Princess 52 // Premier 235 // Nordic Tug 39 // 14 Reports - 10/30/2013
BoatTEST Newsletter October 30, 2013 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Princess 52
- Seven Marine 557
- Tidewater 210 LXF
- Nordic Tugs 39
- Volvo Penta V8-430
- Premier 235 Solaris
- Mercury Verado 300 HP
- Cruisers Sport Series 328
- Azimut 40
- Beneteau First 20
- Sea Ray 370 Venture
- Hatteras GT54
- Jeanneau NC14
- Bayliner 215 DB
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Princess 52:
A Motoryacht with Multi-Missions

Princess 52
The Princess 52 has three staterooms, is powered by twin 800-hp MAN engines, and she holds some surprises.

What is the smallest flying bridge motoryacht that can keep up with smaller express cruisers, have the heft to carry a small army of guests, and be able to comfortably cruise a family in the Mediterranean and Caribbean? Certainly the Princess 52 falls into that class. So we tested her, and inspected her from stem to stern to see exactly how she could fulfill those demanding missions. including ours...

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New Captain's Report

Seven Marine 557-HP Outboard:
Boating’s Latest Game Changer

Seven Marine 557-HP Outboard
Seven Marine’s new 557-hp engine comes in any color that the client wants and all engines are made to order. Already the new brand is getting traction among builders of larger boats of several types.

Over two years ago a group of engineers in Wisconsin announced that they were making a 557-hp outboard engine. Prototypes were displayed in February 2011 at the Miami Boat Show. The following Fort Lauderdale show, two operating engines were shown on a 37’ Intrepid, and then engines were demonstrated at subsequent shows with a single on a 30’ Sea Hunter, and twins on a 38’ Fountain. And now, this week at the Ft. Lauderdale Boat Show, no fewer than six boats – 4 with twins, 2 with triples – will be at the dock ready for public scrutiny powered by Seven Marine 557-hp engines. The new Seven Marine 557 is the most powerful outboard engine on the planet. Find out all about it...

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New Snapshot Review

Tidewater 210 LXF CC:
Family-Friendly Sport-and-Fish Boat

 Tidewater 210 LXF CC
The 210 LXF CC from Tidewater Boats is a compact family-oriented cruiser with open bow seating, a standard seat in the stern, and cushions and bolsters as standard.

In mid-2013 Tidewater Boats added the LXF (Luxury/Family) Series (the 210 and 230 models) to its product mix of 19 models. The LXF Series has an emphasis on greater comfort amenities for the whole family in addition to the regular sport features. This family orientation sets it apart from its broader line of fishing-oriented models. The 210 LXF has pronounced Carolina flare, a relatively high freeboard forward with 25" at the transom, and a 10-year hull warranty like all Tidewater boats. She is a price-point boat and for that reason alone gets a lot of attention... including ours...

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New Test Video

Nordic Tugs 39:
Long Range Cruiser or Go 17 Knots

Nordic Tugs 39
The Nordic Tug 39 is a good-sized trawler for extended living aboard during long cruises and has two staterooms.

Powered by a single Cummins 380-hp diesel, as tested, this boat has a WOT speed over 17 knots with remarkably good mileage for this type of boat. Many people will cruise her from 8 to 11 knots, but for those who want to go 15 knots, she can keep that up for 20 hours, go 300 nautical miles, and still have a 10% fuel reserve. She has three areas for entertaining and we suspect that the builder would be happy to eliminate the second cabin below to create one large stateroom below fit for a prince. See our video...

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New Test Video

Volvo Penta V8-430:
Replacement for the Heavier "Big Block"

Volvo Penta V8-430
The new Volvo Penta 430-hp V8-430 is a naturally-aspirated gasoline engine that develops high low-end torque and has mid-range pep and good fuel economy because of its variable valve timing and light weight. It comes standard with a DuoProp.

The mission of the new 6.0 L "small block" V8-430 is to replace the "big block" 8.1 L engine which was far heavier and didn't produce any more horsepower in its production version. Volvo Penta has accomplished this by rating the new 6.0L engine at 6000 rpm where it was made to run and by taking advantage of several advances in technology that allow it to run smoother and cleaner while burning less fuel. Other attributes give it better hole shot times and better load carrying abilities than previously possible with the big block V8s. More...

Volvo Penta Related VideoCapt. Steve explains the abilities of the Volvo Penta DPS. Ask a technical question.
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New Test Video

Premier 235 Solaris:
Water-Bourne Playground for Kids...

Premier 235 Solaris
…and plenty of shade for happy parents and grandparents. The upper deck is well supported with tubular uprights for the published weight while at the same time reducing any swaying effect.

The mission of the Premier 235 Solaris is all about family fun. The upper deck not only provides added room for sunning, but also a launch pad off the wet slide into the water. Below, good times can continue under the shaded protection of the upper deck on comfortable furniture. To say that kids will love this boat is an understatement. More...

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New Test Video

Mercury Verado 300 HP:
No Lash Adjustment Needed -- Ever

Mercury 300 HP Verado
A cylindrical "bucket shim" can be seen here in the tech's right hand. His left hand is holding a valve stem. The shim fits between the valve stem and the lobe on the cam shaft, moving the valve open and closed as the cam shaft rotates.

Six-cylinder DOHC engines (including all 300-hp marine 4-stroke outboards) have 24 valves and 24 valve shims and all must be at optimum clearance (or "lash") for best performance. Typically, before 500 hours of use the lash between the cam lobe, valve shim, and the top of the valve stem changes -- and they must be re-shimmed. This little "tune-up" can easily cost $1,000 and is usually not covered by warranties as it often occurs after they have run out. The Mercury Verado 300-hp never needs shim adjustment -- ever. But this is just one of many benefits of the Verado 300. More...

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Updated Report

Cruisers Sport Series 328 SS:
For Sports, Parties or Over-Nighting

Cruisers Sport Series 328 SS
Now, this is a bowrider! Cruisers Sport Series 328 SS has two large cockpits and overnight accommodations below for a couple.

The design team at Cruisers Yachts has come up with a new model in its Sport Series lineup that combines the best of a massive bowrider with a large mid-cabin suitable for over-nighting by a couple in comfortable surroundings. With tables installed both forward and aft she can handle half the marina on a daytime picnic. When it comes to towing sports, the peanut galley can be a large one. More...

CSS 328 run shotBehind the scenes at the Cruisers Yachts' factory.

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Captain's Report

Azimut 40:
A Leader in Style and Elegance

Azimut 40
The team at Azimut has combined technology and design together to create a yacht that delivers comfort and elegance, while also providing world-class fit-and-finish.

Azimut takes pride in its 40 flybridge with an MSRP of $595,000 because it feels this yacht delivers the same quality build found on its larger boats. Azimut says that it is technology that helps them deliver an impeccable fit-and-finish. Our brief report will look at this 40-footer which has two staterooms, each with en suite heads, and a layout that provides three social and entertaining areas. More...

Request digital brochure. Azimut Promotional Video Azimut 40 promotional video
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Captain's Report

Beneteau First 20:
A Good Boating Value

Beneteau First 20
Mom steers while the men handle the foredeck. The new 20' 6" (6.25 m) First 20 is intended for those veteran boaters wanting to get back on the water again or those folks just starting out.

With her modern styling -- standard Grey Blue gelcoat accented with yellow striping -- it is easy to picture the First 20 as a miniature version of a round-the-world racer, but in fact she is simply a comfortable, well-built, easy-to-handle day sailor. When it comes to small boats, our opinion of them has never changed: Dollar-for-dollar they are the best boating buy on the market in terms of the enjoyment received. We think Beneteau's First 20 again proves the point. More...

Ask an options and specifications question.

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Test Video

Sea Ray 370 Venture:
Twin Outboard Express Cruiser

Sea Ray 370 Venture
The twin 300-hp Mercury outboards are ensconced in engine boxes that make them nearly invisible on the water and barely audible (77 dbA) in the cockpit.

By powering this 15,432-lb. (7,000-kgs.) express cruiser with twin 300-hp Mercury supercharged outboards, Sea Ray has created a completely new type of boat that has a number of important advantages for boaters -- at least eight by our count. By moving the engines out of the boat, the builder has been able to create a huge master stateroom below amidships as well as a large salon below with galley. We think Sea Ray has developed a well-designed and thoughtful new vessel that deserves the consideration of anyone looking for an express cruiser in the 370 Venture's size range. There are enough features and innovations aboard that we think a "look-see" will not be a waste of time for anyone. More...

Sea Ray 370 Venture runWatch the features and layout video. Request factory pricing.
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Test Video

Hatteras GT54:
A Lightweight Cruiser-Fisher

Hatteras GT54
The Hatteras GT54 is a Carolina Outer Banks design with plenty of bow flare, deep-V forward shallow stern sections, and light weight. She is as good at cruising as she is at sportfishing.

The Hatteras GT54 is the smallest boat Hatteras makes so the company considers her an "entry level" vessel. She is certainly that for the Hatteras line which now stretches up to 100', but make no mistake about it, 54' (16.46 m) is a good size boat for almost any purpose. And the Hatteras GT54 has the stones to handle most anything offshore. She is also bigger than 99.5% of the boats out on the water. Full, in-depth report...

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Test Video

Jeanneau NC14:
Multi-Functionality Comes Free

Jeanneau NC14
The strong suit of the Jeanneau NC14 is the fact that a number of her major pieces of furniture can be used in two or more ways, thus adding utility to the boat at little extra cost.

The NC14 has been designed to be economical to operate. With the pod drives, depending on the engine choice, her fuel consumption should be about as economical as possible in this size boat. The builder envisions the boat as an "apartment on the water" and on deck she has an open, "veranda" kind of feel. Below she has two staterooms and one head. More...

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Test Video

Bayliner 215 DB:
A Dry, Fast Deckboat

Bayliner 215 DB
The Bayliner 215 DB has a WOT speed of 45.7 mph powered by a 4.3 L 220-hp Mercury sterndrive engine.

The 215 DB has a surprising number of innovations, plus several good design details we have been urging builders to incorporate for years. We tested this boat with the wind howling at 20 knots and a long fetch so we got insight into how she handles in conditions beyond her job description. Her midships freeboard is higher than what we normally see on price-point deckboats and her V-bottom hull is carried all the way forward giving her a better ride. 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

How to Prepare for Man Overboard

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
If you see someone fall overboard, toss out a throwable device right away and keep your eyes on them at all times.

This week Capt. Steve goes over thirteen lessons and guidelines on how to be prepared for a man overboard emergency. Having practiced this drill ahead of time with your crew or passengers is important since MOB happens so quickly that people have very little time to react. Learn how to pick someone up in the water and position the boat downwind, how to improve your chances of getting rescued, what a Williamson turn is, and how to treat someone once they’re back aboard for hypothermia. 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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