Federal Government decided that rich boaters could take care of themselves and the USCG would only respond if life was in danger. It wasn't long before a guy named Joe started towing in stranded boaters. Then a light bulb went on and Joe set out to get a bank loan, buy a boat and start his own towing company. But the banks laughed and sent him packing. Today, Joe is not necessarily laughing back, but certainly smiling as his Sea Tow franchise has over 121 locations and is growing stronger every year. And that first boat? Still plying the waters of Long Island Sound. It’s quite a bit different from your boat, and that had us wondering, what makes a tow-boat and how does this first one perform? To find out we put it through a full test and checked out the features of Sea Tow One. Learn more...

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 video course available...period. Order here...

Watch the trailer...

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Lesson of the Week

Capt. Steve's "Smart Boating" Lessons:
Nautical Terms

Capt. SteveSmart Boating Cover

Capt. Steve will have you speaking like Captain Kidd in no time.

In this week’s lessons Captain Steve goes over basic nautical terms of boating. While looking at a boat from above, Captain Steve will take you through terminology that will make any new boater seem like an old salt. The seven videos presented this week are part of Captain Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these videos every week on and become an armchair expert.

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Meanwhile in New Orleans, Frank was excited to hear of the approaching storm."
- A. BI

Second Place

"Yes, I know we got the shady spot, but I'm not convinced it was our best option."
- R. Eddington

Third Place

"Not to worry. When the tide comes back in, off I go." - R. Grew

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 9/5/2012

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