Bayliner 16 // Scout 32 // Nord Star 37 // Prestige 62 // 13 Reviews - 02/20/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter February 20, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Formula 310 SS
- Mercury Verado 250
- Bayliner Element
- Chaparral 224 Sunesta
- Cruisers Sport Series 238
- Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan
- Nord Star 37
- Prestige 620S
- Rampage 41 Express
- Robalo R247
- Sea Ray 210 SLX
- Scout 320 LXF
- Tahoe Q8 SSi
- Crownline E2
- Volvo Penta OceanX
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- Ducky Award Winner

Formula 310 Sun Sport:
A Woman's Take On Design

Formula 310 SS
The Formula 310 SS is offered with two optional designer packages --
Ralph Lauren and Tommy Bahama.

Typically when we look at the boats we test and review, we focus on the seating, ergonomics, and overall layout. This often causes us to fail to see the trees because of the forest and we end up missing the small details that make the design what it is.  To give you a woman's perspective we took another look, this time focusing on design and styling.  More...

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New Captain's Report

Nord Star 37 Patrol:
Capable 4-Season Cruiser

Nord Star 37 Patrol
The Nord Star 37 Patrol is built in northern Finland and has a CE Class B rating which means she is designed to handle winds up to 40 knots and 25' (7.62 m) seas.

The Nord Star 37 Patrol is not really a patrol boat even though some governmental agencies use her for just that. She is actually a nicely appointed, comfortable recreational cruiser that is built tough enough to handle more challenging sea conditions. Nord Star is now bringing this design combination to North America hoping to expand the same popularity enjoyed in Europe. With her opening sunroof, side doors and sliding aft door she can be airy inside and be used anywhere. Read our snapshot look at this rugged boat...

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New Captain's Report

Mercury Verado 250:
Supercharged For Predictable Performance

Mercury Verado 250
Whether in a single or multiple-engine configuration, the Mercury Verado 250 can turn the horsepower needed when other engines are starved for oxygen.

One of the most difficult decisions when powering certain size boats is deciding whether to go with 200-hp, 250-hp or 300-hp engines. All three have their advantages, but of course the larger engines cost more. In many cases, we think the Mercury Verado 250 might be the best compromise between performance, price, and operating expense. Equally as important is this engine's performance in hot, humid conditions where a supercharger can keep horsepower up when naturally-aspirated engines begin to fade. Find out all about it...

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New Test Video

Bayliner Element:
All New for Entry-Level

Bayliner Element
The Bayliner Element has a LOA of 16’2” (4.9 m) and a beam of 7’5” (2.1 m) planting her firmly in the starter category.

Bayliner created an entirely new design with its all-new Element and not only focused on simplicity, but affordability as well. The price is kept down by making virtually every item optional, from the Bimini top to the cooler -- so buyers need only pay for what they want. As for simplicity, she has a basic electrical system, fuel system, and a 60-hp outboard motor and comes complete with a trailer. And if trailering was ever a concern, then she will even alleviate that worry by loading perfectly every time. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 224 Sunesta:
Clever Innovations and Deckboat Room

Chaparral 224 Sunesta
The Chaparral 224 Sunesta has a deckboat layout that carries her 8’6” (2.59 m) beam well forward providing more room in her bow.

It’s easy to find the appeal of this 224 Sunesta -- she has all of the advantages of a deckboat plus a few extras. She not only has gentle handling and good performance characteristics, but she also has an innovative layout that gave us one of those “why doesn’t everyone do this” moments. It all comes together in a package that looks stylish with graceful lines that curve in all the right places.  More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 238 Bow Rider:
A Yacht Builder’s Sportboat

Cruisers Sports Series 238 Bow Rider:
Note how the light reflects off the horizontal striations in the hull of this 23'8'' (7.21 m) sportboat.  This has the effect of making the freeboard seem lower and makes the boat even more dazzling.

The Cruisers Sport Series 238 Bow Rider may represent the smallest in this builder’s new lineup, but her attention to detail rivals the largest in the lineup. She has the looks and feel that tell of a boat dedicated to style and luxury.  Our tests have shown her to be docile at high speeds.  More...

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New Captain's Report

Scout 320 LXF:
A Family Fishing/Cruising Machine

Scout 320 LXF
The all-new 2013 Scout 320 LXF has a 9'10" (2.99 m) beam, a 22" (.55 m) draft and a dry weight without engines of 7,100 lbs (3,200 kgs). Most of what you see in this picture comes standard.

The new 320 LXF (for luxury fishboat) is not only an impressive fishing machine, she is intended to be a family day cruiser as well.  Other than her lines and classy rounded stern quarters with tumble home, most noteworthy is the fact that she comes loaded with equipment that most builders make optional.  Find out more...

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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan Bridge:
Moving on to Real Cruising

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan Bridge
When boaters are ready to graduate to a cruiser, we suggest taking a close look at the 341 SB. At 35’10” (10.9 m) she has all of the basics for overnight fun on the water.

We think the Meridian Yachts 341 should be considered as a transitional boat when it’s time to leave the bowriders and cuddy cabins behind. Not only is she accommodating for weekend or weeklong getaways, we find that she can also handle coastal conditions. To prove it we tested her not in flat calm waters, but in sloppy seas. More...

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Captain's Report

Robalo R247:
A Salty Dual Console

Robalo R247
The Robalo R247 is designed to be a versatile utility boat with various missions including cruising, fishing, waterskiing, diving, or just blasting around. The hardtop is one of the many options.

The dual console Robalo R247 certainly qualifies as belonging in the salty category. At 5,000 lbs. (2,268 kg) dry, with a single 300-hp engine and a 22-degree deadrise at the transom she is not afraid of snotty offshore conditions. But because she's able to handle conditions like that, she has a lot of appeal to the family boaters looking to head beyond the protected inlet.  Depending on whether the day calls for fishing with the guys or playing with the family, Robalo offers the options needed. More...

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Test Video

Prestige 620S:
Owner/Operator Capable

 Prestige 620S
With a LOA of 63’11” (19.5 m) our tests show a top speed of 31.5 kts
and a best cruise range of 331 nm.

The Prestige 620S is a natural for an owner/operator luxury yacht. With her joystick maneuverability, there’s no longer a need for a hired captain and she can be operated from any of her three control stations. Her flying bridge layout saves nearly 1,000 lbs (454 kg) over the Prestige 60 and allows for the addition of a sunroof in the forward salon below. With a pair of IPS900 engines she has good cruise performance with the solid feel of an even larger yacht. More...

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Interior Video

Rampage 41 Express:
An Offshore Family Cruiser, Too

Rampage 41 Express
We found expert joinery, beautiful fit and finish, and a clever use of space (note the two Pullmans above) in our look at the 41 interior.  She can cruise in style as well as fish.

Whether it’s a load of guys overnighting to the canyons or a family and guests spending a weekend on the islands, the fact remains… offshore fishing boats are being used more and more as cruisers. That is why the Rampage 41 Express with her battle-ready hull and commodious layout makes such a good cruiser, in our opinion.  In her standard configuration she sleeps six between the forward private stateroom and the salon L-seating with Pullman berths.  There’s also an option for adding a second stateroom aft. But more to the point, Rampage seems to have a knack for adding real quality and looks into the mix. Just one glance at her fit and finish proves it.  More...

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Test Video

Sea Ray 210 SLX:
Higher Quality / Lower Noise Level

Sea Ray 210 SLX
In addition to adding a ton of premium features, Sea Ray's design team also had the task of reducing the noise level.

The Sea Ray 210 SLX answers the call for boaters not wanting to compromise on quality and features just because they need to stay small. This new bowrider is loaded with upscale features including a premium trailer and she performs just as good as she looks. She’s also part of the new line of Sea Rays that are built with “Quiet Ride”, the proprietary technology that reduces noise levels. And, oh yes…it works. More...

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Test Video

Tahoe Q8 SSi:
Fast and Affordable

Tahoe Q8 SSi
With an LOA of 21'8" (6.6 m) and a dry weight of 3,500 lbs (1587 kg), this top-end of the Tahoe lineup averaged 54.3 mph in our speed trials.

There are a lot of high-end features on the Tahoe Q8 SSi. We saw insulated coolers, dual wet-storage lockers at the swim platform and storage under both consoles. In fact, one of the few things not high-end on this well thought-out family boat is the price. She’s a good choice for a family looking to get on the water without having to sacrifice performance just to keep the price down. More...

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Captain's Report

Crownline E2 EC:
Strong Dock Appeal and High Style

Crownline E2 EC
The E2 has a deckboat-like bow, but the rest of her is pure sportboat. Crownline is marrying the best of both worlds in this Eclipse series.

The 22'6'' (6.86 m) Crownline E2 EC may have deckboat styling, but her relatively high freeboard and premium features all say "sportboat". It seems that the design team at Crownline has managed to marry the features of the two styles and even blur the line that distinguishes them. With a long list of standard features she is priced toward the high side of the middle.  More...

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Engine Video

Volvo Penta OceanX Outdrive:
Built to Resist Corrosion

Volvo Penta OceanX Outdrive
With maintenance-free gimbal bearings and U-joints and standard power steering this may be just the drive of choice for those planning to keep their boat for the long haul.

Volvo Penta has stepped up and created an outdrive that solves nearly all of the problems that plague the average boater, particularly those in saltwater. Nagging issues like corrosion, sand in the cooling system, blown out exhaust bellows, and water in the drive oil are all solved with the OceanX outdrive. It's a bit more expensive than a basic outdrive, but it's a good investment not only from a resale perspective, but also if the plan is to keep that boat for the long haul. Today we take a look at the details and put it through a full test to see how it performs. Bring on the salt water...


Shurhold Snap-Stick:
No More Corroded Snaps

Shurhold Products
Protect your snaps and zippers with Snap-Stick.

If there is something that all boaters can relate to, it is corrosion. So how about when you go to uncover the boat and you can’t get the snap to unsnap or you can’t get the zippers to move? The team at Shurhold has a simple and effective product that can prevent this from happening and keep your language civil. Snap-Stick is designed to keep your snaps and zippers from corroding and also act as a lubricant. Watch a video on the Snap-Stick to see it in action...

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.

For Expert Boating’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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Lesson of the Week

PWC Safe Operation Tips - Part III

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Most PWC accidents occur by an inexperienced operator who does not know how to maneuver the watercraft or is operating it at an unsafe speed.

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’s USCG-approved Boating Course. 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

"Beam! I need more beam!" - A. Burke

Second Place

"The guy at the dealership kept telling me redundancy is key." - Sousa

Third Place

"Yeah it's great but it takes some time to work out the ignition keys to start the damn things and trimming is a nightmare.... however powering up onto the trailer? Magic." - D. Gilmore

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 02/20/2013

You write the caption! Will you win the coveted "Ducky Award" for best caption?

Simply fill in your caption and you may get lucky -- quack here.


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