Sea Ray 350 // Eastbay 50 // Princess V52 // Mercury Verado 300 - 01/08/2014
BoatTEST Newsletter January 8, 2014 Click here if you cannot view the newsletter. Tests You Can Trust
- Sea Ray 350 SLX
- Tahoe Q7i
- Beneteau GT 44
- Cruisers Sport Series 208
- Grand Banks 50 Eastbay SX
- Nitro Z-9
- Intrepid 375 Walk Around
- Mako 234 CC
- Manitou 23 Oasis
- Mercury 300 HP
- Princess V52
- Picture of the Week
- Boating Course On DVD
- Capt. Steve's Weekly Lesson

Sea Ray 350 SLX:
A New "Mega-Bowrider"

Sea Ray 350 SLX
With a LOA of 34’6” (10.5 m) and a beam of 10'6" (3.20 m) the all-new Sea Ray 350 SLX is now the largest of the upscale SLX lineup. She comes powered by twin 300-hp Mercury sterndrives with Bravo III lower units.

Sea Ray's all-new 350 SLX is now the flagship of Sea Ray's new premium SLX line. She comes well-equipped to handle comfortable seating for 18 people while underway, including an unprecedented 11 facing forward. At rest she can seat even more. She incorporates Sea Ray’s proprietary “Quiet Ride” technology, has a standard fiberglass arch with stylish hardtop, and a large swim platform. Load her up with options and she can go hull-to-hull with nearly any open day boat on the planet. More...

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New Test Video

Tahoe Q7i:
2.9 Seconds from 0-to-Plane

Tahoe Q7i
We recorded best cruise performance at 2500 rpm where the Tahoe Q7i went 24 mph and got 4.7 miles to the gallon. Her time to plane was 2.9 seconds which will make anyone at the end of a tow line happy.

Tahoe’s Q7i is the company’s top-tier sportboat, and the optional "Extreme" package makes her even better. We tested her with a 260-hp 5.0 MPI MerCruiser and reached a top speed of 53.7 mph, and her sporty handling made for an exhilarating ride. But this is only part of her story. More...

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Design & Style Review

Beneteau Gran Turismo 44:
An Interior with European Style

Beneteau Gran Turismo 44
This week we look at the styling and materials in the GT 44 interior both on the main deck and below. Above, BoatTEST's Elisabeth Soltes, looks at the fabrics and designs in the master stateroom.

We have made much of the Beneteau GT 44's Air Step hull and its propulsion system, but there is far more to this express cruiser. Clearly there has been an experienced team involved in specifying the layout, amenities, décor and materials of this vessel. And like virtually all boats coming out of Europe these days, much of the décor is inspired by trends in Milan and Paris. (Don't expect embroidered anchors, lighthouses and sea shells.) More...

Ask a materials question.

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New Test Video

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider:
Testing a Small Boat in Big Water

Cruisers Sport Series 208 Bow Rider
The CSS 208 SS goes lickety-split during our test in Sturgeon Bay, Wisconsin. Powered with a Volvo Penta V-8 270-hp sterndrive, the smallest sportboat in the Cruisers Sport Series hit 51.7 mph WOT and went 0-to-plane in 3.3 seconds.

The Cruisers Sport Series (CSS) 208 Bow Rider was designed to provide owners who only need a small boat with the fit-and-finish of a much larger, premium boat. A colored hull comes standard, as do hull side striations, quilted three-tone upholstery, and an swim platform that extends beyond the lower unit when it is in the down position. This is something we often don't see in a 20' boat. More...

Ask a handling question.

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New Captain's Report

Grand Banks 50 Eastbay SX:
2 or 3 Staterooms Plus IPS Power

Grand Banks 50 Eastbay SX
The 50 Eastbay SX has an LOA of 55'11" (17.04 m), a beam of 16'6" (5.03 m) and has a half-load displacement of 50,050 lbs. (22,750 kgs.).

The Grand Banks 50 Eastbay SX is an all-new design with a hull drawn by C. Raymond Hunt & Associates. As can be seen in the image above the exterior styling has been updated and modernized, but the changes don't end there. She takes advantage of Volvo Penta's IPS pod system with joystick for improved performance and handling. Inside she has five different configurations to choose from including a 3-cabin layout. More...

Ask a question.   Request a brochure.
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New Test Video

Nitro Z-9:
Bass Fishing First Class

Nitro Z-9
It is a little-known fact that Captain Steve is out fishing nearly every weekend during the summer. Here, he tests the standard trolling motor rig on the Nitro Z-9 bass boat during working hours.

We think that Nitro has really stepped up with the Z-9 and created a first class, tournament-level bass boat and made it affordable to the average Joe. When it comes to amenities, functionality, and durability, Joe will be taking a back seat to no one with the Z-9. There are not many categories of boat where that can be said, but this is one of them. She’s equipped as well as nearly any other boat on the market, handles as well as most any, goes as fast as virtually any with the same horsepower (70 mph with a 250-hp OptiMax), and has a 10-year hull, transom and stringers warranty. More...

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Test Video

Intrepid 375 Walk Around:
An Open/Cuddy Cruising/Fishing Yacht

Intrepid 375 Walk Around
Wraparound amidships seating can convert to a sun pad and the area would easily accommodate a table for al fresco dining. Add cruising canvas to the overhead and -- presto! -- the yacht has another cabin. There are few boats like her.

The Intrepid 375 Walk Around is one of the most creative boats in her size range in class, in our opinion. She has a cuddy forward with a table/V-berth seating and a galley. Under the helm console is another compartment that has a head, sink and shower. The stern has a foldaway bench seat for cruising and a clean deck for fishing. Sandwiched between all of this is a double-wide helm console with an aft-facing seat. More...

Intrepid 375 Walk Around Features Check out the feature video on the 375 Walk Around.

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New Test Video

Mako 234 CC:
Built to Land Trophy Fish

Mako 234 CC
Our guess is that over the years the Mako 234 CC (and her 23' ancestors) have landed as many trophy fish as any boat in class -- ever. We tested her with twin Mercury 150-hp outboards.

With a pair of 150 Mercury 4-strokes turning 17-pitch propellers, we reached a top speed of 46.6 mph at 5900 rpm. At that speed we were burning a combined 28 gph giving us a range of 209 statute miles. Best cruise came in at 3000 rpm and 23.6 mph. That speed reduced the fuel burn to only 7.7 gph which translated to a range of 385 statute miles and an endurance of 16 hours and 24 minutes while still holding back a 10% reserve. But that is just the beginning. More...

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Test Video

Manitou 23 Oasis:
She Leans Into the Turns

Manitou 23 Oasis
The secret to the handling of the Manitou 23 Oasis is very simple -- her center toon is larger and lower than the outboard ones. As a result she has a deep-V shape with centerline buoyancy which forces her to lean into -- not away from -- the turns.

Manitou's toon configuration has a 27" center toon and outboard 23" toons with lifting strakes that enhance top-end performance and hole-shot speeds. The big difference between this system and other three-toon designs is created by the center tube which is 5-1/4" lower than the outboard toons. This is why she leans into the turns like a monohull sportboat. Manitou has patented both the concept and the design. More...

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Test Video

Mercury Verado 300 HP:
When the Going Gets Hot...
...the Supercharged Get Going

 Mercury 300 HP
NOAA temperature map of the U.S. for July 16, 2009. July and August are prime boating months for most of the world (apologies to those Down Under), and heat robs significant horsepower from naturally-aspirated engines .

When the temperature goes up, air gets thinner, therefore contains less oxygen per cubic unit. Less oxygen means lower combustion temperatures and lower horsepower. The horsepower loss at 100-degrees F can be from 3.5% to 8% depending on other factors such as humidity and barometric pressure. But Mercury's 300-hp Verado loses only a fraction of that because it is supercharged. The result is that the 300 Verado packs a greater horsepower wallop than naturally aspirated engines in extreme temperatures. More...

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New Test Video

Princess V52:
She's as Fast as She Looks

Princess V52
The Princess V52 we tested was powered by twin CAT C12 715-hp V-drives that allow the master stateroom to be placed far aft, much as one might expect in a pod-drive boat.

With a pair of 715-hp CAT C12 engines driving through ZF V-drives turning 27 x 37 four-bladed props we reached a top speed of 34.8 kts. at 2340 rpm. At that speed we were burning 61.3 gph, giving us a range of 225 nautical miles. Best cruise came in at 2000 rpm and 29.4 kts. That speed reduced the fuel burn to 44.6 GPH which the V52 could keep up for 10 hours and 39 minutes and 314 nautical miles, while still holding back a 10% reserve of fuel. But how did she handle with V-drives? Find out here...

Ask a question.

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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

Basic Rules of the Road:
Rules Pertaining to Different Types of Vessels

Capt. Steve Smart Boating Cover
A vessel unable to maneuver is unable to keep out of the way of another vessel.

This week Captain Steve covers basic rules of the road in ten quick video clips. He covers different categories of boats and who must keep out of the way, restrictions on working vessels, fishing vessels and all other vessels which may not be able to maneuver because the nature of their work, sea planes, and why one should never anchor in the middle of a channel. These are basic procedures which all recreational boaters should be aware of. The videos presented this week are part of’s 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--, LLC
51 Bank Street, Suite 2A
Stamford, CT 06901

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