Sea Hunt 23 // Manitou 23 // Meridian 34 // Sea Ray 37 // 14 Reviews - 07/03/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter July 3, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Meridian 341 Sedan
- Nordic Tugs 34
- Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
- Formula 34 PC
- Sea Hunt Ultra 234 CC
- Manitou 23 Oasis SR VP
- Mercury Verado 225 HP
- Tracker Pro Team 190 TX
- MJM 36z
- Monte Carlo Yachts 76
- Robalo R180
- Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
- Sun Tracker FB 20 DLX
- Yanmar 8LV
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson - What Is Going On Here?

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan:
Tested with Twin 425-hp
Gas Engines

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan
Break out the map and draw a circle around the home marina that goes out 158 miles. That’s where the Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan can take you on your first hop.

It’s hard to think of a flybridge yacht as being entry level, but that contradiction of terms fits well with the 341 Sedan from Meridian because she serves the role of bringing novice skippers used to day boating into the world of real cruising and keeping the family away from home for the whole weekend, or longer. In this test, we go over the operations of this popular model from start to finish so owners can see just how easy it is to step up to real cruising. More...

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New Test Report

Nordic Tugs 34:
An American Built, World-Class Trawler

 Nordic Tugs 34
The Nordic Tugs 34 is part of the six-boat lineup of coastal cruisers designed for long voyages from home.

Trawler cruising requires a boat with the versatility to handle varying conditions, including shallow water and low bridges. We recently tested the new Nordic Tug 34 and came away convinced that a cruising couple could go a lot of places in this boat, and stay onboard for a long time. She’s easily managed, and can be operated single handed. There is handy access to virtually all components for maintenance and daily checks. As for how long she can go, our test results tell the tale. More...

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New Family Features Video

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage:
Versatile Dayboat Layout

 Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
The Boston Whaler 230 Vantage displays some clever design schemes to allow for more room, and greater functionality than we normally see in a boat in this class.

These days every builder says its boat is “family friendly”. Well, no kidding, it’s a boat! But to us, family friendly has more to do with the layout being able to accommodate a family, than with keeping them afloat. At Boston Whaler, the design teams were tasked with taking a fresh look, and with a clean slate design a boat with a layout that could accommodate the family and friends with space to separate parts of the group, have a fully functioning head, a meal prep area… oh, and add watersports functionality. We think they hit it out of the park with the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage. And we’ll show why. More...

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Features Video

Formula 34 PC:
Well Appointed Cruiser

Formula 34 PC
It’s not hard to see how well the Formula 34 PC is appointed with rich woods and soft tones that are as pleasing to the eye as they are comfortable to be on.

Formula is a company that doesn’t do anything halfway, and as such, we’ve come to expect a lot in the way of fit and finish. True to form, the 34 PC delivers with upscale treatments that yes, cost more, but discerning buyers have a desire for this level of class and someone has to deliver. With a gleaming Imron finish, butter soft leather seats in the salon, and choice materials throughout, a cruiser such as this sends a clear signal that her owner knows when a boat has been built right. More...

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New Snapshot Review

Sea Hunt Ultra 234 CC:
A Brand That Is Here to Stay

Sea Hunt Ultra 234 CC
The Sea Hunt Ultra 234 has a beam of 8'6" (2.59 m) and draws just 1'3" (.38 m) and weighs only 2,650 lbs. (1,204 kgs.), dry, making her one of the lightest boats in class.

Sea Hunt was founded in 1995, making it one of the newest boat builders in the country. It has not only survived the Great Recession, it has drawn strength from it. Today the company makes 25 models in seven different series, covering bay boats, offshore boats, walkarounds, dual consoles, asymmetric consoles, but mostly center consoles. They range in size from 17' (5.81 m) to 29' (8.83 m) and are all outboard powered. The Ultra 234 CC is in the heart of this company's product line and is intended to be a "mixed use" boat, good for fishing but also for towing sports and just cruising around. Find out more about the Ultra 234 and why Sea Hunt boats, in general, are so popular. A full report...

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Captain's Report

Manitou 23 Oasis SR VP:
Filling a Niche with Good Value

Manitou 23 Oasis SR VP
At 24’4” (7.42 m) LOA the Manitou 23 Oasis represents a middle of the road design that customers are looking for.

Manitou tells us that the Oasis line is its biggest selling series because it represents a good value between the entry level boats and the “sky’s the limit” top tier models. Such a representation of a good value shows that Manitou is listening to its customers and delivering quality to the market in a build that has been synonymous with integrity for years. More...

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Captain's Report

Mercury Verado 225 HP:
Building a Better Mousetrap

Mercury Verado 225 HP
The Mercury Verado 225 HP engine is a 6-cylinder, 4-stroke, 2-star CARB rated workhorse that solves a number of problems boaters face on a regular basis.

When designing the Verado series of engines, Mercury engineers decided to create an engine that would be more durable than anything else on the market. It would have to deliver peak performance at high altitude lakes, and be durable enough to stand up to the rigors of hard offshore saltwater use. So exactly how did Mercury accomplish all this, and what other features does this 225-hp package represent? See our full report... More...

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Captain's Report

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX:
A Ride So Good It’s Guaranteed

Tracker Pro Team 190 TX
The Tracker Pro Team 190 TX offers a lot of bang for the buck -- 90-hp engine, trailer, aerated livewell and a trolling motor.

We know of no other builder that stands behind its product well enough to actually guarantee a smooth ride, but that’s exactly what Tracker Marine does with its Pro Team 190 TX. Its exclusive "Revolution Hull", designed with offset transom is as good as they say, according to our test captain. The Tracker Pro Team 190 TX is a fully equipped boat, with only a cover and trailer brakes on the options list. More..

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Test Video

MJM 36z:
Testing a Twin-Mission Cruiser

MJM 36z
With a 39’4” (11.99 m) LOA and a beam of 11’ (3.35 m) the MJM 36z can be easily managed by a cruising couple planning on spending extended time onboard. She can also be single handed quite well.

Like all MJM yachts, the MJM 36z has two primary missions: 1) To be a comfortable day cruiser for entertaining a large group of friends and, 2) Be a go anywhere, anytime cruiser for a couple that has a lot of time on their hands. Today we offer a full test to show exactly what owners can expect from the MJM 36z. More...

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Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 76:
Salon and Galley Features

Monte Carlo Yachts 76
With gathering areas at every turn, this award winning yacht has taken the large motoryacht market by storm. That's why we've made more videos on it than any other to date.

The simple fact that we can do a dedicated video of just the salon and galley of this beautiful yacht speaks volumes about the engineering and design thought that has gone into this boat. With a single level layout that seamlessly transitions through the entire deck, and a fully opening entryway that blurs the line between outside and inside, this design has an entertainment and gathering platform that is second to none in class. More...

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Features Video

Robalo R180:
"High-End" and Still "Affordable"

Robalo R180
Today we take a look at the layout and features that make us scratch our heads when we have to describe the Robalo R180 as "affordable".

With excellent build quality, fit-and-finish, and lots of equipment on the standard list, the Robalo R180 belongs in the top tier of center consoles in class. But when it comes to pricing, at $27k she is in what we call the "affordable" range in class. This is a compelling situation that most consumers are looking for. More...

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New Design & Styling Video

Sea Ray 370 Sundancer:
New Decor and Styling

 Sea Ray 370 Sundancer
We take a special look below to discover the new materials and decor in the Sea Ray 370 Sundancer.

While the Sea Ray 370 Sundancer is certainly well established as a popular cruising boat, Sea Ray is not resting on its laurels. Rather, the new model has higher quality materials and decor than ever before. Seeing is believing. More...

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Captain's Report

Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 20 DLX:
Fishing at an Easy Pace

Sun Tracker Fishin Barge 20 DLX
Whether cruising or fishing, relaxing is the key word on the Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 20 DLX.

For those looking for a flat-out racing toon that screams to the fishing hole and gets back just before weigh-in… perhaps it’s best to look elsewhere. If however, the plan calls for leaving the cell phones at home and gliding across the water at a more sedate pace, propelled along by a mere 20-hp outboard, then it’s time to think about the Sun Tracker Fishin' Barge 20 DLX . With simple systems that are easily managed, this could very well be the ticket to the good life. More...

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Updated Captain's Report

Yanmar 370-hp 8LV Diesel:
A Winning Power-to-Weight Ratio

Yanmar 370-hp 8VL Diesel
European Wally//Designs is one of the highest-tech yacht designers/builders in the world. Its Wally/One yacht tender comes powered by twin Yanmar 8LV-370 engines as an option to the standard 315-hp Yanmar 6LPA engines. The builder says that with the twin 370s the boat can reach 47 knots.

The 8-cylinder, 4.5 L 8LV Yanmar diesel weighs less than 1,000 lbs. (454.5 kgs.) and is 40% to 50% less weight than its primary competition. Yanmar is able to produce this efficient engine because its mission is narrowly focused on a 50-hp range from 320 to 370-hp, unlike most engine blocks which have to have a greater horsepower range, thus creating several models, to be economically viable. The Yanmar 8LV is ideal for use in both single and twin engine installations in new construction and in re-power applications from 30' to 45' (9.14 m to 13.7 m). More...

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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’s
Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you. Smart Boating, because safe boating just isn't enough anymore.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about's Smart Boating Course it’s clearly not only for beginners, but also 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. Order your 4-disc box set...

Watch the trailer...
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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

"I'm in real trouble if he finds that cat..."
- S. Stewart

Second Place

"Just keep checking till we get to the other side of this reef..." - R. Ryan

Third Place

"The tennis ball is right in front of you..that's it..good come to the boat."
- P. Bass

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 07/3/2013

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