BoatTEST Newsletter 05/21/2008 - 05/21/2008 May 21, 2008 If you cannot view the see the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust


Boat Tests 

- Grady-White Tournament 275
- Mako 234 Center Console
- Manitou 24 X-Plode Cruise SHP
- Nitro Z-7
- Sea-Doo 180 Challenger
- Smoker Craft 151 Resorter


Video Reviews
- Jupiter 29
- Tahoe Q4 SS



Also Inside:

- Fishing with the Pros
- Brunswick Cuts 4 Brands
- House Committee Passes Bill
- Ski Nautique Lays Future Plans
- Rod Holder Used for Fuel Fill
- Yamaha Wins Award
- New Boat Check List
- National Safe Boating Week
- 32 Center Consoles Under 30'
- 7 Walkaround Fishboats Under 30'
- Ducky Award Winner

FLW Tips

Fishing with the Pros

The FLW (named after Ranger Boats' founder Forrest L. Wood) is the largest fishing tournament organization in the world. Year after year the organization holds more than 200 tournaments in 10 circuits targeting walleye, redfish, kingfish and striped bass with the opportunity of earning over $40 million.

All fishermen have tricks and tips for hooking the prized catch and we've got three tournament pros to tell you theirs.

J.T. Kenney shows some tips for fishing a jig in cold water where the fish are slow. Scott Martin demonstrates how to use heavier
line to cast farther and deeper.
Gabe Bolivar reveals the baits that led to his success in the FLW Tournament.
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Boat Tests

Grady-White Tournament 275

Grady-White Tournament 275

Recently Grady-White has begun to add more and more details that acknowledge that their boats can be used for pretty much anything. An example of this is Grady-White’s new Tournament 275 which they started delivering in 2007.  See Capt. Rob Smith's complete report and video...

Mako 234 Center Console

Mako 234 CC

The Mako 234’s classic lines and layout as well as her aggressive V-hull constructed of all composites are designed for long life and function. Her 21 degree deadrise means she has the sporty handling you need and the wave taming action you want.


Go to Capt. Rob's complete report and video...

Manitou 24 X-Plode Cruiser SHP

Manitou 24 X-Plode Cruise SHP

The V-toon technology and Sport Handling Package (SHP) aren’t just catchy marketing terms. The 24 X-Plode Cruise SHP actually handles like a V-hull, cutting sharp, tight turns (including snappy figure eights) with little effort and barely a reduction in speed.   See complete test and video...      

Nitro Z-7

Nitro Z-7

This sharp-looking boat is all new for 2008 and is loaded with features while delivering outstanding performance. It benefits from the background and experience of the Nitro staff and we recently took an up-close look. See Captain Rob's complete test and video report...

Sea-Doo 180 Challenger

Sea-Doo 180 Challenger

First released in 2005, the 180 Challenger is Sea-Doo’s answer to entry level boating with a positive twist. Simple, really; they use direct drive which eliminates a lot of the associated maintenance you have with sterndrives. See complete test and video...  

Smoker Craft 151 Resorter

Smoker Craft 151 Resorter

For three generations, the Smoker family has been designing and manufacturing aluminum fishing boats. So it’s safe to say they know what they are doing, and it shows in the newly released 151 Resorter.  See complete test and video...

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Boat Reviews

Grady-White Tournament 275

Jupiter 29

A few months ago Jupiter Marine moved its production from Ft. Lauderdale to the Sarasota, FL area. In the process, it doubled its production capacity and hired the trained workforce left there by several boat builders that recently moved from Sarasota to North Carolina. Carl Herndon, who owns Jupiter, made his reputation building express and flybridge Blackfins in the 1980s, and now puts all of that expertise into his Jupiters. The company does not make many boats a year – fewer than 100 -- but each one is built with a lot of TLC. Take a look as editor Jeff Hammond visits a Jupiter 29.


Visit Jupiter Marine’s website…

Tahoe Q4 SS

Tahoe Q4 SS

The 18’ Tahoe Q4 SS comes with a 135-hp MerCruiser sterndrive engine and trailer and sells for under $20k. It is a great starter boat and is bigger than you may think inside.  BTC’s Chris Hughes and friends take a look at a recent boat show. Tahoe is a division of Tracker, the largest builder of recreation powerboats in the U.S.

See our video report…


See our complete boat test of the Tahoe Q4 SS's sistership the Q4 SF…

Brunswick News

Brunswick Cuts 4 Fishboat Brands

Sea Pro Sea Boss Palmetto Laguna
Sea Pro had
22 models 17'- 24'.
Sea Boss had 8
models 17'-25'.
Palmetto had 3
models 22'-33'.
Laguna had 5
models 18'- 24'.

Brunswick Corporation (NYSE: BC) announced last week that it will cease production of its "Bluewater Marine brands" -- including Sea Pro, Sea Boss, Palmetto and Laguna -- with the upcoming 2009 model year, which commences July 1. As a result of this action, Brunswick will close its production facility in Newberry, SC, by the end of June, where three of the four brands were built. This leaves Brunswick with Boston Whaler, Triton and Trophy in the saltwater small fishboat market. To find out about Sea Pro's original success, and then its fall, Brunswick strategy and more...cast your eye here.
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Buyers Guide

32 Center Consoles Under 30'

Triumph 21 Everglades 24 mako 26 Regulator 29
Triumph 215 TE Everglades 243 CC Mako 264 CC Regulator 29 FS

With nearly 50 major companies building center consoles boats, making a buying decision is not an easy feat. has tested 32 models built by most of the major brands and offers you a side-by-side comparison guide that helps you zero-in on the right boat for you. The good boats are not cheap, but if well-maintained they will last until you're ready for a pretty new face. To see all 32 CCs we have tested from 17' to 29'...visit here.
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EPA Permit Fiasco

House Committee Passes
EPA Permit Relief Bill

Post Sorting Sen. John W. Warner


Last Wednesday the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee passed H.R. 5949 which is identical to S. 2766. The Senate bill is supposed to come up for a committee vote about now. NMMA officials and boat builders are appreciative of our members' help and have asked us to appeal for your aid once again to help blast this bill out of the Senate committee. Please write on your letterhead, call, or e-mail using the handy “Rally” software we provide.


Your letters are definitely making a difference! When we were in Washington last month lobbying senators and congressmen on this issue, invariably they would ask their staff aids if they had gotten mail on this subject. Every aid reported that they had, which clearly impressed the politicians. Once again, we ask that you take 3 minutes to “raise your voice” about the EPA Permit Nightmare…pull this trigger.


See if your senators care about boating -- check the bottom of this page.

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Interview of the Week

Ski Nautique
Lays Future Plans

Improving the Brand Improving the Boats Why pay more?
What are you doing to improve
the brand?
Will your
new plant improve the boats?
Why should people pay more for
a Ski Nautique?

Correct Craft (aka Ski Nautique) claims credit for virtually inventing the sport of waterskiing, and the company is still owned by the descendents of the founder, but is now run by a veteran boat building executive, Bill Yeargin. The company now ranks #3 in the rarified air of the five or six boutique ski/wake inboard boat builders. Last year its sales were 56% of those of Malibu, the industry leader, and 64% of second place MasterCraft. We asked Bill about the company’s future plans.

 Dumb and Dumber

Boater Uses Rod Holder
for Fuel Fill

Boater Uses rod holder for fuel fill
These are rod holders. They hold fishing rods
and do not lead to the fuel tank.

Members of the Martin County, FL Fire Rescue Hazmat team responded to a fuel clean-up Tuesday morning after a boater pumped gasoline into his fishing rod holder instead of his gas tank. The boater pumped about 100 gallons of gasoline at the Finest Kind Marina fuel dock before he noticed the problem. The good news was that only 15 gallons of gas went into the river before the light bulb went on somewhere in the deep recesses of this boater's brain. The rest of the gasoline stayed in the bilge, witnesses said. Marina employees said it's not uncommon to see boaters pump fuel into fishing rod holders because the holder is often close to the fuel tank hole.

PWC News

Yamaha FX SHO Series
Wins Award

Boat Leaks
This is the eighth time that a Yamaha WaveRunner
has been awarded this honor.
Yamaha's FX SHO Series of PWCs was named the "Watercraft of the Year," by WaterCraft World magazine. The award is given to the PWC that demonstrates    excellence in innovation, market appeal, and long-term impact on the industry.


Learn more about this model.


Watch BoatTEST's review on the FX Cruiser SHO.

Buyers Guide

7 Walkaround Fishboats Under 30'

Hydra-Sports Vector 2200VX
Hydra-Sports Vector 2200 VX

There is a natural evolution from center consoles to walkarounds, thence on to express fishboats before reaching the heavyweights of sportfishing -- the convertibles (aka battlewagons). But the design that probably has the most utility dollar-for-dollar is the walkaround. They had heads a decade or more before the new breed of center consoles, and have a bunk or two and a place to get out of the rain. Many of the larger ones now have a few more amenities and are pushing the dividing line between walkaround express fishboats.
To see our 7 tests...walkaround this.

yamaha pwc

grady-white ad



boat history









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New Boat Check List

“My New Boat Leaks!”

Boat Leaks
Obviously this is not a new boat, but sinking at the dock can happen any time.


How often does a customer purchase a brand new boat, only to find that the first time they put it in the water it has a leak? It happens more often than one might think. Boat manufacturers do their best to ensure this doesn’t happen, but it still does. Why, you might ask? There are several different reasons why leaks occur.


To find out more about what shouldn't happen to a new boat, but sometimes your thumb here.

Mark Your Calendar

National Safe
Boating Week

National Safe Boating Week
Everyone should wear a life vest.


National Safe Boating Week kicked off this past Saturday May 17 and extends through Friday May 23. The organizers --National Safe Boating Council -- are reminding boaters to wear their life vests and to be generally alert and cautious while boating.


Learn more about National Safe Boating Week...come onboard.

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Ducky Award Winner

whats going on here?


First Place

“Better than a bow thruster! Better than IPS. Introducing the new abeam thruster!”

– Tim W


Second Place

"And in just a few minutes it easily converts into a center console fishing boat!" – Casey


Third Place

“Great! Now I'll probably have to buy two EPA discharge permits...” – M. Meyers

What's Going on Here?



You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption? 


Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky...quack here.


Please send all submissions by 5/26/08.

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