Tracker 160 // Chaparral 327 // Prestige 450 // Sea Ray 610 - 05/01/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter May 1, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Prestige 450 Fly
- Bayliner 215 DB
- Grand Banks 47 Heritage CL
- Tracker Pro 160
- Chaparral 327 SSX
- Chris-Craft Carina 21
- Evinrude E-TEC 50
- Jeanneau NC14
- Mako 18 LTS
- MJM 36z
- Sea Ray 610 Sundancer
- Sun Tracker PB 250
- Yamaha's Jet Drive
- PowerTech! Propellers
- Shurhold Products
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Prestige 450 Fly:
New Launch Put to the Test

Prestige 450
This new Prestige 450 Fly measures in at 45’10” (14 m) LOA with a beam of 14’2” (4.32 m).

The new Prestige 450 Fly fills a spot between the 440 and 500 series, but offers the fully private entrance to the master stateroom that the slightly smaller 440 cannot. The model is offered in both a sedan and flying bridge version, and today we put the latter through a full sea trial and see how Prestige has done on its latest version of an affordable luxury yacht. More...

Request digital brochure

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Test Video

Bayliner 215 DB:
Seats 12 in Two Cockpits

Bayliner 215 DB
The Bayliner 215 DB is easily transportable with a LOA of 20’7” (6.27 m) and a beam of 8’6” (2.59 m).

Bayliner has created a new line of outboard-powered deckboats and the 215 DB is a representative example of the new direction the company is heading. She’s a more aesthetically pleasing design with much more functionality than the Bayliner deckboats of old, but the affordability is still in place. We tested her in a howling 20 mph wind blowing across open water, so we got a good idea of how she handles outside of her design comfort range. Let’s take a look at our full video review. More...

Bayliner 215 DB Promo Video Bayliner-made 215 DB promotional video.

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Snapshot Review

Grand Banks 47 Heritage CL:
New S&S Design Improvement

Grand Banks 47 Heritage CL
The latest generation of the Grand Banks 47 Heritage has a bottom designed by Sparkman & Stephens with propeller tunnels and a modified-V bottom shape. She cruises at over 20 knots.

The 47 Heritage CL looks like the old Grand Banks trawlers we have seen for 50 years, but in fact she is different both on the bottom and inside. Outside she is different, too, but the changes are more subtle and the designers have kept her classic profile. After all, who would want a low, sleek, curvy Grand Banks? This builder sets itself apart by keeping the traditional look -- and its practicality. Find out more...

Ask the builder a question

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Captain's Report

Tracker Pro 160:
Stop Complaining and Go Fish!

Tracker Pro 160
Designed for bass and multi-specie fishing, the 16'2'' (4.9 m) Tracker Pro 160 has a complete package weight of only 1,415 lbs. (643 kgs.) so she can be towed by just about anything.

The all-welded aluminum Tracker Pro 160 is a "Ready to Fish" package that is appealing to anglers looking for a more affordable option, with a price of $8,595. Tracker has what they call the "No Haggle, No Hassle" program which includes a Mercury 20-hp EL 4-stroke engine, custom-matched trailer with 12" wheels, Minn Kota 45-lb. thrust trolling motor, two batteries, a 9-gallon (34 L) aerated livewell and a Lowrance X-4 fishfinder with surface temperature readout and swivel. More...

Tracker Pro 160 Promo Tracker Pro 160 in action.

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Review Video

Chaparral 327 SSX:
A Super-Size Bowrider That Sleeps 2

Chaparral 327 SSX
The Chaparral 327 SSX is designed for entertaining and fun on the water.
Below she has a cabin that sleeps two.

Here’s a boat that does it all, and does it well. She seamlessly transitions between a large family bowrider and an overnight cruiser. Her standard hardtop adds to her stylish looks while adding much needed protection from the sun. Button her up with cruising canvas and make her a 3-season boat. Her deep-V hull gives her the ability to handle waters outside the protected inlets where most bowriders will be gathering. She can be powered with engines ranging from twin 300-hp to 430-hp. Let’s take a look at why she is so appealing to those trading up from smaller bowriders or down from larger gas guzzling cruisers. More...

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Captain's Report

Chris-Craft Carina 21:
Powerful, Sporty and Elegant

Chris-Craft Carina 21
At 21’2” (6.45 m) LOA this classy bowrider is reminiscent of more stylish times when boats were finely crafted from wood.

This Chris-Craft Carina 21 is a perfect blend of old style and modern tech and truly exemplifies the adage that half of the pleasure of owning a boat such as this is the appreciation of the craftsmanship lavished upon it. With classic lines and graceful curves, this could very well be the most eye-appealing boat on the lake. But good looks are not her only compelling attribute. More...

Factory-backed price quote

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Review Video

Evinrude E-TEC 50:
Powerful Low-End Torque with Economy

Evinrude E-TEC 50
The Evinrude E-TEC 50 is a 2-stroke, 2-cylinder powerhouse that runs on low octane fuel, has few moving parts, and state-of-the-art injectors that insure it starts every time.

Today we test this little workhorse on its perfect match…an aluminum fishing boat with a test weight of just under 1,600 lbs (716.7 kg). The E-TEC 50-hp brought us to plane in 3 seconds flat. Top speed was nearly 30 mph and her best cruise showed a fuel burn of only 2.1 gph, meaning it can keep going for 8 hours and 36 minutes while still holding back a 10-percent reserve. Choose from pull-cord or electric start, tiller or remote, and a choice of blue or white. All while still keeping the many perks of the full Evinrude E-TEC line such as clean burning, self winterization, self break-in, fewer moving parts and no scheduled maintenance -- or oil change -- required for 3 years or 300 hours. More...

Request repower info

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Test Video

Jeanneau NC14:
Roomy and Feature Rich

Jeanneau NC14
The newest model of the New Concept series has a LOA of 45’ (13.73 m) and a beam of 13’5” (4.1 m). She is roomy and full of amenities.

It started with the NC9 that impressed us with her versatility. Then the NC11 came along and the innovations continued. Now there’s the new NC14, proving not only that bigger is better, but also that she is as easy to handle as her little sisters. We tested this latest launch with a pair of Volvo Penta 370-hp IPS500s and reached a top speed of just under 32 kts. At best cruise she can go for 8 hours while still retaining a 10-percent reserve. Now, let’s look at the full test and see how Jeanneau has done with this affordable cruiser. More...

Request brochure

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Captain's Report

Mako 18 LTS:
Inner-Liner and Deck Bonded to Hull

Mako 18 LTS
This 18’6” (5.64 m) boat has a rigged draft of only 11” (28 cm) allowing her to get into tight hidey holes that others wouldn’t dare venture to.

The Mako 18 LTS is not just a fiberglass hull with spackle paint sprayed inside. No, she is a complete boat with inner liner, has raised decks both fore and aft for casting and water-tight compartments with close-molded lids. Most important, her fiberglass work is well-executed. More...

Mako Promo Video Mako promo video.

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Operational Video

MJM 36z:
Operational Features Examined

MJM 36z
The MJM 36z is a Downeast cruiser with character and good old Yankee practicality.

The MJM 36z was designed to take friends out on the water for a day's outing, perhaps to visit a small island for a picnic. She's also fitted out to be a go-anywhere cruiser for a couple. As she’s also the definitive owner-operated type of cruiser, it’s only appropriate that we take a detailed look at her operational aspects. There’s really no other boat quite like her. More...

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Captain's Report

Sea Ray 610 Sundancer:
The Queen of the Fleet

Sea Ray 610 Sundancer
The Sea Ray 610 Sundancer has a LOA of 61’6” (18.75 m) and her standard MAN 1100 CRM diesels come complete with the Joystick Maneuvering System.

It is fitting that the largest Sea Ray built should be the most elegant and luxurious in its line. The builder has pulled out all the stops to make the 610 Sundancer the queen not only of the Sea Ray fleet, but also queen of the large express cruiser prom.  She’s loaded with standard features that many yachts in this class only offer as options. We tested her with twin MAN inboards that produced a top speed of 35.8 kts and gave a range at best cruise of 323 nautical miles. But that's only the beginning of her story...

Factory-backed price quote

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Captain's Report

Sun Tracker Regency Party Barge 250 XP3:
A Performance and Family Comfort

Sun Tracker Regency Party Barge 250 XP3
With a top speed of 50.4 mph and comfortable seating for 11 people, this 250 XP3 makes a good combination of high-speed performance and low-key luxury.

It's easy to add comfortable seats to a pontoon boat and call it luxurious, but Sun Tracker has worked hard to raise the level with many fine touches. The sporty performance of the triple XP3 tubes and the 250-hp Mercury Optimax brought her to a comfortable cruise speed of 23.1 mph which she could keep up for 109 miles. With the convenient changing room, she even makes transitions from play time to party time a breeze. More...

Sun Tracker Pontoon Boat Promo Sun Tracker promotional video.

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Test Video

Jet Drive Propulsion:
How It Works

Yamaha Jet Propulsion
To some, jet drives are as common as boats themselves. To others, they are still a mystery.

Yamaha Boats has been at the forefront of jet drive propulsion for a decade, and have served as an integral player in making it such a popular sportboat option. With no moving parts or sharp exposed edges to swimmers around the boat, jet drives have become a compelling choice for families with small children. Today we take a look at how these drive systems operate and why they’re so powerful. More...

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PowerTech! Propellers:
Match the Prop to the Job

PowerTech Propellers
With so many variables we strongly recommend research into which prop will be best for your boat, engine, and application.

Most stock boats come with stock props.  Generally speaking they do an adequate job for a broad range of applications.  But since they are inherently a compromise, boaters wanting superior performance for a specific job often need a special prop.  Today we feature an interview with Steve Powers, president of PowerTech! Propellers to discuss the factors that determine the ability of a propeller to accelerate. How good is your propeller?

Propeller worksheet...

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Shurhold Crystal Clear Glass:
The Way to Deal with Water Spots

Shurhold Crystal Clear Glass
Shurhold products are becoming the standard by which all others are judged, and Shurhold's new Magic Wool Pads are a prime example of why.

Since we work and play on the water, water spots are a problem that goes with the territory. Even after wash downs, water spots on glass are still present. Well, today, the team at Shurhold presents an instructional on how to deal with this universal problem. Their new product Magic Wool, used with their award winning Buff Magic cream just may be the answer to one of the most problematic issues that we love to ignore. View more info here...

Use coupon code mwp for 20% off Magic Wool Pads. Offer expires 5/15/2013.

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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.

Expert Boating

If Only They Had Watched’s
Boating Course

Smart Boating
Even the pros agree, the smart information in this course is perfect for every level of boater.'s 4-DVD video boating course is a painless way for newcomers to get up to speed, and old salts to remember all they have forgotten. It's the most complete boating video course available...period! Order here...

Watch the trailer...
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Lesson of the Week

Rules of the Road:
Power Vessels vs. Sailing In Narrow Channels

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Navigating safely in narrow channels.

This week Capt. Steve covers basic rules of the road in these twelve lessons and guidelines on: navigating safely through narrow channels, using caution with larger vessels in narrow channels, how to signal to another boat when there’s a blind spot, overtaking another boat, and rules for power-driven vessels versus sailing vessels when crossing paths. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. 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

"This has to be the biggest remote boat I have ever seen. I want to ride next!"
- R. Justice

Second Place

"Why are we taking the boat? We could have walked." - J. Smith

Third Place

"Game and fisheries prepare for a boarding- post budget cuts."
- G. Zimmerman

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 05/01/2013

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