Boston Whaler 270 Vantage, Monte Carlo Yachts 65, Tracker Pro Team 190 - 01/09/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter January 9, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Monte Carlo Yachts 65
- Cruisers Sports Series 298
- Chaparral 277 SSX
- Formula 240 Bowrider
- Hydra-Sports 2500 CC
- Boston Whaler 270 Vantage
- Meridian Yachts 541 SB
- Robalo R180
- Tracker Pro Team 190 TX
- Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly
- Nord Star 40 Patrol
- Rampage 34 IPS
- Volvo Penta V8-380
- BoatTEST Opportunity
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Monte Carlo Yachts 65: Elegant, Luxury Cruiser

Monte Carlo Yachts 65
At 64’5” (19.65 m) LOA and a beam of 17’ (5.2 m) one might think that the MCY 65 would be a challenge to handle, but with her joystick functionality anyone can do it.

Italian styling and versatile cruising performance comes together in a design from one of the most awarded builders in the industry. This latest launch gets put to the test as she makes her North American debut and we found a top speed of nearly 30 kts while still being able to sip champagne - if only we'd thought to bring some. Our full test video goes over all the details so let’s let her roll. More...

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New Test Video

Cruisers Sports Series 298 Bow Rider:
Tested with Single 377 MAG

Cruisers Sports Series 298 Bow Rider
The 298 BR has a LOA of 29’ (8.84 m) and a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m). At best cruise she’ll go for 147 miles while still maintaining a 10% reserve.

The Cruisers Sports Series 298 Bow Rider was created for upscale day cruising and watersports. We found her handling to be like a luxury car on the water with her smooth ride and comfortable layout. With five gel colors and two patterns, it isn’t hard to customize the 298 to individual tastes. But let's start where the real story is… her handling and performance.  More...

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New Test Video

Chaparral 277 SSX:
Top Speed – 50 MPH

Chaparral 224 Sunesta
…and this big bowrider can keep that speed up for 139 miles. Best cruise speed will carry her 231 miles.

Chaparral may have opened the doors to some interesting innovations on its 277 SSX but we think the real story is in her performance and handling. She turns as if on rails showing no chine walk or tendency to fall off the turn. And we’re just getting warmed up. Our full test and performance review is now ready for viewing. More...

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Test Video

Formula 240 Bowrider:
Two Versions Available

Formula 240 Bowrider
The Formula 240 Bowrider is roomy with a LOA of 24’ (7.32 m) and a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m).

The Formula 240 Bowrider is available in two versions, this Bowrider which we tested, and the Bowrider Sport version, which adds a boat-load of additional standard features. We found her fit and finish to be on par with the largest of the Formula lineup. So first things first, let's check out how she performs in our full test video. More...

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Review Video

Hydra-Sports 2500 CC:
She's All About Fishing

Hydra-Sports 2500 CC
With a LOA of 24’10 " (7.57 m) and a beam of 8’10 " (2.69 m) the Hydra-Sports 2500 CC was not designed for staying close to home in protected water.

The Hydra-Sports 2500 CC was literally built from the keel up to be a serious contender in the center console fishing realm, an area that Hydra-Sports does not take lightly. She has high freeboard to keep her safe in a seaway, a 23-degree deadrise to handle the offshore conditions, a Kevlar reinforced keel and a grid stringer system bonded to the hull to ensure long-lasting strength. The only things anglers need to worry about are the rods. Let's look at the features review...

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New Test Video

Presenting Boston Whaler 270 Vantage:
A Family Sportboat

Boston Whaler 270 Vantage
One of the most distinguishing features of the new Boston Whaler 270 Vantage is the hull design and the ride it delivers in big water.

The Boston Whaler 270 Vantage is a brand new design from the hull up. This model has been designed to provide sportboat features and the comfort typically found in lake boats, with the big water handling capabilities of a saltwater boat. Our test showed that this boat can handle rough water and deliver a ride that sets this model apart from others in class. When you pay a little more for a boat there should be a reason and in our opinion the 270 Vantage provides many, making her well worth the money. Let's look at the features review...

Request a brochure. Ask a question.
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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 541 Sedan:
Powered With Twin Zeus Pods

Meridian Yachts 541 Sedan Bridge
While we were understandably impressed with the interior layout of this 541 Sedan, we didn’t expect a lot of surprises from the handling side of the test. How wrong we were.

Meridian Yachts built its reputation by adding a lot of value while keeping their boats affordable. This 541 Sedan is the largest in the Meridian Yachts lineup and she offers a lot of bang for the buck. Let's step aboard and put her to a full test and see what she has to offer. More...

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Test Video

Robalo R180:
Small Size for Big Fishing

 Robalo R180
At best cruise speed we found the Robalo R180 to have a range of 237 miles.

The Robalo R180 may only be 18'4" (5.6 m) LOA, but she has features that allow her to handle coastal fishing right alongside much larger boats. She has relatively heavy weight that adds stability and high freeboard.  As for how she handles, let's take a look at our full test video. More...

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New Captain's Report

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX:
The Flagship of the Pro Team Family

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX
The largest of the Pro Team family, this 190 TX has a LOA of 18’7” (5.66 m) and a beam of 7’5” (2.26 m).

Tracker has long been a leader in affordable, well built boats, and their fishing line leaves little to be desired. Case in point is this Pro Team 190 TX. As the flagship of the Pro Team lineup, this competitive class fishing boat comes completely equipped with only a cover and brake upgrade for the trailer as the only items on the options list. For those looking for the best bang for the buck, this may be the boat of choice. More...

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Captain's Report

Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly (aka 58 Fly):
Let's Entertain Them!

Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly
The Cranchi Fifty 8 Fly was introduced last summer and it fills out the company's line that extends from 29' to 66' (8.8 m to 20.1 m).

Cranchi is one of Italy's oldest boat companies and makes 18 models, all designed to be low, sleek and fast. In Italy, it seems, no one wants to go slow whether making a run from one marina to the next, or heading across the Adriatic to the Dalmatian coast. The Fifty 8 Fly has three staterooms, two heads, an aft galley and has at least five places where to relax under the sun. She is powered by twin IPS Volvo Penta diesels and has a top speed in the low 30-knot range, depending on engines and weight. Find out more...

Request a brochure. Ask a question.
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Captain's Report

Nord Star 40 Patrol:
Built in Finland with IPS Power

Nord Star 40 Patrol
Nord Star's 40 Patrol was designed from the keel up for pod power.  According to Volvo Penta, with twin IPS 600s, she'll run at 40.6 knots, cruise economically in the mid-30s.  The flying bridge, shaded cockpit and wide swim platform turn this Scandi boat into a warm-weather cruiser, too.

You can always count on the Scandinavians to produce interesting boats, and the Nord Star Patrol line is no exception. Top of the line is this 40 Patrol, which combines a quasi-military profile with an inviting flying bridge and wide swim platform. Built by Linex-Boat Oy, a family-owned company based in Kalvia, Finland, the 42'6" (12.98 m) LOA x 12'6" (3.85 m) beam 40 Patrol is designed for folks who cruise in a wide range of sea and weather conditions, not all of them friendly. Join us for some herring and aquavit...

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Features Video

Rampage 34 Express:
Express Fishboat "Destroyer"

Rampage 34 Express
Capt. Steve mans his battle station in a backing-down drill on the Rampage 34. This boat comes standard with every bit as much fire power in the cockpit as a 54' battlewagon.

Typically, a 50-something battlewagon has 140 sq. ft. or more in the cockpit.  That is why we call the Rampage 34, with her 77 sq ft. of cockpit space, a "destroyer." The Rampage 34 is smaller than a battlewagon, not as beamy, but is faster, and certainly costs a lot less money to own and operate than one of the huge sportfishing dreadnaughts. But when it comes to raw "fire power" in the cockpit in terms of fish fighting the Rampage 34 is right there with the multi-million dollar rigs. In backing down with her IPS500 system she is more nimble, and she can get into skinnier water than the heavies. See our video...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta V8-380:
The Next Generation

Volvo Penta V8-380
Volvo Penta managed to pack a lot of power into an engine that is smaller and lighter than the competition.

Volvo Penta has applied advances in technology to create an entirely new V8 gasoline sterndrive engine. It runs cleaner, and weighs less with the sterndrive attached than competing engines alone. Variable Valve Timing allows for smoother acceleration, and better midrange performance. And her components are designed to last longer, even in a saltwater environment. We recently took it for a test ride so let’s see the video results. More...

Captain Search

Captain Search

If you are a USCG licensed 100 ton boat captain and think you have the skills to be a test captain, then we would like to hear from you. Please prepare a three to four minute edited boat test video using our format on a model of your choice. You may submit this video electronically or mail us a disc. Please ensure the video is in a QuickTime format and send to the attention of Christopher Hughes,

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Picture of the Week

Picture of the Week
Find out where this picture was taken and when.

See the larger picture, when and who took it -- and where!

Send us your favorite boating images.

When sending a photo, let us know when, where and what boat you were on.

Start the New Year Right’s
4-DVD Box Set
Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. Our 4-DVD video covers it all.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about's 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 video course available.  Order here...

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Visit us on Facebook and "like" us to see the latest, plus some behind the scenes looks.

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Lesson of the Week

Waterskiing Safety Tips

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
When pulling a skier always have a minimum of three people on board. The third person’s job is to watch the water-skier at all times.

This week Capt. Steve goes over seven lessons and guidelines on waterskiing safety and the laws boaters should abide by. Capt. Steve will also go over some basic hand signals which allow the skier and observer to communicate most effectively. The videos presented this week are part of’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Honey, don't be mad. I said 'How did we end up the big caboose?' not 'How did you end up with a big caboose?'" - P. Bartock

Second Place

"Marge! The depth finder still reads two feet!" - J. Wassel

Third Place

"My boat corners like it was on rails!"
- G. Ledbetter

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 01/09/2013

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