Carolina Skiff 23 // Manitou 25 Toon // Formula 350 CBR // 15 Reports - 07/31/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter July 31, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Yanmar 8LV-ZT370
- Cruisers Sport Series 298
- Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite
- Monte Carlo Yachts 65
- Sea Ray 220 Sundeck
- Robalo R207
- Manitou 25 SES
- Carver C34
- Nitro Z-8
- Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius
- Mercury 300 HP Verado
- Formula 350 CBR
- Intrepid 245 Center Console
- Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan
- Boston Whaler 285 Conquest
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson - What Is Going On Here?

Yanmar 8LV-ZT370 Joystick:
A Sterndrive Diesel System

Yanmar 8LV-ZT370Yanmar 8LV-ZT370
The Yanmar 370-hp V-8 diesel engine is 36% to 50% lighter than two of her well-known competitors, and hooking it up to a sterndrive with a joystick means peak performance both fast and slow.

With its impressive power-to-weight ratio, the only sterndrive lower unit made specifically and exclusively for diesel power, and a joystick that has proved itself in the marketplace for the last 18 months, the 370-hp Yanmar 8LV-ZT370 is a compelling system. Not only has it been jumped on by some of the most prestigious builders in the country for re-power applications, but it is also finding its way to the options lists of production builders. Diesel-powered sterndrive boats have been popular in Europe for years, and now the performance advantages are catching on in North America as well. Find out why...

Ask a repower question / / Ask a new boat question

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Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 298:
Yacht Certified for Max Capacity

Cruisers Sport Series 298
Because of her size she qualifies for the NMMA's Yacht Certification standards which leaves the load up to the discretion of the operator. By our count the Cruisers Sport Series (CSS) 298 can hold 15 adults for a slow evening cruise in normal conditions.

As can be seen in the photo above the Cruisers Sport Series has a huge seating capacity and a large swim platform for launching all sorts of watersports activities. What is not so obvious in this image is the level of luxury inside and the advanced styling of her hull. More...

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Captain's Report

Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite:
Long List of Standard Features

Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite
The Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite does not look like a typical flats boat at first glance.

The Carolina Skiff 23 Ultra Elite is a capable fishing rig which is rugged and is surprisingly well executed. She is offered with a long list of standard features and with her low deadrise at the transom she should be a fine performer. Best of all, given her amenities and level of finish, she is priced right. More...

Request a digital brochure

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Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 65:
Interior and Accommodations Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 65
The Monte Carlo Yachts 65's modified Portuguese bridge and the facing loungers backlit with pop-up lights is one of the most inviting yet unpretentious foredeck treatments we have seen on any large motoryacht. But that is just one venue on this magnificent yacht.

Most of the design work of Nuvolari & Lenard has been of megayachts and superyachts ranging up to 400' where money and size seem to have few limitations. Yet, as we look at the lines of the Monte Carlo Yachts 65 and the details in all of her living spaces we can't help but think that this boat might be among their finest work. Clearly, where there are constraints on both size and purse, creating elegance with functionality and iconic beauty with utility is not so easy. We think that is what sets the new Monte Carlo Yachts line apart from virtually everything else in class. Let's investigate the MCY 65 to appreciate what the N&L design house has done. Eyes wide open...

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New Test Video

Sea Ray 220 Sundeck:
Seats 12 in Outboard or Sterndrive

Sea Ray 220 SundeckSea Ray 220 Sundeck
The new Sea Ray 220 Sundeck has a wide bow on deck with a wide foot well forward in order to seat six people. In the cockpit four people can sit on the L-shaped bench seat, plus two in the skipper and companion seats.

The new Sea Ray 220 Sundeck comes in both outboard and sterndrive models but the interior is the same from the bow to the back of the aft cockpit bench seat. With these new boats Sea Ray is targeting the buyer who is looking for a deckboat, but who wants something with more panache, higher freeboard, better fit-and-finish and does not mind paying a little more for it. We've tested the outboard version and can report that she is remarkably quiet, planes in 3.6 seconds, and has WOT speed of 53.4 mph powered by a 250-hp Verado. More...

Request price quote
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Test Video

Robalo R207:
A Dual Console Priced Right

Robalo R207
Our test of the new Robalo R207 dual console powered by a 150-hp Yamaha 4-stroke recorded a WOT speed of 42.2 mph and a best cruise of 24.4 mph getting 4.38 mpg.

The Robalo R207 publicity photo above shows exactly what this boat is designed for -- family watersports outings with Mom and the kids, with fishing as an alternative. We think Robalo has done a good job of creating a crossover boat, and its set-up for fishing is a bit better than we see on some dual consoles. She has a head in the port console and like all Robalos she has a generous freeboard. Pricing runs from the low 30s with a 115-hp engine, to the mid 30s with the 150 we tested, to about 40k with a 200-hp outboard. Both Mercury and Yamaha engines are available pre-rigged for this boat. More...

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Captain's Report

Manitou 25 SES:
Four Deck Layouts on One Platform

Manitou 25 SES
This is the "Entertainer", just one of four distinctive layout plans in the Manitou 25 SES series. Don't like the bar? No problem. How about the "galley" version which replaces it with an L-shaped plush couch?

By any standard the 220 sq. ft. (20.43 sq. m.) Manitou 25 SES platform is a huge boat. Below she has three toons that are 23"/27"/23" in diameter, respectively, and can handle up to a single 300-hp engine. She has a rated carrying capacity of 13 persons or 2,080 lbs. (945.45 kgs.), depending on the weight of the engine. It is plush, full of amenities, and is built by one of the top pontoon boat builders in North America. See all four versions. More...

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New Test Video

Carver C34:
Greeted With Wide-Spread Applause

Carver C34
The new Carver C34 is the first of a new series of boats that Carver is introducing. She has modern styling both inside and out which has met with general approbation by those who have seen her. has had five of its staff members through the boat during our testing and videoing sessions. All agree -- as do members of the general public we have talked with -- that Carver's new design direction is not only a breath of fresh air but also a formidable contender in class for the cruising public's affection. We examine the boat to find out why the C34 deserves these rave reviews. More...

Open house sea trials in the New York area on August 3rd and 4th at Mariners Cove Marina on the southwest side of the Shinnecock Canal, 9 Canoe Place Road, Hampton Bays, New York 11946, 631-728-0286.

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New Captain's Report

Nitro Z-8:
Fast and Tournament-Ready

Nitro Z-8
The 20'1" (6.1 m) Nitro Z-8 is designed for quick planing and stable, high-speed running to the opposite end of the lake. A 200-hp OptiMax Pro XS comes standard.

Let's face it, with enough horsepower virtually any bass boat will go lickety-split, they all have decks that are little more than storage and livewells, and hull failures are exceedingly rare for any major brand. So what is the difference in any given size? There are a lots of little things, such as number of rods that can be locked away, comfort of the seat, location of tackle boxes, baffles on the live wells, number and type of gauges at the helm, location and size of the insulated cooler and such things as that. Then there are the middle-range issues such as equipment that comes standard, engine horsepower, warranty, and the quality of the trailer. Finally, there are big issues: things such as chine walking at speed, stability, and price. More...

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Test Video

Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius:
Twin Cabins, 2 Heads, and a Bar

Cruisers Yachts 41 Cantius
The 41 Cantius comes with options for both gasoline or diesel engines at several horsepower ratings, but all drive through IPS pods with joystick.

The 41 Cantius was designed for day boat entertaining around home and to that end has three venues -- the bar on the swim platform with two stools, the large L-shaped settee in the cockpit with table and entertainment console with grill, and the salon with its U-shaped dinette seating. She is also designed with comfortable cruising in mind for two couples or a family. The mid-cabin is large and has it's own head. More...

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Captain's Report

Mercury Marine 300HP Verado:
Supercharging Keeps HP Maxed in Heat

Mercury Marine 300HP
The mission of the Verado 300-hp engine is to be a robust 4-stroke engine offering strong low end torque, superior acceleration with reliability, low noise, smooth shifting and superior anti-corrosion protection needed in an offshore saltwater environment.

When the temperature rises 20-degrees F from 77-degrees F and 0% humidity to 97-degrees F and 80% humidity a naturally aspirated engine loses about 7.7% of its horsepower. That means that such an engine rated at 300-hp will have an effective horsepower of 277-hp in those conditions. According to Mercury, the supercharged Verado 300 loses about .5% or 1.5-hp in the same conditions. With naturally aspirated engines the hotter it gets the more horsepower vanishes, yet heat – and the thinner air that comes with it -- effects supercharged engines only marginally. This is one reason why boaters in Florida, Texas and in the tropics like the Mercury 300-hp Verado. But there is far more to the 300-hp Verado's story than not having heat stroke. More...

Ask a repower question

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Test Video

Formula 350 CBR:
Bowrider/Express with Sleeping Cabin

Formula 350 CBR
The Formula 350 CBR is one of the most innovative and functional boats in its size range with both bow-riding forward and a well-equipped cabin below with head, double berth and mini galley.

The 350 CBR is a high-performance express cruiser combined with large, wraparound bow seating, and a stern designed to be a floating beach/watersports launching pad. The picture above illustrates some of her more salubrious attributes. What better boat to have to race across the Gulf Stream then anchor in the gin-clear waters of the Bahamas for a day of relaxation and water play? This is a very large sophisticated boat that is built to Formula's usual ultra-high standards of fit-and-finish. More...

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Test Video

Intrepid 245 Center Console:
Yacht Tender to the Stars

Intrepid 245 Center Console
The Intrepid 245 CC for most people is a capable offshore fishing boat -- but for owners of superyachts, she is merely the yacht's tender and auxiliary fish boat.

One might think that all center console builders would like to sell their boats to owners of superyachts (motoryachts over 125' LOA). The fact is most don't because those boats are often terribly abused. Torture #1 is towing them at 15 knots and forgetting about them. The result is often a boat nearly beaten to death. Not so with the Intrepid 245. Intrepid is a company which likes to build tenders for superyachts. The boat pictured here went over 50 mph in our test. More...

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New Captain's Report

Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan:
Three Decks and Two Staterooms

Meridian 441 Sedan
The Meridian 441 Sedan has a LOA of 47'2" (14.3 m) and a beam of 14'3" (4.3 m) and a dry displacement of 31,233 lbs. (14,197 kg.). She has lots of living space.

The Meridian 441 comes standard with twin 380-hp QSB Cummins electronically-controlled diesels conventional running gear. For that reason Meridian makes both bow and stern thrusters standard to make docking a cinch even in adverse current. Optional engines include 425-hp and 480-hp Cummins diesels with optional Zeus pod drives. She has two large staterooms below, each with ensuite heads. Both the salon and flying bridge seating are large and we particularly like the double-wide companion seat on the flying bridge. More...

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Test Video

Boston Whaler 285 Conquest:
Much More Than a Fishing Boat

Boston Whaler 285 Conquest
The Boston Whaler 285 Conquest is an express design that sleeps 4 in two cabins, has a small galley and an enclosed wet head.

The trend for using fishing boats for cruising is nowhere better illustrated than with Boston Whaler's new 285 Conquest. We found her to be well equipped with an array of amenities, and she accommodates overnights just as easily as she does a day of fishing. Because she's built for bluewater work, she has the sea-keeping abilities that make a cruising boat safe and reliable for the whole family. She also has a couple of layout options. 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

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 four lessons and guidelines on recognizing the signs of hypothermia, how to help avoid it, and what you can do to lessen the effects on your body. Hypothermia does not only happen in cold water, even in 70 degree water you can still experience a significant loss of body heat. The videos presented this week are part of’s Smart 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

"Dang it Earl, I hate loosin’ a bet to them idiots!" - B. Boss

Second Place

"Everyone's looking at you stupid because you forgot the cooler!" - M. Kuchera

Third Place

"Just wish the picnic table didn't have 'state prison' stamped on it."
- S. Thompson

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 07/31/2013

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