Glastron Jet Boat // Nitro 21 // Premier 29 // 13 Reports - 10/09/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter October 9, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Cruisers Sport Series 328
- Nitro ZV 21
- Beneteau Swift 34
- Premier 290 G.E.
- Mercury Marine 300 HP
- Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan
- Chaparral 307 SSX
- Formula 353 Fas3TECH
- Glastron GTS 187
- Nordic Tugs 34
- Robalo R222
- Boston Whaler 320 Outrage
- Sea Ray Quiet Ride
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Cruisers Sport Series 328 SS:
Aggressive Styling &

Cruisers Sport Series 328
Classy, quilted padding on the bulwarks is stitched with thread that matches the accent colors throughout the cockpit in this special "Black Diamond Limited Edition" of the new
Cruisers Sport Series 328 SS.

The mission of Cruisers' designers was to create a bowrider that could host a small army of friends for cruising, picnics, grilling or towing watersports by day, be a sunset cocktail platform in the evening, yet also be an overnight cabin cruiser with sleeping and living accommodations comfortable enough for a couple. Moreover, the builder wanted a boat that would be able to tackle blue water (read: go to the Bahamas) as well as large inland lakes. That is a tough mission statement but one we think has been met by the new Cruisers Sport Series 328 Bow Rider. More...

CSS 328
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CSS 328
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New Test Video

Nitro ZV 21:
Performance Fishboat

Nitro ZV 21
The Nitro ZV 21 is designed for multi-specie fishing and going where small boats, particularly aluminum ones, fear to tread. When it comes to big water, size, freeboard and rugged construction all matter.

The Nitro ZV 21 has a cockpit depth of 25" (63 cm), a transom height of 28" (70.6 cm), and a maximum package weight of 5,500 lbs. (2,500 kgs.). She has a capacity for 6 people and comes standard with a 250-hp OptiMax Pro XS engine and tandem-axle trailer. She has a long list of amenities and her builders are obviously building and equipping her to go toe-to-toe with any boat in class. See what is going on...

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Test Video

Beneteau Swift 34:
5 BoatTEST Videos Tell the Tale

Beneteau Swift 34
Capt. Steve made a specific video just on the engine room of the Swift 34 to dry-run daily fluid checks, oil changes, and inspect thru-hull access.

We have made 5 videos on the Beneteau Swift 34 -- more than on any other single boat we have ever tested. The reason? Because we think she is a remarkable boat in her class and price range. She is not everyone's cup of tea, and there are certainly some things we'd change about her, but overall in our opinion she is a capable and practical little cruiser that does most things surprisingly well. Get out the popcorn and take a look...

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New Test Video

Premier 290 Grand Entertainer:
Room For a Live Band

Premier 290 Grand Entertainer
We can see that the early arrivals have taken positions at the bar, but no matter, there is plenty of boat left for the rest of the party. The Premier 290 Grand Entertainer will be one of the biggest toons on the lake.

The 290 Grand Entertainer is a very large pontoon boat, one that we would recommend for people who like to have truly large on-board parties. For example with the optional 36" PTX center toon, this vessel has a rated carrying capacity of 4,500 lbs. (2,045 kgs.). That represents a lot of people no matter how much they weigh. With an inviting, large aft bar, a mini galley, comfortable seating, room to walk around and a changing room/head -- the only thing left to need is a live band. More...

Request a brochure // Ask an options question

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Captain's Report

Mercury Marine 300 HP Verado:
Advantages of Supercharging

Mercury Marine 300 HP Verado
This simplified drawing shows the (A) air intake, (B) the mechanical supercharger, and the (C) inner cooler. By compressing air, then cooling it, the system is able to cram more oxygen into the cylinders for greater power.

The Mercury 300-hp Verado, now in its Gen. II iteration, has established itself as a reliable performer in several applications, including offshore in saltwater. Mercury Marine broke from the pack to take advantage of the benefits of lighter weight than other 4-strokes have, better performance in hot weather and at high altitudes, and greater torque at the low end with power to spare in the mid range. Its new 5.44' gear case has extra beef in gears and shafts, and its new corrosion-resistant alloys makes the 300 Verado ready for offshore work and saltwater. More...

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New Design & Style Review

Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan:
A Look at Layout, Décor and Style

Meridian Yachts 441 Sedan
This picture speaks for itself -- a 44' (12.49 m) yacht with a proper salon, a dining area forward opposite the galley up, which has a stand up refrigerator. Note the soffits in the overhead, something usually seen on large motoryachts.

Meridian has made a name for itself over the years for delivering lots of seaworthy boat for the money, but something important has been happening over the last couple of years. The builder has consciously upgraded the material, fixtures and the interior styling while holding pricing at a reasonable level. The result is that Meridians are an even better value than they were before. This week we take a look inside the 441. See her now...

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New Captain's Report

Chaparral 307 SSX:
"Make Her Look Fast at Rest"

Chaparral 307 SSX
Chaparral has pulled out the stops to make the new 307 SSX a very desirable large bowrider. We take an in-depth look, run speed trials, and have a report on her handling.

Just as the doctor's Hippocratic Oath says, "First, do no harm", the primary rule around the Chaparral design studio must certainly be "First, don't make her ugly." If she is not beautiful, a new model won’t fly, much less leave the dock. To that end Chaparral has developed a distinctive profile and styling features that the marketplace has soundly approved. Rule #2 must be "Make her look fast -- at rest". The new Chaparral 307 SSX’s distinctive design speaks for itself. But there is more to this boat than a pretty face. More...

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Test Video

Formula 353 Fas3TECH:
When Only 1,140-HP Will Do

Formula 353 Fas3TECH
The twin Ilmor MV8 is a naturally-aspirated 570-hp engine built on a 454 cu. in. (7.4 L) GM "small block" that has all internal components designed and built by Ilmor for the marine market. These are the hottest engines available in the 353 Fas3TECH.

The Formula 353 Fas3TECH has several engine options, including the Ilmor MV8 570-hp powerplants seen above. It is fitting that Ilmors are offered for this boat, because the engine-maker has built its sterling reputation on supplying power for Indy Cars, Formula 1, and NASCAR for years. The deep-throated roar emanating from those stainless steel pipes is only one compelling aspect of the 353 Fas3TECH. Another is Formula's current MSSP (Manufacturer's Super Savings Price). More...

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New Snapshot Review

Glastron GTS 187:
All-New Jet Boat Provides Choice

Glastron GTS 187
When Sea-Doo retired from the jet boat market 18 months ago it left only one player. Now Glastron has taken over its engine and put it in its own very Glastron-like sportboat.

Glastron has entered the jet boat market with a new 18-footer (5.48 m) that is an all-new boat specifically designed for jet power. The Glastron GTS 187 is powered by the three-cylinder Rotax 4-stroke, 150-hp engine. It is built by BRP, the parent company of Sea-Doo, and has proven itself reliable over the years when installed in Sea-Doo watercraft. The GTS Series of 11 sportboats is a Glastron mainstay and its other models are powered by both sterndrive and outboard engines. More...

Request a brochure // Ask a jet drive question

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Test Video

Nordic Tugs 34:
Destination Unknown (But Far)

Nordic Tug 34
Our performance tests proved that the Nordic Tug 34 can go about as fast as any single-engine boat in class but at her theoretical hull speed she can go from Annapolis to Miami without refueling

From Sacramento, California to Juneau, Alaska is 1,288 nautical miles. That means our Nordic Tug 34 test boat could make it with 30 nmiles to spare and a 10% fuel reserve. How about New York City to Havana, Cuba? 1,134 nmiles. Or, go the other way -- NYC to St. Johns, Newfoundland, 1,004 nautical miles. Not a bad range at displacement speed. The chart above tells the story. Want to go faster? It’s just a matter of burning more hydrocarbons. More...

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New Captain's Report

Robalo R222:
New and Competitively Priced

Robalo R222
The new Robalo R222 has an 8'6" (2.59 m) beam, a 21-degree deadrise at the transom, and weighs 3,200 lbs. (1,451 kgs.) dry, with the outboard. The T-top is optional.

Robalo is throwing its gauntlet down in front of builders of center consoles with its new-for-2014 R222. She is the largest boat in the Robalo fleet with a nationally advertised price -- $39,765 with a Yamaha F150XA outboard, sans trailer. She has a front-opening head compartment, 15 gallon livewell in the leaning post, two 30-gallon fishboxes, and a clever foldaway transom seat that lifts up to access the electrical system and pumps. Like all Robalos, she has decent bow flare and a relatively high freeboard. More...

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Features Video

Boston Whaler 320 Outrage:
Getting Serious Offshore

Boston Whaler 320 Outrage
The Boston Whaler 320 Outrage has a 10' 2'' (3.09 m) beam and has a dry weight of 12,680 lbs. (5,751 kgs). Our test boat was powered by twin 300 Verados.

The Boston Whaler 320 Outrage is not for everyone. In fact, we don't even recommend her for everyone interested in a big center console. Rather, she has been designed for a very narrow range of boaters -- ones who not only want to go far offshore but who also want to do it in comfort, protection, and maximum personal security-- and who don't mind paying for it. Most of the equipment on her is standard, including that state-of-the-art T-top and glass windscreen in the image above. With a standard fold-away transom seat and a large head/changing compartment she does double duty as a family cruiser as well as a game angler's fishing machine. Find out more...

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Test Video

Sea Ray Quiet Ride:
Improving the Quality of Life

Sea Ray Quiet Ride
This photo of the inside of a Sea Ray taken while it was being built shows two materials used to quiet the ride: 1) the foam sprayed on the inside of the hull that can be seen at the left and top; 2) The foam insulation material that has been glued onto the sides of a box. Both will help reduce noise.

One thing rarely talked about in the boating industry is boat noise. Here and there first one boat company then another tackled the problem but none to our knowledge set out to develop a whole new way of building bowriders to make them quiet -- until Sea Ray did it last year with a technology they call Quiet Ride. After inspecting the plant and seeing the sound dampening techniques, we tested the Sea Ray 250 SLX. The results speak for themselves. When we compared our test of the 250 with other boats in class we found that she was from 9 to 16 decibels quieter at WOT speeds. That means she was from a 1/2 to 2/3rds more quiet than others in class. Quiet Ride also features a patented technology called Tuned Transom by Omni Products (exclusively licensed to Sea Ray). Hear the video...

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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...

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Lesson of the Week

Requirements for Recreational Boaters: Inflatable Life Jackets

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
Capt. Steve explains requirements for all boaters.

This week Captain Steve examines inflatable life vests in detail. He walks you through the benefits of this type of vest and demonstrates how to check indicators, perform maintenance and how to manually inflate your vest. 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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