Joysticks For Outboards//12 Tests & Reviews//First Time Buyer Advice - 12/08/2010
BoatTEST Newsletter December 8, 2010 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
10th year anniversary
- Volvo Penta Joysticks
- Chaparral 284 Sunesta
- Hydra-Sports 23 Bay Bolt
- Tigé 24Vé
- Godzilla vs. Whalers
- Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA
- Glastron GLS 215
- FinCraft VEC
- Bayliner 185 BR
- Sea Fox 236 DC
- My Wake Competition Results
- Bennington 2575
- Bavaria Sport 30
- Alumacraft MV TEX
- Finnish Archipelago
- Windy 25 Mirage
- Skeeter 22i
- First Time Boat Buyers
- Sea Tow Captain Awarded
- Shurhold Products
- PowerTech Props Guide
- Boating Course Now On DVD
- Picture of the Week
- French Boat Builders Lead
- How to Refuel Safely
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Volvo Penta Joysticks Coming To
Yamaha Outboards

Volvo Penta Joysticks
Volvo Penta pioneered joystick control in recreational marine with its revolutionary IPS pod drive systems and is now going to share its expertise with Yamaha outboards.

Since Volvo Penta does not make outboard engines why not share its sophisticated fly-by-wire joystick docking and drive control technology with a leading outboard company? On Monday we received a press release from Volvo Penta that answered that question. Yes, it is going to share and do it with Yamaha outboards. This development for twin and multi-engine outboard applications can only make docking easier and overall outboard engine control in virtually all situations far less problematical. To find out what is happening and to read the press release...

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New Video

Chaparral 284 Sunesta:
A Big, Feature-Packed Deckboat

Chaparral 284 Sunesta
The Chaparral 284 Sunesta measures in at 28’4" (8.64 m) LOA with a beam of 9’ (2.74 m). With full fuel she’ll tip the scales at roughly 7,000 lbs (3175 kg) which adds to her stability and solid feel underway.

When we arrived to test the Chaparral 284 Sunesta, our first look was of this big deckboat coming out of the rack room. Immediately we were able to see that there were distinct differences between this boat and others in its class. Once we stepped aboard, we saw many more examples of how innovative this builder is. In fact, some of the items we saw in our tour were both clever and very functional. Rather than list all the features here, how about watching a video tour?  The whole staff was impressed -- not an easy thing to do.  Seeing is believing.

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New Test

Hydra-Sports 23 Bay Bolt:
Skinny Water-- Fat Features

Hydra-Sports 23 Bay Bolt
We tested the 23 Bay Bolt and found a very capable shallow water rig. LOA is 22'11” (6.98 m) and beam is 8’10” (2.69 m). Hull draft is only 10” (25.4 cm).

Not all fish live in blue water, and not all boats are meant to fish the canyons. When it’s time to take on skinny water, a deep-V hull won’t get you far. But since these waters are teaming with fish, a purpose-built boat that can get you to these spots in a hurry is in order. Enter the Hydra-Sports 23 Bay Bolt. With her long list of fishing features, we had more than a good time testing this rig. And with an unbelievable 300-hp hanging off the transom, she didn’t exactly waste our time getting to the testing grounds. More...

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Test Video

Tigé 24Vé Wakeboat:
Is She The Champion Wake-Maker?

Tigé 24 Vé
Tigé, with its patented TAPS3 wake tab, claims to give great wake. We sent
Capt. Steve to Abilene to find out, aboard the company’s 24Vé.

The realm of wakeboats is getting more and more competitive and Tigé is cranking up the heat on the big guys. They’ve taken one of their most popular models, added new features, and now have owners trading in their older models just to stay up with the new bells and whistles. We decided we needed to see what the fuss was about, so we went down to their Abilene, Texas, factory to do a full test and put the 24Vé through her paces.  That means making boss wake.  Check out the video and see if the Tigé 24Vé wake will jingle your chimes.  Wake up here...

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Whale Wars

Now: Godzilla vs. The Whale Killers

Sea Shepherd's new interception vessel called "Gojira", which in English means Godzilla, is seen here heading for Hobart, Tasmania. Next stop: the first "whale research" vessel it finds.

Jeff Hansen's fleet of whaler interdiction vessels has just increased by one -- the 115' (35 m) trimaran pictured above that has a striking resemblance to Ady Gil (nee Earthrace) which reportedly was scuttled after a collision with a Japanese whale research vessel. A New Zealand maritime agency ruled that both vessels were at fault for the accident. We note that the new version, reportedly costing $4 million, has improved significantly on Ady Gil which had very poor visibility and was stiflingly hot below. For more about Godzilla...

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New Video

Seaswirl Striper 2101 WA:
A Feature-Packed Workboat/Overnighter

Seaswirl 2101 WA
Our test of the Striper 2101 WA proved that the folks at Seaswirl know how to build a nice handling boat. Now it’s time to take a look at the details and see how they’ve done with the features.

When Capt. Steve tested the new 2101 WA, he tells us that it took him back to a time when he was on a similar boat, working at hauling conch pots in Nantucket Sound. He says the Striper 2101 WA has a work ethic about her that he likes. But there’s more to a good workboat than handling, looks and layout:  We needs the features that we’ve grown to expect. To see if our venerable 2101 WA meets these challenges, we brought our cameras along on a full walkthrough, and the tour is ready for viewing. Roll 'em...

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New Video

Glastron GLS 215 BR:
Bringing Good Looks to Watersports

The Glastron GLS 215 BR has a LOA of 21' 4’’ (6.50 m), and a beam of 8’5” (2.57 m). Her dry weight of 3,300 lbs (1510 kg) makes her trailer friendly.

One of our latest tests of Glastron’s bowriders has us gawking at the GLS 215 BR. She has such nice lines and graceful curves that we found ourselves staring, along with the rest of the crowd at the launch ramp. That brings a pride of ownership that is hard to put a dollar figure on. (But is a lot easier to do when the pride is high and the price is low!)  But as nice as this boat was to look at, we found some winning innovative features onboard, and a couple that needed a little work. They are two very good reasons to give the GLS 215 BR a full walkthrough to let you see for yourself. More...

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FinCraft Boat Construction:
VEC Comes of Age

The VEC process lays fiberglass into the clamshell mold then injects resin which catalyzes under tremendous heat and pressure to make the hull and stringers all at once to precise specifications every time.

The Genmar factory in Little Falls, Minnesota, has been building boat hulls with the VEC process for 10 years, but because Genmar built 15 other brands -- mostly using traditional fiberglass material and processes -- the builder could not extol the revolutionary aspects of VEC construction. Now that J&D Holdings owns the plant and process, and all FinCraft hulls are made with the VEC system, its light will no longer be kept under a bushel. The fact is that the laser-cut steel, hydraulically actuated high-pressure, computer-driven mold machine, combined with computer-actuated five-axis routers for hole cutting and trimming, are the closest any boat builder in the world comes to matching automotive building methods or automation.  To find out all about VEC we accepted FinCraft's invitation and sent out a film crew and Capt. Steve to see the revolutionary process. The future is now -- see the movie...

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New Test

Bayliner 185 BR:
Adding Options to a Starter Package

Bayliner 185 BR
The Bayliner 185 BR has a LOA of 18’ (5.49 a m), a beam of 7'7” (2.31 m), and a draft of 3'1” (.94m). More important with full fuel she weighs just over 2,500 lbs (1,134 kg) making her economical and easily trailered.

Bayliner, well known for building price-point boats and getting more people on the water for less money, has recently launched a new 18 footer -- the 185 BR. This allows users not only to get a great starter package of boat, motor and trailer, but also adds options to the layout and features. In addition to building cost effective boats, Bayliner is also known for engineering their boats to perform with less horsepower. Our test boat was powered by a 3.0L 135-hp MerCruiser sterndrive, and we wanted to put her through a full test and see if that small engine was big enough for the task.  Check out our full report and test video. More...

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New Boat

Sea Fox 236 DC:
Double Consoles Make for Double Duty

Sea Fox 236 DC
Is the Sea Fox 236 DC a fishing boat or a bow-rider? We think she's both: Her double consoles allow family-boat seating, but leave room aft for angling; Sea Fox equips the boat with plenty of fishing gear, too. Her forward cockpit can be reserved for lounging or other non-piscatorial pursuits. An outboard up to 250-hp provides the power.

The Sea Fox 236 DC (for Double Console) combines the most important attributes of a center-console fishing boat with those of a family bowrider to create a boat with a foot in each camp.  But while a hard-core center-console or walk-around fishing boat this size sacrifices all else to fishability, the 236 DC manages to incorporate plenty of creature comforts that should make Mom and the kids happy to be on board, even when Dad is trolling or casting. There's room for two to lounge in the forward cockpit to read or catch rays, and the back-to-back passenger seat unfolds to form a narrow but adequate sun bed when the lines have been reeled in. In short, the Sea Fox 236 DC wears two hats, neither one the height of fashion, but both will do the job. To find out more, step aboard...

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Wake Surfing

"MyWake" Global Wake Surf
Challenge Winners Announced

Ashley Kidd Michel Marechal James Walker Adriana Borrelli
Ashley Kidd, from Texas won the "Tandem" surfing division. Michel Marechal of Switzerland won the "Amateur: Men's Surf" division.  James Walker of California won the "Open Men's Surf" division. Adriana Borrelli from California won the "Amateur Women's Skim" division.

Tigé Boats and recently announced the winners of the "MyWake Global Wakesurf Challenge" event that ran through this summer. This revolutionary event, that combines the newly emerging sport of wake surfing with home video cam and the Internet, produced what is -- as far as we know -- the world's first wake surfing world championships on the Internet. “The competition truly went global with athlete registrations from 8 countries, which is very exciting.” said Daniel Gutierrez, Director of Design & Marketing for Tigé Boats. The "MyWake Global Wakesurf Challenge" is the only such contest of its kind, allowing any rider, from anywhere in the world and behind any brand boat, to submit video of their best run for the competition. See the winners and their videos...

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Captain's Report

Bennington 2575 RCWC LTD:
Customizable Comfort

Bennington 2575 RCWC LTD
The Bennington 2575 RCWC LTD has a LOA of 27' 1" (7.34 m) and a beam of 8'6" (2.6 m) making this a trailerable package.

The 2575 RCWC is part of the luxury lineup that Bennington offers. Not only is this a comfortable boat, but the possibilities for customizing it to fit your needs are vast. A long list of options ranging from simple lighting and color decisions leads into more versatile amenities such as chaise lounges, storage, and entertainment centers. The result is a pontoon boat that has been adapted and built to your specifications and needs, rather than making you adapt to the boat. With that said, it all starts with the boat. More...

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European Style

Bavaria Sport 30/30 HT:
Made for Northern Europe

Bavaria Sport 30/30 HT
The Bavaria Sport 30 HT’s hardtop, high freeboard and pugnacious profile are just what you need for three-season boating, even in the tough conditions of northern Europe. You'd be surprised how toasty it can be in an enclosed pilothouse, even when it's uber-chilly outside. Newer models have a low radar arch on the top, lifting radar and antennas clear of the sliding sunroof.

Bavaria Yachts doesn't just complain about the weather – they do something about it, and the Sport 30 HT is the result. A hardtop version of the company's 9.6-meter (31' 6") LOA Sport 30, the HT encloses the helm and forward half of the cockpit in a cozy fiberglass shell, turning a warm-weather-focused express into a bona fide three-season cruiser. The soft-top Sport 30 is fine for sunny climes, but lots of folks like to go boating when the water’s a bit rough, the sky’s a little grey and the wind carries a nip. And if it gets a little rougher, or a little colder, or a little windier, that’s OK, too, as long as they’re in a boat designed and built to take it – one like the Sport 30 HT. And we're not the only ones who think this way: In 2009 the Bavaria Sport 30 HT was named European Powerboat of the Year in the under 10-meter category. For more on this prizewinning hardtop, follow us...

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Special Edition

Alumacraft MV TEX:
Starting Out Right

Alumacraft MV TEX
The Alumacraft MV TEX has a 16’ (4.88 m) LOA, and a 6’2" (1.87 m) beam, meaning it's very easily transported. And the 675 lb (307 kg) hull weight allows the MV TEX to be towed by practically anything, including a donkey.

When it’s time to pick out your first boat, more often than not the only consideration that comes to mind is price. Once you’ve gotten your use out of that first boat, and the love affair has started, then it’s time to consider upgrading to a features-packed, possibly larger boat. Alumacraft has managed to combine a remarkably cost-effective boat with functional features.  Alumacraft does not sell boats as packages, but their dealers do, so let’s take a close look at the MV TEX, as well as the available packages and see what you get for your money... or lack of money. More...

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Finnish Archipelago & Aland Islands For Exciting Summer Cruising

Finnish ArchipelagoFinnish Archipelago
One of the world's greatest cruising grounds -- and ideal for powerboats -- is the Finnish Archipelago and the Aland Islands in the Baltic. This summer the New York Yacht Club is joining with Scandinavian yacht clubs for a July cruise of the islands.

Now is the time to make your summer 2011 cruising plans in the Northern Hemisphere. Perhaps one of the most picturesque and island-filled areas is the Finnish Archipelago and the Aland Islands, which certainly must rank in the Top 10 cruising grounds of the world. If you have ever wondered why so many recreational marine companies are located in Scandinavia, now you know one reason why. We recently attended a celebration at the New York Yacht Club (NYYC) for the Finnish Yacht Club's (Nylandska Jaktklubben -- NJK) 150th Anniversary and made our own plans to cruise there next summer. Join us as we learn more about this incredible cruising ground...

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Captain's Report

Windy 25 Mirage:
Cuddy Cabin from Norway

Windy 25 Mirage
With 22 degrees of deadrise aft, the Windy 25 Mirage is powered with a single Volvo Penta sterndrive, either gas or diesel. A 214-hp diesel D4-300 Duoprop will push her to 38.5 knots, according to company tests.

The Windy 25 Mirage is a capable cuddy-cabin cruiser from the land of the Vikings, a 7.68 m (25' 2") LOA pocket rocket that's popular among quality-conscious boatmen from the North Cape to Southeast Asia. Despite her small size, the 25 Mirage meets CE Category B standards for offshore service, more toughness than most folks need in a 25-footer. Her cockpit has plenty of seating on a U-shaped lounge; drop the table and it turns into a sun pad for catching rays under the midnight sun. Folks willing to rough it a bit can cruise overnight or for a weekend, either sleeping under the stars (a canvas top is standard) or on V-berths below, where there's a head but not much else in the way of creature comforts. Nevertheless, folks with the Viking spirit might find the Windy 25 Mirage is all they need for coastwise adventures. Cast off here to find out more.

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Bass Boat

Skeeter 22i:
Is She More Than a Bass Boat?

Skeeter 22i
This fish's-eye view of the Skeeter 22i shows wide reverse chines that add stability and a well-rounded bow that provides lots of deck room forward for angling. But despite her looks, the Skeeter 22i might be more than just a bass boat: Weighing just 1,980 lbs (898 kg) and able to handle 300-hp, she is also a speed demon.

Skeeter is famous for fishing boats, and the slick 22i is certainly that – a full-blown bassboat with amenities to satisfy any angler – but here at, we think she's more: With sexy styling, blazing speed and ample deck space, the 21' 8" (6.6 m) Skeeter 22i should be a fun boat even for folks who never wet a line – people like wives, girlfriends and kids. Bolt the maximum recommended horsepower to the 22i's transom and the Skeeter will scoot across the lake fast enough to satisfy almost any speed freak. Stock her iceboxes with food and her live wells with drinks and you can carry enough for an all-day picnic.  Lay out a couple of beach towels and her foredeck becomes a sun pad, leaving enough room aft of the console for Dad, and maybe Junior, to flip lures. Her 50 gallons (189 L) of gas will last long enough if you don't lean too hard or too long on the throttle; at day's end, load her onto the trailer (one comes with the 22i) and haul her back home. For more on the Skeeter 22i, cast here...

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Buying Tip

First Time Boat Buyers
Need To Get The Basics Right

Boat Shows Boat Shows
First time boat buyers are faced with a bewildering panoply of boat choices that it is easy to make a costly mistake. We give you for easy tips for finding the right boat the first time. receives a lot of mail each week from would-be first time boat buyers. We’re happy to help new participants in the sport and are pleased to be able to lend any assistance possible in the process – that is our reason for being! This week we offer a tutorial on how a first time buyer should approach the process to minimize his chances of making a mistake. For most people it takes a little courage to buy the first boat, but once done most people never look back. Boating is a nearly limitless and certainly a very exciting world. Here’s how to get started...

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Rescue of the Month

USCG Honors Sea Tow
Capt. Who Saved 3

Sea Tow
Capt. Lee Kellerman was directed to three people in the water north of Boca Raton Inlet on Florida’s east coast.

Last week the USCG gave its second highest civilian commendation to Sea Tow Capt. Lee Kellerman for the rescue of three people – a grandfather, son and grandson – who were in the water after their boat sank from under them. A Coast Guard helicopter with only 20 minutes of fuel left spotted the boaters in the four to six foot seas and directed Kellerman to the area. More...

See local news video...


Shurhold PVA Towel Put Through the Ringer

Shurhold PVA Towel
Here you can see how the Shurhold PVA Towel dried the hull of our test boat without leaving streaks or water spots.

When we asked the team at Shurhold what is different about their PVA towels they told us that they absorb 50 percent more water than natural chamois, making for faster and more effective drying. So we translated that into they do a better job drying your boat and leaving a shine. We gave the towels a shot on our test boat after a few hours on the water in Long Island Sound. All we did was spray her down with fresh water and wiped her down from the windscreen to the keel. The total elapsed time to completely dry a 24 foot boat was 11 minutes and 20 seconds. Take our word for it, there were no spots or streaks left behind, just quite a nice shine. The towels come in an extra large size of 17" x 27" (43 cm x 69 cm). Learn more here...



Change The Prop to
Change Performance

Your prop is the key to improving your boat’s performance. Why buy a new engine or boat, when all you might need is a new prop?

Many boaters are not aware that they can change characteristics of their boat’s performance simply by changing their propeller. For example, if you are the type of boater who runs at a particular speed/rpm setting for long periods of time, you can maximize your efficiency by selecting the prop that optimizes your engine’s output at that speed/rpm. Or, if you want to improve the hole shot performance of your boat, changing your prop might be the answer.  Even though there are hundreds of prop design choices, finding exactly the right prop for your specific boat, engine, and use application is actually quite easy when you consult an expert.  All you need do is fill out this simple worksheet to find out what prop is right for you...(no obligation)...

Visit PowerTech!'s homepage...

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Special 20% Discount

Yes! You Can Be a Better Boater! 

Smart Boating
Without going to classes, you can improve all of your boating skills at your home or work computer with our boating DVD course.

We would all like to be better boaters and wish we knew more of the basics, and not so basics. With the DVD boating course our own Captain Steve will walk you through everything from boat handling to navigation to safety. First time boaters have told us this course was the “best way to learn proper boating” and experienced boaters have told us they “learned many new things” that will help them become even better boaters. It really is one of the best and most informative boating courses around, easy to use and best of all, easy to retain the information. This course is approved by the USCG and is even recommended by the NMMA! Order today! Order your copy here...

Regularly it sells for $79.95 plus P&H. Now you can order it for just $63.95 plus P&H -- a $16 discount.  Watch the trailer...

Where in the World

Picture of the Week

Find out where this picture was taken and when...

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Industry News

French Boat Builders Lead Charge Against Global Recession

Liberty Leading the People
Eugène Delacroix’s 1830 painting of “Liberty Leading the People.” This iconic depiction of Gallic determination is symbolic of the French boating industry today.

The French marine industry federation FIN says that French boat production has grown seven percent in the year September 2009-August 2010 compared to the year previous. The announcement came during a presentation made by FIN on Monday, before the opening of the Paris International Boat Show. Even more impressive is the fact that growth in the powerboat category was up 20.7% for a total of 19,984 units. The export rate grew 63.3%. More...

Safety Procedures

How to Refuel Safely Every Time

How to Refuel Safely Every Time
Don’t rely on the fueling station attendant to tell you how to refuel. You are responsible for safe refueling.

Every year there are dozens of boat explosions after refueling. In fact, with a gasoline-powered boat, the moments just after refueling when the blowers are turned on and the engines are started is the precise time when explosions are most likely to occur. Fuel leaks can happen on any boat at any time in any number of places. While explosions after refueling typically happen on older boats, Murphy’s Law holds true for new boats as well.  How to refuel safely... 

Ten Years
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Lesson of the Week

How to Approach an Inlet and Dock
in a Strong Current

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating Cover
The seas will build up more as you approach an inlet so you’ll want to watch the waves closely and notice the pattern before heading in.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven new lessons and guidelines on how to dock your boat in a strong current and how to carefully approach an inlet in heavy waves. Learn about a sea anchor, and what it’s used for. Capt. Steve will demo some approaches that show you how to dock going into the current, he’ll also go over how to dock with the tide behind you, and how to slowly drift into the dock with the tide. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.” Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To view past lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

"I should have listened to my mother!"
- M. Burton

Second Place

"Ok John, now you've really gone off the deep-end." - J.D.

Honorable (almost) Mentions

"Don't look at me like that! The guy only wanted to buy the trailer, where else was I going to put the boat." - C. Nikel

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 12/8/10

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10 years
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