H2O 18 Sport:
Back to Basics
It's not often that we see a builder of popular boats take a step back and create a more affordable line, but that's exactly what has taken place at Chaparral.
The new H2O series is not a stripped down version of a bigger Chaparral, but rather
an all-new boat from the keel up, designed specifically to meet the needs of many
boaters in these times. Two boats make up the new H2O Series, and both are available in Sport and Ski & Fish models. We recently tested the 18 Sport, the smaller of the two models. Let’s see what our captain discovered.
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Sea Ray 470 Sundancer:
Setting A New Benchmark For Sea Ray
The Sea Ray 470 Sundancer is an all-new design from the keel to the top of its coupe hardtop:
she has Zeus pod drives in tunnels, an extensive list of standard equipment, and
refined exterior styling. Port lights are larger and more numerous and living space and headroom below are both more generous due to the pod drives. Most remarkable in our view is the cabinetry work and fit-and-finish below which sets a new benchmark for Sea Ray. Our test of the new 470 Sundancer reveals her performance and fuel consumption with the pod drives.
Bayliner 175 BR:
Good Things, Small Package
The 175 BR has been a great seller for Bayliner, and for this new model year, they've added some refinements, and now even offer some interesting optional upgrades. We tested the latest model equipped with the "Flight Series" package that added looks and wakeboard capability. To see exactly how she would perform when wakeboarding,
we tested her with a 200 lb. (90.7 kg) dude in tow.
See how she performed...
A Look at the Operational Points
When famed J/Boats sailboat founder Bob Johnstone went looking for a good looking, versatile powerboat, and couldn't find it on the market, what did he do? He simply created his own. The result is the fuel-efficient, downeast line of MJM Yachts, designed by Doug Zurn and built hi-tech by Mark Lindsay's Boston Boatworks. Today we'll take a look at some of the finer points that make the 36z so ideal for discerning yachtsmen and yachtswomen.
Only for connoisseurs for the finer things in nautical life...
Yamaha VX Deluxe:
Power and Economy
Though not equipped with a supercharger, the 1052cc engine in the Yamaha VX Deluxe
gave us a 0-30 time of only 2.6 seconds -- which means this watercraft has the power you expect to ensure a fun day on the water. Designed so you can bring along one or two passengers, we found the VX Deluxe handled very well in tight turns, had a smooth ride over light chop and was easy to whip around and just have a lot of fun with. All this aside, one of the best features in our opinion is that her starting price is $9,299.00, minus a trailer.
Hop on and squeeze the throttle here...
Smooth and Quiet Cruising
When we tested the 500S we noticed that she had a deceptively quiet and smooth ride and very nearly eliminated the feeling of motion as we accelerated through the power curve. Her IPS 600's kept her turns docile enough to maintain comfort throughout. The cockpit joystick control station and bow thruster made tight docking a complete non-event. And because it's a Prestige, affordability is built-in. Our full test video reveals what a good handling boat she is, so let's take a look.
Is she a liveaboard, a weekend entertaining platform, a coastal cruiser -- or all
of the above?
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Sea Trial Video
Rampage 41 Express:
How Does She Handle Offshore?
When we set out to do a performance test on the Rampage 41 the wind and sea conditions prevented us from ideal speed runs. But since this is a boat made to take stinky
conditions, we headed out anyway, even while many others were turning around.
So while we couldn't get to full speed, we did discover just how well this boat handles in snotty weather. Come with us out to the Gulf Stream and see.
Why are all those other boats heading back in?
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Sun Tracker Regency Party Barge 250 XP3:
A Performance and Comfort Mix
It's easy to add comfy seats to a pontoon boat and call it luxurious, but Sun Tracker really does take it to another level with so many finer touches. And with the sporty performance of the triple XP3 tubes and their lifting strakes, we can't imagine a day on the water without pulling out the water toys. With the convenient changing room, she even makes transitions from play time to party time a breeze.
Let's see the full video...
Volvo Penta's DPS:
Just Hold it Right There!
At first glance the Volvo Penta Dynamic Positioning System may seem like something you'd only use once in a great while, but once you get onboard a boat equipped with it, you'll be surprised at just how convenient this feature is. Whether holding for a bridge, prepping the lines and fenders before coming in to the dock, or even waiting for the fuel dock to open up, that little button may become the most used feature on your next boat. Let's take a look at how it works and why it may become your next best friend.
And while we're at it, we'll discuss when not to use it...
Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW:
Tournament Features, Plenty of Comfort
Avid anglers tell us they have many requirements when researching a new fishing rig: they want it to be rugged, comfortable and have the features of a tournament model, without the tournament price. Our test of the Tracker Pro Team 175 TXW showed this model had all of these attributes as well as some respectable performance numbers. With only a 50-hp outboard we recorded a top end speed of 34.3 mph and if your fishing spot is a ways off, the 175 has a max range of 144 miles. Take a look at the video and full test results for all the numbers in between and see why, in our opinion,
this model deserves your attention.
4-Blades For Towing Power
Many people running boats with 3-blade props struggle in towing situations. In some cases they have to get Mom and the kids in the bow just to get the boat on plane, sometimes the boat keeps falling off plane when it is slowed down for the skier, and sometimes the boat has to be going so fast to get portly Paul up on his slalom ski he is no longer at the end of the tow rope. All of these scenarios and more are typical of the disadvantages of having a 3-blade prop on a sterndrive lower unit when towing.
Here's how to give your boat some towing mojo...
Get started with the Prop Worksheet...
Ask A Question/Get Lucky
Taking a page from the Socrates marketing manual, Shurhold is inviting our readers to ask a question about keeping a boat clean in its new "Clean-N-Simple" promotional contest. Winning questions will be answered in short video clips that Shurhold will make available later. The $500 Detailer's Dream Pack includes many tested and reviewed items by BoatTEST, such as
Shurhold's award-winning Dual Action Polisher, a Pro Polish Pad, a Buff Magic Pad, a Microfiber Bonnet, Brite Wash Buff, Magic ProPolish, a Deck Brush and more...
Everything you need to clean and care for your vessel is included. For complete details and to enter to win...
Where in the World?
Picture of the Week
See the larger picture, when and who took it -- and where!
Send us your favorite boating images.
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Smart Boating DVD Course
Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about BoatTEST.com's Smart Boating Course it’s clearly not only for beginners, but for veteran boaters as well. Perhaps that is why the NMMA started promoting the course after just one look. It's the most complete boating course available...period.
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us to see the latest, plus some behind the scenes looks.
Lesson of the Week
PWC Safe Operation Tips - Part III
This week Capt. Steve goes over seven lessons and guidelines on PWC restrictions and safely procedures. There is more to PWC operation than meets the eye.
The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s USCG-approved Boating Course. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.
To view this week’s lessons --
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Ducky Award Winner
“Practice safe boating -- always use a condiment.” – C. Dorman
“The hot dog is a nice, but most trade up to the bratwurst within 2 years.” – M. Burton
“Sure it is unsinkable, fat floats on water.”
– J. Spijker
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