Lowe 23 Toon // Carver 34 // Grand Banks 47 // 15 Reviews - 07/10/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter July 10, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter.
Boattest.com: Tests You Can Trust
- Beneteau Sense 55
- Carver C34
- Sea Ray 240 Sundeck I/O
- Evinrude E-TEC 50
- Chaparral 277 SSX
- Lowe Platinum 23 RFL
- Grand Banks 47 Heritage CL
- Bayliner Element
- Hatteras GT54
- Jeanneau Velasco 43
- Yamaha FX Cruiser HO
- Mako 18 LTS
- PowerTech Prop Selection
- Prestige 450 Fly
- Tahoe 195
- Volvo Penta D4
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson - What Is Going On Here?

Beneteau Sense 55:
A Look Below Decks

Beneteau Sense 55
The Beneteau Sense 55 has a LOA of 56’5” (17.2 m) and a beam of 16’4” (4.97 m). She’s among the easiest large sailboats to handle, even single handed.

Beneteau created a stunning yacht with the Sense 55 and she handles easily. But her real charm is in her features and layout, both of which are hidden from view upon first glance. Today we take a look at how well her sea-going features come together and how innovative this world class yacht truly is. More...

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Updated Captain's Report

Carver C34:
A Bold New Look for an Old Brand

Carver C34
At 13’ (3.96 m) the Carver C34 has among the highest beam-to-length ratios in class.

One has to look closely to see that this is indeed a Carver. The C34 is part of a new line from an old company and she doesn’t have any of the traditional characteristics that spotters use to identify her as a Carver, except the company name on the side of the cabin. With an entirely new exterior design featuring a nearly plumb bow and round portholes, and an interior that has a refreshing open layout, we think this yacht will be a welcome addition to the lineup. We recently tested her and her performance figures are now posted. More...

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 240 Sundeck I/O:
A Premium Bowrider

Sea Ray 240 Sundeck IO
The all-new Sea Ray 240 Sundeck has increased her capacity from 12 to 13 people and is offered in two power choices, sterndrive or outboard.

The world is full of 20-something bowriders and most are made to hit a price point that’s bound to generate fast sales. Sea Ray looks at this market segment a little differently and has created the 240 Sundeck to have both the beef and sizzle of prime steak. More...

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp:
A Feature-Rich Versatile Engine

 Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp
Our test boat had an empty weight of 895 lbs. (406 kg.), and with our Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp, 10 gallons (37.8 L) of gas, two people and test gear we had a test weight of 1,580 lbs. (716.7 kg.).

Not everyone on the water is running a race to the weigh-in. Some are fine slowing down and getting the job done.elisab For those, the Evinrude E-TEC 50-hp deserves serious consideration. We’ve seen this small workhorse on everything from yard tugs to launch tenders. Today we test it on what may be her perfect mate, a 16’ (4.9 m) aluminum fishing boat. More...

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Test Video

Chaparral 277 SSX:
Classy and Innovative Bowrider

Chaparral 277 SSX
Fans of big bowriders will love the Chaparral 277 SSX with her LOA of 27’6” (8.38 m) and 9’ (2.74 m) beam.

No one ever said that the design team at Chaparral wasn’t innovative, but if there were any doubts, then the 277 SSX would squash them like a bug. She’s got clever features throughout, but that’s not our focus today. This time we’re more concerned with how she handles, maneuvers, and docks. She’s available with no less than 11 engine and drive combinations, and today we put her through her paces with the 380-hp MerCruiser 8.2 MAG turning a B3 outdrive. More...

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New Snapshot Review

Lowe Platinum 23 RFL:
Designed with Families in Mind

Lowe Platinum 23 RFL
This photo says it all -- a pontoon boat can be a wonderful way for the kids to enjoy the water and the parents to enjoy the kids. The Platinum 23 RFL comes standard with a 150-hp Mercury 4-stroke engine.

The Lowe Platinum 23 RFL has a maximum capacity of 11 people and a weight capacity of 1,478 lbs. The height of the fencing is 29" (73 cm) which is 5" (12.6 cm) higher than ABYC Standards, making the boat ideal for youngsters. She comes standard with a 4-step boarding ladder which we like and is remarkably unusual, a 28-oz. carpet, and a heavy-duty 9' (2.74 m) Bimini top. More...

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Test Video

Bayliner Element:
"Entry Level" on More Levels

Bayliner Element
We tested hull #1 and being a prototype means that this first Bayliner Element wasn’t for sale. But on test day people kept wanting to buy her on the spot. (True story.)

So what defines an entry level boat? For most people it's just a small boat that’s easy to handle and affordable. With the Bayliner Element, it’s mission accomplished, right? Not so fast. Bayliner didn’t stop there. Instead, it created an entry level boat that has much more functionality than just being small. Her M-shaped hull keeps her more stable, she accelerates from a nearly flat attitude, she offers more seating than we normally see in class, and she loads onto a trailer perfectly… every time. More...

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Snapshot Review

Grand Banks 47 Heritage CL:
Classic Styling with an S & S Bottom

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.

When the words “long distance coastal cruising” are uttered, one style comes to mind... the classic Grand Banks look. The 47 Heritage CL maintains all the classic lines and styling that make the brand instantly recognizable, but inside, and certainly under the waterline, subtle changes have breathed new life into the quintessential cruising design. More...

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Features Video

Hatteras GT54:
A Carolina Convertible with Flair

Hatteras GT54
In a word, the mission for the GT54 was to be the fastest, best-looking, most functional 54' convertible on the market at a compelling price. Ok, that’s 14 words.

The Hatteras GT54 is part of a line of three yachts that have the capacity to tame big water when fishing, but also offer amenities for luxury cruising, all in a boat that offers speed combined with a salty look. Her amenities are first rate, and the fit and finish is second to none with only the best materials used. It’s all about Hatteras quality. More...

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New Features Video

Jeanneau Velasco 43:
A Newly Designed Family Cruiser

Jeanneau Velasco 43
With a LOA of 45’7” (13.7 m) and a beam of 13’6” (4.13 m) the new Jeanneau Velasco 43 was a welcome change from typical designs.

In the words of Jeanneau's design team, the Velasco 43 was to be a new family cruiser with an open floor plan that seamlessly blends the interior with the outdoors. We find her to be all that complete with an airy feeling thanks to massive sunroof windows and high overhead in the salon. Her layout has some unusual features and the fit and finish is all Jeanneau. More...

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Test Video

Yamaha FX Cruiser HO:
Combining Luxury and Performance

Yamaha FX Cruiser HO
The Yamaha FX Cruiser HO has a LOA of 140.2” (3.56 m) and a beam of 48.4” (1.22 m).

The Yamaha FX Cruiser HO is part of Yamaha’s luxury lineup offering exhilarating power combined with cruising comfort. She comes loaded with features such as Cruise Assist, No Wake Mode, dual grab handles, deep reboarding step, and a mechanical neutral position. All of this in a package being driven by a 1.8L high-output marine engine purpose-built by Yamaha. More...

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Captain's Report

Mako 18 LTS:
Rigged for Skinny Water

 Mako 18 LTS
The cockpit of the Mako 18 LTS is recessed between two elevated casting platforms clearly denoting this as a purpose-built fishing machine.

The Mako 18 LTS is obviously on a mission to get into water that most others can’t reach. Her hull draft is a mere 11” (28 cm) so working the poling platform will have her easing across flats that are inaccessible to many center consoles. Underway, she’s still made for shallow water with a rapid planing hull that minimizes bow rise, and with an optional jack plate, can maintain speed across thin waters close to shorelines. More...

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Product Video

PowerTech Props:
Making Sense of the Dizzying Choices

PowerTech Props
PowerTech carries over 5,000 different stainless steel props alone. The proper prop not only affects performance, but longevity of the engine as well.

Picking the correct prop for a specific application is far from a simple process. A number of factors go into the selection to determine cup size, blade diameter, and even the number of blades. Our “go to” source for all questions about prop selection is the team of specialists at PowerTech!. More...

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Test Video

Prestige 450 Fly:
Following a Path of Success

Prestige 450 Fly
One of the most distinguishing features of the Prestige 450 Fly is that she has a private entrance to the master stateroom as opposed to a shared companionway forward of the salon.

With the hugely popular Prestige 500 and 550 models, the 450 Fly enters the picture as a smaller sibling but no less practical in it’s execution and layout. With dual operating stations as standard, inclement weather will factor little in the voyage plans. It also means that the flying bridge need not be wrapped in plastic to maintain operations. We tested this model with a pair of 370-hp Volvo Penta IPS 500s and reached a top speed of 31.9 kts and a best cruise range of 223 nautical miles. More...

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Captain's Report

Tahoe 195:
When the Kids Get Older...

Tahoe 195
The Tahoe 195 has a LOA of 19’11” (6.07 m) and a trailerable beam of 8’6” (2.59 m). She’s offered with a choice of engines from 190-hp to 260-hp.

If good times on the water aren’t had by any owner of the Tahoe 195, then the boat sure can’t be blamed. She offers ample seating and features to cross over between fishing and watersports that are sure to keep the whole family busy on the lake. But there is more to her story. More...

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Test Video

Volvo Penta D4:
The Little Engine That Can (And Does)

Volvo Penta D4
The Volvo Penta D4 has been used to power boats from 20’- 45’ in both single and twin applications.

If there ever was a multi-tasker in the engine category, the Volvo Penta D4 is it. It can be connected to a straight shaft, V-Drive, duo-prop outdrives, or even IPS pod drives. Because it’s electronically controlled, Volvo Penta’s EVC features can bring cruise mode, engine sync, station keeping and a whole host of other perks to the skipper's finger tips. Available in horsepower ranges from 225-300, this could easily be the engine of choice for a new build or a repower from gas to diesel. 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!

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Expert Boating

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 BoatTEST.com'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...


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

Preparing for an Emergency Situation

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
If you hit something and are taking on water you must take decisive action quickly. Use whatever is available to help slow the flow of water going inside the boat while you wait for help to arrive.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on emergency situations and what to do to help preserve life while you wait to be rescued. Everyone aboard will have to act quickly, and that’s why drills and practicing emergency situations with your family is important. The videos presented this week are part of BoatTEST.com’s Boating Course which is USCG-approved. Watch these video boating lessons every week on BoatTEST.com.

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

"Where's Waldo takes to the high seas."
- T. Merza

Second Place

"Two hundred and one years later, the local militia sets out one more time across Lake Erie to try to capture Canada." - S. Melia

Third Place

"Seal Team Six party barge." - R. Davis

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 07/10/2013

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