Glastron GS 209//Formula 350//Four Winns V475//12 Reviews - 12/14/2011
BoatTEST Newsletter December 14, 2011 If you cannot view the newsletter, click here. Tests You Can Trust
- Formula 350 Sun Sport
- Bavaria Sport 31
- Bayliner 170 OB
- Hydra-Sports 3600VX
- Beneteau Gran Turismo 34
- Nitro Z-7
- Beneteau Swift 44
- MJM 36z
- Henriques Yachts 42 Charter
- Rampage 45 Convertible
- Four Winns V475
- Glastron GS 209
- Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O.
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course on DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Formula 350 Sun Sport:
A Stylish Weekender

Formula 350 Sun Sport
With a top speed of 53.3 mph and a cruise range of 187 miles, we found the performance and handling just as impressive as the fit and finish.

Formula makes upscale boats that are a bit more expensive, but we categorize them in the "you get what you pay for" realm. This 350 Sun Sport is a good example of how a weekend cruiser can not only look stylish, but perform well. In this latest video, we pulled the newest model out of the lineup at the Ft. Lauderdale show to see how the 2012 version compares to previous models.  Let's see how they've done...

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New Launch

Bavaria Sport 31:
Express Cruiser Redefined

Bavaria Sport 31
With a LOA of 31' (10.06 m) the new 31 fits neatly into a gap between
the company's 28 and 34.

Bavaria is the largest builder of recreational boats in Germany, and one of the largest in the world. Its factory is as modern as they come and it is one of a handful of boat builders which uses robotics in construction. In addition to being on the cutting edge in building technology, Bavaria also has a different take on express cruiser design, and we find it refreshing. It will be interesting to see what influence this design has on other builders over the next couple of years. Let's take a look...

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Test Video

Bayliner 170 OB:
More Than a Starter Boat

Bayliner 170 OB
In this test, we look not only into the performance, but also the towing ability of this multi-tasker.

It's not hard to create a ski and fish boat. Just add a livewell and a trolling motor, and serve. But being able to ski behind that same boat takes a little more thought. This 170 OB is powered by only a 115-hp motor, so we wondered if that was enough. Our tests of previous Bayliner's have shown that its design team is quite adept at creating a hull that does more with less power. So to find out, we pulled a wakeboarder along on our performance test of the 170.  Show me...

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Captain's Report

Hydra-Sports 3600VX:
More Than A Fishboat

Hydra-Sports 3600VX
With the 3600VX, you don't just have fishing at your disposal but overnights can also be a part of the plan. Canyons anyone?

If you plan to cruise for 5-6 hours just to get to the fishing grounds, you're going to be spending the night there. That's a simple fact. You'll also want to be doing it in comfort. Hydra-Sports knows fishing and fishermen, but they also know that wives are a big part of where the checkbook funds gets doled out. That's why you'll find more than bunks and a sink in the cabin of the 3600VX. In fact, you'll find a level of class that we think is a welcome addition to the fishing genre. Let's take a closer look at how Hydra-Sports does overnights. More...

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New Features Video

Beneteau Flyer Gran Turismo 34:
Express Cruising in Comfort

Beneteau GT 34
Clearly, visibility is going to be the least of your concerns when operating the
Flyer Gran Turismo 34

If we had to sum up the Flyer Gran Turismo 34 in one word, it would have to be "comfortable." But not far behind is “roomy.” It just seemed like every seat we sat in was better than the one before, all leading up to the operator’s seat. The cockpit seating has a table that expands to the seating on the opposite side, the salon has a roomy V-berth, and behind a privacy door is a generous mid-cabin. But that just scratches the surface of this cruiser’s offerings. Take a look at our features video for the rest of the story. More...

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New Test Video

Nitro Z-7: 
Getting All of the Basics Right

Nitro Z-7
The Nitro Z-7 has become one of the most popular bass boats on the market. 
But does she have the fishability of more expensive brands?

The Nitro Z-7 has been an ever-evolving bass rig over the last few years with a focus on performance, features and value. We tested the latest version to see how well the team at Nitro did on these three elements. There are some items we found that are not easy to show on video, such as the quality of the overall fit and finish, but in our opinion, the Z-7 is up there with the best.  And she costs a lot less.  Here is the full test and review video...

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New Test

Beneteau Swift 44:
Don't Call Her a "Trawler"

Beneteau Swift 44
Even at planing speeds, the 44 handles like a lady, responding quickly to the helm to side-step pots. At close quarters she's even better… able to be docked, and secured, single handed.

Trawlers are slow and go forever at speeds that only a sailboater would envy. The Swift 44 is something different. While the looks and layout of the Swift 44 may make you think “trawler,” her planing hull allows her to scoot along at over 25 knots, and cruise at respectable speeds while getting about 1 nautical mile per gallon, or slightly better. However, if you like the slow lane and smelling the roses along the way, she can accommodate that, too. At 8 kts she'll keep going for over 700 nm with a 10% reserve. If that's not enough for you, wait until you see the price. It will make owners of slow-boats-to-China green with envy. More...

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New Video

MJM 36z:
Designed for Cruising, By Cruisers

Few boats embody the qualities of a real cruiser quite like MJM, but it all
comes together in the 36z.

If a cruising couple were to take off for an extended voyage, then you can imagine the boat would have to meet a lot of criteria to make the trip a success. From what we've seen, the 36z meets and exceeds nearly all of our expectations. That's because this boat was actually the brainchild of J-class sailboat designer Bob Johnstone and famed naval architect Doug Zurn. As for the build, they partnered with Boston Boatworks to create a cruiser that lacks for nothing in strength and integrity. Let's take a look at the operational aspects of a rare combination of qualities that make a great cruiser in this latest video. Cast off...

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Captain's Report

Henriques Yachts 42 Charter:
For Cruising or Fishing (Or, Both!)

Henriques Yachts 42 Charter
Options abound from the design layout to engine choices. In the end, you'll have a boat dialed into your specific desires and cruising style.

The 42 Charter has the look of a fishing boat with the amenities of a coastal cruiser, and we think she combines the attributes of the two quite well. But there are two more qualities of the 42 that customers find appealing. First is the semi-custom build method that let's you pick exactly how your boat will be laid out. Second is the price. While we wouldn't say that this is a "price-point" boat, the fact is that a lot of the fluff is left on the design floor so you're paying for a real cruising and fishing boat, not a dockside showpiece. Need more details? Let's see the full report...

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New Interior Video

Rampage 45 Convertible:
Cruising Comfort Offshore

Rampage 45 Express
Rampage calls itself "The Offshore Authority". Sounds exactly like the boat we'd want to take cruising offshore and it can't be all about fishing. The 45 Convertible makes a
nice offshore cruiser, too.

A recent poll at the offices showed that none of our wives would ever let us spend good money on a boat just for fishing. If there isn't a serious cruising component, then it's not going to happen. So then, what could be better than taking a good sea-keeping offshore design, and adding a first-class touch of luxury?  Rampage simply calls her the 45 Convertible and she's a boat that even the wives club will love as much as we do. Capt. Steve dropped by the factory for this first look, so let's see how it all came out. More...

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Captain's Report

Four Winns V475 Express Coupe:
She's Loaded With Standard Equipment

Four Winns V475
The Four Winns V475 has a displacement of 30,000 lbs. (13,607 kgs.) and a 14’ (4.26 m) beam. The extended stern platform is standard.

The flagship of the Four Winns fleet is its V475 Express Coupe powered by twin 435-hp Volvo Penta IPS600s with joystick. This twin stateroom, two-head boat is remarkable for the amount of standard equipment that is packed into her MSRP. Even a beautiful navy blue hull comes at no extra charge (or choose from several other colors). And she comes equipped with virtually everything you need to immediately take off for the Bahamas or the far north. Just add fuel and food. Let’s take a look...

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Captain's Report

Glastron GS 209:
A Sporty Cuddy With Spunk

Glastron GS 209
There are 11 engine options available for the Glastron GS 209, the largest being a Volvo Penta 5.0 L 270-hp engine. Let her rip!

Because only about 10% of the sportboats sold in America these days are cuddys, many boat companies no longer even build them. But not Glastron. With roots that go back over 50 years, thankfully Glastron still builds a cuddy.  It is a design which is to our eye looks like a sports car on water. Yes, it won’t hold the two extra people you could get in a bowrider, but it has some other very distinct advantages. A look at the Glastron GS 209 cuddy...

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Details Video

Evinrude E-TEC 250 H.O.:
E-TEC Is High-Tech

"H.O." stands for more than just High Output - with Evinrude it also means there is a special package of upgrades to improve the overall outboard experience.

The team at Evinrude has continued to evolve the technology behind two-stroke engines, showing boaters that these engines will be around as long as the 4-stroke.  Most people are not familiar with how the new high-tech E-TEC Evinrude engines are designed or their key features. We have been pulling off the covers to show you some of the details, but this video goes even deeper.  See the full review video and all the details that make this engine hum...


Shurhold PVA Towel
Is Put Through the Ringer

PVA towels are better than a natural chamois.

When we asked the team at Shurhold what was 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. We gave the towels a shot on our test boat after a few hours on the water in Long Island Sound. We washed her down with fresh water and wiped her down from the windscreen to the keel. The total elapsed time to completely dry a 24' boat was 11 minutes and 20 seconds. Take our word for it, there were no spots or streaks left behind, just a nice shine. The towels come in an extra large size of 17" x 27" (43 cm x 69 cm). Visit Shurhold to order...

Where in the World?

Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
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Send us your favorite boating images.

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Christmas Gift Idea

The Smart Boating Sleigh Is Ready to Stop at Your House

Smart Boating
Order your four-disc DVD box set today and make your boater the smartest boater in the marina.

With more content than any other boating course, the Smart Boating course makes a perfect gift for the boater in your life. Perhaps that is why the NMMA started promoting the course after just one look. It's the most complete boating course available...period. Order your 4-disc DVD box set today and get it in time for the holidays. Order your 4-disc box set here...

Watch the trailer...

Visit and "like" our page to watch unedited video found only on Facebook...

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Lesson of the Week

Performing Your Own Boat Maintenance

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
If you are one of those handy or hands-on types make sure you use genuine marine parts when servicing your boat.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on tips for doing your own boat maintenance.  In these lessons Capt. Steve will also go over some tips on marine head maintenance, and battery care. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s Smart Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --

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Ducky Award Winner

Ducky Winner

First Place

“Who said, ‘If you build it, they will come?’”
– C. Squire

Second Place

“Just when you think you've hit rock bottom you find out it's mud and you can sink lower.” – J. Beleski

Honorable Mention

“Honey, I told you for 10% more we could have been on the other side!” – S. Lehman

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On Here?

WIGOH 12/14/11

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