Key West 203 // 50' Beneteau MC5 // Absolute 64 // 10 Reviews - 02/06/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter February 6, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Absolute 64 STY
- Beneteau MC5
- Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
- Albemarle 360 XF
- Bayliner Element
- Carolina Cat 23DC
- Chaparral 310 Signature
- Cruisers Sport Series 258
- Key West 203FS
- Yamaha FX SHO
- Volvo Penta SD Joystick
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Absolute 64 STY:
Zen and the Art
Motoryacht Design

Absolute 64 STY
The Absolute 64 STY is built in Northern Italy.

To our way of thinking the Absolute 64 STY symbolizes the gestalt of motoryacht building -- namely, she is a vessel that is greater than the sum of her parts. What is captured in the image above is the Romantic (Zen) aspect of the yacht in her element. What is not seen are the details and inner workings of this complex motoryacht that allow her to be so much more than fiberglass, engine iron, wood, fabric and electronics. When properly executed, the combination of components and craftsmanship give a motoryacht such as the Absolute 64 great value. Find out more in our snapshot review...

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New Boat

New Beneteau Monte Carlo 5:
50' Flybridge Motor Cruiser

Beneteau Monte Carlo 5
Beneteau's new Monte Carlo 5 is aimed squarely at the sedan and flybridge express market with a design which is sure to garner attention -- and respect -- wherever it goes.

Clearly the new MC5 was inspired by the hatchet bows of several superyachts launched the last five years or so and the plumb bows and angular high-freeboard shapes of Wally yachts. But Beneteau has done them both one better in our opinion by burnishing off the rough edges of those over-the-top, self-conscious designs and producing what could be a new trend in mid-size cruising powerboats. This three-stateroom, two-head cruiser with flying bridge is powered by twin Volvo Penta IPS500s and has details and amenities intended to appeal to veteran boaters looking to move both up and down. We inspected her last month at her debut in Düsseldorf, Germany and came back with lots of pictures and some first impressions. See her here...

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New Test Video

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage:
New Boat, New Look, New Advantages

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
Even in a hard turn and heavy chop the handling of the new Boston Whaler 230 Vantage can only be described as excellent and smooth.

When we set out to test the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage we had gusts over 15 mph, chop and light rain. Of the many distinguishing features of the 230 Vantage the one at the top of the list, in our opinion, is the boat's handling. She provides a smooth, comfortable big-water ride not often found in a family sportboat of this size in coastal waters. See the full test...

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Test Video

Albemarle 360 Express Fish:
Fishing with IPS

Albemarle 360 Express Fish
While offshore fishing boats have been a little slower to convert to pod drives, the pendulum certainly seems to be swinging in that direction. Albemarle converted its popular 360 Express Fish to IPS and we like its advantages.

Albemarle's 360 Express Fish has been a popular fishing rig in the express market. So it was only a matter of time before she was re-rigged and fitted with IPS pods to take advantage of the increased maneuverability. She has excellent backing fown capabilities.  We tested her performance and handling capabilities with one of the most notable features of IPS…sportfish mode. Fish on...

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New Captain's Report

New Bayliner Element:
For Entry Level, It’s… Elementary

Bayliner Element
The new Bayliner Element represents a completely new design from a company well-known for its affordable boats. Find out what happened when we took her into some rough stuff.

Bayliner has created an entirely new design as its entry-level boat. The Element is simple and straightforward and will make a good starter boat for the kids, an easy-to-handle boat for mom, and a handy boat to take on vacation as it’s so easily trailered. She has what Bayliner refers to as an "M" hull that keeps her stable, allows for nearly flat turns, and even keeps her relatively level when stepping aboard. Let’s take a look at our full report and see just how "elementary" a design can be. More...

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Captain's Report

Carolina Cat 23DC:
Offshore-Friendly Dual Console

Carolina Cat 23 DC
With a LOA of 22'7" (6.88 m) this midsize dual console has a capacity rating for 10 persons.

When we tested the center console version of this boat we were blown away by her performance offshore. Now, with this dual console version, a good boat has gotten even better. Her cat hull provides enough space for 10 people while still including room for a full-size head. And based on our experience with this hull, she should have outstanding performance even when the weather turns snotty. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 310 Signature:
Tested with Twin 225-hp 4.3L Sterndrives

Chaparral 310 Signature
The Chaparral 310 Signature has a LOA of 31’ (9.45 m) and a beam of 10’ (3.05 m).

The design team at Chaparral set out to create an express cruiser with sportboat handling characteristics. Our test of this new model has shown that it achieved the goal, and then some. With three-across seating at the helm, a roomy cockpit with side-mount pedestal table, cockpit fridge and convertible aft seating, she makes a compelling cruiser. And the innovations continue below decks. More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider:
Classy and Sassy with a Big Boat Feel

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bowrider has a LOA of 25’ (7.62 m) and a trailerable
beam of 8'6" (2.59 m).

For boaters with lots of friends, sometimes only a big bowrider will do. This Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bowrider not only has ample seating, but also offers plenty of comfort even when all those seats are full. She's part of a new line of premium sportboats from KCS International that we think is something to get excited about. More...

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New Captain's Report

Key West 203 FS:
An Economical 23' Express Cruiser

Key West 203 FS
The Key West 203 FS was introduced last year and is equipped with amenities to make her more family-friendly than the average center console.

One can't cruise along the ICW from Florida to Maryland without discovering that one of the most ubiquitous center console brands on the water is Key West. To some degree this is probably because of her competitive price-point and the location of her two plants (South Carolina), but as we were to discover when we drilled down into the brand, Key West boats have much more going for them than price and location. And that is undoubtedly why a number of high-profile and respected dealers in the Northeast have recently taken on the line.  More...

Submit a question to the builder Request digital brochure
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Test Video

Yamaha FX SHO Series:
Performance and Comfort Combined

Yamaha FX SHO Series
The FX SHO and FX Cruiser SHO differ only in a few of the amenities.

The Yamaha FX series, which includes the FX SHO and the FX Cruiser SHO was designed for the rider who wants all the power and performance of a racing watercraft as well all comfort and features of a cruising PWC. This series is the longest WaveRunner offered by Yamaha with a hull length of 11', making it a more capable cruiser as well. Powered by the same 1.8L four-stroke supercharged engine that powers their professional racing WaveRunners, the FX series offers the best combination of features available. Watch the test ride...

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Features Video

Volvo Penta
Sterndrive Joystick:
Component Requirements

Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick
We used the Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick to dock a 30’ (9.1 m) bowrider with just inches to spare between the bow and stern. And it worked flawlessly. But how difficult is it to install?

The Volvo Penta Sterndrive Joystick has brought new levels of functionality to boats across a large spectrum of sizes, but does it add a lot of complicated components? Does it require extensive cutting and drilling? And is it right for all boats? To answer those questions we take an in-depth look at the components that go into a typical installation of the sterndrive joystick system. More...

Test Video

Shurhold Products:
Filter for Gas

Shurhold Products
See how easy it is to use this polisher as Capt. Steve walks us through the process.

The Shurhold Dual Action Polisher is a sturdy machine that helps create a great shine. One of the best features is the extra long power cord with the GFIC protection. The other feature we like is the orbiting action of the buffer head. It really does prevent swirl marks. Also, the ability to regulate the rpms is very helpful; it can be adapted to different projects and get the very best out of the buffing compound of your polish. Learn more by watching our test video...

Where in the World?

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...

Watch the trailer...

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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

Basic PWC Safety Tips

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
PWCs are subject to the same safety laws as boats and must obey the same rules of the road and guidelines.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on safely operating a PWC. While they may look easy and fun to drive they still require the driver’s full attention and must be treated like any other boat on the water, with caution and safety in mind. Capt. Steve will go over some key differences of operating a PWC from operating a boat and he will discuss the most important feature, the automatic shut-off and self-circling feature. 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

"You've got to believe me, the undertow here is crazy." - M. Antonacci

Second Place

"You can pull ahead now, I'm off the trailer!" - M. Roche

Third Place

"I don't care what the salesman said Blanch, it's not going to fit in the back of the truck!"
- L. Hoke

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 02/06/2013

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