Manitou 22 // Sea Ray 30 // Riviera 44 // 15 Reviews - 08/28/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter August 28, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Riviera 445
- Carver C34
- Yanmar POD System
- Boston Whaler 270
- Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
- Cruisers Sport Series 258
- Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan
- Manitou 22 Aurora VP
- Sea Ray 300 SLX
- Formula 350 Sun Sport
- Cruisers Yachts 430 SC
- Monte Carlo Yachts 70
- Nitro Z-7
- Lund 1750 Tyee
- Robalo R180
- Shurhold Pad Cleaner
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson
- What Is Going On Here?

Riviera 445 SUV:
A Comfortable Express Cruiser

Riviera 445 SUV
The Riviera 445 SUV has a 15’ beam, draws 3’11” and weighs 30,300 lbs. dry. Her deadrise at the transom is 14.5 degrees which should make her fast and relatively economical.

The Riviera 445 SUV has the distinctive Riviera profile which we characterize as a pleasing blend of classic cabin cruiser styling with a rounded, elegant coach treatment that is unmistakably Riviera. It is a design, we think, that is comfortable in its own skin, not affected, over-the-top, or flavor-of-the-month, and it should wear very well over the years. Her standard power is twin Volvo Penta 435-hp IPS drives with joystick. She has two large en suite staterooms, one with three single berths. More...

Ask a question // Request factory price quote

cross ruler

New Design & Style Video

Carver C34:
2 Staterooms in a Modern Design

Carver C34
The standard version of the Carver C34 does not have a lower helm, a layout we endorse because it provides more room forward and requires that there be at least a Bimini on the flying bridge.

We’re happy to report that the interior of the new Carver C34 has been executed with the same grace and professionalism as the exterior. The boating public has been waiting a long time for Carver to step out with new duds and it has done it in fine style. This week we take a detailed video look at the C34’s interior and the boat speaks for herself. More...

Carver C34 Test VideoCarver C34 test video.  Request brochure.
cross ruler

New Captain's Report

Yanmar Pod Drive:
Performance Plus Economy

Beneteau GT 38
Yanmar offers a complete pod drive system package that allows boaters to take advantage of the fuel efficiency of its diesel engines plus get the performance that only a pod can provide.

When boat builders offer models with either pod drives or conventional drives, the models with pod-drives are by far the most popular. That is why Yanmar offers a complete pod drive system with aft-facing, counter-rotating props. Boaters considering a new boat in the 30' to 45' (9.14 m to 13.7 m) range should ask builders about the Yanmar pod drive option. More...

Ask a question

cross ruler

Test Video

Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless:
For Fishing & Family Day Boating

Boston Whaler 270 Dauntless
With a dry weight of 4,800 lbs. (2,181 kgs.) before the twin 200-hp Mercury Verados were hung on her transom, our test boat with twin 200-hp Mercury Verados spoke with authority during our test.

The all-new 270 Dauntless is the largest boat in the Dauntless series which starts at 17’. The question begs, what is the difference between the Boston Whaler center console Dauntless 270 and the Boston Whaler center console Outrage 280? The answer is that the 280 Outrage is not only longer, wider, deeper, but also 27% heavier and is rated to carry 14 people instead of 12, carries 22% more fuel and has a 23-degree deadrise at the transom, instead of the 18-degree deadrise that the 270 Dauntless has. The 270 Dauntless is for people who don’t want to buy more boat than they really need, and if truth be told, most people can probably get by with the 270 -- which is no shrinking violet herself-- and save a lot of money. More...

cross ruler

Test Video

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht:
Outboards Max Interior Volume

Intrepid 475 Sport Yacht
We tested the Intrepid 475 in Tampa Bay as a mean-looking electrical storm came rolling in from the West. It got worse – but the test must go on! – and we captured it all on video.

Traditional inboard straight-shaft power has some problems. For example, it is typically plopped down right in the middle of the boat where it would be more advantageous to have other things – such as larger accommodations! Another problem is that because of the down angle of the shaft the props are usually pushing the boat up and forward, instead of just forward. This is the primary reason why pod drives, sterndrives and outboards are so much more efficient. Equally as important, outboard engines still present other advantages -- such as getting the engines out of the boat altogether. The Intrepid 475 is a pioneer vessel of what could be a new trend in boating. More...

Intrepid ManufacturingIntrepid Powerboats manufacturing review.  Factory-direct inquiry
cross ruler

Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider:
Sporty Looks and Plenty of Seating

Cruisers Sport Series 258 Bow Rider
The Cruisers Sport Series 258 BR is 25’0” (7.62 m) LOA, with a 8’6" (2.59 m) beam, weighs 5,160 lbs. (2,345 kgs.) with the largest optional engine and has a 22-degree deadrise.

Cruisers Sport Series is a division of KCS International, the owner of Cruisers Yachts, one of the foremost builders of express cruisers in the U.S. Two years ago it launched its sportboat series, and brought its high-style interior design, expensive materials and yacht-quality fit-and-finish to a class of boats that is the mainstay of American boating. Today there are 9 models in this division, six bowriders, two cuddys and one express. The 258 is a big bowrider, one at home on both fresh and saltwater. More...

Request a brochure

cross ruler

New Design & Style Video

Meridian 391 Sedan:
Advantages of the Sedan Concept

Meridian 391 Sedan
The raised dinette in the Meridian 391 allows guests to see out as well as creating headroom below for the guest cabin.

What is the difference between a sedan and a hardtop express of the same size? Good question, and the photo above of the Meridian 391 Sedan explains the difference as well as anything. By definition sedans have a flying bridge and express cruisers do not. That means a helm is not necessary in the cabin where space is at a premium. There are other advantages as well. Find out the details of the Meridian 391...

cross ruler

Captain's Report

Manitou 22 Aurora VP:
Triple-Toons Triumph

Manitou 22 Aurora VP
This photo shows what pontoon boat ownership is all about. It is about the parents and grandparents watching their children and grandchildren enjoying themselves on the water. In the picture above the kids have taken complete control – even better!

There is a place in this world for conventional twin-toon pontoon boats – mostly for sedate cruising, or for adults with young children who love to use the boat as a giant dive platform in the middle of the lake. Triple-toons, and more specifically, Manitou’s 22 Aurora VP are another story. Manitou’s patented VP design performs more like a planning monohull than a toon. Because its center toon is larger and deeper the boat turns with alacrity, banks to the inside, jumps out of the hole in a heart beat or two and has a much higher top end. All of this makes the boat better for watersports and much more fun to drive. More...

cross ruler

Test Video

Sea Ray 300 SLX:
A Big Bowrider for Big Crowds

Sea Ray 300 SLX
With a LOA of 29’6” (8.99 m) and a beam of 9’8” (2.95 m) the Sea Ray 300 SLX is the biggest bowrider in the Sea Ray lineup.

For fans of big bowriders, why not take a look at the biggest Sea Ray has to offer. The 300 SLX is for people who like to have lots of people aboard for day trips and watersports of all kinds. She's big which means she can handle saltwater as well as big fresh water lakes. With top end treatments and Sea Ray’s proprietary “Quiet Ride Technology”, she’s not only quiet but classy. Today we put her through a full sea trial to see what sort of performance numbers can be expected and just how she handles. More...

Ask a question

cross ruler

Test Video

Formula 350 Sun Sport:
We Clock Her at 53.3 MPH WOT*

Formula 350 Sun Sport
Note the shadow of the 350 Sun Sport on the sandy bottom – about 15’ down – on the Bahamas Banks some 60 nautical miles across the Gulf Stream. This 10’9” (3.27 m) beam boat weighed about 15,000 lbs. (6,818 kgs.) during our test.

*With twin 420-hp MerCruisers. We don’t quite understand why we never get an invitation to test Formula boats during the company’s photo shoot in the Bahamas, but we have hopes that someday we might get lucky. Our test of the 350 Sun Sport was in Florida which is ok, but we’re sure that the boat would go oh-so-much faster in the gin-clear waters of the Bahamas. All of the Formula boats (even the 24-footer) make the pilgrimage every year or so, across the Gulf Stream, which can be nasty. Let’s look at our test of the 350, which is a benchmark for all builders in class. More...

Formula InteriorsSee how Formula builds its interiors.  Request factory price quote.
cross ruler

Features Video

Cruisers Yachts 430 Sports Coupe:
For Entertaining and Cruising

Cruisers Yachts 430 Sports Coupe
The 430 Sports Coupe comes standard with twin Mercury 425-hp gas inboards. Optional Volvo Penta 400-hp gas engines driving IPS pods or IPS diesels from 370 to 435-hp are optional.

The Cruisers Yachts 430 is designed for two main missions: 1) Entertaining; and, 2) Cruising. The entertaining focal point is the cockpit where there is a grill, sink, and optional fridge. A 13.5 kW generator comes standard along with a 28,000 BTU AC/heat system that – with the addition of an isinglass back curtain – makes this a three season boat in any latitude. Below there are two staterooms and two heads, making her a comfortable cruiser for two couples or a family. More...

cross ruler

Features Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 70:
Pushing Luxury Yacht Design

Monte Carlo Yachts 70
This photo shows two of several functions of the remarkable bow on the Monte Carlo Yachts 70. At left the table and seat back have been raised for cocktails, and to the right they are all flat for sunning. Both tables can be raised and joined for dinner in the round.

While the foredeck on the Monte Carlo Yachts 70 is remarkable, her interior is also as modern as they come. Metal, glass, wood and fabrics are all utilized to give the boat a nautical yet modern look with décor that is right out of the finest salons of Milano. On her accommodations deck she has four staterooms and four heads making her quite suitable for large families, four cruising couples, or the charter trade. More...

cross ruler

Captain's Report

Nitro Z-7 Bass Boat:
59.4 MPH WOT with Mercury 150

Nitro Z-7 Bass Boat
At 18'8" (5.68 m) the Z-7 is a scaled down version of Nitro’s premium bass boat, the Z-9.

The Nitro Z-7 is designed to satisfy bass anglers who don’t need the size or the higher price tag that a bigger boat brings to the table. The Z-7 is 25'' shorter and carries two inches less beam than the larger Z-9. But the major compromises most anglers might note between the two Nitros pretty much end right there. In fact, the Z with the lucky “7” designation is both more frugal with fuel and more nimble on the water than her larger kin. More...

Digital brochure request.

cross ruler

New Test Video

Lund 1750 Tyee:
Designed for Long Days on the Water

The test numbers above tell an important story about the Lund 1750 Tyee that is designed for multi-species and versatility.

When buying a small multi-species, multi-use boat the question is always how much horsepower is enough. The numbers above provide the answer to several important questions such as WOT speed and range at best cruising speed on plane. The 1750 Tyee can run for 7.5 hours at 25 mph and still have a 10% fuel reserve. That means that for most anglers the fuel capacity will be more than enough for a long day of fishing. Find out more...

Mercury repower information.

cross ruler

Test Video

Robalo R180:
A Stable, Well-built Fishing Platform

Robalo R180
The Robalo R180 is a relatively small center console but as can be seen in the photo above she is large enough for six people for fishing or day boating.

It is not often discussed but there is an unmistakable pecking order when it comes to the status of boat brands and models. Often this has more to do with the amount of advertising a brand does, with the boat’s price, or with the longevity of the name plate. Robalo is one of those names which has been around since the 1970s and has always been known for its sea-keeping abilities. The new generation R180 takes the best from its brand’s past and brings it into the 21st century with modern amenities and systems. More...

cross ruler


Serious Pad Cleaner:
Make an Old Pad Like New

Serious Pad Cleaner
There is nothing worse than a crusty old buffing pad and that is why Shurhold has come up with a solution to that problem.

Polishing, compounding, and buffing pads get crusty and nearly useless faster than most people expect. Buying a box of new pads can be expensive, but thankfully there is a far better solution. Shurhold's "Serious Pad Cleaner" is a powder that mixes with water and is scientifically formulated to dissolve compounds and waxes from wool, foam and blended buffing pads. With this solution, pads can be used over and over. As compounding a gel coat finish should be done on fiberglass boats at least twice a year, this professional cleaner makes sure that compounding and buffing pads are always ready to go. More...

Special Pricing: $4 off until the end of this month.

cross ruler

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
4-DVD Box Set
Video Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you:'s 4-DVD video course.

Based on the feedback we’ve been getting about's Video 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...
cross ruler

Lesson of the Week

How To Be a Responsible PWC Owner

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
PWCs have earned their rightful place in the boating world and their owners have responsibilities just the same as do those of bigger vessels.

This week Capt. Steve goes over four lessons and guidelines on PWC laws and being a responsible PWC owner. PWC owners should know the local laws before heading out on a PWC. Remember PWCs can only run during daylight hours between sunrise and sunset since they do not have any running lights as boats do. The videos presented this week are part of’s Video 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--

cross ruler

Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

"The fact that you're descended from Shackleton is NOT reassuring, Molly!"
- P. Lazarus

Second Place

"How much farther to the North Pole?"
-R. Justice

Third Place

"...and finishing last in the annual Washington crossing the Delaware reenactment are…" -R. Davis

What's Going
On Here?

WIGOH 08/28/2013

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.

We need reader help!

If you have a picture that you think needs some explanation, email it to us., LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901

All articles, Captain's Reports, video content or other material which appear on and in its newsletters are accurate and factual to the best knowledge of and its staff. All findings, beliefs, experiences, or endorsements presented are the honest opinions of or its contributors. In compliance with FTC 16 CFR Part 255 advises its readers that content that appears in its newsletter or on its website may have been produced for compensation or the prospect of future compensation. makes no claims for the veracity or motivation of reader comments, Owners’ Reports, and other contributions which are all clearly labeled as such.