How to Dock Any Boat // Sea Ray L550 // Robalo R317 // 21 Reports - 03/15/2017
BoatTEST Newsletter March 15, 2017 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
IN THIS ISSUE
- Sea Ray L550 Fly
- Sterling Associates
- Regency 220 LE3
- Sailfish 236CC
- Sea-Doo GTI SE
- Bavaria S45 Coupe
- Robalo R317
- MerCruiser 8.2L MAG
- TAHOE 700
- Prestige 460
- Sea Ray SLX 310 OB
- Formula 37 PC
- 21'-22' Sportboats
- Beneteau Gran Turismo 46
- Beneteau Oceanis 41.1
- Nitro Z17
- Maritimo M64
- Galeon 385 HTS
- Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly
- Evinrude Repower
- How to Dock Any Boat
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD

Sea Ray L550 Fly:
Fully-Equipped 3/2 Cruising Yacht

Sea Ray L550 Fly
The Sea Ray L550 Fly has open-air entertainment venues at the bow, the stern and on the flying bridge, with a sliding sunroof.

The Sea Ray L550 Fly is a luxurious three stateroom, two head yacht powered by twin 850-hp CAT C12.9 inline 6s. Top speed during our tests was 30.3 knots. Best cruise was 2100 rpm where she had a range of 208 nautical miles. Fuel capacity is 580 gallons (568 L). Folding stairs rise automatically out of the hydraulic swim platform as it lowers into the water. She comes fully equipped right down to glassware and china with the Sea Ray logo. More...

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New Product & Service Article

Sterling Associates Boat Loans:
How to Get the Best Boat
Financing Terms Available

Sterling Associates Insurance
Sterling Associates is in the business of making big dreams happen; the company handles about $250 million in boat financing each year.

One of the most important aspects of boat buying is getting the best rate when financing a new purchase. But getting that “best rate” is not cut and dried, because no two people have the same credit worthiness, nor do all lending institutions use the same criteria for determining rates for the same individual. Over the lifetime of a boat’s payments, big money can be saved by finding the best fit of an individual to the lender. And, that’s what Sterling Associates does. The company provides effective, secure, industry-recognized services for the customer in securing marine financing, with loan terms of 15 to 20 years possible. Sterling Associates has been providing financing, insurance, and documentation services for those in the process of purchasing a boat since 1991. Find out More...

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Test Video

REGENCY 220 LE3 Sport:
A Powder-Coated Tri-Toon

Regency 220 LE3
With the removable table set up, the bow is a terrific spot for family lunch aboard the REGENCY 220 LE3. Note the fore deck which is necessary for crew to walk on for mooring and anchoring -- many pontoon boats forget this important detail.

The REGENCY 220 LE3 rides on three 26” powder-coated aluminum pontoons -- something we rarely see on even the most expensive toons. Natural aluminum oxidizes and is hard to keep looking new -- but not so with the powder-coating. Powered with a 200-hp Mercury Verado, she topped out at 36.2 mph, plenty fast enough for most tow sports. A full-width swim platform with simulated teak decking provides a good spot to gear up with skis and also provides easy access to the outboard, a problem on many pontoon designs. More...

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Test Video

Sailfish 236CC:
Hull w/ 3 Deadrise Angles & a 10-Year Warranty

Sailfish 236 CC
The Sailfish 236CC has relatively high freeboard for its LOA, promising a dry, safe ride even when challenging gnarly inlets.

The Sailfish 236CC has a hull design that is unusual in that it has three distinct running surfaces, each with a different deadrise at the transom. At the keel the deadrise angle is 24-degrees and next to the chine it is about 22-degrees. The concept is to provide comfort in rough conditions, but also to be more stable and more efficient than a conventional warped deep-V, which can be rolly in some conditions and are harder to push. A 10-year hull warranty is standard. More...

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Test Video

Sea-Doo GTI SE:
Family Fun that Won't Break the Bank

Sea-Doo GTI SE
The Sea-Doo GTI SE offers three digital throttle modes so it’s easy to pin down the perfect ride without having to continually tweak the throttle.

The Sea-Doo GTI SE is aimed at family fun, but it's got a lot of smart features that put it a cut above other models. The iControl Intelligent Throttle Control allows adjusting acceleration for rider skill levels, while the IBR Intelligent Brake and Reverse system allows rapid stops as well as giving much better low speed control at the docks. More...

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Test Video

Bavaria S45 Coupe:
For Large Families Who Cruise

Bavaria 450 Sport Coupe
The Bavaria S45 Coupe was designed for owners with large families, or for folks with adult children and grandchildren. The dinette seen above can be converted into a bed so the boat can sleep eight below decks.

The Bavaria S45 Coupe is the largest Bavaria we have tested thus far. 45' (13.8 m) is a popular size because a well-found boat like the Bavaria S45 Coupe can go most anywhere their owners wish to venture. She has high freeboard that keeps her dry and provides plenty of headroom below. The Bavaria S45 Coupe is available in two or three stateroom layouts. The unusual storage area beneath her aft cockpit sun pad provides copious storage for a small inflatable tender or an array of water toys. More...

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New Teaser Video

Robalo R317:
New Dual Console Is Robalo's Largest Model

Robalo R317
The new dual-console Robalo R317 is the largest Robalo ever with an LOA of 31' (9.45 m) a beam of 10'6" (3.20 m). She's rated for twin 300s.

The new Robalo R317 is clearly targeted towards the boating family with color choices, including plush two-tone powder blue upholstery and even a full-sized fold-down convertible sun pad extending from the aft cockpit. A pull-out shade keeps excess sun off the seating areas, and a large, removable table provides a spot for lunch or evening cocktails. She's also got the usual Robalo fishing amenities, including an aerated baitwell, rod racks, and space for a 16'' (.41 m) display on the console. A dive door adds further utility. More...

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Test Video

MerCruiser 8.2L MAG:
V8 Muscle for Sportboats & Cruisers

MerCruiser 8.2L MAG
The MerCruiser 8.2 L MAG is available in 380- and 430-hp versions, both designed to run on 87 octane gasoline with up to 10% ethanol.

There is a sweet spot between about 30 feet and 45 feet (9.2 m and 13.8 m) where twin MerCruiser 8.2 L 430-hp engines make a lot of economic sense as compared to diesel power. The MerCruiser 8.2L MAG was designed, optimized and built to be a marine engine, with emphasis on user benefits that deliver the greatest customer value. A "cool fuel" module uses water to cool the fuel delivery system, allowing higher psi fuel to the injectors. The module also prevents vapor lock. Cooling water, engine oil, gear oil, and fills are all on the top of the engine for easy maintenance. This is the largest displacement sterndrive or inboard gasoline marine engine on the market. Because of its prodigious displacement, it naturally has greater low-end torque than smaller engines that claim the same horsepower. Mercury also has the largest and most responsive sterndrive dealer network in the industry. More...

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Test Video

TAHOE 700:
Style Plus 55.7 MPH WOT

Tahoe 700
The new 21’ (6.40 m) TAHOE 700 was designed to have a bigger, deeper bow and more cockpit space than many in class. Note in this photo that the driver is looking under the windshield header, not at it or over it. This is good ergonomic design.

TAHOE has always specialized in affordable, entry-level sportboats, but for the last couple of years it has been slowly introducing more stylish models that have numerous upgrades, sleek styling and up-graded details that we often don’t see in class. The 21’ (6.46 m) TAHOE 700 rides on a V-bottom that has a sharp bow entry and 20-degrees of deadrise at the transom. This makes for a comfortable ride in chop. Powered with a 6.2 L 300-hp MPI ECT sterndrive, she planed in just 3.2 seconds in our tests, and hit a top speed of 55.7 mph. More...

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Captain’s Report

Prestige 460:
Timeless Exterior w/ a Modern Interior

Prestige 460
The Prestige 460 has plenty of places to entertain above deck, including her aft deck with L-shaped seating and the flying bridge which is accessed from the teak stairs.

Like all Prestige yachts, the 460 has an unaffected exterior design that is not the typical Euro-style. All Prestige yachts take their design cues from more utilitarian commercial vessels, and to some degree from motoryachts of 40 years ago that were seen on both sides of the Atlantic. The builder thinks that a design without tailfins and curly-cues will be more enduring. But inside, she is as au courant as the latest interior design coming out of Milano. Needless to say, the cushions on this boat will not have anchors, sea gulls, or palm trees emblazoned on them. More...

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Test Video

Sea Ray SLX 310 OB:
53.4 MPH WOT w/ 2x Mercury 350s

Sea Ray SLX 310 OB
The big news about the new Sea Ray SLX 310 OB is that she is powered by up to twin Mercury 350-hp Verados. During our tests we recorded a top speed of 53.4 mph. At best cruise she has a range of 250 statute miles.

Sea Ray has joined the trend toward outboard powered sportboats in a big way and now has eight outboard-powered models. The new SLX 310 OB is one of the latest outboard models and we recently tested her. By eliminating the sterndrive engines, which traditionally have powered boats of this size and type, the Sea Ray SLX 310 OB creates more internal space for storage in the stern, reduces the boat’s dry weight by 452 lbs. (205 kg), allows the boat to carry 45 gallons (171 L) more fuel, as well as allowing up to 700 horses to drive her. (Sea Ray still builds the sterndrive version, which has a max hp of 520.) More...

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Updated Test Video

Formula 37 Performance Cruiser:
Upscale Sport Cruiser w/ Twin 430-hp V8s

Formula 37 Performance Cruiser
Wrap-around seating and two cocktail tables give plenty of space for al fresco lunches in the cockpit of the Formula 37 Performance Cruiser.

Formula’s 37 Performance Cruiser is an upscale cruiser capable of providing luxurious overnight accommodations for four-to-six people, as well as provide a roomy entertainment platform on deck for day boating -- all at speeds more typical of a sportboat. Ashland Maxguard LE gelcoat and painted graphics provide the classic Formula finish which is arguably the best in class. A generator and 18,000 BTU AC/heat system are also standard. More...

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New Comparison

21'-22' Sportboats:
We Compare Four Entry-Level Bowriders

Sea Ray SPX 210
Sea Ray SPX 210
Tahoe 700
Tahoe 700
Chaparral H2O 21 Ski & Fish
Chaparral H2O 21 Ski & Fish
Glastron GTS 225
Glastron GTS 225

The four sportboats in this week's comparison are 21’ to 22’ (6.40 m to 6.71 m) and are the starting place for many people entering boating for the first time. They are most popular on inland lakes and rivers, but they can also be used in coastal locations when weather permits. They are all about the same size, but like most of the boats that we compare, after close inspection we find that there are important differences. More...

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Features Video

Beneteau Gran Turismo 46:
Innovative Cruiser for Entertaining

Beneteau Gran Turismo 46
The two red arrows point out where the salon bi-fold door hinges on the port side bulkhead in the enclosed option. The starboard bi-fold door mirrors the port one. The port and starboard bench seats that are fore and aft in this picture swing in so that the doors can be closed.

One of the most innovative features of the Beneteau Gran Turismo 46 revolves around her bi-fold doors and swing-in bench seats in the aft end of the salon. In the photo above, the doors have not been installed because the owner prefers to keep the salon and bridge deck open for summer living. Even with the doors installed, when folded behind the swinging bench seats, the cockpit and salon function as a single open space. We would opt to have the doors installed so that salon could be buttoned up when weather requires. Visit our report and see the “Features” video to get a better idea of this clever design. More...

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Accommodations Video

Beneteau Oceanis 41.1:
A Sailboat for All Reasons

Beneteau Oceanis 41.1
The forward master of the Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 benefits from large hullside windows and overhead hatches, and includes a head in one of several layout choices.

The Beneteau Oceanis 41.1 can be set up for racing, day sailing, cruising or for charter, with up to three staterooms and two heads. With a self-tacking jib and German main sheet system, she sails handily in variable wind conditions, according to our test captain. The cockpit is equipped with twin helms, which both racers and cruising sailors prefer. More...

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Test Video

NITRO Z17:
Fast & Safe Bassing Platform

Nitro Z17
The NITRO Z17 features broad casting decks bow and stern, as well as a drop-in console on the port side to provide added wind protection to a passenger.

The NITRO® Z17 is a quick and compact bass boat that delivered impressive performance on a fuel-efficient 115-hp Mercury® FourStroke in our test runs. She planed in 3.7 seconds, reached a WOT speed of 51.3 and at a cruise of 3500 rpms and 25.8 mph, she maxed out at 7.5 mpg. Best of all, our test captain reported that she did not chine walk and he felt safe throughout his normal test maneuvers. A Minn Kota® bow-mount trolling motor, Lowrance® sonar, aerated Guardian™ livewell, and a factory-matched trailer are all standard. More...

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Test Video

Maritimo M64:
Layout Options Plus a Sky Salon

Maritimo M64
The fully-enclosed flying bridge of the Maritimo M64 gives the captain a secure all-weather view of the sea, as well as providing an added entertainment venue.

The Maritimo M64 is available as a three berth, three head configuration or with four berths and two heads. Either design includes the large enclosed, air-conditioned and heated flying bridge, which offers a sunroof, opening side windows and an open rear deck. The boat we tested was powered by Cat C18s ACERTs, 1150-hp each, which produced a top speed of 29 knots at 2350 rpm. More...

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Captain's Report

Galeon 385 HTS:
Bold Styling in a Luxury Coupe

Galeon 385 HTS
Shaped windows and styling lines add visual interest and a modern look to the Galeon 385 HTS.

While we have not tested the Galeon 385 HTS, our three senior captains have spent a lot of time on her, and they are of a unanimous opinion when comes to the build quality -- it is world class. Indeed, most people in the boating industry concur on this important point. The 385 HTS has a beam of 12’10” ((3.90 m), a draft of 3’5” (1.05 m), and an estimated weight of 26,400 lbs. (12,000 kg) partially laden. The folks at Galeon have run speed trials on this boat, of course, and they report that she has a top speed of 35.4 knots when powered by twin 370-hp diesels driving dual-prop sterndrives. More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly:
Entertainment Venues In & Out

Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly
A key feature of the new Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly is the roomy flying bridge, which has a wet bar with refrigerator and roomy lounge/dining seating in addition to the double-wide helm seating.

One of the more elegant design touches on the new Cruisers Yachts 54 Fly is its galley, which not only maximizes utility while minimizing its footprint, but creates a flow and social atmosphere with the placement on the main deck near the cockpit. One leg of the galley’s U-shaped countertop extends into the cockpit when the retracting window is down, creating an open-air breakfast counter, or sundown cocktails bar. She's designed to accommodate six below decks. More...

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New Test Video

Evinrude Repower:
Repowering Made Easy

Evinrude Repower
Repowering with technologically advanced outboards like the Evinrude E-TEC G2 300s is a quick way to give new life to a favorite old boat.

Who said you can’t teach an old dog new tricks? Take a look at this test report and discover an amazing reincarnation. One of the advantages of outboard designs is that changing out the power is fairly simple compared to pulling a sterndrive or inboard, and with powerful new outboards like the Evinrude E-TEC G2 now available, the improvement in performance, efficiency, ease of use and dependability can be dramatic. Evinrude has even developed a converter kit that allows mechanical controls to be converted to digital signals to reduce the cost of conversion. More...

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New Consumer Article

How to Dock Any Boat

How to Dock Any Boat
When docking, the captain is responsible for his boat and for the other ones around him.

Docking a boat is one of the highest stress moments for many boat owners. But if a few simple rules are followed, and then practiced, docking can become a joy – even without a joystick! One of the counter-intuitive things about docking is that large boats are actually easier to dock than many small ones. But even small boats can be easily docked if a few techniques are followed. Read our tips and turn docking into a fun exercise in seamanship. More...

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