Manitou 25 // Marlow Mainship 32 // Sea Ray 54 // 12 Reports - 10/23/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter October 23, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Tigé R20
- Marlow Mainship 32
- Chaparral H2O 21 Fish & Ski
- Manitou 25 SES Entertainer
- Boston Whaler 350 Outrage
- Formula 310 Bowrider
- Mercury Marine Joystick
- Robalo R222
- Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan
- Nitro Z7
- Sea Ray 540 Sundancer
- Yanmar 8LV-ZT370
- Monte Carlo Yachts 65
- Mako 234 CC
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Tigé R20:
High-Cost Out;
High-Performance In

Tigé R20
The Tigé R20 brings affordability to performance wake-boating.

With the R20, Tigé has created a cost-effective boat with the same performance hull of the high-end boats in the builder's lineup. It still allows for the capability to dial in the perfect sized wake in a high performance boat that can hold her own right alongside the best of the best. She also solves the problem for those that need a smaller boat due to tow vehicle capacities or lake size limit restrictions. She measures in at 20’ (6.1 m) and has an empty weight just over 3,000 lbs. (1,361 kg). More...

Ask a question.

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Snapshot Review

Marlow Mainship 32:
Economical Cruising for a Couple

Marlow Mainship 32
The new Marlow Mainship 32 is 36'8" (11.19 m) LOA with a beam of 10'10" (3.30 m) and a displacement of 11,725 lbs. (5,318 kgs.). She could be the most economical 32' couple's cruising boat on the planet.

In the summer of 2012, David Marlow of Marlow Yachts bought the assets of Hunter Mainship out of a Chapter II bankruptcy. This May the new company, Marlow Mainship, launched hull #1 of the MM 32 and now four of them have been built. We expect big things of David Marlow and company in this new space he has carved out, and already he has brought several innovative concepts to the new 32' build. Find out more...

Ask a manufacturing question. Ask a operational question.
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New Captain's Report

Chaparral H2O 21 Ski & Fish:
For Families, A "Total-Job" Concept

Chaparral H2O 21 Fish & Ski
Why limit a boat to just one function when the addition of a few pieces of equipment can make her able to handle all sorts of jobs afloat? The new H2O 21 Ski & Fish has versatility written all over her.

For those who have just entered the room, Chaparral's H2O Series was introduced a couple of years ago as the builder's entry-level, more affordable boat line -- an important counterpoint to the premium lines at the other end of the Chaparral spectrum. Now this series is well-established and is being expanded. The new H2O 21 Ski & Fish was recently introduced and we have just given her a close inspection. More...

Request a digital brochure.

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New Design and Style Review

Manitou 25 SES Entertainer:
Versatile Layouts Follow Function

Manitou 25 SES Entertainer
The Manitou 25 SES Entertainer is a versatile pontoon boat that can be mixed and matched with four different modules that each emphasize a different type of entertaining. For those that can't make up their mind -- they can choose all four.

Manitou is a top-of-the-line brand and if it were in the car business would be right up there with Mercedes, Lexus and the others. Fitting out a pontoon boat for entertaining with some of the modules and options that Manitou makes available can create a remarkable lake or protected saltwater venue for a fraction of the cost of buying a large cruiser that holds the same number of people, but probably in less comfort. The 25 SES is a remarkable toon, find out why...

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Test Video

Boston Whaler 350 Outrage:
We Test Her Offshore

Boston Whaler 350 Outrage
We put the Boston Whaler 350 Outrage through rigorous wave testing because of her optional upper station to see if the raised CG made her too unstable. Find out in the report…

She is not a battlewagon, but the question is, from the standpoint of raising and bringing trophy fish to wire, can she compete with them? At 35'6" (10.82 m) LOA with a 10'10" (3.3 m) beam and with a tested displacement of 14,476 lbs. (6,566 kgs.), she certainly has plenty of beef. Even more surprising is the maximum size of her fighting cockpit -- about 63 sq. ft. by our count. That means she is about half the size of a goldplater's, but still has enough room for a fighting chair and two mates. After all, Hemingway's Pilar was only 38' (11.58 m) LOA! (And he had an upper helm station very much like this one.) More...

Request full specs sheet.

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New Design and Style Review

Formula 310 Bowrider:
When Performance and Style Matter

Formula 310 Bowrider
The Formula 310 Bowrider is loaded with features and amenities that are standard including the integral extended platform that goes far beyond the lower unit when it is down.

The Formula 310 Bowrider has more going for her than just lots of seating capacity up front. She is a large watersports platform which can be used from stem to stern as the photo above demonstrates. What really sets Formula apart from virtually all other boats in class is her superb execution of even the smallest detail. It is all done with artistry, sophisticated materials, lots of TLC and man-hours. Let's take a look...

Arrange test drive or viewing.

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Test Video

Mercury Marine Joystick Piloting:
Easy Docking For Multiple Outboards

Mercury Marine Joystick Piloting
What's wrong with this picture? Actually, nothing. Mercury Joystick Piloting System has purposely made these engines go pigeon-toed so that they can back the boat into a slip.

The primary purpose of Mercury's Joystick Piloting for outboards is to increase the control and ease of maneuverability in close quarters for both skilled and less experienced boaters on larger outboard-powered boats. But this is more than a docking system; with its waypoint sequencing and autopilot features engaged, the boat can be operated at cruising speeds and the course can be adjusted with the joystick or control pad. Now large outboard rigs have the same control options as large cruisers. More...

Request available builder list.

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New Test Video

Robalo R222:
Ready to Go Offshore

Robalo R222
To us, one of the most important features of the R222 is her high freeboard, which makes the boat dryer and much safer. Robalo has camouflaged its high freeboard by using three color bands on her hull to break up the look of high topsides. This is an old boat-builder strategy and one we heartily endorse.

With her high freeboard the R222 is perfectly at home in offshore conditions. She handled the chop that we took on the way to the testing grounds like she was made to be there, which coincidentally... she was. With her 21-degree deadrise at the transom there was no pounding through the waves but more of a clean slice through. She tracks straight and true through following seas with no tendency to stuff the bow or get pushed off course. In beam seas there was minimal rolling well within the realm of expected behavior -- all adding up to a 7-8 on our "quality-of-ride" scale. More...

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Test Video

Meridian Yachts 391 Sedan:
Available with Gas or Diesel Engines

Meridian 391 Sedan
The Meridian 391 is available with twin 420-hp 8.2 L Mercury engines or twin diesels rated from 330-hp to 425-hp.

We think the Meridian 391 makes a good transitional yacht for those moving up from day boats or bowriders. Our test shows that she can be easily docked and offshore she is docile. We tested her with twin 380-hp diesels and her mpg was about the same from 17 knots all the way to her WOT speed of 26.1 knots. But that is only part of the story. More...

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Updated Captain's Report

Nitro Z-7:
62 MPH with Mercury 150-HP Pro XS

Nitro Z-7
While our test lake was not as glassy as the one above and the temperature was 86F, between the Nitro Z-7 and the Mercury 2-Stroke OptiMax 150 Pro XS, we managed to easily
break the 60 mph barrier.

We like this 18'8" (5.69 m) bass boat from Nitro. She runs fast, is well-built, can be handled with confidence at speeds high and low and is priced right at $26,995 including a 150-hp Mercury OptiMax outboard and custom trailer. Some anglers might need the extra storage and room in a 20'+ bass rig, but for those who don't we see no reason why an avid bass angler should not consider the Z-7. More...

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New Captain's Report

Sea Ray 540 Sundancer:
Luxury Cruiser & Entertainer

Sea Ray 540 Sundancer
The new Sea Ray 540 Sundancer has a lot to offer and there have been some major changes inside and out.

The new iteration of the 540 Sundancer has evolved both inside and out. She is now standard with a V-drive which provides more room below. With her twin Cummins 715-hp engines in our test boat we recorded a best cruise speed of 20 knots giving her a range of 286 nautical miles with a 10% fuel reserve. Her centerline helm enhances visibility and is one of the few yachts in class that has such a thing. More...

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Captain's Report

Yanmar 8LV-ZT370 Joystick:
Proprietary Software Means Better Service

Yanmar 8LV-ZT370 Joystick
Yanmar made its own joystick and ECU software in order to make sure everything works seamlessly and customization work could be totally under its control and not at the mercy of a third-party vender.

Yanmar has developed its own joystick and ECU software to match the characteristics of both its engines, sterndrive lower unit, and ZF pod drive. In this way Yanmar distributers have the keys to make modifications to the software so that each individual Yanmar system installed can maximize efficiency as well as suit the individual boat's characteristics and even the owner's preferences for steering feedback. More...

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Test Video

Monte Carlo Yachts 65:
Efficient Propulsion with 1200-HP Engines

Monte Carlo Yachts 65
The Monte Carlo Yachts 65's twin MAN 1200-hp diesels have the power to propel her at nearly 30 knots WOT, but at 20-knots she is remarkably fuel efficient for a large yacht.

So much has been made of the Monte Carlo Yachts 65's stunning good looks that is easy to miss the fact that she has one of the most efficient propulsion systems in class. In this size yacht the cost of the fuel burn can add up, particularly over the course of a full season. Because the MCY 65 is relatively lightweight with moderate horsepower engines, she is not only less expensive to buy, but also less costly to operate. More...

Request a materials list.

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New Captain's Report

Mako 234 CC:
We Compare Her to 9 Boats in Class

Mako 234 CC
When we compared the Mako 234 to 9 other center console boats we were surprised at what we discovered. She comes standard with a single 250-hp Mercury OptiMax XXL.

There has been a sea change in approach at Mako recently and the Mako 234 is a prime example of what is going on. A sharp price point is no longer the object of this offshore fishing boat brand. Rather, it is just simply another one of the vessel's many "amenities." Much more important is the fact that Mako is building one of the most functional and quality-oriented boats in class no matter what they cost. Comparing her to nine of the most prestigious brands in class was a huge eye-opener. 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 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...

Lesson of the Week

Negligent Boat Operation is a Federal Crime

Lesson of the Week Smart Boating
Capt. Steve says if you boat smart you avoid all penalties of poor judgment!

In this week's lesson Capt. Steve points out some examples of what boating negligence is and the penalties you face. The obvious lesson here is that if you practice smart boating you avoid all penalties of poor judgment. There is also a helpful video on what to do if the authorities stop you. The videos presented this week are part of Captain Steve’s USCG-approved boating course called “Smart Boating.”  Watch these video boating lessons every week on

To view this week’s lessons --

To order all lessons --, LLC
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Stamford, CT 06901

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