BTC Newsletter - 03/12/2008
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New Boats Tested
Tigé Z1
Tigé Z1
  Sun Tracker PB22 SF
suntracker pb 22
Four Winns H190
four winns h190
  Triumph 170 DC
triumph 170 cc
Sea-Doo Wake Edition

  Smoker Craft 192 Ultima


Pat Mackey Retires

Mackey Directed Revitalization
of Mercury Marine

The world’s only supercharged 4-stroke outboard
was one of his accomplishments.

mackey 1 mackey2
mackey 3 mackey4
Why a 4-stroke supercharged outboard? Did the bass
market accept
the Verado?
Improving the
Mark II version.
Mackey puts
Yamaha on notice
for saltwater.

Pat Mackey joined Mercury as President in 2000 and retires this month, returning to his native Ireland. Virtually everyone in the boating industry is sorry to see him go because he brought such high standards and civility to a sometimes rough-and-tumble marine engine market. While on watch, more new outboard, sterndrive and related products were introduced by Mercury Marine than in any other comparable period. This is the first of a series of interviews that covers his legacy.
BTC Interview: Four Winns Pres. Jeff Olson
Four Winns 1st Builder to Offer
Merc & Volvo SD Joysticks!

A “sea change” at Four Winns as company embraces new design, styling and drive system innovations.

During the last two years Four Winns has introduced a lot of truly innovative design and styling into its runabouts and deck boats. The market has taken notice and the company has closed the gap between itself and the number three competitor to within 500 annual units as Four Winns builds the Big Mo'.

New Ranger 2250 SS
Ranger Breaks New Ground with Creative “Sport Series” Boat
From fishing roots, this unique boat is designed
for the whole family and multi-sports.

2250_1 2250_2 2250_3 2250_4 2250_5 2250_6
for everyone.
CC helm.
Wide bow platform. Aft deck
for casting.
Head with
Dual-axle trailer.

We get excited when a boat builder comes up with something truly unique and well-executed. Ranger Boats deserves kudos for packing more great ideas and functionality into 22.5’ than we have seen in a long time. This boat must be seen to be believed…see video test

The Dougherty Dynasty:
Center Consoles are Their Passion

This father-and-son team has had a profound effect on center consoles and small boat building.

Bob and Steve Dougherty are probably as much responsible for the current state of the center console class as any two people alive. Building center consoles has been their lives and their obsession with foam floatation has probably saved more people than any other single boating feature. They have literally led an industry for decades and continue to do it. Quietly. This is the first installment of a wide-ranging interview on construction and innovation in center consoles.

Pontoon Boat J. D. Power Award

Manitou Wins J.D. Power Award

Manitou has won the coveted Power award 2 of the last 3 years in the pontoon category.

Manitou reclaimed the J.D. Power pontoon boat award for customer satisfaction this year from Harris Kayot which won it last year. Manitou had previously won in 2005. By winning the award back, Manitou made the Power awards a clean sweep for privately held companies. has tested three Manitou pontoon boats. Seeing is believing…

Manitou 20 X-Plode Cruise SHP
Manitou 22 X-Plode Cruise SHP
Manitou 24 X-Plode Cruise SHP

NMMA Banner

Details on
Honda 225-hp Outboard

The world’s largest engine maker concentrates on the “bread and butter” market.

Honda 225-hp
There is more to Honda’s performance than raw horsepower as you will see.

Honda Motors – so far – has kept to the strategic decision of building engines where the vast numbers of units are 225-hp and under. By concentrating its efforts on the low and mid-range, Honda has worked hard to maximize fuel-efficiency, low-emissions and good customer service on a range of boats often neglected by companies engaged in the razzle-dazzle of the horsepower wars. See Capt. Rob Smith’s examination of what makes the 225 tick…turn this key

Propeller Solutions Please!

 PowerTech!’s 5,300 Propeller Answers
Marine propellers are
described as a "mystic art."
Meet Merlin and his magicians.

Skin-of-toad, eye-of-spider, a little stainless steel and presto, Merlin (aka Steve Powers) creates just the right prop.

There is more to finding the right propeller for your engine than just picking a unit out of a handy prop table. And there is more to the right prop than pitch, diameter and material. PowerTech! has created over 5,000 different prop configurations for demanding boaters who want something better than off-the-shelf. If you want to know more...plunk this magic twanger 

New Yamaha Jet Model

Yamaha Updates AR 230 HO
for “Wake Riders”

Jet sportboats are
gaining in popularity as
“Wake Riders” multiply.

Yamaha AR 230
Yamaha is on to a good thing with its 23' and keeps making it better with annual updates.

When we first saw the Yamaha 23’ jet boat a few years ago at its Miami Boat Show introduction, it had the most creative design to come along in years. Not only that but it had a great price tag, one that the Yamaha folks said at the time was probably too low. Since then most sportboat builders have taken the hint and come up with their own exciting new designs, but Yamaha has maintained its very competitive price. See Capt. Rob’s latest report on the AR 230 HO…jump this wake

You be the judge
Landlubbers Want to Restrict
Raft-ups in Michigan

Cass Lake ordinance could have ripple effect
all over the state – and even the nation!
Cass Lake is bifurcated by a “sand bar” that has long been a popular hang out for boaters. Note a few early would-be raft-uppers have already appeared in this Sat photo.

As many as 200 boats sometimes congregate and raft-up on the sand bar that cuts across Cass Lake near Bloomfield Hills, Michigan. That's when – according to some Keego Harbor landlubbers -- the sandbar sometimes turns rowdy, with public urination, drunken behavior, obscene language, and occasionally, indecent exposure. Already an ordinance has been passed requiring bikini tops for women. Where might this all end? The Michigan DNR and Keego Harbor authorities are taking a hard look and may soon come up with a plan to regulate the sandbar.

To VOTE some guidance for the Michigan DNR and Keego Harbor…enter here


the 332nd boater group

...But, Will the Industry Discover African-Americans?

E Dock & Friends
A picture from the "E Dock & Friends Soulful Boating" community page. This is a Detroit yacht club with a long list of activities.

It has not gone unnoticed in the African-American boating community that racial minorities are rarely pictured in boating ads and brochures. They wonder why, particularly since the rest of the marketing community has not only put African-Americans in their ads, they also target them for sales, as well. To find out what a few of our readers had to say about our African-American coverage...turn this page

Why Does Bologna Reject the Grinder?
Why some boats and engines are not tested by

Not all boats are created equal -- and they all need a 3rd party examination. After all, anyone can build a boat!

Every week readers write in to ask us why we don’t test this boat or that engine. Years ago we would respond that such-and-such a company probably hadn’t heard of our service, or they had heard but they thought no one used the Internet to do buying research. These days there are very few boat builders in the world who haven’t heard of BoatTEST, and only the dimmest of bulbs in the marine business still think the Internet is a gimcrack. To find out what is going on…crank this grinder

Japanese Navy Accident Report
The Samurai Navy Strikes Again!
The Japanese Navy now
strikes fear in the hearts of seamen everywhere.

Japanese Samurai Navy
The Japanese destroyer Hamayuki unleashed. is offering one free scholarship to the Chapman School of Seamanship to any Japanese Navy Destroyer Captain on active duty that has yet to be relieved of his command, and who can pay for his own air fare. Yup, they did it again. To find out what, close your eyes…and steer here
nitro logo 

Caravelle Special

Caravelle 232
Gaining in Popularity

The word is spreading that
the Caravelle 232 is
a serious contender.

caravelle 232
With 100% wood-free construction
Caravelle’s 232 is light and fast.

We clocked the 232 at 58 mph WOT with a single 320-hp engine. The cockpit has molded-in arm rests and instruments include Zero Effort performance controls which we like. This boat is hot -- see the test and video…

Boating Safety tip

Just Say “No”
To Overloading!

16 people died last Wednesday due to overloading.

This scene looks like fun but virtually every boat is overloaded. Most people have no concept of what overloading is or can do.

16 people were killed after a boat sank last Wednesday night in a lake near the Albanian capital Tirana. Among the dead, are five-year old twins, whose birthday was being celebrated when the boat capsized and sank. For the rest of the story…read on
Official USCG Marine Recalls

24 Boats & Engines Recalled in Last
14 Months

Pass the word among your friends who may own products on this list.

Keep boating fun
Keeping boating fun and safe requires the vigilance of everyone. Check the list,
your boat or engine might be on it. will now publish a monthly update of all USCG recalls. Boating safety is everyone's business. Following are all of the published recalls back to February 2007. To see more

BoatTEST reader survey

89% of
Center Console Owners Want Engine Choice!

Consumers want fuel efficiency and high-speed, too!

CC owners want it all: engine choice, speed
and fuel efficiency.

In the beginning, center console buyers bought the boat and selected any outboard they wanted.  Then, the industry changed.  According to our survey, our readers would prefer the good old days.  Read more…

Docking the Old Fashioned Way

Capt. Ron’s
“How-To” Video
on Docking

Everything the Samurai Navy wanted to know about docking but was afraid to ask.

capt ron
Capt. Ron smokes his joystick
and docks with only one eye.

Thank goodness for MerCruiser and Volvo Penta -- which are both betting heavily on joystick docking – Capt. Ron can’t get around to all America’s 12 million boaters and teach them how to dock. Click on the video above and you can learn in 2 minutes, and save yourself a lot of money...or, dock here.

nmma innovation award

New Whaler
230 Dauntless
Wins Award

yamaha sho
Tilt-up seat backs in the transom seat sets
the 230 Dauntless apart.

When the rear seat is not in use, the back folds down and makes a large casting platform. Forward, a strut allows seat backs to face forward. These two innovations add both utility and comfort. Kudos to Boston Whaler's new 230 Dauntless.

Learn more about Boston Whaler


Rescue Boat
Passes Sea Trials

USCG rescue boat
The new USCG 45 rescue boats is all aluminum and is powered by twin diesels
turning waterjets.

The Response Boat-Medium (RB-M) was launched at Commencement Bay in Tacoma, WA and completed a successful Builder's Trials on March 3. It is expected to be the primary non-heavy weather, multi-mission capable boat for the U.S. Coast Guard. To find out more…read on


Tracker Marine Specials

1901 Inshore

mako 1901
Price: $22,995 (See test)
264 Express

mako 264 express
Price: $84,995 (See test)
284 Center Console

Mako 284 Center Console
Price: $82,495 (See test)
Nitro Z-9 CDC
Price: $47,995 (See test)
Nitro Z-7
Nitro Z-7
Price: $21,995 (See test)
Nitro 189 Sport
Nitro 189 Sport
Price: $21,995 (See test)
Sun Tracker
Bass Buggy 18

Bass Buggy
Price:$12,995 (See test)
Sun Tracker
Party Barge 22 Sport Fish Regency Edition

Party Barge 22 Sport Fish Regency Edition
Price:$24,995 (See test)
Sun Tracker
Party Barge 25
Regency Edition
Sun Tracker Party Barge 25
Price: $27,495 (See test)
Tahoe Q4 Sport Fish
Tahoe Q4 Sport Fish
Price:$17,195 (See test)
Tahoe Q5i Sport
Q5i Sport
Price: $19,995 (See test)
Tahoe 225
Tahoe 225
Price: $29,495 (See test)
Pro Team 170 TX

Tracker Pro Team 170 TX
Price: $11,595 (See test)
Pro Team 175 TXW

Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW
Price: $13,495 (See test)
Tournament V-18

tracker tournament v-18
Price: $17,495 (See test)

What is going on here

what is going on
“This sure is not what I expected when you said you bought a center console.”

BoatTEST’s awards committees reach a decision. The winner of the coveted rubber duck is:

rubber duckyReader Captions
First Place – Winner of the Rubber Ducky!
“This sure is not what I expected when you said you bought a center console.”
--Stu Newborn

Second Place – No Cigar (or Ducky)
"Yes dear, I know I said I wanted a deck boat, but this is ridiculous!”
--David Lovitt
Unfortunately there are no “Devil Duck” winners this week. Come on readers, let’s put a little more thought into it! 
sound off

Reader Feedback, Opinions, Inquiries, Ideas, Suggestions

When a thought crosses your mind about boats and boating, chances are hundreds of other boat owners would be interested in what you have to say. Let us know what you’re thinking and we’ll try to produce an article to answer your questions, publish your thoughts, or just take it to heart. To make it easy for you, all you need do is …Sound Off here.

What is Going on Here?

what is going on here
You write the caption!

Will you win the coveted "Ducky Trophy" for best caption? Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky...quack here

Please send all submissions by 3/17/08.