Boston Whaler 230 // Sea Ray 450 // Monte Carlo 76 // 11 Reviews - 09/25/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter September 25, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Mercury Marine 250 OptiMax - Meridian 341 Sedan
- Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
- Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge
- Nitro ZV 21
- Monte Carlo Yachts 76
- Robalo R247
- Jeanneau Leader 9
- Intrepid 245 Center Console
- Formula 350 Crossover BR
- Carver C34
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Mercury 250 OptiMax Pro XS: Impressive 2-Stroke Performance

Mercury 250 OptiMax Pro XS
We tested the Mercury OptiMax 250 Pro XS TM turning a 14 x 25 Fury prop on a Ranger Z521 tournament bass boat. With full fuel, two people and the 505 lb. (229 kg) engine, the boat weighed 2,969 lbs. (1,347 kg).

Several factors have gone into the 250 OptiMax Pro XS that make it a noteworthy performer. These include racing design components such as solid billet aluminum mounts and special dome shaped, coated pistons. The propeller utilizes Mercury’s PVS, or Performance Vent System which vents the exhaust out the front of the torpedo instead of through the hub, thereby aerating the prop allowing it to accelerate quicker. Our "Test Results" chart for this rig is a "must see".  More...

Ask a technical question. // Ask a repower question.

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New Test Video

Meridian Yachts 341 Sedan:
Operations and Maneuverability Review

Meridian 341
We tested a Meridian 341 powered by twin 425-hp Mercury 8.2 L ECT MOI HO engines with digital throttle and shift (DTS) in close quarters.

Because the Meridian 341 Sedan is the builder's "entry level" model and many boaters considering her will be moving up from smaller vessels, we have made an "operations-oriented" Captain's Report. In it we cover the electrical system, daily checks, ground tackle, as well as handling observations and instructions on how to use the joystick and what to expect. More...

Ask a handling question.

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Family Features Review

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage:
Family Features Video Review

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage
The Boston Whaler 230 Vantage has two tables for entertaining friends and family. At left is the table in the stern, and at right we find a table in the bow. Both have dedicated storage.

We rarely make three videos on a new boat but we have done so on the Boston Whaler 230 Vantage because the boat can be used in so many different ways by all members of the family. We have tested the boat's performance and handling (Video #1) and we have taken a look at the interior features and design from a man's point of view (Video #2). This week the 230 Vantage is cued up with the video from a lady's perspective (Video #3). More...

Boston Whaler 230 Vantage Request digital brochure.
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Updated Captain's Report

Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge:
New Hull For Zeus Pods

Sea Ray 450 Sedan Bridge
Forty-five feet is a good length for lots of reasons, so when Sea Ray decided to make way for Zeus pod drives it discontinued the old hull and started afresh.

A builder can't just drop Zeus drives, or any pods, into a hull designed for midships inboard engines and straight shafts – at least not to get all of the pods' advantages and have the boat trimmed right. In creating the new 450 Sedan Bridge, Sea Ray started with a clean computer screen and drew an entirely new hull – nothing was carried over from the older 450. The new 450 Sedan Bridge is slightly longer and wider than the earlier model, but a little extra can mean a lot. The new 450 Sedan Bridge has larger master and guest staterooms, each with more room around the berths; a larger salon; larger freshwater tanks; and much more dry stowage space, including a huge locker under the salon where the engines used to be. More...

Request digital brochure.

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Updated Captain's Report

Nitro ZV 21:
A Bigger Boat for Big Water

Nitro ZV 21
The Nitro ZV 21 weighs from 600 to 800 lbs. (272 - 363 kgs.) more than a typical bass boat its size. She's heavier because her freeboard is higher, there is more substructure to be able to take greater pounding, and there is simply more stuff aboard.

In a word, the mission of the Nitro ZV 21 is to take anglers out on big lakes, provide them with all of the boat-related tools necessary to find and bring-to-net different species of fish -- all on the same day -- then make sure the anglers get home safe and dry. All that is needed is a reasonable price, and that has always been one of Nitro's missions. More...

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Accommodations Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 76:
Interior Details and Execution

Monte Carlo Yachts 76
The master stateroom suite, and the rest of the accommodations in the MCY 76 are decorated with fabrics and materials from Armani and Rubelli, with furniture and bulkhead sculptures made by Italian artisans.

What strikes us about the Monte Carlo Yachts 76 is that in here we find details of interior execution which are often extraordinary and always elegant in an understated way. There is a level of creative expression throughout the boat in terms of both design and materials used that eschews extravagance without sinking to sameness and mediocrity. Her designers clearly embrace an avant-garde style, but one with impeccable taste. Join us for a video of discovery...

MCY 76 Request a tour or sea trial.
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Captain's Report

Robalo R247:
Loaded with Standard Features

Robalo R247
A - Trim Tabs; B - Shower; C - Insulated fish box, cooler, or locker for fenders; D - Livewell; E - Fold-out transom seat; F- Foldaway table: G - Swivel double seat; H - Optional wet bar or standard seat and cooler; I -- Changing room or head; J - All lockers under the three seats are insulated and self-draining for multi-use.

The Robalo R247 has many features as standard that many boats only have on their option list. There are more than the ones shown above, so check out the builder's website for a complete list. When comparing boats it is important to make sure all of the desired equipment is accounted for. The R247 is a multi-use dual console, and we think she has lots going for her. See more...

Request a brochure.

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Captain's Report

Jeanneau Leader 9:
A Practical Package

Jeanneau Leader 10
The Jeanneau Leader 9 is 32' (9.77 m) LOA with a beam of 11' (3.3 m) and is powered by either gas or diesel Volvo Penta engines.

Frankly, most people really don't need any more boat than the 32' Leader 9. This is a good-sized boat for going to 90% of the places that most of our friends cruise to each summer in boats 10' to 20' (3 to 6 m) larger and costing 4 or 5 times more. People moving up from a smaller boat will find her easy to handle and have the thrill of a more comfortable level of boating. Retiring folks looking to downsize into something which doesn't wrap up so much of their net worth, will find that the Leader 9 cuts the mustard and it's Grey Poupon. More...

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Test Video

Intrepid 245 Center Console:
Purpose-Built for Offshore Action

Intrepid 245 Center Console
The Intrepid 245 CC in a high-speed turn during our test. She leans 16-degrees into turns thanks to her deep-V hull which cushions her ride offshore.

For folks who have just entered the room, Intrepid is a south Florida custom boat builder that has made a name for itself as the premium brand of offshore open fishing boats. More recently customers have been requesting boats with cruising amenities and so, being a custom builder, now Intrepid has branched into that territory as well. The company only sells factory-direct, which means it has no dealers and no dealer commission. But its boats aren't cheap, because the money that would normally go into a dealer's pocket goes into the boat instead. This week we look at the smallest boat in the Intrepid line -- the 245 Center Console. More...

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New Design & Style Review

Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider:
A Bowrider for Overnighting

Formula 350 Crossover Bowrider
The Formula 350 CBR is 35' (10.67) LOA, has a 10'9" (3.28 m) beam, and a deadrise at the transom of 21-degrees. Cabin headroom is 5'10" (1.77 m).

For years Formula has built large bowriders as well as sport cuddies and high-performance boats. Each had their own specific purpose which they handled well. But all had their limitations. The large bowriders which could hold a small army of friends, couldn't be used for over-nighting even though they were bigger than some cruisers on the market. The sport cuddies and high-performance boats that could have sleepovers, couldn't handle more than 5 passengers or so for day cruising. Thus was born the new Formula 350 CBR -- a boat with massive passenger capacity and a couple's cabin for overnighting. More...

Request a tour or test drive.

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Test Review

Carver C34:
Powered by 2 300-HP Gas Engines

Carver C34
We tested the new Carver C34 with twin gas 300-hp Mercury engines and put her through our normal handling paces to find out what consumers can expect.

With more and more boat builders equipping their boats standard with diesel engines it is refreshing to find one that is able to utilize moderate-horsepower 5.7 L gas engines. They keep the price down and with modern fuel-injected engines, troublesome start-ups are a thing of the past. In the Carver C34 that power package is made possible because of her relatively light weight at 16,500 lbs. (7,484 kgs.), dry, and her bottom shape. Nevertheless, her beam is still an ample 13' (3.96 m) which gives her a 38% beam-to-length ratio. See how she performed...

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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 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...
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Lesson of the Week

PWC Safety Tips - Part II

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
PWCs are a lot of fun to drive, but like all boats they have their boundaries. Don’t let an inexperienced person go for a joy ride on your PWC.

This week Capt. Steve goes over five lessons and guidelines on operating a PWC and some rules to follow. It’s tempting to want to play around on the PWC and perform stunts and jump wakes, but don’t attempt this if you’re a novice since you can fall off, injure yourself coming off a wave, or hurt someone else. Also, just because your PWC looks like it can handle two or three riders doesn’t mean it was designed to carry that weight. Follow the capacity plate for your PWC. The videos presented this week are part of’s USCG-approved Boating Course. Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

Order all lessons on DVD--, LLC
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Stamford, CT 06901

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