Premier 250 // Prestige 450 // Solving Prop Problems // 11 Reviews - 09/18/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter September 18, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Beneteau GT 44
- Yanmar 6BY3-260
- Premier 250 Solaris
- Sea Ray 270 SLX
- Beneteau Oceanis 41
- Nordhavn 63
- Bayliner 185 Bowrider
- Sun Tracker PB 254 XP3
- MJM 36z
- Prestige 450 Fly
- Evinrude E-TEC 150
- Shurhold Serious Shine
- PowerTech Props
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Beneteau GT 44:
Interior Inspection Video

Beneteau GT 44
The Beneteau GT 44 has taken North America by storm during the last year and one of the reasons is because of its large and tasteful accommodation spaces. Our Resident Interior Inspector, Elisabeth Soltes, shows us the boat's interior features.

There are not many 44' (13.41 m) express cruisers on the market with sterndrive diesel power, and one of the important advantages of this configuration in addition to performance, is the amount of accommodations that can be put into a boat of this length. The GT 44 has two large staterooms with en suite heads with separate shower stalls, a full galley and dining settee below. We take a close look...

Beneteau Air StepBeneteau Air Step.  Ask an accommodation question.
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New Captain's Report

Yanmar 6BY3-260:
Twin Sterndrive Diesel with Joystick

Yanmar 6BY3-260
Pictured here is the installation of twin Yanmar 260-hp 6BY3 engines with Yanmar ZT370 sterndrives and counter-rotating props.

We think the Yanmar 260-hp diesel has a lot going for it both for new-boat installations and for re-powering. Because this 3 L engine is one of the lightest diesels on the market in class at 694 lbs. (315 kg.), bobtail, has overall dimensions to match, and can be harnessed to sterndrives in addition to being a conventional inboard, she has many applications. As a single-engine installation she is appropriate for boats in the mid-20 foot range (6 m). In twin-engine mode she can successfully power boats up to nearly 40' (12 m), depending on the application. Icing on the cake is her joystick. More...

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New Test Report

Premier Pontoons 250 Solaris RE:
Tooned-Up Technology for Entertaining

Premier 250 Solaris
The layout of the 250 Solaris features a "Bombay Bar" with stools in the stern.

As part of the Touring Series of boats from Premier Pontoons, the 250 Solaris is all about getting more families and their friends on the water. She can carry 18 people with the optional 36” (91.4 cm) PTX center tube and keep them comfortable on Signature Series couches. The optional changing room allows for a quick transition for guests switching from fun on the water to dinner at the waterfront restaurant. More...

Request a brochure.

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New Captain's Report

Sea Ray 270 SLX:
48.6 MPH WOT with 8.2 L 380-hp B3

Sea Ray 270 SLX
The Sea Ray 270 SLX is a big boat at 28'6" (8.89 m) including the swim platform and displacing 6,617 lbs. (3,007 kgs.) during our test.

Large bowriders are for people who like to go first class when boating and not be cramped when inviting a gang of friends aboard. Also, it takes a fairly large boat -- and a commensurate amount of horsepower -- to handle the weight of 7-10 people aboard and still have decent performance. There is no magic about it. Where the "magic" comes in is in the styling, design, overall look, and finish work. That's what makes the heart go pitter-pat. The 270 SLX is a large bowrider that is built to provide a spacious floorplan, good performance, and fit-and-finish that is synonymous with Sea Ray. More...

Sea Ray Quiet RideSea Ray Quiet Ride.  Request brochure.
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Updated Test Report

Beneteau Oceanis 41:
Performance and Handling Report

Beneteau Oceanis 41
The Beneteau Oceanis 41 is 40'9" (12.4 m) LOA, has a 13'9" (4.19 m) beam and she draws from 5'7" to 7'2" (1.70 m to 2.18 m) depending on the keel ordered. The hydraulic teak beach is standard.

The Beneteau Oceanis 41 is somewhat unusual because not only does she come with optional interior layouts, she also has two optional keel configurations: deep-draft and shoal-draft versions. Like many of Beneteau's sailboats, twin wheels are standard and note in the image above the high arch for the mainsheet blocks, which keeps the boom safely over 7' (2.13 m) off the cockpit deck. She has a cutter rig that balances well and makes the boat a dream to steer. She is powered by a 40-hp diesel and has a "Dock & Go" joystick as standard. More...

Ask an options question // Request brochure

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Captain's Report

Nordhavn 63:
World Cruiser -- Any Ocean

Nordhavn 63
Nordhavn 63: A, deep forefoot; B, bow thruster; C, stabilizer fins; D, large prop protected by the keel with barn door rudder. The boat's high freeboard forward and high pilothouse are designed to handle rough, offshore conditions.

Increasingly the world is opening up to oceanic cruising and more people are taking advantage of the opportunity to visit exotic locations off the beaten track. For these people, places like the northern Mediterranean and Caribbean have little fascination. Been there, done that. On the other hand, the Northwest Passage, the Indonesian archipelago, and Polynesia are a completely different matter. All that it takes is the right boat to get to those places. The Nordhavn 63 is one such boat. Find out why...

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Test Review

Bayliner 185 Bowrider:
Moving Up From “Entry-Level”

Bayliner 185 Bowrider
The Bayliner 185 BR is shown here with standard seating. Sport seating is also available.

Bayliner bowriders start at 16’ and go up to 23’ with 10 models in the series. Most are “package” boats -- boat, engine and trailer – that are designed to get people on the water for a reasonable price. To that end it offers the 185 Bowrider package powered by a Mercury 3.0 L 135-hp sterndrive engine and a single-axle trailer. What the 185 BR brings to the party is more room, more amenities, and a choice of two interior layouts. Take a look...

Bayliner Lifestyle PromoBayliner Lifestyle promo.

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Captain's Report

Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3:
Making a Big Bash a Blast

Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3
The Party Barge 254 XP3 is designed for entertaining and aggressive watersports. Note that her port gate is wide enough for a wheel chair.

The Sun Tracker Party Barge 254 XP3 has triple logs, 26” (66.04 cm) in diameter each, and is constructed from .100 gauge aluminum with multiple chambers. The XP3 designation means that this boat is built for extra performance with strakes attached to each of the three logs which add to performance, according to the builder. The back of the center log incorporates the engine pod. An additional benefit of the engine pod's buoyancy is a more level attitude when coming on plane and quicker planing times. More...

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Test Video

MJM 36z:
A Sophisticated Lady

MJM 36z
The MJM 36z was designed for a cruising couple to go nearly anywhere. Her compact size and light weight makes her an economical deck-cargo boat bound for exotic and remote ports for those who are tired of the French Riviera and the Caribbean.

The MJM Yachts 36z is not for everyone. She is expensive and her missions are targeted to a very select group of experienced boaters who have sophisticated tastes, have clearly-identified needs (such as hauling golf bags), and would like to do wide-ranging cruising. For example, while she is designed to be a day boat for 10 to 14 people, she is also a go-anywhere cruiser for a couple (built to CE “A” standards), and can be easily trucked north/south or shipped to overseas cruising destinations. More...

MJM 36z operations reviewMJM 36z operations review.

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Features Video

Prestige 450 Fly:
Classy Entertainment Spaces

Prestige 450 Fly
The Prestige 450 Fly is designed for two cruising couples and for day boat entertaining. Her aft galley (where the photographer is standing) is handy to the dinette or table on the aft deck.

It’s hard not to appreciate the panache of a Prestige, and we think the creative attention to detail in the layout is outstanding. Few boats in this class offer two private en suite staterooms with private entrances as does this yacht. Our test boat was powered by twin Volvo Penta 435-hp IPS600s with joystick. More...

Prestige 450 PromoPrestige 450 promo video.

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Test Video

Evinrude E-TEC 150:
The Genius of Evinrude E-TEC Power

Evinrude E-TEC 150
Our test captain is pointing to one of our favorite aspects of the Evinrude E-TEC 150 outboard – its magneto, the device that delivers spark without the battery. It was invented in late the 1800s but in this application we think it is better than modern alternators.

Typical automotive-type alternators require two watts of power for every 1 watt generated. Not only that but a typical outboard alternator is held onto the aluminum block with bolts – bolts that can come loose and misalign the belt driving it, or worse, simply break. Modern rare earth magnets make magnetos lighter, more compact, more efficient, and far more reliable than automotive-type alternators. That is why magnetos have been used on piston-engine aircraft since the early days of flying. The Evinrude E-TEC 150's magneto produces 133 Amps – 121% more than the next 150-hp outboard on the market. It is one of the details that make the Evinrude E-TEC 150 able to go 3 years or 300 hours without maintenance. But there is more...

Evinrude digital controlsEvinrude Digital Controls.  Ask a repower question.
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Shurhold Serious Shine:
It has "101 Uses"

Shurhold Serious Shine
Shurhold’s Serious Shine may have 101 uses, but this clip highlights some of the more common.

One of our test captains is so obsessive compulsive that he hasn’t met a boat he didn’t think needed cleaning, even when fresh from the factory. For him, a spray can of Serious Shine is like a breath of fresh air. It can be used anywhere and on anything, especially if it’s the type of item that has to have care and cleaning instructions shipped with it. Of course we mean isinglass curtains, touch screen plotters, and other delicates. For detailed product information and to learn about the new rust resistant can and locking spray cap, visit here...

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PowerTech Props:
Optimize Performance with Prop Geometry

PowerTech Props
If the boat had lackluster performance last season, now is the time to find a solution for next season.

Performance problems have cropped up for all of us at one time or another. The bow seems too high on plane; the boat is lethargic out of the hole; the engine can’t reach rated RPM levels; all of these, and many more problems are most likely caused by incorrect prop geometry. The best -- and certainly the cheapest -- solution for poor performance may not be to buy a new boat, but rather simply finding the right prop. Our go-to place when we have prop questions is PowerTech. Its team is not only courteous, but extremely knowledgeable and good humored. And -- they return phone calls! As it turns out, correcting a prop is the easiest performance fix there is. 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
4-DVD Boating Course

Smart Boating
Sometimes it's not what you know, but what you've forgotten. We have the perfect solution for you.

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...
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Lesson of the Week

PWC Requirements and Rules

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--

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Ducky Award

Ducky Winner

First Place

"…and she has impressive 2-stroke power!" - M. Bolam

Second Place

"New hybrid powered ferries save fuel, have low emissions, and go with the flow."
- P. Routhier

Third Place

"Rent-a-rower...oarpower to get your horsepower where it needs to go."
- C. Jones

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