Pontoons, Jet Boats, Fishboats, Trawlers, Motoryachts - 10/17/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter October 17, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Avalon Ambassador 27
- Yamaha AR192
- Cruisers Sports Series 238 BR
- Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU
- Bayliner 215 Bowrider
- Beneteau Gran Turismo 34
- Formula 270 Bowrider
- Hydra-Sports 4200 SF
- Meridian Yachts Factory Tour
- MJM 40z
- Monte Carlo Yachts 76
- Nitro Z-7
- Tracker Pro Guide V-16 WT
- Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
- OceanLED Lights
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Avalon Ambassador 27: Retro Entertaining
with Modern Features

Avalon Ambassador 27
The Avalon Ambassador 27 brings a retro style while still keeping modern features.

For fans of the retro look, Avalon introduces the Ambassador 27. She has roominess for grand entertaining with a four-seat bar, a refreshment center with electrically activated glass and bottle holders, storage everywhere and ultra-plush seating. We tested her with an Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O. and reached a top speed of 42.9 mph and a best cruise range of 118 miles. Let’s take a look at our full review video and see just how this stylish entertaining platform comes together.  More... 

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New Test

Yamaha AR192:
Single Supercharged Engine Test

Yamaha AR192
The top speed of the Yamaha AR192 approaches 50 mph and her time to plane is 3.1 seconds.

Yamaha’s newest jet drive boat model boasts a super, high output, single engine jet drive power system in a 19'2'' (5.84 m), watersports-ready package. This machine, with all of its standard features, is a package designed for an active family. We found the handling and acceleration impressive, and much like the sensation one gets on a personal watercraft. In close quarters, Yamaha’s “thrust directional enhancer” provides remarkably responsive control. And the fact that the entire boat -- hull, deck and engine are made by the same company is also something to consider. With a fold-down tower, premium sound system, and a painted trailer, the Yamaha AR192 has a MSRP starting at $30,999. More...

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New Test

Cruisers Sports Series 238 Bow Rider:
48.5 WOT with a 350 MAG

Cruisers Sports Series 238 Bow Rider
At her best cruise speed, the Cruisers Sports Series 238 Bow Rider has a range of 162 statute miles with a 10% reserve.

KCS International Inc. recently added a new family member-- the Cruisers Sports Series. A reincarnation of the former Azure brand, this 23 to 30 foot (7.01 to 9.14 m) line-up has been revitalized and brought up to the new builder's demanding specs.  The smallest in the fleet, the 238 Bow Rider, offers a three-position aft convertible sundeck among its standard features.  More...

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New Boat

New Grand Banks 54EU:
Largest Yacht in the Heritage Series

Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU
Her lines are unmistakably Grand Banks, but the new Heritage 54EU has some important differences that indicate a new direction for the conservative builder.

The new Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU is the largest boat in the four-boat Heritage series and she has the unmistakable lines that have made Grand Banks yachts popular since 1964. The builder launched the first 54 this summer and she is now being shown at boat shows in the Med. Hull #2 will be on view in October at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show.  She is built on virtually the same hull as the Grand Banks 53 Aleutian RP and she carries a CE "A" classification which means "ocean", one notch higher than the other three boats in the Heritage Series. But there is more to the new Grand Banks 54 Heritage EU than a top classification. Let's take a look...

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Features Video

Bayliner 215:
Hot Boat, Cool Features

Meridian 541
With a 260-hp 5.0 MPI, this Bayliner 215 reached a top speed of 46.7 mph (75.2 kph) and we recorded a best cruise of 22.2 mph (35.7 kph). With the optional towing tower, wakeboarders will get good air.

Here’s a boat that has impressive handling characteristics mixed with a comfortable layout. And now, Bayliner has stepped up to the plate and embraced the masses looking for intense watersports action with its Flight Series options. Combined, they make for one cool boat. Let’s go over the features in our full video review. More...

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Test Video

Beneteau Gran Turismo 34:
Sport Coupe with Sportboat Handling

Beneteau Gran Turismo 34
With twin 200-hp Volvo Penta D3 diesels we measured a best cruise of 28.3 mph with a range of 205 miles.

The design team at Beneteau set out to create an express cruiser that combines a sport coupe design with sportboat handling, and we think they've achieved it with the GT34. She makes a fine step up from day boating because she is such an easy boat to handle, and with sterndrive joystick functionality she can be docked like a pro, even by boaters who have only driven a small bowrider.  More...

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New Test

Formula 270 Bowrider:
53.3 MPH WOT with 8.2 L MAG

Formula 270 Bowrider
We tested this bowrider with a MerCruiser 430-hp 8.2 MAG and reached
a top speed of 53.3 mph.

Formula's 270 Bowrider has the roominess to load her up without everyone feeling cramped, and her performance speaks for itself. While the full test video makes its way through the editing process, let’s take a look at our full report (with test numbers) and see how Formula has done with the 270 BR. More...

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Features Video

Hydra-Sports 4200 SF:
Built for Fishing, By Fishermen

Hydra-Sports 4200 SF
At 41'7" (12.7 m) the 4200 SF is not a small boat by anyone's standards, but she's more than 10,000 lbs (4535 kg) lighter, and carries more fuel than a comparable sportfishing convertible.

With the Hydra-Sports 4200 SF being one of the largest production center consoles available, it’s easy to see how she can be an attractive competitor to gas-guzzling, high-maintenance sportfishing boats. She gets the same job done, but at half the cost. As long as sleeping aboard isn’t a factor, she's an attractive prospect for fishermen looking to trade up…or down. Her qualities are all laid out in our features video review so let’s take a look. More...

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Inside the Factory

Meridian Yachts Factory Tour

Meridian Factory Tour
We toured Meridian Yachts facility in Palm Coast, Florida and brought the cameras along.

Meridian Yachts has been one of the most successful builders of sedan cruisers and there’s a reason for that. It offers innovative boats at a reasonable price.  Of course the build method has a lot to do with both the durability and price of the boat, so today we take a tour of its Palm Coast plant.  More...

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Features Video

MJM 40z:
A Connoisseur's Cruiser

MJM 40z
The MJM 40z has a length overall of 43'2" (13.16 m) and a beam of 12' (3.7 m). At her cruise speed of 15.6 mph she burns only 9.1 gph.

The MJM 40z is one of very few boats that allows us to check off nearly every item on our list of what it takes to make a versatile, rugged cruiser. So much so that before we even get below decks, there’s a lot to discuss, so today, we offer a features video on just the on-deck amenities that set her apart from every other boat on the market.  More...

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Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 76:
Living Spaces with Panache

Monte Carlo Yachts 76
Italian design and the expert use of space all come together in this award-winning yacht.

The Monte Carlo Yachts 76 has won more awards than any other yacht that comes to mind. And she’s full of clever innovations and top-end materials throughout. In today's video, we take a look at the four stateroom/four head layout and focus on the design and use of space that makes this boat so practical for both entertaining and cruising. Let’s step aboard, and shoes off please...

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Review Video

Nitro Z-7:
Everything Needed for Less Money

Nitro Z-7
The 18'8'' (5.68 m) Nitro Z-7 has all the right stuff for fishing.

There’s little sense in getting a boat if it requires working eight days a week to afford it. That’s why the folks at Nitro tell us that they build their boats with an “everything-the-bigger-boats-have-for-less-money” strategy. And it seems to be working. The Nitro Z-7 comes equipped with all the basics for an MSRP of $25,995, including a 150-hp Optimax and trailer.  More...

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Test Video

Tracker Pro Guide V-16:
Side-Console or Walk-Through

Tracker V-16 Pro Guide
For boaters looking for fishing on a budget, the Tracker V-16 deserves a close look.

Here’s a durable fishing boat that has attractive features like all-welded construction, easy-to-clean vinyl flooring, and a color-matched trailer. She's fully rigged and ready to fish as soon as she leaves the showroom floor and she comes in at an affordable price.  Let’s take a look at the details and see what they offer.

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Volvo Penta
Sterndrive Joystick: 
Dock By Wire

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
Part of the beauty of the Volvo Penta sterndrive joystick is that it makes every owner able to dock like an old salt.
The Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick has made it possible for 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. More...

Product Video

Let There Be Light (Underwater)

"In the right light, at the right time, everything is extraordinary." ~ Aaron Rose

Few things have done more recently to add to the ambience of boats as has underwater lighting. The company at the forefront of this revolution is OceanLED. Its products are now offered as options from some of the top manufacturers and because they're so affordable, we’re seeing them more and more on smaller and smaller boats around the world. They do everything from making a boat look better at dusk to actually attracting fish. For even more fun, connect one of their underwater cameras to a TV and watch the reaction. Light the way...

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

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 BoatTEST.com'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...


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

Basic Rules of the Road: Part 1

Lesson of the WeekSmart Boating
Captain Steve brings us the basics.

Capt. Steve covers some of the basic rules of the road in these lessons which all recreational boaters should be aware of. You’ll learn about lines of demarcation, traveling at safe speeds, how to determine your risk of collision, why one should steer clear of large vessels and who has the right of way. Part 1 is the first installment of a multi-part series on Basic Rules of the Road.  The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Son, I meant to do this, to teach you an important lesson about navigation.”
– S. Frimer

Second Place

“First the truck, now the jet ski. Take 'em again without permission and you are grounded buster!” – P. Vitale

Third Place

“OK, Dad, got it. You'll crank while I retard the spark and advance the throttle.”
– J. Heckman

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 10/17/2012

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