Robalo 207 // Beneteau Sense 55 // Hatteras 80 // Jet Drive - 12/12/2012
BoatTEST Newsletter December 12, 2012 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Beneteau Sense 55
- Robalo R207
- Cruisers Sports Series 278 BR
- Four Winns S235
- Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht
- Beneteau Swift 50
- Sea Ray 280 Sundancer
- Yamaha Jet Drive Operation
- Volvo Penta IPS
- BoatTEST Opportunity
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Beneteau Sense 55:
Push-Button Sailing Is Here

Beneteau Sense 55
The Beneteau Sense 55 may well be one of the easiest 55’ sailboats on earth to handle -- virtually everything on her can be done with the push of a button or by turning a joystick.

The Beneteau Sense 55 is a striking yacht not only because of her modern styling, but also because of many things that can't be seen from the dock. First of all is her comfort -- made possible because of her wide beam and luxurious lounging platforms in her huge cockpit. Second is her ease of handling -- thanks to Beneteau using the latest equipment and deploying it so expertly around the cockpit that she can be easily handled by virtually any weekend warrior. Finally is her room below -- a huge salon, a galley with 14 linear feet of counter space and three staterooms each with their own double bed and en suite head. But that is only the beginning of the story of this remarkable vessel. More...

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New Test Video

New Robalo R207:
A Dual Console Workhorse

Robalo R207
At 20’7” (6.55 m) the R207 has plenty of room whether the mission of the day calls for hauling fish over the rail or hauling the kids around on a tube.

Robalo’s latest launch is a dual console crossover that is the smallest sibling to the three-boat dual console lineup right alongside the R227 and R247. We found her to be a comfortable riding boat with high topsides and plenty of interior space. She can handle up to a 200-hp engine, but we tested her with a 150 Yamaha.  Thanks to Robalo’s efficient hull design, she achieved impressive performance numbers.  Take a look at our full test video...

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Captain's Report

Cruisers Sports Series 278 Bow Rider:
Firmly in the Premium Category

Cruisers Sports Series 278 Bow Rider
Our tests showed a top speed of 49.3 mph and a best cruise range of 176 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.

Between the fit-and-finish and the quality of materials used, the Cruisers Sports Series 278 Bow Rider leaves no doubt that this builder is serious about giving the premium category of sportboats a run for its money. We recently took this 27’ (8.23 m) model for a test ride and came back impressed with her handling and performance. Our captain's report is ready for viewing so let’s step aboard and see how she did. More...

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Captain's Report

Four Winns S235:
Colored Hull Band is Standard

Four Winns S235
The Four Winns Sundowner S235 is designed for comfort in choppy waters and has numerous hull features to give the vessel speed and stability.

Regular readers know that we like cuddys because they look so sporty, are generally drier in sloppy conditions, and permit the owner to sleep over on the hook or in a marina now and then. The Sundowner S235 has two outstanding features that are usually options in this class of boat: 1) one of the most attractive standard tandem-axle trailers we have seen and, 2) a choice of several colors for the hull band and boot top. But there is much more. Find out what...

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Captain's Report

Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht:
Romance is in the Air

Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht
The Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht combines style with the enchantment produced by well-proportioned spaces and classic decor.

The Hatteras 80 Motor Yacht has four en suite staterooms plus a large captain's cabin aft, a country kitchen, and a flying bridge that can be turned into a sky lounge. We don't need to talk about Hatteras' quality and practicality because that is a given. What we do need to explore is her Romance, something that the Hatteras 80 MY has from her Euro-style superstructure to her full beam master with two-person shower stall and virtually every place in between. Join us for a new look at this stunning lady. More...

Question about this yacht? 252-633-3101

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 280 Sundancer:
Stepping Up to Sporty Cruising

Sea Ray 280 Sundancer
Our test of the Sea Ray 280 Sundancer shows a top speed of 41.5 mph with a 300-hp MerCruiser 350 MAG engine.

It’s hard not to appreciate the design and styling of the Sundancer series with its mid-cabins and roomy cockpits. This 280 not only makes an efficient weekend cruiser, but because of her 28’8” (8.74 m) LOA she makes an excellent transitional boat for those looking to trade up from bowriders. With a max cruise range of 160 miles, just imagine where the weekends could lead. Our full test video is ready for viewing and shows just how easily she handles.  More...

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New Features Video

The New Beneteau Swift 50:
Filling a Gap with an Open Layout

Beneteau Swift 50
The Swift 50 is the latest launch from Beneteau and has a LOA of 49’2” (15 m) and a beam of 15’3” (4.65 m). We find that she has visibility that is among the best in class.

The Beneteau Swift 50 is a long-awaited addition to a fleet that has had an open hole between the popular 44 and 52 models. Her design incorporates Volvo Penta IPS drives which opens up the living area inside, while also improving handling and maneuverability. Her three stateroom/two head layout accommodates distance cruising and living aboard. Today we look at the accommodations aboard the Swift 50.  More...

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New Video

 Jet Drive Operation:
Yamaha Leading the Way

Yamaha Jet Drive OperationYamaha Jet Drive Operation
There are a lot of advantages to jet drive propulsion as Yamaha has proven.

Over the past five to six years the popularity of jet drive propulsion in sportboats has increased dramatically, so much so that several major builders have designed their own jet boats.  Although jet drives are one of the fastest growing type of boat in the sport, many boaters are still not very familiar with jet drive propulsion. In this video, we take a detailed look at the jet drive system on some boats and PWCs from the current leader in the market, Yamaha.  More...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta IPS:
A World of Possibilities

Volvo Penta IPS600
Why is an IPS600 model 435-hp? Because it produces the performance of a 600-hp conventional inboard drive engine, according to Volvo Penta.

While IPS has been around awhile, there are still those who are unfamiliar with just what is possible with a boat fitted with these innovative pod drives. Today, we take a look at a boat fitted with the 435-hp IPS600 drives and put her through the paces. Among the options available... sportfish mode, station keeping, and multiple operating stations are as simple as running another set of wires. Let’s take a look and see how this evolution of design may change not only how we boat, but what boats we can operate. More...

Boats tested with IPS600.

Captain Search

Captain Search

If you are a USCG licensed 100 ton boat captain and think you have the skills to be a test captain, then we would like to hear from you. Please prepare a three to four minute edited boat test video using our format on a model of your choice. You may submit this video electronically or mail us a disc. Please ensure the video is in a QuickTime format and send to the attention of Christopher Hughes,

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.

Holiday Gift Idea’s
4-DVD Box Set
Boating Course

Smart Boating
Just ask our #1 repeat customer what a popular Christmas gift it is for the boater on your list!

What is a better gift to give than the most complete boating course ever developed? 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. This 4-disc box set is loaded with bonus features too.  Order here...

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Lesson of the Week

How to Correctly Tie Your Boat to a Dock

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover

With current on your bow, first attach the bow line, as it will prevent the boat from drifting backwards, and it will also keep the boat from being pulled away from the dock.

This week Capt. Steve goes over eight lessons and guidelines on tying up to a dock and how to correctly use lines in order to secure your boat. Capt. Steve will explain what spring lines and breast lines are used for and how to use them to your advantage when leaving the dock.  These are basic rules which all recreational boaters should be aware of. 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

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Carnival's new version of 'stand-by passengers'." - A. Genn

Second Place

"Throw us the blond with the ponytail and we'll leave in peace." - R. Davis

Third Place

"You know the economy is bad when Americans are rafting to Cuba." - A. Leon

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 12/12/2012

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